Thursday, December 4, 2014

Blavatsky News

*  Wendy Doniger reviews the latest release in the Princeton University Press series Lives of Great Religious Books: The Bhagavad Gita: A Biography by Richard H. Davis. Doniger draws attention to Davis’s narrative of the rise of the Gita as the Bible of India and the book’s subsequent appeal to the Western world. Both accounts leave out the Theosophical contribution, with inexpensive editions of The Bhagavad Gita by W. Q.  Judge and Annie Besant published by the Society in the 1890s, and the Theosophists’ allegorical approach. Readers looking for that information will have to rely on Catherine A. Robinson’s 2006 Interpretations of the Bhagavad-Gita and Images of the Hindu Tradition: The Song of the Lord, which draws on Eric J. Sharpe’s The Universal Gita: Western Images of the Bhagavad Gita a Bicentenary Survey from 1985.

Typeset In The Future, a site dedicated to fonts in sci-fi, devotes a post to the typography in the 1979 movie Alien. Looking at the keyboard used in the film, the writer points out certain novel features, such as keys marked “PRANIC LIFT 777” and HUM”:

designer Simon Deering needed some complex-sounding labels for the keyboard at short notice. He was reading The Secret Doctrine by Helena Blavatsky, a Russian philosopher and occultist, at the time of filming. Blavatsky's book attempts to explain the origin and evolution of the universe in terms derived from the Hindu concept of cyclical development. Deering found his inspiration in its pages, and the Nostromo’s odd keyboard was born. 

A list of References to Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine in the movie Alien is given at Alien Explorations, a site “Exploring the ‘Alien’ Movies”.