Regarding the Upanishads

Tarek Wani tarekwani at USA.COM
Sat Feb 12 19:51:04 UTC 2000

Brian Akers makes a good point of how the Vedic texts
may be compared to a guide book to help the reader make
the journey to find the view himself. Certainly, this is
well known, to good scholars east or west.

But then how do we explain the sloppiness of a lot of
work in this field as mentioned by Vishal Agarwal-- or
if someone doesn't like the messenger being an Indian--
Edmund Leach, Jim Shaffer, Klaus Klostermaier? Three
answers to that:

1. The methodological flaws in the general philological     model and the use of circular reasoning. Such people
   need to read up current thinking on this matter (a la
   J. Robb in ANTIQUITY, 67, 747-760, 1993). Olender
   in his book "The Languages of Paradise: Race,            Religion, and  Philology in the Nineteenth Century"
   (HUP, 1992) exposes the errors of method very well.

2. Logical errors resulting from a desperate need to
   fit data into a preconceived model.

3. Ignoring the research done in Indian languages-- such
   as Hindi, as pointed out by Vishal Agarwal-- which
   has many excellent critical studies from a
   historical perspective. (Those who refuse
   to look at literature outside of European languages
   would save themselves a lot of later grief
   if they became openminded.)

To this one must add the use of a broad brush to dismiss
all inconvenient views.

-tAraka vANI

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