[INDOLOGY] Tagore, Aurobindo, and Malhotra

Geoffrey Samuel SamuelG at cardiff.ac.uk
Tue Jul 28 05:12:29 UTC 2015

There is perhaps a distinction between being a spiritual practitioner and being an advocate. But in my experience neither excludes genuine scholarship, and I would regret it if people such as Howard were to feel they had to withdraw from the list. We need a plurality of perspectives. 

In any case, I suspect there are quite a few people on the list who would have to withdraw if that criterion were applied systematically.

The level of rhetorical aggression displayed on the list over the last few days seems to me both inappropriate and thoroughly uncollegial. 


From: INDOLOGY <indology-bounces at list.indology.info> on behalf of Howard Resnick <hr at ivs.edu>
Sent: 28 July 2015 05:33
To: Robert Zydenbos
Cc: Dominik Wujastyk; Indology List
Subject: Re: [INDOLOGY] Tagore, Aurobindo, and Malhotra

Ironically, when Malhotra argues that a non-believer, or non-practitioner, is unqualified to analyze a religious or spiritual tradition, many on this list respond with an almost vicious attack on him. Yet when someone on the List claims that a spiritual practioner, and advocate, cannot be a good academic scholar, apriori, this apparently is acceptable.

If this is indeed the case, I will respectfully withdraw from the List.


> On Jul 28, 2015, at 12:51 AM, Robert Zydenbos <zydenbos at uni-muenchen.de> wrote:
> Howard Resnick wrote:
>> [...]
>> Unfortunately, you got the Indianzing backward. Here is my quote from
>> the article you sent us:
>> “We were trying to do something which could not be done, and that is
>> trying to Indian-ize the world in the name of Krishna,” Resnick said.
> My impression is that you are still trying to Indianize, but partially;
> not so much in externalities, but in thought, Weltanschauung. Otherwise
> there would be no point in your Krishna West.
> And here I want to point out what can be read in one of the comments to
> that online article:
> "This kind of "Hindu evangelism" is what scholar-practitioner Rajiv
> Malhotra refers to as a "U-Turn." These people benefit enormously from
> Hinduism and basically proceed to turn their backs on it while they go
> mainstream. They should be exposed for the frauds that they are."
> I only know this from this online comment by a person I do not know, and
> I have no idea just where and how Malhotra has stated that people like
> you are 'frauds'. (But I think we recognize the style.) If this is
> correct, then it looks like he wants to 'take back' Hare Krishna too.
> (So better take care.)
>> [...] My concern with
>> meta-epistemological issues as they manifest in insider and outsider
>> perspectives, and subsequently impact Indology, and the general study of
>> sacred traditions, is not really ‘nit-picking.’
> Sorry, I think we have a little misunderstanding here. My remark about
> 'nit-picking' referred to your reaction to Dominik in the thread, which
> I left quoted at the bottom of my post. But I see that Dominik himself
> already responded in the same spirit.
>> All the best,
> RZ
> --
> Prof. Dr. Robert J. Zydenbos
> Institut für Indologie und Tibetologie
> Department für Asienstudien
> Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (LMU)

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