aklujkar at unixg.ubc.ca aklujkar at unixg.ubc.ca
Tue May 7 23:16:19 UTC 1996

        What Madhav Deshpande suggests in his most recent posting on
aagama-praamaa.nya is fair.  It is all right with me if the present
discussion is halted. A few clarifications, however, are in order, so that
misunderstandings are not left. 

        I have not allowed the discussion, which began with "kaarikaa" and
naturally led to "aagama  (because of the mention of Gau.da-paada-kaarikaas
as Aagama-;saastra), to become a discussion of reconstruction of
sociolinguistic history of ancient and early medieval India, the area in
which my differences from Deshpande mainly lie. Whenever I reached in my
comments a point where a consideration of sociolinguistic issues or
evidence appeared relevant, I simply stated that I did not find it possible
to accept a particular reasoning or explanation and indicated that further
discussion would have to wait.  The intention never was to put Deshpande,
as an individual researcher, in a respondent's spot. 

        Deshpande speaks of "casually making serious allegations." I think
all I have expressed so far are differences of views    that too as "minor
comments" and entirely in response to the detail Deshpande himself
provided. The earlier part  of my last posting on aagama-praamaa.nya simply
added some thoughts to two of his points in order to point out what
additional considerations one needs to bear in mind in applying those
points well to the Gau.da-paada-kaarikaa case.

        I hesitated when I included in my first message the clause  "which
is a monograph-length critique primarily of the views of my learned friend
Professor Madhav M. Deshpande" after specifying "Sociolinguistic History of
Ancient and Early Medieval India: Need for a Paradigm Change" as the title
of my work in progress. On the one hand, I wished to avoid a personal
mention. On the other, I ran the risk (a) of giving too wide a description
of the scope of the work under preparation and (b) of having to answer
inquiries for its copies based on an inaccurate assumption.  Maybe, I
should have leaned on the side of my first "one hand ! 

        Please note that the word I have used above is "critique," which,
according to the dictionaries easily accessible to me at present, does not
imply unawareness of the merits of the work being examined or reviewed. 

        (Also, I have no significant differences with Deshpande regarding
the reconstruction of later sociolinguistic history of India and regarding
his more technical writings in Paa.ninian grammar, historical linguistics
etc. I consider them scholarship of a high order. )

        As I have already indicated, my intention is to make my
"Sociolinguistic" piece available to Deshpande prior to publication. I very
much value his extensive reading and awareness of different possibilities
of interpreting texts. Just as I do not wish to attribute anything
inaccurately to him, I do not wish to forego the benefit  of his critique
and of correcting myself, if necessary, in response to his specific

        I am happy to receive the clarification that Deshpande does not
consider Pata;njali to be "a blindly or fanatically Brahmanical thinker"
but "a strong believer in the Vedic tradition.   I have no problem with the
latter description as I already stated in the last communication. Note : 
>the most important point here is that the evaluative framework
of Patanjali, or what he would consider delusion or lack of delusion, is
indeed Brahmanical< 
followed by my "Deshpande's last point could be true.  

        I clarified what I meant by "blindly or fanatically Brahmanical
thinker" in the present context by adding this clause immediately after the
phrase: "one whose primary  criteria [please correct to "criterion"] for
reading delusion in a statement would be lack of that statement's agreement
with what the Brahmanical scriptures say."  If Deshpande is not assuming
Pata;njali to be a strong believer in the Vedic tradition *to this extent,*
I do not understand how the 'pramatta-giita : apramatta-giita' statements
become relevant in the present discussion. Unless Pata.njali is seen as
questioning the validity of a verse because it contains an attack on a
Vedic custom (that of drinking liqour in Sautraama.ni), we will not be able
to assert that he thinks of delusion as concommitant with anti-Vedic
thought  - an assertion, I believe, Deshpande needs to make the citation

        Note also that  there is nothing in the immediate context leading
us to believe that distinctions such as 'Vedic : non-Vedic' or 'Braahma.na
: ;Srama.na  were present in Pata;njali's mind when he made the
'pramatta-giita : apramatta-giita' statements. Having become aware of these
difficulties, I suggested that the statements be taken, as many scholars
before Deshpande seem to have taken, at their face value. Pata;njali knew
the verse yad udumbara- ... as a drunken man's utterance (whether the man
was of Caarvaaka persuasion would not matter). Under this assumption, the
superfluous reference to the color of the drinking  pots would be
especially appropriate. The man uttering the verse could have been offering
strange logic that drunks are frequently depicted as offering. All that
Pata;njali is achieving through the passage kva punar ... pramaa.nam, I
think, is another one of those light-hearted asides, stating relatively
obvious truths in a charming way, which relieve the dryness of grammatical
discussions in his work. 

        It should be evident from the preceding that I have neither offered
"a liberal construction of Patanjali's views," nor presented anyone as
declaring Pata;njali to be a "blindly or fanatically Brahmanical thinker"
in an unqualified sense of the adverbs. 

        I am sorry if I have hurt Deshpande's feelings in any way.  I think
I have offered ample proof to establish that it was not my intention to do
so.  -- ashok aklujkar

ashok aklujkar
Professor, Dept. of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia,
Vancouver, B.C., Canada V6T 1Z2

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list