In my previous post I linked to my review in First Things of Vodolazkin’s novel Laurus, which bears the title “Russian Brahmin.” But when I first saw the review online, I was appalled to see the the title “Russian Brahman” — and I discovered that, at some point after I last saw the text, someone had gone through the article and where I had written “Brahmin” changed it to “Brahman.”
In the review I claim that Vodolazkin’s hero goes through something very similar to the four ashrama, or life-stages, that a Brahmin seeking enlightenment might pass through. This has absolutely nothing to do with Brahman, except insofar as anyone seeking enlightenment will be indirectly contemplating Brahman.
My friends at FT corrected the text on the website within five minutes of my pointing it out. But in the print edition the error will last as long as even one copy remains legible. Stupid Gutenberg galaxy.
At the moment, my editors at FT do not know who made the change, but clearly it was made by someone who, with no knowledge of Hinduism, decided I had made an error. I cannot tell you how delighted I will be to receive, over the next few months, emails and tweets explaining to me that “Actually, Brahman means…” This post is for the authors of those emails and tweets.