Hindu Mysticism in the Twentieth Century: R. K. Narayan's The Guide

ROTHFORK, JOHN, Hindu Mysticism in the Twentieth Century: R. K. Narayan's 'The Guide' , Philological Quarterly, 62:1 (1983:Winter) pp.31-43

Hindu Mysticism in the Twentieth Century: R. K. Narayan's The Guide


America wants our gurus, but will she ever need our poets and novelists?

—R. R. Ananthamurthy1

In his book, The Reluctant Guru, R. K. Narayan tells of his experience as a visiting professor in America, saying that he felt trapped by the "average American's notion that every Indian was a mystic." He goes on to say: "I felt myself in the same situation as Raju, the hero of my Guide who was mistaken for a saint and he began to wonder at some point himself if a sudden effulgence had begun to show in his face. "2 George Woodcock seems to agree that Raju "pretends to a role ... until he is finally trapped in it."3 These statements seem to imply that Narayan thinks mysticism is fraudulent and the Hindu Sadhu, the holy man who should personify the highest ideals of Hinduism, a mere imposter. Nothing could be further from the truth.' Indeed The Guide is a biography of an imagined contemporary Hindu mystic.

Narayan is cautious in talking about mysticism because he does not wish to be misunderstood as offering a definition or a formula for mysticism; nor does he wish to be seen as a mystic himself. Thus he says: "my novel The Guide was not about the saints or the pseudo-saints of India, but about a particular person."5 Raju guides only himself and is not, like Hesse's Siddhartha, meant to serve as a guide for anyone else. Each person, working out his own unique karma, must find his own path to liberation. For "in India there are no official religious leaders, but only solitary devotees working out their own salvation and preoccupied with an inward mystic revelation which they cannot communicate to others. "6

V. S. Naipaul says that "Narayan's novels are ... religious books ... and intensely Hindu."7 Hinduism ultimately relies on mysticism to authenticate its practices, rather than on dogma, revelation, or authority. Indeed the goal of Hinduism is mysticism: to allow the individual to experience that he is a part of the imperishable Being of the universe (atman is Brahman). 8 There are two broad orientations toward realizing this goal. Bhakti is the way of love, devotion, adoration, and dedication to an external god such as Vishna's avatar, Krishna. Yoga is a more philosophical orientation in which the devotee seeks to experience god directly in samadhi. The Yogi follows Shiva, the "archetypal ascetic, and archetypal dancer."9 Each of the dual plots in The Guide is associated with one of these approaches. Raju gives up his secular Western identity and becomes dedicated to the temple dancer Rosie. His love for her is indicative of bhakti. But because the ego is retained in bhakti, God can only be loved as an object and not directly experienced. Thus Raju is reborn as a Swami and through yoga becomes a mystic absorbed in God.

As a young man Raju seemed destined to replace his father as an anonymous vendor of cigarettes and candy. As a good Hindu obeying his dharma, Raju felt that his business was simply "to provide the supply" of whatever people wanted "and nothing more" (p. 42).10 Raju wishes

only to serve. He expects values to be given to him by society (" dharma).

His role is simply to obey, to provide, and not to reform or tell people, even himself what they should want. Thus Raju, created by his society also mirrors it. Like his father, Raju simply "wanted to be pleasant" (p. 41). However, the timeless Hindu pattern is changed by the coming of the railway to Malgudi. Until the railway came, Malgudi had repeated the immemorial pattern of Hindu life. The son repeated his father's life and was reborn until he lived a perfect life, the life of the archetype prescribed by a mythological society which culminated in the Sadhu, the man absorbed in Shiva or Vishnu. The railway upset the old equilibrium with new demands and values. Raju is no longer called upon to provide the simple goods of his father's time nor to spend his life talking about "grain, rainfall, harvest, and the state of irrigation channels" (p. 17). Instead Raju opens a stall in the railway station to supply what the larger world wants. He begins to stock books and to act as a tourist guide. Thus Raju becomes "railway Raju" (p. 40). He becomes a self-conscious and independent individual, a Westernized "hustler," out to make a name for himself. He thinks "it is something to become so famous ... instead of handing out matches and tobacco" (p. 43).

