Types of Indology

Dr Y. Vassilkov iiasguest10 at RULLET.LEIDENUNIV.NL
Thu Oct 26 12:40:37 UTC 2000

   Dear Dr. Raman,
     I am afraid that it will be difficult to apply your classification to
reality. To what category should we refer such scholars as, e.g.,
R.G.Bhandarkar, Vishnu Sukthankar, S.K.Chatterjee, R.N.Dandekar,  B.B.Lal,
R.Thapar, Sh. Ratnagar, Kapila Vatsyayan, and many others, who,
nothwithstanding are they practicing Hindus or not, apply to the facts of
Indian culture the paradigms of world scholarship? They will prove to be
"Exo-Indologists", "cold-blooded" and "having no deep reverence, etc.... for
the Hindu tradition", according to your criteria.
    I would suggest two different categories. There are scholars in the
moderm sence of the world, and traditional scholars. The latter may surpass
some modern scholars in their knowledge of Sanskrit and the sacred texts,
but, staying inside the tradition, they are often unable to view it in
historical perspective.
    Modern scholars and traditional scholars complement each other and could
well cooperate, if they do not focus their dialog on the basic differences
of worldviews.
    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.
    Best regards,

Yaroslav Vassilkov

----- Original Message -----
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
> very different kinds of Indology which I describe below:
>         (a) Endo-Indology: which will be practiced only by people who have
> 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
> of English; (c) non-Hindus (by birth) who have adopted one or more aspects
> 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
> 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
> the cause of Hindu civilization beyond the shores of India.
>         (b) Exo-Indology: which will be practiced by cold-blooded scholars
> may or may not have an emotional attachment for India, but who are versed
> Hindu lore and literature, in historical scholarship and Indian languages
> (especially Sanskrit). Exo-Indologists would include: (a) Indians/Hindus
> regard Hinduism, the Vedas and the Gita, the Upanishads, the epics and
> 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
> for some aspects of India/Hinduism, but may be quite critical of other
> who may have no significant emotional attachment for Hindu culture, and
who may
> be Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, or whatever; (c) Probably many
> students studying Hinduism in foreign colleges and universities, even
> they may or must read the works of Endo-Indologists.

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