RE Ms. Doniger's translations

Fri Dec 1 14:31:58 UTC 1995

Hello: I received a message from PIPELINE-usa to resend the message I had
submitted on Nov 24,95.  Here it is:

> Lars Martin Fosse wrote
> i am afraid that the concept of gods and deities in vedas is not quite unique
>as it is assumed here.  Most of the qualities cited are part and parcel of all 
>ancient Indo-European mythologies. E.g. both ancient Greek and Nordic gods can
>change in to any shape they want, and do so frequently.....

I am sure there are differences with respect to the applicability of "manushya
dharma" to gods.  Perhaps, some body else can clarify.

> It seems hard to interpret Rudra's arrow against prajapati as anything but a
>punishment for a real offense.  I should think that strictly symbolic
interpretation of Vedic mythology suggested here is a rather modern way of

One aspect of Rudra is the personification of anger, hence "raudravatara".
Daksha(prajapati) also means ritual skill.  The symbolic meaning here is that
rituals performed without observing proper protocol could lead to disastrous
results.  Since Yaska says that "manushya dharma" does not apply to gods, when
human like relationships are described, they can only be symbolic.  I see
nothing "modern" about it.

>annoyance...has also been expressed by e. g. Christian theologians, who had to
>see their most revered truths analysed in the same kind of scholarly language,
>not necessarily Freudian, but nevertheless.......

"not necessarily Freudian", that is the whole point, freedom of speech not

>personally, I find many religious ideas offensive, but I don't complain about
>other people expressing them as long as I may express my own ideas.  We simply
>have to live with the fact that people have a right to express their view,
>whether we feel hurt or not.  People who feel secure about their beliefs
usually can take quite a bit of criticism or irreverent language without
>getting too upset.

yes, if it were only that.  The academic criticisms would have been just like 
"the dog barking at the full moon". But now, misrepresentations such as those
of Ms. Doniger, in the hands of persons like Pat Robertson is propagated to
millions of believing people.  That is the cause of the hurt.

Best regards, -Narahari 

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