The opposite of the individualized and historically unique ego is the Hindu ideal which hopes to eventually dissolve "the last quirk of impulse and personal resistance—thus gaining release from the little boundary of the personality and absorption in the boundlessness of universal being."11 The development of the historical ego is precluded by Hindu dharma: "the correct manner of dealing with every life problem ... is indicated by the laws (dharma) of the caste (varna) to which one belongs, and of the particular state-of-life (asrama) that is proper to one's age."12 However, the mythological patterns of dharma, accreted over thousands of years by tradition, are obviously incapable of dealing with twentieth century technology symbolized by the railway.

Hinduism has conditioned Raju to fulfill the expectations of his society (dharma). However, the traditional society has been imbalanced by technology. The south Indian city of Malgudi is invaded by tourists. The equilibrium, the timeless dream world created by Hindu archetypes, is imperiled by technology. When Raju says a life of "handing out matches" is not satisfying, his mother asks: "wasn't it good enough for your father?" Raju doesn't "say anything against it" (p. 43), but his world, and thus Raju himself, is obviously different from his father's world because of the railway. Raju must be his own guide and cannot rely on his father's life or the dharma of his caste to guide him.

Most dramatically, the railway brings Rosie to Malgudi. Rosie is a character of almost inexhaustible associations. She is a traditional religious dancer married to a scientist of sorts, an archeologist. The archeologist, with Raju's help, discovers unknown cave paintings which suggest the splendor of an Indian past which is no longer vital. Raju comments that "dead and decaying things seemed to ... fire his imagination" (p. 59). In contrast, Rosie symbolizes the living heritage of India which is experienced, not merely studied. The archeologist suggests the Aryan, the West, science and intellect. Whereas Rosie suggests the Dravidian, the primal, the mystic. The only thing Rosie wishes to see in Malgudi is a cobra in the hands of a snake charmer. She herself is called a snake-woman and as such she symbolizes the mysterious, the unconscious, the mother goddess, the eternal renewal of life by the earth, like a snake sloughing off one skin or one life after another. Joseph Campbell succinctly indicates the significance of the snake image: "the supporting energy and substance of the universe, and consequently of the individual, is imagined in India in the figure of the serpent." 13 Heinrich Zimmer adds that nagas or snakes "are keepers of the life-energy" and that "serpent princesses, celebrated for their cleverness and charm" figure in many South Indian dynasties.14

When her husband goes off to photograph the cave, Rosie responds to the jungle. The archeologist buries himself in a dead past. He studies the art of a lost and unrecoverable past. Because he is dedicated to the systematic study of a lifeless art, he does his best to destroy Rosie, a living artist. As an artist, Rosie represents the unconscious; like the lush growth of the jungle, life renewing itself out of death. She watches for animals at night and says "here at least we have silence and darkness, welcome things, and something to wait for out of that darkness" (p. 57).

However, Rosie, as her name indicates, is also confused by the clash between dharma and modernity. Instead of dissolving into the archetype of a good wife, she tells her husband: "I have many ideas. I'd like to try. Just as you are trying to—" (p. 105). Since she is not an intellectual, the goal of her struggle is left undefined. But she does defy her husband to dance. The intellect has not yet conquered mystery in India. And Rosie, bored by her husband's analysis of a forgotten past, is compelled to dance in order to survive. Raju's mother considers Rosie a corrupting influence on her son. And indeed Raju would do anything for her. He resists the marriage his family plans for him, tells Rosie he doesn't "believe in class or caste" (p. 61), and ends up driving his mother out of her house in order to live with Rosie.

Hinduism has a thoroughly ambivalent attitude toward the feminine. In one view "sexual ecstasy is paradigmatic of the man-god relationship."15 The love of man for woman is seen as analogous to "the longing of man's soul for god."16 Thus Rosie tells Raju that in the symbolism of the traditional dance, "lover means always God" (p. 90). On the other hand, "a wife stands in the way of her husband's liberation since she constantly tempts him to desert his religious duties."" The feminine, like the snake, is a mysterious and essentially uncontrollable power: "the goddess represents the energy of the universe, which, unchecked, wreaks havoc, but without which nothing is bogy, moves or lives."'s In this light the archeologist sees Rosie as a threat. However, without the unconscious, which Rosie represents, "nothing is born, moves, or lives."

