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Archive for the ‘Indology’ Category

3 types of Western scholarship

A proper classification and analysis of Western Scholarship on the
dharma of the Hindus is necessary in order to encourage some of its
branches and smash the rest.
1) The first kind of Western scholar is one who has made positive
contributions to the Hindus with respect to the understanding and
progress of their religion. To name a few in this class we have people
like Edwin Bryant, Timothy Lubin, Fritz Staal and perhaps George Hart.
We need to see more of this kind and ther presence in academia is
generally a good sign.

However the Hindus must keep an eye on them to make sure that they are
up to no mischief.

2) The second variety is the scholar with some positive contributions
but several misleading and negative contributions. The colonial and
old fashioned scholars like Max Mueller, Keith and Oldenburg are the
early representatives of this category. The modern representatives of
this group include Richard Goldman, van Buitenen and Michael Witzel.
These guys must be carefully monitored for their output and dealt with
on a case by case basis. They may be admonished privately, engaged in
scholarly debate and defeated or simply uprooted and flushed out
depending on their response. If they show signs of correction they
must be channelized towards being better scholars.

3) Sadly the most common form of scholarship is the gutter scholarship
category. nArashamsis of the Indologist may well occupy a whole book
worth of material. They go hand in hand with the dharma drohi- Indian
gutter progressives. Examples include Wendy Doniger, Jeff Kripal,
Sarah Caldwell and Victor Mair. The aim is to destroy their ilk
systematically and never let them rise again. This must be undertaken
by persistant exposure of their activities to the Hindus followed by
the countering. They have rich patrons who must be as far as posible
squelched and their funds cut off. Wide spread lobbying against and
public denouncement of these scholars with the fear of the
consequecnes of Hindu defamation should be put into them.

Why are there so many Indian studies departments in the Western world
and why are there hardly any traditional Hindus in these departments.
The aim should be to destroy the gutter scholars and replace them with
real Hindus. May be we should prepare a short list of these Western
scholars and classify them according to their orientation and start
targeting them systematically.

Staal’s statement on the vedic mantras should be viewed in light of
his general hypothesis of the musical effect. I am not trying to
defend this hypothesis but his sin is of much lower magnitude and
generally counter-balanced by the detailed documentation of the vedic
ritual. Thus he can remain in the class 1 of professional Western
Scholars.

JAB van Buitenen’s contributions to understanding the evolution of
Krishnaism is very significant. But his partisan stance in the issue
of the brahmin- bhagavata debate cannot be denied. In this way he has
presented to Indians and others not familiar with matter at hand only
on side of the debate. Please read the 18th chapter of the Garuda
purANa, brahma kANDa and form ones own opinion. van Buitenen’s
pauranic reader does worse than the illustrated comics that where once
available in India: the Amar Chitra katha. Finally his study of the
Mahabharata shows his inner disdain for the Hindu culture. Thus van
Buitenen despite his great contributions falls in class 2 though lying
above Witzel and Parpola in that class.

Certain rotten rascals in this list would do better by studying the
Hindu texts more seriously rather than compose poems contrasting the
greatness of the Western Indologists with ignorance of the Indian
scholars.

> statement “anarthakAh vai mantrAh” “Verily, mantrasare meaningless”.
> This was said by Kautsa, a regular topknot, kuDumi, bodhiwala, juTTu
> etc of ancient times and a redoubtable pUrvapakSin to more orthodox
> vaidikas of his time.

While Mr LS is normally worthy of a response soaked in acerbity, this
point about the Angirasa’s statement raises an important one that I
have always conceded: There have always been both historical and
theoretical misunderstandings of the saMhita mantra pAThas even amidst
traditional students. The traditional theories suggesting the
meaningless-ness and purely musical value of the mantras have
approximated what Staal has said to varying degrees. This may stem
from the historical misunderstanding of the saMhita mantras right from
the brAhmaNa period. For example the famous tale in the JaiminIya
brAhmaNa of the kutsa-Indra encounter or the uma-haimavati saMvAda of
the kena are clear examples of this lack of understanding of the
mantras by the circum-vedic authors. This misunderstanding essential
suggests a fragmentation of tradition between the Samhita period and
its successors and may present a major problem for historical
reconstructions that seek to avoid invasion (migration) of IE speakers
into India.

> So where does Kautsa rank in your list?

The Western scholars with an impact on the politico-social interests
of the modern Hindu and not the predecessors of the modern Hindu are
under scrutiny.

Guenther Sontheimer

Many Germanic indologists have been rightly or wrongly criticized with regards
to their studies. The older ones like Max
Mueller, as I said before on this list are in the grey zone: they did some good
and some bad for India. A wide range of
Indians got acquainted with the contents of the vedic texts through their
translation. On the downside their erroneous
views sometimes stuck on much longer than they needed to and produced a great
deal of confusion in the minds of the
Indians. More recent ones like Witzel, while making some insightful observations
have suffered from a very narrow world
view and failed to really understand the depth of IE culture in India.The more
recent crop including Witzel also appear to
be too philo-Marxist to be objective in their studies. Whatever the case, in the
general (and in my opinion somewhat
flawed) Indian reaction against the external Aryan origins, many of these German
investigators have been getting the
stick. I believe we should be cautious in our reaction towards these foreign
scholars. One example that was quite different
from the main stream was Guenther Sontheimer. His studies are of immense value
whatever maybe ones view towards
AIT. He is one of the few who saw the entire spectral continuity in Indo-Aryan
tradition from the Brahminical core to the
tribal fringe: the whole range of local phenotypes mingling into each other.
Thus he saw India very differently from the
traditional western indologist, who pictured everything in terms of a conflict
between the intrusive Indo-European and the
native tribes. Whatever the merit of his own conclusions, his data reveal that
the Indo-European core of India was rather
diverse, including, but going beyond vedic mainstream and have a profound
conduit for assimilation at the fringe.
Sanskritization driven by the brAhmaNas did not destroy native tribal cultures
but merely formalized it and fortified through
elite imitation*.

For biography see:
http://www.sai.uni-heidelberg.de/abt/IND/index/mitarbe/sta/inmem.htm

Now see how the desi hindu-hating media interprets his work:
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/cms.dll/html/uncomp/articleshow?art_id=160982\
60

*This is how Hindu India preserved its diversity. Christianity and Islam have
been pernicious influences because they have
precisely aimed at erasing this diversity through their iconoclastic
monotheistic zeal

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