Gurcharan Das - Writer of Year Award 2018

HIS LATEST BOOK :

KAMA: THE RIDDLE OF DESIRE

KAMA: THE RIDDLE OF DESIRE

India is the only civilization to elevate kama—desire and pleasure—to a goal of life. Kama is both a cosmic and human energy, animating life and holding it in place.

Gurcharan Das weaves a compelling narrative filled with philosophical, historical and literary ideas in the third volume of his trilogy on life's goals—India Unbound was the first, on artha, 'material well-being'; The Difficulty of Being Good was the second on dharma, 'moral well-being'. Here, in his magnificent prose, he examines how to cherish desire in order to live a rich, flourishing life, arguing that if dharma is a duty to another, kama is a duty to oneself.

This fascinating account of love and desire sheds new light on love, marriage, family, adultery, and jealousy as it wrestles with questions such as these: How to nurture desire without harming others or oneself? Are the erotic and the ascetic two aspects of our same human nature? What is the relationship between romantic love and bhakti, the love of god? Desire is a lack of something and once fulfilled, it declines inevitably: how do we prepare for the day when it disappears and turns bitter?

Gurcharan Das shows that kama is a product of culture and its history is the struggle between kama pessimists and optimists. The yogis and renouncers regarded kama as an enemy of their spiritual project. Opposed to them were kama optimists, who flowered in the courtly culture in the first millennium CE, especially in the classical Gupta Age, culminating in Sanskrit love poetry and the Kamasutra. In the clash between the two emerged kama realists, who offered a compromise in the dharma texts by confining sex to marriage. Ultimately, this ground-breaking narrative leaves us with puzzles and enigmas that reveal the riddle of kama.

GET BOOK :
FlipkartAmazon

Gurcharan Das on his trilogy on life and why he wrote KAMA : The Riddle Of Desire

Interviews

Gurcharan Das explores the pleasure principle in his new book on desire

Pleasure and desire, in contemporary India, are contentious subjects. The rights of the citizens to indulge their appetites, for food or love, are being curtailed by the state and the judiciary. Gurcharan Das' latest book, Kama: The Riddle Of Desire, is pertinent reading in this context. Going back to ancient India and further, to the cosmic spheres, it revisits philosophies, mythologies and cultures of love.

Read More

Excerpt from the book "Kama: The Riddle of Desire"

Arranged marriages are a compromise between kama optimists and kama pessimists, writes Gurcharan Das

Das's new book explores kama through personal experiences and philosophical readings.

Arranged marriages are a compromise between kama optimists and kama pessimists, writes Gurcharan Das

Sharma-ji was itching to talk about what was uppermost in his mind. At the first opportunity, he asked if we could suggest a suitable boy for Avanti. Both his wife and daughter were embarrassed but they were resigned to his coarse ways.

"Avanti is still young, what's the hurry?" asked my mother.

With self-important gravity, Sharma-ji rose to his full height, like a doctor proclaiming a diagnosis, and explained that the problem lay in an inherent conflict between the biological and social nature of women. Quoting Manu, he asserted, "Every woman desires every man she sees."

Read More

Is sex more important than friendship in marriage?

Is sex more important than friendship in marriage?

After more than a dozen years of marriage, I suffered from the inescapable sulk of a lover. Avanti no longer felt the same physical desire. I remembered wistfully the blissful months immediately after our marriage when both of us used to rush home from work in anticipation of the evenings and nights of utter delight. But slowly and inexplicably, desire receded from her end, especially after the children came along. I felt resentful. My work too became more demanding and I came home later and later. I felt our marriage was caught in a middle-age inertia and it was beginning to dull my sensual feelings. Every desire seemed to become a decision in our unloving proximity.

Read More

Gurcharan Das’ Acceptance Speech at the GQ Writer of the Year Award 2018

Review :

"Das has created this sense of enchantment," says The Hindu "using memory as a device to summon the many forms of desire that play upon the mind [thus] entering an imagined world of beauty…. In evoking those moments of beauty in a lifetime of memories, Gurcharan Das is a poet-philosopher to be cherished."

Memoir of passion

Memoir of passion

Using memory as a device to summon the many forms of desire that play upon the mind

Read against the background of the ongoing battle between the sexes there is something infinitely soothing about Gurcharan Das's scholarly ruminations on the theme of desire.

Read More


The Riddle of Desire by Gurcharan Das

The Riddle of Desire by Gurcharan Das

An exploration of desire establishes that Kama is at the very root of being human

Kama or desire has a compelling quality that preys on human vulnerability often at the cost of the other three goals of life ordained in the scriptures, Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Overt emphasis on these three goals may have devalued kama to the extent that its immense creative force has been left unexplored by most.

Read More


"If you are someone who has ever loved, or lost, or dreamed of loving, or is frustrated by its paradoxes, this book is definitely for you."

'Kama': A unique blend of theory and fiction asks what desire is and provides no definitive answer

Gurcharan Das's 'Kama: The Riddle of Desire' does not resolve the paradoxes but points out the directions in which solutions can be sought.

unique blend of theory and fiction - KAMA

The mythological figure of the Hindu god Kamadeva carries as his weapon a sugarcane bow with a bowstring of bees and five kinds of floral arrows to fell his "victims". His flower arrows comprise Aravinda (white lotus), Ashoka, Cuta (mango flower), Navamallika (jasmine) and Nilotpala (blue lotus). These flowers, respectively, give rise to Unmada (infatuation), Tapana (excitement), Shoshana (parching or withering), Stambhana (heating) and Sammohana (paralysis) – the different stages of kama.

Read More


Infinite Passions by Arshia Sattar

Infinite Passions

The many shades and shapes of love come alive in this exploration of Hinduism

THIS IS A MOST unexpected book. From anyone, let alone a public figure. Let alone from Gurcharan Das—optimistic prophet of the Indian economy, philosopher of personal and public ethics, staunch supporter of neo- liberalism, recent cheerleader for Modi- nomics, grand old man of newspaper columns and a hundred corporate consultancies, a man who has also written at least one fine play and a sensitive family saga about Partition. Kama: The Riddle of Desire is a book about desire in the fullest sense of the word—it is about love and vulnerability, about self-doubt and betrayal, about wanting more of everything and being haunted by settling for less.

Read More


Mind of the mixed-up Indian

Mind of the mixed-up Indian

I first met Gurcharan Das on the night train to Kalka. It was the mid-1980s. He was CEO of Proctor & Gamble and I was a left-leaning lecturer in economics. We came from two different worlds, but were headed to the same conference at the Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, Shimla. In my youthful arrogance I wondered what a corporate chief would be doing at an academic gathering.

Read More

In conversation with Penguin India

Editor Tarini Uppal : Talking about his love for the written word, the life of a writer and his new book, 'Kama:The Riddle of Desire'.

“Something tremendous is happening in India, and Das, with his keen eye and often elegant prose, has his finger firmly on the pulse of the transformation.”

The New York Times

Read his latest column

Sudhirendar Sharma An exploration of desire establishes that Kama is at the very root of being human Kama or desire has a compelling quality that preys on human vulnerability often at the cost of the other three goals of life ordained in the scriptures, Dharma, Artha and Moksha. Overt emphasis on these three goals may have devalued kama to the extent that its immense creative force has been left...

Using memory as a device to summon the many forms of desire that play upon the mind Read against the background of the ongoing battle between the sexes there is something infinitely soothing about Gurcharan Das's scholarly ruminations on the theme of desire. The more elegant term of course is Kama or passion, the title of his book. That would of course tilt it into Mills and Boons territory...