By caste Rosie is a temple dancer. She entices men to feel the sexual energy in themselves which is also the energy of the universe. She is a prostitute and a priestess. In her archetypal role as dancer she is Shiva-Nataraja, "the god whose primal dance created the vibrations that set the worlds in motion" (p. 88). In this context the dance is a religious ritual which, "like yoga, induces trance, ecstasy, the experience of the divine."19 Consequently as Zimmer says, Shiva-Nataraja "is well called by us the `Inner Guide.' "20

Raju is captivated by this goddess, "helping her to daydream" (p. 87), yielding to the old Indian dreams of the goddess, of Shakti, the consort of Shiva who personifies the energy of life. Watching the dance, Raju says, "I felt moved by the movements, rhythm, and time, although I did not quite follow the meaning of the words" (p. 89). Words and logic are not important. It is the energy, the dance, the dream, that are profound. Raju "could see, through her effort ... the boyhood of a very young god, and his fulfillment in marriage, the passage of years from youth to decay, but the heart remaining ever fresh like a lotus on a pond" (p. 90). Unlike her Westernized intellectual husband, Raju looks beyond the factual and is sensitive to the figurative. Where her husband sees in Rosie's art only "street-aerobatics" or the tricks of a trained monkey (p. 106), Raju sees a god.

In leaving her husband, Rosie seems to be violating her dharma. But in fact she is a religious reformist who cuts through the dead rituals and revives the mystical core of Hinduism. In this regard she represents the mystical revolt of the Upanisads against the academic formalism of the Vedas. Because she reveals religious meaning, Raju finds nothing of interest in his superficial Westernized life which now looks "so unreal." He finds his business "a silly occupation" (p. 98) and ultimately feels "bored and terrified by the boredom of normal life" (p. 100). When a creditor presses Raju for money, Raju laughs seeing "this puny man with his ledger clutched under his arm ... as so absurd." All "the world outside Rosie becomes unreal to Raju. A friend tells him to "send her away and ... get back to ordinary, real life" (p. 116), but Raju is enraptured by Rosie, whom he sees as "like one of those pillar carvings in the temples" (p. 119). Rosie has shattered Raju's secular Westernized life and opened his eyes to mystical ecstacy. Raju is content to simply adore Rosie and abandon the world. But Rosie demands action. Consequently, Raju decides to share his ecstasy with others. He promotes Rosie, now called Nalini, in a "revival of art in India" (p. 126). Raju accomplishes what the archeologist cannot: he recovers the living tradition of India. He digs Nalini, the archetype of ShivaNataraja, out of the twentieth century Rosie. In promoting Nalini, he revives Hinduism for a twentieth century audience of Western-educated Indians. They may see Nalini's dance as only an aesthetic performance of an old tradition they no longer take as seriously as their grandfathers. But Raju has been converted, he has seen "the boyhood of a very young god" in Nalini's dance and others may see it as well.

When Rosie danced for Raju, the movement, the energy, absorbed both of them. There was only the dance. And as a religious act the dance "summons into the dancer a new and higher personality. "21 But when Raju begins promoting Nalini, he begins to act like a Vedic Brahmin. He sees himself as a priest who is necessary to bring the ritualistic dance to the people. Thus instead of feeling ecstacy when Nalini dances, Raju says, "when I watched her in a large hall with a thousand eyes focused on her, I had no doubt that people were telling themselves and each other, `there he is, the man but for whom—' " (p. 130). Like a Vedic Brahmin, Raju feels "vastly superior to everyone" and considers Nalini his "property" (p. 134). As his ego grows and as he pays more attention to schedules, fees, and rituals, he becomes insensitive to the dance and even "irritated" at the artists who remain "happy and abandoned" (p.135).

