September 26, 2007

Western scholars have yet to come out of the ‘Jones syndrome’ (that is pursuing Vedic research with language and linguistic tools)

Y. Sudershan Rao Sunday, September 16, 2007
A Report on the Fourth International Vedic Workshop on Vedas in Culture and History
South Asia Institute, University of Texas, Austin (24-27 May 2007)
It is indeed a rare opportunity for me to interact with select international Vedic fraternity which could meet only four times in two decades. For the one who has seen the Vedic meets with dhoti-clad traditional Brahmin pandits in native surroundings, it is a bit amusing to find the ‘White’ Brahmins in Western attires in an alien (for me) atmosphere. The way the Sans‘k’ri‘t’(‘k’ and ‘t’ pronounced as in ‘k’i‘t’e) terms are pronounced and the hymns are quoted by this Neo-Brahmin class sounds strange to native ears.
It seems that the Western scholars have yet to come out of the ‘Jones syndrome’ (that is pursuing Vedic research with language and linguistic tools ). Veda is not just a literary work which is the product of a time, nor a historical text giving a chronological account. It is a knowledge store where every sincere seeker gets what he wants –good or bad, which is of course subjective. The concepts, myths, metaphors and terms are coded and couched in hard shells defying all modern tools to decipher them. Every one’s attempt to understand a Vedic phenomenon is, thus, independent. The expressions of the experiences of such seekers also differ. The Western studies seem to be mostly obsessed with base human instincts like cruelty, sex, aggrandizement and the like. Even the divine forces are not spared from such frivolities being equated with lesser humans.
However, growing interest in Vedic studies is a welcome trend. Whatever be the motives or methods or approaches of those who take to Vedic studies, our tradition says that the touch of Veda itself does miracles for the pursuers. Sadguru Dr Sivananda Murty (Bheemunipatnam, A.P., India) says that a Vedic mantra irrespective of the understanding of its meaning by the reciter, carries him to a destination already ‘seen’ by the mantradrasta. Therefore let us hope that all ends well for one and all.
Sarve janah sujano bhavantu
Sarves sujanah sukhino bhavantu,
Y.Sudershan Rao, M.A.,Ph.D.
Professor of History (Rtd)
Kakatiya University, Warangal, (506009), A.P. India
On a visit to USA: 9825, Rodeo Dr, Irving, TX (75063)
Ph 972 831 9696 Posted by Y. Sudershan Rao at
2:19 PM

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