Intl. Assoc. for Ved. Stud.; Electr. study of texts

Michael Witzel witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Thu Jun 15 12:24:40 EDT 2000

I write to announce some important news and developments.

* Since the spring of 1995,  the EJVS  list  <ejvs-list at>  has
functioned as vehicle to transmit, in an easily accesible format, the
issues of the Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies Mail volume, therefore, was quite slow.
We will try to keep it that way and will try to avoid cluttering your mail

* Recently,  we have founded, at the 2nd International Vedic Workshop, held
at Kyoto University in Oct/Nov. 1999, a professional organization, the
International Association of Vedic Studies (IAVS). This is limited to bona
fide scholars working in the field (at present, c. 100 members). Our
invitatitions initially went to participants in the 1st workshop (Harvard
1989) and the 2nd one at Kyoto. Scholars who have not yet received an
inviation, please respond to the item below, and join us.

* We will use the EJVS mail list as a means to communicate with members. In
this way, *all* members of EJVS as well as IAVS will receive interesting
and important news about the field.
However, the list will remain a MONITORED one, as to avoid unnecessary
flaming & spam. All EJVS/IAVS members can post news & questions, but we
will screen postings and we will  rebroadcast them only then. In this
fashion, we hope, the list will provide a useful service to all present and
future members.

If you have any questions, comments, complaints, please write.

With warm regards,

Michael Witzel (Ed.)


        IAVS NEWS BULLETIN No.1 (June 15, 2000)

(1)   On June 12, a  special issue of our sister journal, the
*International Journal
of Tantric Studies* has appeared that deals with current advances in using
electronic means for textual study. It contains a paper by J.R. Gardner
(Emory Univ., Atlanta).
A related paper, specifically dealing with Vedic matters, will appear in
EJVS soon. --  J.R. and I have been cooperating along these lines for some
years now, and we see a bright future for collaboration in exploring the
Vedic (and other) texts by using the new technologies. More on
international cooperation in this field to follow.  Comments are welcome!

The IJTS paper is: "Magically Storming the Gates of Buddhahood:
Extensible Text Technology (XML/XSLT) as a Simulacrum for Research"
by Dr. John Robert Gardner.

This issue will be free for 15 days. To subscribe to the IJTS look at


Introduction / Extensible Markup Language and the Birth of E-textnology /
Specifics of XML / Extensible Stylesheet Language for Transformations and
XPath /
XSL Transformations and the Study of Mantra / Conclusion /
Appendix 1: Tools and Resources for Working with XML and XSLT /
Appendix 2: XPath Primer / Bibliography


An (un)surprising conceptual parallel between Tantric and Vedic
practices of mantra manipulation, and the very latest in computer
information technology--XML, or Extensible Markup Language--provides
scholars with unique new research possibilities. The well-known
procedures by which mantras are selected and extracted for ritual
application -- e.g., vidhaana -- as well as transposition and
intertwining -- e.g., viharaNa -- can be almost directly translated
into a powerful new computer tool, called Extensible Stylesheet Language
for Transformations (XSLT) and used on electronic versions of shruti.

The paper draws upon these functional parallels to introduce the reader
to XML--which is very much like HTML--and then demonstrate the theory
and application of ideas like viharaNa and vidhaana with electronic
texts (full set is included with technical appendices) from the Rig Veda
(specifically RV 3.62).

Basic theory of XML, XSLT and XPath are introduced, explanations and links to
required files and programs (all freeware), and a complete electronic Rg
Veda in XML,
with pre-written, adaptable XSLT scripts are included.

==================================      **       ============================

(2) Query:

Has anybody seen or can someone identify the following passage taken from
an old palm leaf  Ms., National Archives of Nepal, no. 1-1340, Veda section
no. 309, Nepal German Manuscript Preservation Project film no. B 503/25. I
only have my very old note which says:

begin:  devaa ha vai svargaM lokam agamaMs. te devaa rudram apRcchan: ko
bhavaan iti...
end:     yo vai rudraH, sa bhagavaan, yaz ca suuryas, tasmai vai namo namaH.

It is similar to a passage in KaTha AraNyaka. Not in TS, ZB, JB,  etc. ---
Struggling with several other deadlines, I have not  yet checked all
possibilities that might arise from Vishva Bandhu's Vedic word Concordance.

Any help & comments welcome. Also for the passage, quoted somewhere in a
late(?) Vedic text, that mentions that "the PuraaNa" starts with "Manur vai
Where is that quote to be found?

=================================     ***      ==============================

(3)   A message to *bona fide*  Vedic scholars:


As  discussed during the final meeting of the well-attended 2nd Vedic
Workshop at Kyoto
in November 1999, we have established an International  Association
for Vedic Studies (IAVS), with Headquarters at Kyoto.

* Membership is open to all scholars working in the field of Vedic Studies.

* Founding members:

 Y. Ikari (Kyoto), President
M. Witzel (Harvard), Secretary
J.R. Gardner (Atlanta),  WWW/communications
J. Gippert (Frankfurt), Text Archives

(initial) Board Members:
H. Bodewitz (Leiden)
T. Elizarenkova (Moscow)
H. Falk (Berlin)
A. Parpola (Helsinki)
B. Oguibenine (Strasbourg)

This list can and will be enlarged as to represent other nations where
Vedic studies are not very prominent. We already have additional
prospective board members for India, Israel, Italy; the list is to be
announced soon. Further suggestions are welcome.

Among the aims of the Association are the following:

* A major goal  is to further communication between members worldwide, to
broadcast interesting news, and to answer pertinent questions.

*One recurrent task of the Association will be to organize future  Vedic
Workshops and to publicize their results .

* Publication of workshop results and other Association sponsored booklets,
books, items on the  web, and in regular, established series (HOS, Gonda
series, etc.).

* Collection of texts in manuscript form (films, photocopies) and in
electronic form (at TITUS, ), and help in
making them accessible to

*Occasionally, the association may serve as pressure group when a reduction
in Vedic or Sanskrit positions threatens in one of the member countries.

* Membership is free, for the time being. This might have to be reviewed in
the future.

* The Electronic Journal of Vedic Studies (EJVS,
can serve as news bulletin, and also as a regular mailing list for current
questions, inquiries, wishes, etc. Quick communication can proceed via this
list: you are invited
to post to it your queries, news, and reports that concern Vedic topics,
mail address: <ejvs-list at>
We might rebroadcast a digest of such news via our web site:

As the list is set up *at present*, any message sent to it will be
returned as "rejected'. Do not worry:  M.Witzel  automatically gets a copy
of your message, and
he will rebroadcast it to the list. The list also rejects automatically the
advertisements (spam) that we get on open lists. You can also send messages
directly to  <witzel at>  and he will rebroadcast them to
current IAVS/EJVS members.

Please, send us any queries, suggestions, wishes. And, of course, do not
hesitate to join us!

M. Witzel                                       Y. Ikari
witzel at                           ikari at

Michael Witzel
Department of Sanskrit & Indian Studies, Harvard University
2 Divinity Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138, USA

ph. 1- 617-496 2990 (also messages)
home page:

Elect. Journ. of Vedic Studies:
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