by SHARAD CHANDRA
Asked by Jean-Claude Brisville to define what exactly he meant by “Secret of my universe: imagine God without the immortality of the soul’ Camus explained, “I have a sense of the sacred and I don’t believe in a future life, that’s all.” The present book is an expansion of that statement with an attentive examination of his life, his temperament, his outlook on life and how it took shape.
It is this sense of the sacred which closely affiliates Albert Camus to the Indian thought and is the principal reason behind his continuing popularity in India. Camus condemned Christianity but was sacred at heart and had an incessant craving for unity. In this book distinguished by clarity and passion Sharad Chandra first takes the readers to the core of the Indian thought and then to the source of this spiritual longing in Camus.
The theme of man’s craving for truth, “le desir eperdu de clarte”, “nostalgie”, “hunger” for the absolute informs most of the writings of Camus. At barely twenty-three years of age he wrote, “Dieu a Dieu tel est son voyage”. A few years later he pointed out in Le mythe de sisyphe that human life lacks meaning of “an appetite for clarity” and in 1947 he made an unequivocal statement in La peste that “man is made for totality” interestingly, expressing all along his serious doubts on the question of the existence and beneficence of God.
Undeniably an atheist, Camus has often being called a saint. He rejects the God he knew as being a hindrance to man’s proper fulfillment in perfectly lucid self-consciousness. In these pages te author amply illustrates how it is actually so and how Camus was a saint without religion, “a moralist of feeling”, “conscience-keeper of his age”, and how his attitude is not different from the Vedanta philosophy which bases itself on two simple propositionsâ??that the human nature is divine, the jivatma and the paramatma are one and that the goal of human life is to become one, to realize this truth, since its non-realization is the root cause of human suffering.
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