Types of Indology

Bijoy Misra bmisra at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Thu Oct 26 14:57:08 UTC 2000

On Thu, 26 Oct 2000, Dr Y. Vassilkov wrote:

>     To distinguish between modern scholars and traditional scholars is easy.
> The difference is not in the measure of love to India or to its religion. A
> traditional scholar believes that, e.g., the MahAbhArata was written (or
> dictated to Ganesh) by MahArishi VyAsa in the beginning of the Kaliyuga,
> i.e. more than 3000 years before common era. The dating of the MahAbhArata
> by a modern scholar takes into account all the relevant facts which had been
> proven and painstakingly collected by many generations of Indologists.

Here we go again!  You have to distinguish between religious fanatics
and traditional scholars.  That Mahabharata had anything to do with
mythical Ganesha is religion.  That its writer was Vyasa is
admiration of scholarship.  To identify who was vyasa or how many vyasas
existed can be modern.  Material may exist and we don't know yet.

There is a tacit recognition in Indian literature that extreme
creativity has to be attributed to "external" empowerment.  Here
we come to mind-brain complex.  Since none of us has been as
creative as the writers of classical texts, we cannot honestly
fathom if Ganesha or Kali was involved.  Scriptural writing is
very different than scientific writing.  The imagination in
scriptures is fanciful and occasionally extra-human.  That men/women
were able to write such material makes you think of extra attributes.
Do try to write a five page poem and post!  Then empirically
examine the efforts involved..

Best regards,

Bijoy Misra

>     Best regards,
> Yaroslav Vassilkov
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "V.V. Raman" <VVRSPS at RITVAX.ISC.RIT.EDU>
> Sent: Thursday, October 26, 2000 6:32 AM
> Subject: Types of Indology
> > 4. Given all this, it seems to me that in the coming century there will be
> two
> > very different kinds of Indology which I describe below:
> >         (a) Endo-Indology: which will be practiced only by people who have
> deep
> > respect, reverence, sensitivity and love for the Hindu tradition.
> > Endo-Indologists would include: (a) Practicing Hindus, whether trained as
> > scholars or not; (b) Hindu scholars who are highly trained as scholars,
> with a
> > deep understanding of Sanskrit and/or other Indian languages, and perhaps
> also
> > of English; (c) non-Hindus (by birth) who have adopted one or more aspects
> of
> > Hindu life and culture in their every-day lives, who have settled down in
> > India, and have deep empathy for Hinduism; (d) Hindus who have settled
> down
> > beyond the shores of India, but who have acquired a significant body of
> > knowledge and understanding of Hinduism through their readings (mostly via
> > English books) and/or practices, and have also a deep commitment to
> furthering
> > the cause of Hindu civilization beyond the shores of India.
> >         (b) Exo-Indology: which will be practiced by cold-blooded scholars
> who
> > may or may not have an emotional attachment for India, but who are versed
> in
> > Hindu lore and literature, in historical scholarship and Indian languages
> > (especially Sanskrit). Exo-Indologists would include: (a) Indians/Hindus
> who
> > regard Hinduism, the Vedas and the Gita, the Upanishads, the epics and
> Puranas
> > in historical/literary/cultural rather than in
> > religious/spiritual/divine-origin  terms, who have no problems applying
> > "Western" categories of chronology, literary criticism, psychoanalytical
> > interpretations, two-way intercultural influences, etc. (b) Foreigners
> > (non-Hindus) with the same mind-set, who may have great respect and
> admiration
> > for some aspects of India/Hinduism, but may be quite critical of other
> aspects,
> > who may have no significant emotional attachment for Hindu culture, and
> who may
> > be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, or whatever; (c) Probably many
> non-Hindu
> > students studying Hinduism in foreign colleges and universities, even
> though
> > they may or must read the works of Endo-Indologists.

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