Gita and Kant: An Ethical Study

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Authors: MM Agrawal and Samir Kumar Mishra
Publisher: Chaukhamba Surbharati Prakashan, Varanasi
(Pp 338, ISBN 978-93-81484-98-2, Rs 750)

The book explores the similarity between two prominent ethical views of the east and the west – The Gita-ethics of niskama-karma and Kant’s ethics of duty for duty’s sake. Both enjoin the performance of duties for the sake of duty without being actuated by love, hatred, fear, anger, greed and other emotions. Both enjoin the performance of duties without any desire of fruits or any consideration of ends and consequences. Both are anti-hedonistic and anti-utilitarian and so they resemble each other.

The book is well researched and contains both comparative and critical account on both these schools of thought. It also contains the points and issues on which the two ethical views differ. While Gita’s approach for love and humanity and the supreme self with devotionalism accommodates self-realisation, Kant’s categorical imperative does not accommodate that and thus becomes ascetic, formal and rigoristic.

An interesting book, which is sure to attract readers from both East and West alike!

– Vasu V

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