SV: Origins of the "double-truth"

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Dec 26 22:55:32 UTC 2000

Lars Martin Fosse <lmfosse at ONLINE.NO> wrote:

>transmigration is introduced by Yajnavalkya in the ChandogyaUp. (I
>believe!), it is introduced as a "Geheimlehre". It may not have been a
>universal belief in any of the Indo-European peoples.

1. bRhadAraNyaka up. In the chAndogya, the teacher is uddAlaka
   AruNi. yAjnavalkya does not figure in the chAndogya at all.

2. It is not transmigration as such that is secret. It is the
   path of the ancestors and the path of the gods that are first
   "secret teachings" and then it is knowledge of brahman that
   is secret.

3. Although a lot of things are labeled guhya vidyA, most of
   them are very open secrets. Nothing very cloak and dagger
   about it.

4. An earlier generation of Indologists believed that Indian
   belief in transmigration cannot be traced back to any text
   older than the upanishads. It is not important in the Rgveda
   samhitA, for example. They also saw a contradiction between
   rebirth and "ancestor worship". While I disagree with many
   assumptions that went behind these stances, I would think
   that an idea of rebirth arises naturally in religions where
   ancestor veneration (if not worship) is important. Any
   discussion of a direction of influence, from India to Greece
   or vice versa, has to take a stance on WHEN transmigration
   first became important in India itself.


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