vasudhaiva ku.tumbakam revisited

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Wed Aug 9 10:29:11 UTC 2000

Swen Ekelin has made the following comment:

>Ergo, the camps that want to establish

     >a sufficiently "ancient" Vedic source for the phrase
      (Peter Freund on August 4, 2000)

>must not only consider the age of the MahopanoSad in itself, but also
>the age of the passage, which is perhaps part of a later addition.

I have never been a supporter of the Hindutva politics, and yet in making
such statements, we, as Indologists, seem to forget that the Indian
tradition itself was never chronologically disposed toward the notion of
"Vedic", and did not consider Vedic and Sanskrit as chronological layers
of linguistic history.  The modern revivalistic politics is in some sense
a continuation of the classical attitudes.  While the western Indological
tradition may demand chronological proof of ancientness and of Vedic
character of a passage, no such compulsions are part of the classical
psyche and its modern Avatars.  Consider the claim to Vedic character of
the Hare Krishnas so beautifully discussed by R.P. Das in one of his
articles.  Should the Hare Krishnas be required to prove their Vedic
character to the satisfaction of western Indology's demand of
chronological logic, or should they, as a religious tradition, rather
follow the dictum of the Bhagavad-Gita: vedaiz ca sarvair aham eva
vedya.h?  I believe that the modern politics of revivalism and Hindutva
has an essential classical character.  Its premises are preset and only
that logic which supports their axioms is admissible.  This is analogous
to the treatment of tarka in classical Vedantic works:  vedaaviruddha
tarka is the only kind that is aceptable.

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