Indo-Aryan migration vs Indigenous origin - scholarly debate

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat Mar 21 04:26:00 UTC 1998

N. Ganesan wrote:

>By the way, Swami Chidbhavanandar, my grandfather's cousin went to
>one of the four direct disciples of Vivekananda. I think his name was
>Sivananda. He was a medical doctor who took to Sanyasam under V.
>(Correct me if the name, Sivananda is not correct.)

If this is the same Sivananda of the Divine Life Society in Rishikesh,
he was not Vivekananda's disciple, although people say he modelled his
religious career after him. Sivananda's guru was one Visvananda
Sarasvati, a more traditional daSanAmI sannyAsin. I think Sivananda,
more than Vivekananda, defines the somewhat diffuse boundary between
traditional Advaita influenced sannyAsa and the renunciation associated
with modern neo-Vedanta.

As for Bhaskara Setupati of Ramnad, who financed V, he is a classic
example of the process of Sanskritization. He patronized many Hindu
religious institutions liberally. But the transformation from a kaLLar
(or is it maRavar?) chieftain to a proper kshatriya came with a huge
cost for him. He got into serious debt, mismanaged his estate, and was
almost totally impoverished when he died. In any case, V is hardly a
person with purely local relevance, if that refers to his Bengali
origin, or even to his tendency to assume that Bengal represents all of
India. There was a pronounced Bengal-centrism in most Indian issues at
the end of the 19th century, and V was just one aspect of it.


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