pandit advice

buddha at leland.Stanford.EDU buddha at leland.Stanford.EDU
Wed Jul 7 02:28:12 UTC 1993

I've just got a Commonwealth fellowship (I don't think the competition
was too stiff)	
to go study in India for 2-3 years as a "casual scholar", which
means, I guess, that I can bugger off as I please. I'm hoping
to spend the whole time studying with Pandits, and am considering
three possible areas to stay:  Banaras, Pune and somewhere in
the TN/Kerala/Karnataka region.  (For administrative reasons
I'm startingout in Banaras, but I hope that will change.) 
Ideally, I could spend time in 
each place, but I would like to spend enough time in one of the places
to gain some mastery of the local language as well (in this connection,
I rule out Marathi, and would prefer to learn Tamil over Hindi; 
Bengali has a big pull for me, but, alas, I don't think I could
manage Calcutta for too long, and God forbid I should develop
a Bengali accent in learning Sanskrit!).  So my question is (it may 
seem too broad, but I certainly will
narrow down my possibilities somewhat), can you recommend 
individual pandits that I might approach for study. For South
India, I'll also need recommendations for places to stay 
since this region seems to me to have no one identifiable centre of
traditional learning comparable to Kashi in the North.  I would like
to stay in a place that has a very strong regional culture, e.g.
Madurai.  I must emphasize that I want to spend this time
learning Sanskrit in as traditional a manner as possible.
I will not be doing research for any other purpose, though I may
write some papers at the end of it all if I feel so inspired.

I'd like respondents to distinguish between pandits based on their
epic (esp. Mahaabhaarata)
veda (special interest: I understand the Nambudiri brahmins
have a special way of recitingthe veda.  I would be very curious to learn

Unfortunately, I'm interested in all of the above, but will have
to concentrate on one or two of them, making my choice based
on the info I get.

Also, are there any noted Tamil vidvaans I could study with?

Finally, how does one approach these guys for study?

I appreciate that this may be a tall order, but I'll be happy with
whatever you have time for.

If you feel that this  stuff deserves list-space, feel free to
send it to the list.   Otherwise, please send to me at 
buddha at


PS If someone feels there is a particularly good reason to go to a place
I have not mentioned above, I'm open to suggestions.

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