re Kalanos the gymnosophist

Robert Zydenbos zydenbos at
Thu May 9 11:58:06 EDT 1996

Replies to msg 07 May 96: indology at (lusthaus at

>And again: please quote me correctly. I never wrote about a
> "Sanskrit-only"
>movement... Where did you get THAT idea?

 le> I wasn't "quoting you" re: Sanskrit-only. I had just replied
 le> to another
 le> posting on our mutual thread, [...]

Sorry, but I couldn't find anyone writing about a "Sanskrit-only" movement.
Maybe INDOLOGY, or the Internet, passing through Liverpool, has become
infected! It's the British beef!!!

 le> My initial claim was that Sanskrit has, since the time of
 le> the Vedas, been
 le> an acquired, not a native tongue.
 le> [...] But when they went home to
 le> visit mom and
 le> talk to their sisters, they did not converse in Sanskrit.

I thought it was made clear, and not only by me, that this is not relevant. May
I close the topic of provincialism, cosmopolitanization, linguae francae and
American being the world's lingua franca, by saying that I have been in places
where no variety of English could be spoken, but where I could speak with
people in Sanskrit?

[re: the reviving of Sanskrit]

>But of course it is a reviving. What else would you call it?

 le> Creating something that has never been while believing it
 le> has always been.

I thought it was clear that Sanskrit has been for a very long time. Sorry, but
you are not clear.

[re: Jainism]

 le> The other side of this coin is that Jainas are the first to
 le> admit that they
 le> know and remember very little about their actual tradition
 le> prior to the
 le> advent of Islam in India. The old sites with their monuments
 le> and their
 le> significances remain a mystery to most present day Jains.

This view is unfair. I don't know with which Jainas you have been speaking. If
by "most present-day Jainas" you mean the common lay folk, then the question
may be raised: how many Christians know about their actual tradition at e.g.
the time of the Crusades, and do Christians therefore have the problem of
recovering their past?

 le> Jainism survived
 le> Islamic persecution in large part by transforming from a
 le> monastic to a lay
 le> tradition, and much was lost in the transition.

A lay tradition was there from the very beginning, otherwise there would have
been no monastic tradition, due to a lack of support in the world -- which in
Jainism is more important than in most other religions I know of.

[re: Sanskritization]

 le> SO maybe that means, in your model, that Buddhism was not
 le> Indian enough to
 le> survive as a distinct tradition?

No. Also, we cannot believe that e.g. Virasaivism survived _due to_ Sanskrit.

 le> I asked:  "Do you want to reduce Sikh political actions and
 le> motives to mere
 le> language?"

Well, you also asked, on May 6th: "Similarly, are Sikhs not Indians simply
because they never Sanskritized the Adi Granth (and have no plans to do so,
according to the latest I've heard)?" I understood this to mean that (a) Sikhs
did not Sanskritize, (b) hence we can dismiss Sanskrit as a major distinctive
feature of Indian intellectual history. If my understanding of that question
was incorrect, I apologize.

 le> It's also interesting that you are willing to dismiss the
 le> Sants, etc., as
 le> something less than fully Indian. Although less obvious from
 le> the secondary
 le> literature, one could show that such thinkers as Ramanuja
 le> were also deeply
 le> influenced by Islamic thought.

If this can be firmly established, it would be most interesting. But for now I
am skeptical (here I remember the old claims that Madhva was influenced by

Also, the fact remains that Ramanujites are a fully integral part of Indian
society and do not suffer the difficulties which the Sikhs obviously, and
sadly, do suffer.

> why
>should there be a "Speak Sanskrit" movement at all?

 le> For the same reason [...]
 le> In other words - moha.


Anyhow, it seems to me that matters in this thread are becoming murky. Maybe I
too have been infected through the British beef and should go and recuperate.

Robert Zydenbos
Internet: zydenbos at

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