Wendy Doniger is a celebrated indologist and has written many books on Hinduism. Amongst other things, here is what she says on the Bhagavad Gita

“The Bhagavad Gita is not as nice a book as some Americans think…Throughout the Mahabharata … Krishna goads human beings into all sorts of murderous and self-destructive behaviors such as war…. The Gita is a dishonest book …”

— Wendy Doniger, Professor of History of Religions, University of Chicago.

Quoted in Philadelphia Inquirer, 19 November, 2000.

What is the response to this according to Hinduism? Is there any truth in this kind of perspective?

I ask a question about the viewpoint of her student Devdutt Pattnaik here.

  • “The Bhagavad Gita is not as nice a book as some Americans think…Throughout the Mahabharata … Krishna goads human beings into all sorts of murderous and self-destructive behaviors such as war…. The Gita is a dishonest book …” — Wendy Doniger,.... the above words of Wendy Doniger shows that she doesnt know about Sudharma and she doesn't have clarity on karmic theory.In a battle field its Arjuna's sudharma (duty) to do war in dharmic way.He is Shatriya .There is nothing wrong in doing his duty. Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:22
  • 2
    Could you clarify what you mean by 'response to this according to Hinduism'? are you looking for explanation of Krishna's words in Gita? or are you looking for response by Hindu scholars on the notion that Krishna's Gita was not 'nice'? Or are you looking for a scriptural response to Wendy Doniger personally (not possible I guess :P). Thanks
    – Sai
    Commented May 16, 2016 at 15:31
  • 8
    There is an excellent book out that answers the Western neo-orientalists and Wendy Doniger's misguided analysis of the Hindu texts. It is called "Invading the Sacred". You can download a free copy of it here - rajivmalhotra.com/books Commented May 17, 2016 at 4:24
  • As it stands, your question is phrased like an invitation for people to respond to Wendy Doniger. So I'm closing it as opinion-based for the time being. If you want to revise it so that it's asking a specific factual question, like "Does Krishna encourage murderous and self-destructive behavior in the Bhagavad Gita?", edit it and flag me to reopen it. Commented Nov 26, 2016 at 20:43
  • @KeshavSrinivasan Please explain again, how is the question opinion-based? I am asking if there is any truth in the perspective of a celebrated author and hence I am asking for facts. Commented Nov 27, 2016 at 8:18

3 Answers 3


Wendy doniger "was" a celebrated indologist. Rajiv Malhotra for long exposed the credibility of writing of wendy and her ilk. he argued and presented case for her willfull wrong use of Freudian Psychoanalysis & eroticization & deliberate mistranslation of Indic Scriptures and gross inaccuracies by her and her camp. For instance her student Kripal refers to Ramakrishna as having homosexual tendencies and molesting his disciple Swami Vivekanda using wrong translation of bengali scriptures. For More information please refer to This 12 yr old article written by him


Sri Ramakrishna, the 19th century Hindu saint, has been declared by these scholars as being a sexually-abused homosexual, and it has become “academically established” by Wendy Doniger’s students that Ramakrishna was a child molester, and had also forced homosexual activities upon Vivekananda. Furthermore, it has become part of this new “discovery” that Ramakrishna’s mystical experiences, and indeed those of Hindu mystics in general, are pathological sexual conditions that need to be psychoanalyzed as such. Furthermore, these scholars have concluded that the entire Hindu society needs to be psychoanalyzed in terms of sexual deviance, in order to understand modern Indian society and politics objectively.

Other conclusions by these well-placed scholars include: Ganesha’s trunk symbolizes a “limp phallus”; his broken tusk is a symbol for the castration-complex of the Hindu male; his large belly is a proof of the Hindu male’s enormous appetite for oral sex. Shiva, is interpreted as a womanizer, who encourages ritual rape, prostitution and murder, and his worship is linked to violence and destruction.

Some Wendy doniger books have been withdrawn by publishers themselves, after their gross inaccuracies were established. She was being perpetuated by the left, as being an authority on hinduism. Who manifested/bestowed that authority-ship on her, is unknown. It is like Kim kadarshian is famous for being famous. Her ilk's just repetition that she is authority does not make her an authority. It was pointed out that she is writing with christian missionary zeal.

reference: http://writingcave.com/withdrawal-wendy-donigers-book-text-petition/

  • link1: quora.com/What-do-you-think-of-Rajiv-Malhotra link2: breakingindia.com
    – user7133
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 18:32
  • 4
    Your answer sounds like an exposé of Ms. Doniger. You need to read the question again. It's about Doniger's comments on BG and how do you respond to her accusations re: Sri Krishna. You didn't spare a single line on the blockquote OP used in the question but instead go on to write about her student and his comments on Ramakrishna. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 20:15
  • How do people like her come to exist? Commented Dec 27, 2022 at 1:58
  • @SayNoToCensorship I honestly don't see why her comments have any relevance. Commented Dec 27, 2022 at 1:58

The statement by Wendy Donniger "The Bhagvat Gita is not a nice book ......" is height of academic dishonesty. She is deliberately creating confusion between Maha Bharat and Bhagvat Gita. Bhagvat Gita is only a chapter of Maha Bharat. It contains sermons by Shri Krishna to Arjun. Bhagvat Gita contains spiritual truths only. Bhagvat Gita does not glorify war. In Bhagvat Gita Shri Krishna says to Arjun you should fight for the truth as your duty without any fear because you are Atman that does not get destroyed. After that Shri Krishna explains to Arjun what Atman is and how does it relate to Brahman.


Shri Krishna tried to pacify Duryodhana, by asking him to return what he had wrongly won through deception in the game of Dice. But Duryodhana refused. Instead Duryodhana took the ultimate step of even trying to capture Shri Krishna. And so Shri Krishna took the step of going to war.

Now Wendy Doniger, would have to tell us how she would convince Duryodhana to give back to Pandavas their property?

Wendy Doniger, would have to tell us how she would have convinced Adolf Hitler to give up expansion?

Wendy Doniger, would have to tell us how she would have convinced Mr. Gaddafi to give up power and establish democracy?

Wendy Doniger, would have to tell us how she would convince Al Baghdadi, to surrender?

Wendy Doniger, would have to tell us how she would convince Dawood Ibrahim to surrender?

Wendy Doniger, would have to tell us how she would ...... I think those above examples are enough to comprehend what my point is.

What Shri Krishna did was not war. It was justice.

  • 4
    First of all, Wendy Doniger is a lady. Secondly, you should try to answer without going too much into current day politics. Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 15:17
  • 2
    Thank you for correcting. However, irrespective of time period and gender, the point is, monsters cannot be pacified with rhetoric. Historically, time and again it has taken wars to subdue them. And it would be so in the future too. That is why Shri Krishna has said 'Sambhavaami yuge yuge'. It is a time tested truth. No need to look for politics in it.
    – Anil Kagi
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 15:57
  • You make some good points, but answers on Hinduism.SE should be backed by scripture. See Guidelines for new users answering questions. I would also remove all the stuff about current affairs and limit it to MB and BG to make the answer more acceptable. Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 16:09
  • I suppose MB & BG were written for people of every generation to search the truth about their lives. To recognize their duty. To compare, analyse, study, how normal human beings like us with all our weaknesses and strengths would act in demanding situations. And learn from the weaknesses of weak characters and strengths of able characters of MB. Recognise what our Dharma should be in our current situations. I suppose, otherwise there is no point in reading or discussing MB or BG. That is the reason why I mentioned the current affairs.
    – Anil Kagi
    Commented Jul 13, 2016 at 16:46

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .