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Voice of the East in Eliot and Oppenheimer


Dr. Uma Maheswari Viswanathan, Assistant Professor, B.S. Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, India &

Sangeetha. K, Research Scholar, B.S. Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, India


This paper presents the influence of the mystic East in providing answers to some of the daunting ethical questions that haunted Westerners during the era of world wars. T S Eliot and Oppenheimer who admits the influence of Waste Land on him are taken for the study. Bhagavad Gita the emblematic Sanskrit text that appears in the epic Mahabharata, Vedas, and Upanishads has influenced poets and philosophers like Whitman, Emerson, Thoreau, Eliot, etc. as well as scientists like Oppenheimer, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, Tesla, etc. The references to Sanskrit texts cannot be taken as mere decorations or indulgence in exoticism; the messages are organically incorporated into their words, actions, and whole lives. In ‘The Waste Land’, the Upanishad is quoted explicitly while the theme of the Bhagavad Gita is used implicitly in the juxtaposition of life and death and treatment of sensual pleasures and means to control senses. Karmayoga or doing one’s duty in a detached manner gave strength to Oppenheimer who directed the project of building the Atomic Bomb which he knew would be used on the enemies. The message of Lord Krishna in Gita gave him the notion of duty/dharma and renunciation of the fruits of his action gave him the thrust to make a weapon of mass destruction.

Keywords: Eliot, Oppenheimer, Waste Land, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita


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How to Cite

MLA 9th Edition 

Viswanathan, Uma Maheswari, and Sangeetha K. “Voice of the East in Eliot and Oppenheimer.” BL COLLEGE JOURNAL, vol. 5, no. 2, Dec. 2023, pp. 85–91.



APA 7th Edition 

Viswanathan, U. M., & K, S. (2023). Voice of the East in Eliot and Oppenheimer. BL COLLEGE JOURNAL5(2), 85–91.


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