Cover image for Baksheesh and Brahman : Asian journals, India
Baksheesh and Brahman : Asian journals, India
Campbell, Joseph, 1904-1987.
First edition.
Publication Information:
Novato, Calif. : New World Library, c2002..
Physical Description:
xxiv, 390 pages ; 22 cm.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
DS414.2 .C35 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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After ten years of intensive study of Indian art and philosophy, Joseph Campbell, at 50, finally embarked on a journey to India. Searching for the transcendent (Brahman), he found instead stark realities: growing nationalism, religious rivalry, poverty, and a prevalent culture of what he called "baksheesh," or alms. This journal chronicles the disillusionment and revelation that would change the course of Campbell's life and study, and his transition from professor to counterculture icon. Balancing Campbell's astute explorations of mythology and history are his often amusing observations of a sometimes frustrating alien culture and his fellow Western travelers. This account also includes personal photographs, specially commissioned maps, and illustrations redrawn from Campbell's own hand.

Author Notes

Joseph Campbell was born in White Plains, New York on March 26, 1904. He received a B.A. in English literature in 1925 and an M.A. in Medieval literature in 1927 from Columbia University. He was awarded a Proudfit Traveling Fellowship to continue his studies at the University of Paris. After he had received and rejected an offer to teach at his high school alma mater, his Fellowship was renewed, and he traveled to Germany to resume his studies at the University of Munich. During the year he was housemaster of Canterbury School, he sold his first short story, Strictly Platonic, to Liberty magazine. In 1934, he accepted a position in the literature department at Sarah Lawrence College, a post he would retain until retiring in 1972.

During his lifetime, he wrote more than 40 books including The Hero with a Thousand Faces, The Mythic Image, the four-volume The Masks of God, and The Power of Myth with Bill Moyers. During the 1940s and 1950s, he collaborated with Swami Nikhilananda on translations of the Upanishads and The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna. He received several awards including National Institute of Arts and Letters Award for Contributions to Creative Literature and the 1985 National Arts Club Gold Medal of Honor in Literature. He died after a brief struggle with cancer on October 30, 1987.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

Campbell argued that each religion's myths were simply different versions of one archetypal myth residing in the collective unconscious of humankind. This collection of journals shows how he arrived at his conclusions. In the fall of 1954, when he was 50, Campbell traveled to India in hopes of experiencing firsthand all the elements of Indian religious practice that he had been studying for a decade. From the beginning, he struggles with ambivalence: "when you look at India from the outside it is a squalid mess and a haven of fakers; but when you look at it from the inside... it is an epiphany of the spirit." These journals chronicle Campbell's meetings with holy men, his management of his wife Jean's dance tour through the country, and his meeting with Nehru. The climax of his visit is his meeting with Sri Krishna Menon in Trivandrum. The guru confirms Campbell's understanding of the Indian scriptures that the goal of the Self is to become one with the Universal. In these journals, Campbell also lays out an ambitious research plan for a project in comparative mythology that would eventually become his four-volume The Masks of God. Although sometimes arrogant and condescending, Campbell interrogates his own prejudices, dismantles them and builds the foundations of what has become an influential way of thinking about the world's religions. (Oct. 15) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

About the Collected Works of Joseph Campbellp. ix
Editors' Forewordp. xi
Notes on the Textp. xxiii
Preludep. 1
Chapter I Travels with Swamip. 5
New Delhip. 5
Kashmirp. 14
From New Delhi to Calcuttap. 28
Calcuttap. 55
Orissap. 85
Madrasp. 93
Chapter II Temples and Monumentsp. 109
Bangalore and Mysorep. 109
Bombay and Aurangabadp. 117
Bombay to Bangalore and Backp. 126
Chapter III The Space-Platformp. 143
Bombayp. 143
Ahmedabad and New Delhip. 187
Chapter IV Dance Tour with Jean Erdmanp. 237
New Delhip. 237
Bombayp. 254
Madrasp. 259
New Delhip. 265
Chapter V A Guru and His Devoteesp. 269
Cochin and Trivandrump. 269
Madrasp. 287
Appendix A Hinduismp. 297
Appendix B Chronological Chart of Indian Artp. 311
Glossaryp. 313
Bibliographyp. 319
Chapter Notesp. 325
Acknowledgmentsp. 357
Indexp. 359
About the Authorp. 387
About the Joseph Campbell Foundationp. 389