Bard's Richard Davis to speak on 'Thoreau Reads the Bhagavad Gita at Walden Pond' Oct. 7

Sept. 24, 2010

Richard Davis, professor of religion and Asian studies at Bard College, will lecture Thursday, Oct. 7, 8 p.m. in Room 102 of the Franklin W. Olin Building.

The program is open to the public with no charge for admission.

The lecture, "A Mixing of Pure Waters: Thoreau Reads the Bhagavad Gita at Walden Pond," discusses the more convincing criticisms regarding the attempts to assimilate human knowing. In "Walden," Henry David Thoreau imagines that through his reading of the classical Hindu work, the Bhagavad Gita, he is mixing the pure water of Walden Pond with the sacred waters of the Ganges River.  

For Thoreau, one of the first Americans to pay close attention to the Bhagavad Gita, it was not a simply a poem of quaint antiquity, but one of the utmost contemporary relevance. In this talk Davis will look at how the Gita made its way from India to Walden Pond and what Thoreau learned from it.  

Richard H. Davis is a professor of religion and Asian studies at Bard College. Previously he taught at Yale University.  

He is the author of four books, including "Lives of Indian Images," winner of the 1999 A. K. Coomaraswamy Award, and two other edited volumes. His current writing projects are a cultural history of early India and a study of the afterlives of the Bhagavad Gita.

Richard Davis