"India is not a country," writes Raja Rao, "it is a perspective." And this book
explores the perspective which he calls India — its metaphysic, the
philosophical underpinning that sets India apart, uniquely distinguishes its
Through fable and real-life encounters, descriptions of journeys and events, or
in discussions with contemporaries, Raja Rao’s quest is unceasing and
single-focused: how this perspective alone can give meaning to man’s daily
action. He draws on a wide range of sources, including the Vedas, Upanishads,
teachings of Sankara, the writings of Bhartrihari, and the poetry of Valéry and
Mallarmé. There are essays that describe his meetings with Gandhi and Nehru, so
too with Forster and Malraux, westerners who drew close to India.
book grew over several decades during which Raja Rao created his unique body of
fiction. His readers are familiar with the philosophical quest which runs
through his novels and stories. The Meaning of India paints and details
the essential metaphysical backdrop of his acclaimed writing. Written in
rhythmic, sparkling style which Raja Rao has made his own since Kanthapura,
both simple and eclectic, expansive and precise, this book holds that India’s
civilisation and meaning can only be known by understanding the truth about
one’s own existence — and that of the world.
meaning, as Raja Rao puts it, "is not a question of success or defeat, but
abolition of contradiction, of duality."