I've mentioned this book to you before. It's one of the few books I get to re-read every year.
Here is a good review of it and I'll let you read this first before you get my thoughts.
The philosophy which you're reading son in oxford is the Greco Roman European tradition. It's the judeo Christian one. Quite a fascinating and quite powerful one.
Of course there are other schools son. There's the Buddhist one. There's the jain one. There's the huge number of variants from the Muslim Islamic Arabic side. You have the Shinto perspective. The animist perspective. The shamanism angle. You have the Druidic or even the Wiccan one. And then there's the Hindu one. From where this text of Gita emerges son.
So the first point is, which one should you read? Well based upon the quote, good people learn from their mistakes and great people from others, you need to read all of them.
Which one should you follow? Ah there my wonderful son, you have to decide yourself which makes sense to you. Me? I take a broad based approach and consider all of them valid. Needless to say, Hinduism has a richness in thought productivity, breadth, concepts, metaphysical thought that I haven't come across anywhere else frankly. Not surprising. It's so old. Oldest as a matter of fact still in existence. Then again that's no great claim to fame. The Catholic Church claims to be the oldest organised religious organisation and it still has faults. But I digress.
The philosophical framework which you are reading has slowly moved away from the divine to the individual. Saint acquinas or reading the work of Jeremiah in the Old Testament or Luke or john in the New Testament will give you a perspective that God is omnipotent and you've got to follow him and the rules in the book to be happy. Obedience. But now the philosophy from Paine to Adam smith to Hegel to Voltaire and down to Hayek and Zizek and and all say that you've got to follow your heart. Sod God.
Same with Islam. What started with the gates of itijihad open and people like the brethren of purity being open and honest has come down to people quoting ibn tammiya while chopping off somebody's head. Buddhists too a very functionally beautiful set of Buddha's teachings religion and converted it into a mumble feat of mindnumbingly boring set of rituals and prayers. Every time I see a prayer wheel or a prayer flag, I just wonder at the thought process behind the philosophy which links a circular motion of an object to God. Jainism is slowly heading that way.
But the Gita is strange son. Every year I read it and I think of it in different ways. Last time I read it, it made me feel that I have the godhead in me. At one time I felt like dying because I felt so insignificant and meaningless. There was no point to life if everything was a giant deterministic multi regression based engine. Then one time it made it cry wanting to be with God. Strange son. Everytime I've met God I feel like crying. I guess it's because there's just so much emotion welling up that normal means of expression die and I end up standing there like a complete idiot and crying silently. Well there's your idiot dad for you.
I don't have to tell you about the stupidities of the caste system son. You're far too intelligent to believe in it but take the Gita with you to the mountains son. You can download an electronic copy and just read bits of it when you can. Keeps your mind challenged :) not now I think your current course is challenging you anyway. But I think you'll face and hit the problem I have son. You start running out of things to challenge yourself with and that's where the ultimate challenge is to know yourself, God, etc etc. Never ending fun and games and confusion and frustration.
Have a lovely weekend Kannu
Love and miss you. Can't wait to see you in 2 weeks. I'm feeling very tired. It's been near 4 weeks that I've been doing two shifts constantly under some pretty hairy office conditions and it's starting to make me look forward to the holidays :)