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Kanchi Seer Mahaperiyavaa foresaw many decades ago what Rajiv Malhotra says about Indology today

Kanchi Seer Mahaperiyavaa foresaw many decades ago what Rajiv Malhotra says about Indology today

The following extract is taken from the book "The Vedas by Kanchi seer Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswati" which can be found here .

 The translation is by late Shri. NSS Rajan. It is a translation of selected discourses by Paramacharya on Vedas and related topics from Tamil to English. The first edition of this book is 1988, so timing of his discourses is before 1988.

In this extract the seer makes his observations on Indology studies by Westerners and he said the same things then (about 40-50 years ago) that Rajiv Malhotra is saying today. Read on to find out how.

It is a matter for regret that the main source of the knowledge about the Vedas for most of us in India is the research done by foreigners called orientalists and our scholars who follow in their footsteps and conduct research. I agree that foreign scholars have indeed made very useful contributions concerning the knowledge about the Vedas. We must acknowledge it and thank them for it. Many like Max Muller have really taken great pains to collect material and analyse it as they were inspired by the grandeur of the Vedas. They have written volumes on the Vedas. We would be struck with wonder at the number of publications released by the Asiatic Society, founded over 200 years ago by Sir William Jones, who was then a Judge of the Calcutta High Court. Max Muller, with the aid of the East India Company, had serially printed and released Rig Veda with Saayana's commentary and also many other Hindu religious texts. Englishmen, Germans, French and even Russians have worked hard with their researches. They have collected and published translations of the Vedas along with the extant aphorisms, which were scattered in parts all over India.

There are foreigners who have also served the cause of some other aspects of our cultural heritage. When Lord Curzon was the viceroy, the Protection of Ancient Monuments Act was enacted. This stopped vandalism. Ferguson took photographs of all sculptural treasures throughout the century and made us aware of their importance. Cunningham, Mortimer Wheeler, Sir John Marshall are all noted archaeologists. Mackenzie gathered ancient palm leaf scrolls from all over the country without which we could not have known about some of our sastras. A separate department of epigraphy was instituted only during the British Rule. Thus a lot of gain accrued to us from foreign domination. But in their wake came losses too. The Indologists and orientalists were committed to writing ancient history from material taken from Vedic texts and, in the process, introduced the till then unheard of concept of Aryans and Dravidians, which created mutual hatred. Their conclusions were based on what they called rationalisation, according to which anything outside the ken of the sense organ, can only be regarded as allegorical. This would permit them to regard the ancient Rishis as primitive men inferior to the modern. Their analysis of our religious texts was motivated by the desire to show Christianity as a better religion. All the while they kept up the facade of impartial research and, in the process, denigrated our religion.

Noting the points of similarity between Sanskrit and their language, many studied our texts purely in the interests of cornparative philology.

We can admire them for their tenacious research, and the publicity they gave to the greatness of the Vedas. But they missed the essential purpose of the Vedas which is to ensure the well·being of the universe at large by spreading the sound of Vedic chant and ensuring the performance of Vedic rites. Setting aside. these two essentials, the Vedas, which are beyond its reach, have been sought to be analysed by the brain. What should subsist as a living force in word and deed of the common man has been entombed in voluminous books adorning the shelves of libraries, like keeping fauna in museums which house skeletons and archaic objects.

Published: March 08, 2016

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