Exo and Endo

Bhadraiah Mallampalli vaidix at HOTMAIL.COM
Thu Oct 26 15:42:42 UTC 2000

Dear list members

I admire Prof V.V.Raman for his imaginative introduction to concepts of EXO
and ENDO Indologists. I also appreciate the practical reality as seen today
given by Prof. Vassilkov.

I understand this discussion is not related to what this particular list is
meant for, which is entirely the discretion of Prof Dominik.

Before I explain my position, I like to first give a bit of introduction to
American Management which is the success story of the last century.
Management asks three questions - What is our business, What will be our
business (if we do nothing), and What should be our business.

Prof Vassilkov's categorization of traditional & modern is what IS today.
Unfortunately this has been problematic all through. Please let me give one
example on "traditional" side: If some traditional scholar believes that Adi
Sankara lived in 3000BC without any due respect to history I would say he
should first consult a historian. Giving opinions in subjects one is not
aware of is not a sign of professionalism. Such a scholar can not be called
ENDO-INDOLOGIST at least in history, may be a great scholar in his own
subject. (I wouldn't give an example of a similar mistake of a "modern"
scholar. I would like to see it come from a modern scholar himself.)

Prof. Raman's description of EXO and ENDO is quite comprehensive but  needs
further interpretation and discussion before it can be implemented. Any
possible misunderstandings can lead to never-ending discussion.

I suggest a simpler definition. EXO-Indologists are those who take written
or spoken word as-is, record it and study it. ENDO-Indologists are those who
think they are "capable" of interpreting scriptures in an unconventional way
going away from all traditional methods, and even create a new scripture if
necessary. Prof Max Muller has observed on an amusing note that there are
Indologists who commented on their own works! What Prof Max Muller observed
in fact was but the spirit of endo-Indology.

Now one may fear that any one can become an endo-indologist at will and
start interpreting the scriptures left and right creating more damage to
Indian psyche, as well as polluting the "scientific" research work done in
the last 150 years (thereby offending modern scholars) and so on. Absolutely

It is may be a quite a bit of a task to bring Prof Witzel and Prof Kak to a
coffee table for a nice heart-to-heart chat. But bringing any two
endo-Indologists together is not big deal, even if they are dead against
each other.

At least in case of Veda (not sure about other non-Vedic cultures within
Indology).  For Veda the task is simplified because the endo-Indologists
have a common code. Either of them must have the integrity to accept their
mistakes or else they have to face the pronouncement "Your head will fall".
In cultural systems other than Veda, the situation may not be as easy as
Veda, but I am confident it is definitely not as difficult also (I wouldn't
bring in comparisons from other non_Indological cultures here, it is for
them to produce examples for themselves where they feel appropriate).

In the absence of a proper understanding of these matters, the question
"what our business will be" will only get worse as the endo-Indologists will
continue to be misunderstood as traditional, and the modern scholars
continue to keep their old game.

The question what our business should be depends on the question whether a
good understanding can be reached.

Regards to all
Bhadraiah Mallampalli
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