Early Giithaa sculptures

Ashish Chandra achandra at WNMAIL.WNDEV.ATT.COM
Thu Dec 31 15:59:10 UTC 1998

I think I should set the record straight here. Swami Gambhirananda, in his
introduction to Adi Sankaracharya's Gita Bhashya mentions that there are
several dates proposed for the Mahabharata, and hence the writing of the
Gita. In that introduction, I read that there are several scholars who hold
the view that it was written around 3102 BC. Who these people are and why
they say so is for you all to find out. But don't start saying things like
"on what basis". You have the name of the book and the publisher is Advaita
Ashrama, Mayavati, Himalaya. You can find out for yourself. You don't have
to take me seriously. I am, only quoting, just like a lot of us here.


-----Original Message-----
From:   Narayan S. Raja [SMTP:raja at IFA.HAWAII.EDU]
Sent:   Wednesday, December 30, 1998 10:00 PM
Subject:        Re: Early Giithaa sculptures

On Wed, 30 Dec 1998, Robert Zydenbos wrote:

> Right here, on the Indology List, and in this thread, there was a list
> member who claimed that the Bhagavadgiitaa was written at the beginning
> of the Kaliyuga. On the basis of what? This is the kind of
> antihistorical attitude I was referring to.

Anyone can say anything.  But did anyone
take her/him seriously?  Has it ever been
an issue in India?

(In a mythological sense, of course,
the Bhagavad Gita was indeed written
at the beginning of the Kaliyuga.
It's true in the same sense that "Siva
rides on a bull called Nandi").

> > In my experience, Hindu scriptural literalists
> > are negligible in number.
> Quite the contrary. It happens over and over that I try to start a
> historical discussion with traditional pundits about, e.g., the relative
> dating of puraa.nas, and the reply will be that such a question cannot
> arise because all puraa.nas have been written by Vedavyaasa, who is
> Vi.s.nu himself, hence they are all equally old.

Traditional pandits are a valuable resource
in the same sense that a traditional mahout
(elephant handler) or snake charmer is a
valuable resource.

The mahout handles elephants every day.  He can
handle elephants for us.  He can tell us how much
food they eat, how long they need to sleep, etc.
He can help us with a rogue elephant.

But if we discuss the origin of elephants, quite possibly
the mahout will tell us that they all descended from
Indra's elephant, Airavata.  The mahout is not a reliable
source of information about the origin of elephants.
A pity, of course.  But it merely means we should talk to
a zoologist instead.

We face a serious problem only if zoology
professors teach that elephants were descended
from Indra's elephant, Airavata.

In actual life, there do exist traditional pandits
who are also capable of a historical discussion.
These are like modern zoo veterinarians.  They can
handle the elephant and also discuss its comparative
anatomy.  But I think that's a bonus.

Best wishes,


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