History of Debate

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Apr 15 16:44:07 UTC 1999

>according to Karl H. Potter's Bibliography (in Encyclopedia of Indian
>Philosophies, Vol. I) there is an English translation by S.
>Sastri that appeared in: Madras University Department of Indian
>Publication 1 (1933), and also: Journal of the Madras University 4
>Supplement; 5 (1933) pp. 81-114

Yes, SuryanArAyana Shastri's work is a classic, but not very easy to
find. There's another translation by the RAmakrishna Matham, which is
of very good quality too. And it can be had at a throwaway price.

>Isn't it strange that such a famous exponent of a leading school
>of philosophy, has no other references in Indian literature?

>No, it's not: it is the rule. As a matter of fact we don't really
>*know* anything about kAlidAsa himself.

KAlidhAsa never declares in his works that his name is KAlidhAsa. He
just stresses that he is a great devotee of Goddess KAli. It's from
later poets who laud his works and refer to the author as KAlidhAsa,
that the name KAlidhAsa has become connected to those fabled works of
poetry and drama.

Tradition identifies him as a brAhmana. His high level of proficiency
in Samskrutam and its grammar, also reveals a formal education
traditionally available to brAhmanas. Plus his knowledge of the shruti
and VedAnta which is reflected in his works, also points to a
brAhmanical origin. The cementing factor would be his strong vocal
support to the varnAshrama dharma and brAhmanism in general, which
would be quite unlikely if he were of non-brAhmanic origin.

And there's little reason to state that KAli worship is outsite the
pale of brAhmanism. BrAhmanas with their assimilative tendency, have
been part of nearly every form of worship prevalent in BhArath. Many
of the NyAya and Vaishesika philosophers were Shaktas and Pashupatas.
ShankarAcharya is generally identified as a Shaivite. The BrAhmanic
presence in the Vaishnava fold is also famous. RAmakrishna Paramahamsa
was himself a great devotee of KAli.

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