Raju is finally undone when he forges Rosie's name to obtain her ancestral jewels. This incident symbolizes Vedic Brahminical egotism. Instead of dissolving the ego in the sacred dance, the ego attempts to control and possess the dance. Naturally a dance cannot be possessed. Hence it is symbolically transformed into a jewel. As a jewel it is beautifully static. The dance, which is the energy of life, is destroyed by the egotistical wish for control, possession and stability. The ego is threatened by motion, change, and the irrationality of the dance which has its origins in the uncontrollable unconscious. It seeks the permanence of a jewel. At this point the beloved goddess becomes uncontrolled and is perceived as malevolent and destructive by the ego. Shakti, the creative energy of life, becomes Kali, the goddess of death and terror. The ego wishes to kill the goddess and to stop the threatening change and unpredictable flow of energy. It wishes to freeze the energy into a static jewel which it can then possess forever. All of these images are present in Nalini, who is also called a snake-woman. The home of the snakes or nagas is water. Both water and nagas symbolize the unconscious. Nagas are also guardians "of the riches of the deep sea—corals, shells, and pearls. They are supposed to carry a precious jewel in their heads."22

Raju thinks he has succeeded in controlling Nalini the snake-woman. He also thinks he has succeeded in obtaining Rosie's ancestral jewels, thus symbolically having control of her. As Aryan, Vedic, and an art promoter rather than performer, Raju represents the intellect or consciousness which hopes to explain and control the unconscious. But when Raju attends another of Nalini's performances, she unexpectedly begins a snake dance: "the music became slower and slower, the refrain urged the snake to dance—the snake that resided on the locks of Shiva himself, on the wrist of his spouse, Parvathi." Parvathi is the benign, the lovely, aspect of Shiva's consort. But she can also be Kali who wears the cobra as a girdle and devours the snakelike entrails of her victims.23 Raju watches Nalini become Kali and says: "this was a song that elevated the serpent and brought out its mystic quality; the rhythm was hypnotic. It was her masterpiece. Every inch of her body from toe to head rippled and vibrated to the rhythm of this song which lifted the cobra out of its class of an underground reptile into a creature of grace and divinity and an ornament of the gods" (p. 151).

Shiva's dance is one of destruction. It destroys the secular world and our bondage to it. Hence it liberates us.24 For its beauty is captivating and mystical. Rosie's dance initially destroyed Raju's Westernized business life and his Western secular identity as railway Raju. Raju then became a devotee of the goddess through bhakti. He abandoned his business, his family, his friends, and the dharma of his caste, for the goddess. But there are snares in the East as well. Raju became a Vedic Brahmin who attempted to control the unconscious, the dance of creation. In this sense he also suggests the impiety of Western science which attempts to control the creative forces of nature. At the end of Nalini's snake dance, Raju is arrested for forgery in trying to obtain Nalini's jewels. The snake has struck and Raju is imprisoned for two years.

As he waits for trial, Raju is "overwhelmed with a sudden self-pity" (p. 155). But in prison, Raju's ego is systematically eroded. Prison is a symbol for dharma: it regulates all activity and destroys whatever is individual and idiosyncratic. Over the two years in prison, Raju finds that his "friends and relatives" forget him (p. 1613).  And he himself forgets Nalini. Released from prison, Raju is reincarnated. He comes to stay in an abandoned village temple and becomes a Sadhu. In contrast to Rosie's husband, who could only archeologically and intellectually describe India's religious past, the Sadhu inherits an unbroken mystical tradition and keeps it alive.

Following yoga instead of bhakti, the Sadhu tries not to be "bothered unduly by anything" (p. 15). Although the Sadhu continually feels "like an actor" (p. 14), this does not mean that he is inauthentic or fraudulent. It simply means that he is following dharma and immersing his ego into an archetypal role. From the standpoint of dharma, "all of life, all the time, has the quality ... of a great play, long known and loved, with its standard moments of joy and tragedy, through which the individuals move both as actors and as audience."25 As the Sadhu accepts his dharma, he gradually comes "to view himself as a master of occasions" when the peasants adulate him. He feels "that the adulation directed to him" is inevitable (p. 16). And in that case, it has nothing to do with the historical ego of Raju or whether he personally deserves it. Instead, the adulation is directed to the role that the Sadhu plays for society. Like all other emotions, the adulation is called for by the drama. The peasants play the role of a religious congregation. That role calls for adulation. Raju, playing the role of Sadhu, must accept it. None of this has anything to do with individuals as such. Initially Raju does not understand this distinction and wishes to escape his dharma or role. But he reflects that nowhere else would people "bring him food in return for just waiting for it. The only other place where it could happen was the prison" (p. 26). Each person's karma is a prison. The only way to be released from it is to accept the dharma it imposes. Thus Raju "realized that he had no alternative: he must play the role that Velan this most ardent admirer] had given him" (p. 26).

