Gymnosophists etc.

l.m.fosse at l.m.fosse at
Fri May 10 11:20:06 UTC 1996

Luis Arnold Gonzales wrote:
>The idea that transmigration could have been an ancient Indo European
>esoteric tradition that later surfaced in different corners of the IE
>world, but became more important in India, is interesting.  However, what
>solid evidence do we have that, even in India, it was important at an
>early stage, before the punar-mRtyu of the BRrhadAraNnyaka UpaniSad?

As far as I remember, when transmigration is introduced in a dialogue
between Yajnavalkya and another philosopher (I don't remember exactly, but
possible the Chandogya), it is introduced as a kind of secret teaching.
This hardly constitutes "hard proof" that transmigration was part of an
esoteric Indo-European heritage, but I think the possibility should be

I will, however, readily admit one thing: Scholars tend to try to explain a
given problem by means of the intellectual tools with which they are well
acquainted. People with a love for comparative IE linguistics, like myself,
would of course go looking for indications of a common heritage, whereas
others, who do not have the same background, will go looking for other
explanations more in tune with their own educational profiles. This is why
I find this discussion so interesting.

Best regards,

Lars Martin Fosse

Lars Martin Fosse
Research Fellow
Department of East European
and Oriental Studies
P. O. Box 1030, Blindern
N-0315 OSLO Norway

Tel: +47 22 85 68 48
Fax: +47 22 85 41 40

E-mail: l.m.fosse at

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