Study Guide

Professor Godbole in A Passage to India

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Professor Godbole

You might say that Professor Godbole, an instructor at Fielding's local college, is the loopy guru of the school. He seems clueless and utterly oblivious to others' suffering, with a streak of silliness that is evident when he boogies down at the Gokul Ashtami festival in Part 3. Godbole's behavior seems at odds with his high caste – he's a Hindu Brahmin, and as such is at the top of the Hindu social ladder. But as Godbole's name (meaning "sweet-mouthed") suggests, Godbole's behavior is really just an expression of his peaceful world-view, which emphasizes the unity of all things, from the highest Brahmin to the teeniest of wasps. Thus Godbole's antics are just another way of affirming the unity of life: both high spirituality and the lowest forms of humor are part of the cosmic order, and both have to be celebrated. This big-picture way of looking at the world makes Godbole rather indifferent to individual suffering because he perceives individual suffering as just a blip in the cosmic flow, which is small consolation to the other characters.

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