collection of hauma hamiddha's scattered posts

Posts tagged ‘mahabharata’

Talageri’s analysis of the RigVeda

Shri Talageri’s work is indeed provides the first major model of Aryan
origins within an OIT framework. Importantly Talageri destroys the
scholars with a consistently flippant attitude towards the vedas. He
decimates Michael Witzel, D. Kosambi the buddo-communist and the Arya
samaj brand of scholars. The result is a very solid work on R^ivedic
history many points of which are likely to hold good for a time to
come. The Iranian connection of the kANva angirasas is quite
undeniable given the names like medhathiti, priyamedha and medhya.
This gives us a critical direction to understand the milleu within
which Zoroasterianism, i.e Mazda worship arose- it was within the
fold of the Anu. Thus the origins of Iranian were within Indo-Aryan
and not as an equal level sister group of it. Furthermore Talageri,
quite convincingly demonstrates the association of the R^igveda with
the pUru mainstream. The good part of his research is that unlike many
OITists he argues within a linguistic frame work. Many OITists
persistantly make a fool of themselves by rejecting the monophyly of
IndoEuropean languages and some times even lingusitics itself. He
rightly maintains that Linguistics is a very solid historical science
unlike what some people imagine. He also does not labor under the false
notion that nothing can be ‘proved’ by lingusitics. However, a
careful analysis of his work reveals some problems. I shall detail
these over time.

I do not intend to negatively criticize or attack Shri Talageri’s
research, i am just raising issues that need to be addressed.

Who was divodAsa of the R^igveda?
One of the prominent rulers of the R^igvedic horizon was divodAsa and
Talageri rightly identifies him as associated with the bharadvAjas.
Talageri calls him a pUru. This is supported by the observation hymn
RV I.130.7 by parushcchepa daivodAsi that identifies him as a pUru.
Yet when one looks at the Aryan regnal genealogies we get:

divodAsa as the 49th king in the pUru lineage- successor of bhArata in
the ajAmiDHa line. Talageri identifies divodAsa as an early period
king.
3 generations after him we get sudAsa, sahadeva and somaka in
succession identified by Talageri as belong to Middle an Late period.
So is the entire R^ig compressed into this little window with no other
king’s names surviving in the list?

Now if we look at the kAshirAja dynasty that emerges from nAhusha but
not yayAti and pUru we get the kings:divodAsa and pratardana some way
down this dynasty about 7-8 generations from nahusha. Thus this pair
of divodAsa and pratardana are the most likely ones mentioned in the
R^igveda. Formally they are not pUrus but nAhushas. None of the
correspondng pUru rAjas of that period mentioned in the R^ig
suggesting that main activity of the early R^ig composers occured in
the patronage of the kAshi dynasty.

Similarly if we correctly trace the descent of vishvAmitra from
pururavA through amAvasu and jAhnu we get him to be contemporary of
jamadagni that matches the corresponding generations in the bhArgava
tree. Furthermore we also get him as a contemporary of trishanku of
the ikshvAkus with whom he is traditionally associated. Hence the
original vishvAmitra of the RV maNdala III is not a bona fide pUru as
stated by Talageri. There is one corrupt genealogy in the mahabhArata
that supports Talageri’s claim but it is an anachronism in every other
respect.

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.

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