Making the Argument for Sanskrit

Ulrich Timme Kragh utkragh at FAS.HARVARD.EDU
Wed Jan 3 05:09:17 UTC 2007

Quoting Dominik Wujastyk <ucgadkw at UCL.AC.UK>:
> 2. It is a field full of fascination, since it introduces a beautiful,
> profound culture that viewed the world very differently from us today.
> This experience is inherently enlarging and promotes inter-cultural
> tolerance and understanding.

> From an ethno-centric Western point of view, I think this second point could be
nuanced somewhat as follows:

Our society and culture has reached its present state through the choices we and
our ancestors have made throughout its long political and cultural line of
development. And just like the location of any spatial object can only be
determined in relation to at least two other objects in space, the development
and state of our society and culture - the choices we made and where that has
taken us - can only be understood when seen from the perspective of other
cultures. Studying cultures foreign to our own, determined by the different
choices they made and the interests they took, is therefore absolutely
essential to our self-understanding. It is a window into a different universe
but just as much a mirror for ourselves. In this regard, the study of the
historically two major cultural centers of the Far East, viz. India and China,
is fundamental.


Dr. Ulrich Timme Kragh
Post-Doctoral Associate
Dept. of Sanskrit and Indian Studies
Harvard University
1 Bow St., Cambridge
02138 MA, USA
Tel. +1-617 625 7078

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