Q: Westerners taking away manuscripts

nas_ng at lms420.jsc.nasa.gov nas_ng at lms420.jsc.nasa.gov
Wed May 15 20:31:17 UTC 1996


  Q: Westerners Taking Away Manuscripts (19th century)

There is a popular story current in many parts of India. As a child, 
I have heard that Europeans took many Sanskrit manuscripts from Tanjore
Sarasvathi Mahal and that the  knowledge embedded in them led to the
development of lifesaving medicines, even aeroplanes!
Last weekend, the priest at Meenakshi temple, Houston told
me: "In Mysore, on the very week when Krishnaraja Wodayar's
royal wedding tookplace, a manuscript library housed under tiled roof
went up in flames. Two Germans who were there for years
were not found later. They took away the atharvaNaveda with lot of
yantra (machines) making plus many more."

I recognize the anticolonial, nationalist undertone in this
narration and the Indian concept that all knowledge is in Vedas
and nothing new can be found. I would very much like to hear
any other variants of this folklore. Any written accounts??

N. Ganesan
nas_ng at lms420.jsc.nasa.gov

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