As the Sadhu accepts his role, he is "surprised at the amount of wisdom welling from the depths of his being." No one is "more impressed with the grandeur of the whole thing than Raju himself " (p. 36). After a year of yoga the Sadhu's eyes shine "with softness and compassion, the light of wisdom emanated from them" (p. 65). The climax in Raju's evolution comes when a village idiot garbles a message from the Sadhu who attempts to stop a village squabble. Instead of reporting that the Sadhu will not eat again until the squabble stops, he reports that the Sadhu will not eat until a drought ends. The Sadhu is trapped or imprisoned by his karma. Unthinkingly he has told his congregation a half remembered story from his childhood about how a Sadhu could bring rain by fasting for two weeks and praying to God for pity. The idiot puts Sadhu-Raju in the position of playing this role. The Sadhu has revived the temple and the traditions of Hindu identity. Consequently the Sadhu must play this last role or admit that Hinduism is only a pretense that should be either preserved as an archeological specimen or forgotten as an impediment to modern technology. In either case, the ego becomes the ultimate identity. But Raju has come too far to abandon his dharma role in order to save his ego. He has left the city and its Westernized values; he has gone through an aesthetic stage in which he is enraptured by the beauty of the goddess; and finally he has become an ascetic who is known only as the Swami. Raju has dissolved into the archetype of the Sadhu. As such his actions are a manifestation not of "the temporal accident of his own personality, but the vast, impersonal, cosmic law." He is "a perfect glass: anonymous and self effacing. "26

Thus the Swami "felt that after all the time had come for him to be serious—to attach value to his own words" (p. 78). And of course, the words are not his. They came from what he remembers of his mother's nightly stories about "a hero, saint, or something of the kind" (p. 18). They are tales of great Sadhus. The Swami has discoursed on the Bhagavad Gita (p. 75), chanted holy verses (p. 40) and become a Sadhu: "his life had lost its personal limitations" (p. 40). The people say "you are not another human being. You are a Mahatma" (p. 76). When he is expected to play the final role and to give up his life along with his ego, Raju realizes "the enormity of his own creation. He had created a giant with his puny self " (p. 79). Raju has truly become the Swami. In part there is the amazement of Raju who sees the role he has played as Swami. In part there is a feeling of having been a fraud, of having played a role that he does not feel worthy of. Raju began playing the role of Sadhu for economic reasons. But in turn the cause for this was Raju's karma. In other words there was a deeper cause for his actions than Raju himself knew. And in playing the role of Sadhu Raju in fact becomes an authentic Swami or teacher and mystic. However, still resisting the archetype and hoping to preserve the ego, Raju confesses his personal history to Velan thinking that Velan will be disgusted and agree that he is unworthy to be a Sadhu (p. 165).

But Velan sees the Swami in the same light as Raju saw Nalini. In both cases, the individual ego is absorbed into the role. Nalini really was the goddess when she danced. The Sadhu really is a Sadhu to the villagers. Raju finally accepts the last part of his role and this transforms him: "for the first time in his life he was making an earnest effort ... outside money and love; for the first time he was doing a thing in which he was not personally interested" (p. 169).

Ironically, the Sadhu becomes a movie star of sorts when an American movie maker films his sacrifice. He becomes even more famous than Nalini. The government pronounces his life "valuable to the country" (p. 174). For the Sadhu is a genuine priest. The ego of Raju is extinguished and he is a transparent medium for the divine. The people see God through him just as Raju saw God through Nalini's dance. When asked about what he is doing, the Swami replies, "I am only doing what I have to do; that's all. My likes and dislikes do not count" (p. 173). Raju has accepted his dharma and is consequently an authentic Sadhu.

