[INDOLOGY] Gerry Larson

Elliot Stern emstern1948 at gmail.com
Mon Apr 29 22:23:25 UTC 2019


Most likely W. Norman Brown’s student who taught Gerald Larson at Columbia was Royal W. Weiiler.


> On Apr 29, 2019, at 4:32 PM, David and Nancy Reigle via INDOLOGY <indology at list.indology.info> wrote:
> Gerald Larson did something after retiring that was very inspiring to me, and will no doubt be inspiring to others. Freed from teaching duties, day after day for twelve years he worked persistently on a new translation of Vācaspati-miśra’s Tattva-vaiśāradī commentary on the Yoga-sūtra and bhāṣya. He regarded this commentary as crucial for understanding the Sāṃkhya-Yoga tradition, and he felt that the two old translations of it (by Rāma Prasāda, 1910, and by James Haughton Woods, 1914) needed to be updated. His translation was published in 2018 as Classical Yoga Philosophy and the Legacy of Sāṃkhya, with Sanskrit Text and English Translation of Pātañjala Yogasūtra-s, Vyāsa Bhāṣya and Tattvavaiśāradī of Vācaspatimiśra. The fact that so many scholars die with their work unfinished did not deter him, and what he accomplished after retirement is an inspiration to us all.
> As is well known, Gerald Larson was a specialist in the joint Sāṃkhya-Yoga tradition. He and his longtime mentor Ram Shankar Bhattacharya together produced two volumes of the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies: Volume 4. Sāṃkhya: A Dualist Tradition in Indian Philosophy (1987); and Volume 12. Yoga: India's Philosophy of Meditation (2008). For many years he taught classes on Sāṃkhya and Yoga combined, attracting hundreds of students (including myself) by the word Yoga, and then introducing them to Sāṃkhya as the underlying philosophical basis of Yoga. 
> Personal reminiscences often show less-known sides of a person. My first-year Sanskrit class at University of California, Santa Barbara, taught by Nandini Iyer, consisted of mostly former students of the Maharishi International University (this was in 1978). They were strongly interested in the Vedas, and implored Gerald Larson to teach Vedic Sanskrit. Although this was not his personal interest, he kindly agreed to do so. He had studied it briefly at Columbia University, I think from a pupil of Vedic specialist W. Norman Brown. Despite not being particularly interested in it, he not only agreed to do it, but the enthusiasm that he brought to it in order to help his students was memorable.
> Best regards,
> David Reigle
> Colorado, U.S.A.
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Elliot M. Stern
552 South 48th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19143-2029
emstern1948 at gmail.com

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