Regarding the Upanishads.

Brian Akers Sfauthor at AOL.COM
Sat Feb 12 18:58:26 UTC 2000

In a message dated 2/10/00 2:42:43 PM, suvidya at WORLDNET.ATT.NET writes:

>The boxer analogy was probably not the best.  Her is another try :
>the Upanishads are like a guide book (in Sanskrit) that say --
>there is a mountain over there, it is worth climbing, the view from
>the top is phenomenal.
>You can mull over the text all you want.  But to get to the view you
>have to try climbing the mountain. Perhaps the historical study can
>help you decide whether you want to try or not.  But should you try,
>the person who has been on the climb himself is preferable to the
>translator of the guide book.

I agree with you.

However, to use your analogy, Indology is a forum for aficionados of old
guidebooks. Its purpose is to ask questions like: Who really wrote this
guidebook? Did he borrow from previous guidebooks? Did other people add to it
later? Why did he choose this word? Does this word mean the same thing in all
the different guidebooks? Why is a different word used in a different edition
of the same guidebook? Are these guidebooks talking about the same mountain,
a different mountain, or just a foothill? And so on.

The benefit for a mountain climber is that all this puzzling should produce a
more reliable guidebook.


Brian Dana Akers
sfauthor at

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