Finally the Sadhu becomes a true mystic. The dharma -role transforms the identity of Raju. After twelve days of fasting the Sadhu dances with Shiva: "Velan, it's raining in the hills. I can feel it coming up under my feet, up my legs—" (p. 176). The mysterious energy of life, symbolized as life giving water, falls from the sky onto Shiva's head in the mountains and wells up under Sadhu-Raju's feet in the earth.

This sacrifice is patterned after the myth of the origin of the Ganges told in the Ramayana. 27 In the epic, a Sadhu ends a drought by doing great acts of asceticism. In this way he compels the gods "to release the heavenly Ganges itself." However, someone has to "break the fall by receiving the full weight of the cataract on his head." Only Shiva is "capable of such a deed." Thus Shiva became the Himalayas, a link between the masculine waters of heaven and the fertile mother earth.

Sa too Sadhu-Raju becomes Shiva ending the drought of Indian culture and religion by demonstrating that the roots of Hinduism remain alive and can draw upon the waters of the sky and earth.

The Sadhu stands in a pit dug in the dry river bed which is filled knee-deep with water. He is like a tree planted in what was once a river of belief which gave life and purpose to generations of Hindus. The Sadhu is a phallic thrust into the earth, like the serpent form of the lightning flash, standing in the shallow water which in this context is associated with "semen, identified with the waters of the earth and sky."28 The Sadhu prays to the sun and is the tree of life combining light, earth, and water, becoming food which sustains life. The Sadhu's final act indicates that Hinduism remains vital, a tree of life. It is true; the Swami's life is valuable to the country, for his life replicates the Hindu archetype of the Sadhu and demonstrates that it is viable even in the twentieth century and despite Western science, technology, and materialism.

The earth goddess accepts the Sadhu in the end. Narayan only tells us that "he sagged down" (p. 176). He sinks into a water-filled grave. He returns to the mother earth, dissolving into the embryonic water, and thus back into the river of life itself. Even more than Nalini, the Swami is absorbed in the dance of being, the energy of life.

Before the Sadhu goes out for the last sacrifice, the film maker asks him if he has "always been a yogi?" The Sadhu says "Yes; more or less" (p. 173). And so he has been. Coming to manhood, Raju cannot follow the dharma of his caste and his father. The railway and technology in general have disrupted such simple repetition. Railway Raju adopts a Western secular identity which is easily destroyed by Rosie, the holy dancer. Seen as a goddess, as a vehicle through which Shakti, the creative energy of the universe, is manifest, Raju abandons the secular world and follows bhakti. But as Renou says, although there are "various stages of union" in bhakti, "the personality is generally preserved" and liberation is not possible.29 Where there is ego, there cannot be complete absorption into Being. Thus Raju falls prey to the maya of the dance. He takes himself seriously as a historically unique personality, rather than using the personality—as in the dance—to experience energy, Being, Shiva. Because the historical ego or personality is transitory and based on illusion, it is destroyed. Raju is figuratively killed by being imprisoned. He is then reborn as the Swami, a Sadhu. He follows yoga which erodes the last vestiges of his personal life. In following dharma the individual does not initiate his movements. He simply follows predetermined movements. In other words he dances. In the dance he loses his own ego identity and is absorbed in a mystical rapport with Shiva-Nataraja. As the Puranas say:

"We behold you dancing, source of the world, lodged in our own hearts! You are the soul of yoga, the master of consciousness who dances the divine dance!"


New Mexico Tech


1 U. R. Ananthamurthy, "The Literary Situation Ín India: Search for Identity," The Iowa Review, 7 (1976), 192.

2 R. K. Narayan, Reluctant Guru (New Delhi: Vision Books, 1974), p. 15.

3 George Woodcock, "The Maker of Malgudi," Tamarack Review, 73 (1978), 90. Woodcock's reading of The Guide is superficial and wrong in seeing Rajuswami's sacrifice as simply "Quixotic." In another essay Woodcock says that Narayan's work implies that India can reject Westernization by remaining in the village and living "by traditional techniques as well as beliefs" including becoming a "wandering holy man." This is of course what Raju-Swami does. George Woodcock, "Two Great Commonwealth Novelists: R. K. Narayan and V. S. Naipaul," The Sewanee Review, 87 (1979), 1-28.

