Regarding the Upanishads

Paul Kekai Manansala kekai at JPS.NET
Sat Feb 12 17:45:54 UTC 2000

Tarek Wani wrote:

> I would urge that courses on logic and scientific method
> should be made compulsory for Indological students and
> professors.

And maybe some traditional learning. The sutra literature is the best
example of text that acts mostly as mnemonics to be filled in by a guru.

While it is true that there is a great deal of divergence in traditional
learning, there must also be some common ground that would be useful
in the historical and scientific methods.

> To speak of the azvamedha rite, for example: How do we
> know for sure that there did not exist several schools
> of thought, some of which took it literally and some
> others more adhyAtmically? How about the evolution
> of these ideas?
> Thus Caraka S., 19th adhyAya, says that originally
> pazus were not slaughtered in ritual, and this practice
> came later.

I'm not really sure why there should be so much resistance though to
the idea of actual slaughter in sacrifice.  Such practices (animal
sacrifice) go on today, and not too long ago even humans were supposedly
sacrificed to Kali in Bengal and Nepal.

I have also heard that the wars and battles in the Vedas are not real
conflicts involving bloodshed, but simply refer to the  battle of good
and evil that takes place within the self (or something along this

Is there a desire to idealize Vedic society?

The issue of beef eating, otoh, is an entire different thing since it
would tend to show a great deal of divergence from modern and historical
Hinduism as compared to the proposed Vedic society.

Paul Kekai Manansala

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