the gods

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann reimann at
Mon May 26 19:16:52 UTC 1997

At 03:50 AM 5/26/97 BST, Howard Resnick wrote:
>George Thompson stated:
>It seems to me that if a Vedic poet, say DIrghatamas, is capable of
>>doubting the existence of Agni, among a number of other gods, then we
>>should be able to be a little tolerant of Greg Downey's apparent doubts,
>>especially since he hedges them with a parenthesis: "(for the sake of the
>	If my comments were perceived as a personal criticism of Greg Downey, I
>sincerely apologize. My point is simple and general: if any of us, including
>Dirghatamas, states that a god exists or doesn't exist, we speak not as
>"neutral" scholars but as metaphysicians. This alone was my argument.
>Howard Resnick

With all due respect, Howard, how does your professed concern for scholarly
"neutrality" (if I understand you correctly) square with the following
words, from the introduction to:

Harvard Oriental Series, Opera Minora, vol. 1.  "Translating, Translations,
Translators, From India to the West."  Edited by Enrica Garzilli, 1996.

The paper of Howard Resnick expresses a peculiar point of view. Since 1969
he has been a
member of the religious GauDIya Vaishnava movement (ISKCON). Currently
Resnick, under the initiatic name of Hridayananda D. Goswami, is the
Minister for Academic Affairs in the ISKCON.  His translation from Sanskrit
of one of the most important texts of the religious movement to which he
belongs has to be put within the interpretative boundaries of the spiritual
line of his teachers, the paramparA. "A Vaishnava must accept and repeat the
words of the paramparA teachers in order to be recognized as a member of the
sampradAya, the authorized spiritual community. Similarly, only a proven
member of the sampradAya will be eligible to represent the paramparA". This
adhesion to spiritual tradition can be a limit for scholarly translation; it
can also be a benefit to the too often dry and scholastic interpretative
main-frame of any translation. 

    (Downloaded from:

All the best,

Luis Gonzalez-Reimann
University of California, Berkeley

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