4 In fact Narayan used a medium to contact the spirit of his dead wife. He based his fourth novel, The English Teacher, on this experience and said "that the whole story was autobiographical" and that the medium "was no hoax." Ved Mehta, "R. K. Narayan," The Illustrated Weekly of India, January 23, 1972, pp. 34-37. That Narayan is a devout Hindu can hardly be questioned.

5 Narayan, Guru, p. 10.

Louis Renou, Religions of Ancient India (New York: Schocken, 1953), p. 109. See also the Maha-Parinibbana-Sutta where the Buddha says: "Be lamps unto yourselves. Be ye a refuge to yourselves. Betake yourselves to no external refuge. Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Hold fast as a refuge to the truth. Look not for refuge to any one besides yourselves." T. W. Rhys-Davids, trans., Buddhist Buttas, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1881), p. 38.

7 V. S. Naipaul, India: A Wounded Civilization (New York: Vintage Books, 1977), p. 13.

8 Radhakrishnan, The Hindu View of Life (New York: Macmillan, 1969). In Hinduism "intellect is subordinated to intuition, dogma to experience, outer expression to inward realization" (p. 13). "Hindu thought believes m the evolution of our knowledge of God. We have to vary continually our notions of God until we pass beyond all notions into the heart of the reality itself " (p. 24).

9 Heinrich Zimmer, Myths and Symbols in Indian Are and Civilization (Princeton U. Press, 1949), p. 167.

10 R. K. Narayan, The Guide (New York: New American Library, 1949). All page citations are to this volume.

11 Heinch Zimmer, Philosophies of India (Princeton U. Press, 1951), p. 153.

12 Zimmer, Philosophies, p. 152.

13 Joseph Campbell, The Masks of God: Primitive Mythology (New York: Viking, 1959), . 436.

14 Zimmer, Myths, p. 63.

15 Troy Wilson Organ, Hinduism (New York: Baryon's Educational Series, 1974), p. 197.

16 Cornelia Dimmitt and J. A. B. van Buitenen, Classical Hindu Mythology: A Reader in the Sanskrit Puranas (Temple U. Press, 1978), p. 224.

17 Organ, p. 197.

18 Dimmitt,  226.

19 Zimmer, Myths, p. 151.

20 Zimmer, Philosophies, p. 428.

21 Zimmer, Myths, p. 152.

22 Zimmer, Myths, p. 63.

23 See Erich Neumann, The Great Mother: An Analysis of the Archetype (Princeton U. Press, 1955), p. 153 and plates 66 and 67.

24 Zimmer, Myths, p. 154: "Shiva's destruction is finally identical with Release."

25 Zimmer, Philosophies, p. 173. See also B. D. Tripathi, Sadhus of India: The Sociological View (Bombay: Popular Prakashan Press, 1978). "The word Sadhu is formed by combining the Dhatu SADH with U. Here Sadh means to perform and U means the doer. The whole word thus means actor, doer or performer...." Tripathi's book largely supports my reading of how Narayan treats contemporary Sadhus. As a participant observer, Tripathi interviewed 500 Sadhus of Uttar Pradesh in the 1960s. He reported that about twenty-five percent of Sadhus "take to asceticism to earn their livelihood" (p. 93). This sounds strange to Westerners who tend to think of Sadhus as somehow not requiring any support. Tripathi reported that most Sadhus "were well aware of the growing indifference and disrespect shown to them" and that they were dejected about a future "in which they will have no respect and place for them" (p. 107). Tripathi's advice to save Sadhus from extinction is reformist: "it is high time for them to reinterpret the Hindu scriptures in the light of the problems existing today" (p. 218). Narayan is more conservative.

26 Zimmer, Philosophies, p.153.

27 Zimmer, Myths,pp. 114-15.

28 Campbell, Ρ. 390.

29 Renou, p. 78.

30 DÍmmÍtt,pp. 202-03.