February 02, 2008

Kapali Shastri, Madhava Pandit, AB Purani, or even KD Sethna could have pursued The Origin of Aryan Speech

Re: K. D. Sethna’s Historical Vision of Ancient India—by Pradip Bhattacharya
by RY Deshpande on Thu 31 Jan 2008 05:33 AM PST Profile Permanent Link
This is an important comment, but in the following I’ll only quickly put some of my ideas about it. “Rigveda autochthonous to India”—does this at all become a subject of discussion? Yet the doubt cannot be summarily dismissed. If I’ve to use Rumsfield’s famous “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” I can only say that a deeper study of the early Western literature has not been done from this point of view. There is also another difficulty, of the esoteric nature of the Vedic compositions in the richness of spiritual realisations. This aspect has to be fully understood in any comparative study, for which the modern mind is not really equipped. If Rigveda is foreign to India, has come to India from outside, we do not have any traces of it left anywhere else.
Why? This is a fact which one has to comprehend in its far-reaching implications. The early European philologists were in a hurry to use the trumpeted Max Müllerite formula “pitā-patěr-pater-vater-father” to arrive at their own conclusions. But the Science of Language has yet to be raised to the rigour of scientific standards. In this regard Sri Aurobindo’s essay The Origin of Aryan Speech has yet remained unstudied, particularly from the point of view of etymological roots of the Sanskrit language. The
“flowering of speech from the root-state to the stage in which we pass on by a natural transition to the structural development of the language”
has to be first traced out before the presence of Rigveda can be seen outside India. But I’ll prefer to await expert studies and opinions on the topic. My regret is that the giants of the Ashram, Kapali Shastri, Madhava Pandit, AB Purani, or even to some extent KD Sethna did not deal with the theme. Some of them could have pursued the matter with Sri Aurobindo himself. It didn't happen. RYD
Hermeticism, the tradition of occult arts and sciences, has roots in ancient Egypt and Greece. Hermeticism was passed on to Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, as well as Hinduism, and the European Renaissance magi and humanists. Hermeticism is neither a religion nor a science in the narrow sense but an art, a set of symbols and operations that harmonize universally with all forms of spirituality and knowledge.
In Sufi alchemy, the highest color, that of the Philosopher’s Stone, is gold-green. The hidden prophet Khidr, is also known as the Green Man. In modern times, “green” has come to signify the whole cause of ecology and environmental activism. Modern sciences such as bioremediation and biodynamics deal with the use of plants to heal the Earth itself, a technique inspired by spagyric, or plant alchemy. This entire complex is called “Green Hermeticism” in order to suggest the revival of ancient cosmologies and techniques in the service of new holistic sciences which address pressing ecological problems.
I’ve read the short article on punctuated equilibrium in language evolution and have discussed it with some colleagues of mine. I’m assuming they don’t want me to publicize their name since this blog’s reputation for being coy and graceful isn’t what most would consider honorable. For that reason, I’m omitting their names, even though they didn’t explicitly ask for me to do so… But, I want to emphasize that the questions and concerns I’ll be discussing aren’t all originally mine. And to Simon and the crew, don’t sweat it, what we’re wondering doesn’t make up for a slam, just curiosities about how they went about this problem.
Here we go. In the supplemental materials associated with the paper, Simon and the other authors write that they tested for punctuational effects by looking at lexical divergence. Lexical divergence, in my understanding, is the process by which a word in the Swadesh list is completely different in phonology and syntax from other languages in the comparison. The authors even mention that lexical divergence is a replacement of words. This is a very important point of distinction that should be clear and simple: if a word completely differs from another word then it shows the languages are less related. But the framework, cladistics, that Atkinson, Meade, Venditti, Greenhill, and Pagel used extract a pattern from the data has flaws...
Here’s just one example of lateral transfer in linguistic data, and how it can mess things up. I speak Farsi. Farsi is a very old Indo-Iranian language that is understood as a foundation to many descending languages. I gave an example in my previous post of how the Farsi word for father related to Spanish and English. Farsi speakers have always tried to keep their linguistic identity cohesive… but Farsi has many influences. For example, the Arab conquests of Persia, shifted the linguistic ‘purity’ of Farsi… many Arabic words are now integral parts of Farsi. Likewise, a long standing history of French influence in Iran has brought many ‘borrowed’ words, such as merci. There’s many ways to say thank you in Farsi, but the most common and casual way to say thank you is merci… just like in French.
Understanding lateral transfer of genes created a conundrum in classifying living organisms, it can likewise create a conundrum in classifying and understanding patterns in languages. I’ve shown how this can be the case in Farsi, and thankfully the historical records can inform us of when external influences changed language and culture.

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