`Vedic' vs Sanskrit

Mon Feb 16 16:45:19 UTC 1998

At 07:08 AM 2/16/98 -0500, you wrote:
>The following is a post in an Usenet group I made.
>I am curious about this claim that the term `Vedic
>Sanskrit' is incorrect. What do `real' Indologists think?
>From: Vidhyanath Rao <nathrao+ at osu.edu>
>Subject: Re: IE homeland: Synthesis
>Date: Monday, February 16, 1998 6:50 AM
>Miguel Carrasquer Vidal wrote in message <34f1308f.488327551 at news.wxs.nl>...
>>I have been adviced by specialists *never* to utter the word "Vedic
>>Sanskrit".  It's Vedic, or Sanskrit.  The language codified by Panini
>>is Sanskrit, and there is no reason to assume it wasn't something
>>close to his native tongue.
>I am curious: Just who are these ``experts'', and how much do they
>know about Panini? I have seen blunders committed by those who
>one are respected indologists. For example, once Jan Gonda
>asserted that in a vartika, `lokavijnaate' is used as an explanation
>of `anadyatane' [the former is qualifies `parok.se', occuring in
>the vaartika and in a different suutra of Panini].
>And do these same experts not use `Greek' for the language of
>Homer? Do they not use `Tamil' for the language of Sangam
>literature? [Mcdonell describes the difference between
>Vedic and Classical Sanskrit as similar to the difference
>between Homeric and Hellenistic Greek. Sangam and
>Modern Tamil differ as much as Vedic and early Prakrits.]
>While few would go as far as Bronkhorst (in a paper in IIJ in the
>early 1970's) and claim that `Vedic' texts, in an archaising
>dialect, were still being composed in Panini's day, I fail to see
>how anyone with firsthand knowledge of both Panini and the
>Vedic texts can deny that the langauge described  Panini is
>closer to the latter Vedic texts than to that of the epics of other
>medieval texts. In particular, in the matter of the verb system,
>Panini's rules describe something very close to that of Aitreya
>and Satapatha Brahmanas. To give one example: The so-called
>conditional is used only in conditional sentences in medieval texts.
>Panini simply says that it is used whereever the optative would be,
>if the event did/will not take place. The Veic use conforms to
>Panini's rule, and in fact, the standard example, `naavindat yad
>aho.syat' is described in precisely the same terms by Mcdonell
>and others.
><Getting on the soapbox>
>In the last century, there was a tendency to imply that the Vedas,
>especially the Rgveda were non-Indian. It seems to me that the
>statement Vidal made is a residue of that. The unfortunate
>failure of Indologists to replace Whitney' grammar prevents the
>removal of the 19th century prejudices. In particular,  the modern
>choronology is incompatible with the idea that Panini was or
>should be describing the language of epics etc,  which in their
>present form are latter than Panini by 600 years or more.
>Yet people go on assuming that Panini's grammar is a grammar
>of medieval Sanskrit, and thinking that gap between middle and
>late Vedic texts and Panini is as great as the gap between
>Rgveda and Mahabharata/Ramayana. This is reinforced by the
>usual selection of reading material for Sanskrit classes. Any
>attempt to question conclusions arising from such faulty
>approach is just shrugged off, especially if they come persons
>of Indian origin. The exclusive use of material by those with
>axes to grind will never be tolerated if those affected were any
>group except Hindus. And people wonder why Hindus get angry
>at Indologists.
>Thank you for listening and I will now get off the soapbox.


atha zabdAnuzAsanam. kESAM sabdAnAm? laukikAnAm vaidikAnAM ca.



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