Luis González-Reimann 1948–2022
It was with great shock and sadness that we members of the SSEAS family learned of the sudden and unexpected loss of our former Ph.D. student and cherished colleague Dr. Luis González-Reimann, who passed away as a result of a heart attack while on a family visit to his hometown of Mexico City during the night of Saturday, March 26, 2022. It was exactly one week shy of his 74th birthday.
Luis completed his doctoral dissertation under the supervision of Professor Robert Goldman in 1998, with a specialization in Sanskrit, after having earned his MA in Asian and North African Studies, with a specialization in India, at El Colegio de Mexico in 1986. Prior to turning his attention to the study of classical Indian language, religion, and literature, he had completed a Licentiate in Business Administration at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico in 1974.
Luis was a world-renowned authority on Sanskrit epic and puranic literature and had special interest and expertise in the various classical Indian theories of cyclical time. He published several books and articles in this field including Tiempo cíclico y eras del mundo en la India (1988), La Maitrayaniya Upanisad: introduccíon, traducción y notas (1992) and The Mahabharata and the Yugas: India’s Great Epic Poem and the Hindu System of world Ages (2002). His scholarly articles covered a number of critical issues in vedic, epic, literary, and puranic texts.
Prior to coming to Berkeley Luis served as a lecturer and research scholar at El Colegio de Mexico, the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. The Universidad Iberoamericana and El Claustro de Sor Juana, all in Mexico City. During his time at Berkeley, he served the campus in a number of ways as a Lecturer and research scholar in the Religious Studies Program, the Center for South Asia Studies, and the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. But it was to the Department of South and Southeast Asian Studies that he most fully devoted his outstanding pedagogy, teaching a wide variety of undergraduate courses in Hinduism, Mythology, and the Indian Epics. Indeed, he was in the middle of his spring semester 2022 offering of “The Great Epics of India” when, at the end of spring break, he suddenly left us.
Before devoting himself to the study of classical Indology, Luis was a significant figure in the Mexican youth countercultural scene (La Onda) during the turbulent ’60s, especially the area of rock music. He was instrumental in the launch of the journal Piedra Rodante, inspired by Rolling Stone magazine, and was one of its reviewers and editors. He also served as a rock-and-roll disc jockey for the UNAM radio station, hosting a new daily show “La Respuesta Está en el Aire,” with a titular nod to Bob Dylan. He even ran his own rock music store, “Yoko,” one of the few places where young Mexicans could acquire foreign rock albums.
Luis was a kindly and beloved and teacher and a generous scholar, always ready to help students and his colleagues with his vast knowledge of Hinduism and its literature. It is difficult to express the depth of our sudden loss, let alone imagine our department without his gentle and caring presence. He will be deeply missed by his students, friends, and colleagues.
Luis is survived by his wife, Dr. Linda Hirshfeld, a Bay Area clinical psychologist, and by his two grown sons, Eric and Ilan. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
na khalu sa uparato yasya vallabho janaḥ smarati
He is not truly gone whom loving friends remember.