Agrahara, gurukula, pravacana query (fwd)

Sat Dec 21 01:46:20 UTC 2002

RE. pravacana

One of the earliest or the earliest use of pravacana to refer to a "text"
(but the point is that it isn't a text) is the Srauta Sutra of Baudhayana.
It uses expressions such as "That direction" when the composer/teacher
obviously pointed in a certain direction. See W. Caland, Uber das rituelle
Sutra des Baudhayana, Abhandlungen fur die Kunde des Morgenlandes, 12/1
(1903) 1-65. Reprint Kraus 1966.

On B.'s time and place see M.Witzel, "The Vedic Canon and its Political
Milieu," Inside the Texts/Beyond the Texts, Harvard Oriental Series, opera
minora, 1997: 316-7.

At 10:34 PM 12/20/02 +0000, you wrote:
>Kindly CC replies to Dr Venkat Rao at the "From:" email address just
>Date: Thu, 19 Dec 2002 01:20:31 +0530 (IST)
>From: "venkat at" <venkat at>
>Subject: query
>I have been for some time now groping for some historical material on the
>themes of "agrahara", "gurukula", "pravacana" and in general the
>"intellectual traditions" in the precolonial period.  Though I am not an
>indologist by training, I am drawn to these areas of inquiry. (My training
>has been in the areas of literary theory and cultural studies or broadly
>the fields of critical humanities).
>Lacking expertise in historical/philological methods, I am looking for
>literary material.  Currently I am absorbed in the biography of a
>Mahamahopadhyaya Rani Narasimhasastry (a Vedanta Pandit from Andhra, who
>died last year in November).  The biography is narrated by his son (who is
>also a Sanskrit pandit), in his autobiography aptly called The Last
>Brahmin.  I have begun to feel that this is a classic work in this area
>(probably first of its kind to have been written from inside).  One of the
>most fascinating aspects of this work is to offer a critique of religion
>from the ontological basis of caste. This is probably one of the first
>philosophical critiques of Brahmanism to emerge from the classical
>traditional background.  A powerful intellectual position is examined by
>the narrator in conjunction with its tragic undercurrent (the place this
>tradition accords to women).  I am currently involved in translating this
>While working on this and as I came across your own work website, I
>thought I should seek your help in continuing my inquiry.  Could you
>kindly inform me (or suggest sources) whether there is any work on the
>theme of agrahara.  Is there any work on the Sanskrit curriculum as it was
>developed (a) in traditional setting and (b) after 18th century especially
>in the context of South India .
>I am sorry to bother you with these questions.  I would be grateful if you
>could spare some time to help me in pursuing my inquiry.
>Kind regards
>D. Venkat Rao
>School of Critical Humanities
>Central Institute of Enlgish and Foreign Languages
>Hyderabad 500007

Frits Staal

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