Since childhood the tales of Aryans/Dravidians, Hindu religion/metaphysics, and Indian mythologies/symbolism have been intertwined themesongs for us whenever Indic imaginations and realities are brought up as topics for chatting or sharing of ideas. Our textbooks were/are pregnant with fossilized ideas of biased authors. Media is slow to catch up with the transformations in the field of Indic studies. We hardly have a public forum. Academic portals of Indic knowledge are out of reach for the curious laypersons. And historians lock horns on a number of issues. Even historians’ credibility is closely scrutinized!
Who speaks the truth? Where does the truth lie? Is it true that Aryans invaded the Indus territory? Is the claim authentic that the Dravidians were chased down to the South by the Aryans? Is Indus script being deciphered? Does it yield meaningful information? Who does what? And why? Who are the scholars involved in Indic studies – past and present ? Should Indic studies confine to linguists and epigraphists and historians alone? What about anthropologists, symbologists, metaphysicians, archaeologists, mythologists and semioticians ? How far imaginations can be woven into interpretations in the unspooling of the past Indic memes ? Who is doing the imaginary interpolations? How far the interpretations of the past artifacts can be considered to be scientific or to have been done with scientific rigor? Is Indus script a precursor to the Dravidian languages? Why did Indus Valley civilization vanish? What is our Vedic heritage? Many questions.
If one looks at the roster of Indologists, or other scholars (or purported scholars), it is mindboggling to discover that so much research is being conducted on Indic themes (and memes) across the world. Their output is staggering ! I do not think any one person can summarize the contemporary claims and counter-claims within the field or cross-disciplinarily. Who is authentic? I am not sure how would international scholars reconcile all their differences. Dignified counters are being replaced by carping replies.
We have distinguished researchers beginning with Anquetil Duperron to Duncan Forbes, John Muir to V R Ramachandra Dikshitar, Dhasharatha Sharma to D C Varshney who have all contributed their genius to Indology but no more alive. Of the alive, Ram Sharan Sharma and Stanley Wolpert to Romila Thapar and Michael Witzel to Ronald Hinden and George L. Hart to Radha Kumar Iyer to Alexis Sanderson constitute another distinguished roster of Indologists. In between, we have another famous list of contributors – dead and alive – including Colin Mackenzie to Robert Caldwell, William Jones to Max Mueller, P T Srinivasa Iyengar to Panduran Vaman Kane, Heinrich Zimmer to K A Neelakanta Sastri, Joseph Campbell to Jean Filliozat, F B J Kuiper to Tatyana Elizarenkova, Asko Parpola to Iravatham Mahadevan. The list of Indological researchers has not been exhausted yet. What are the paradigms adopted by these scholars for interpreting Indic artifacts?
My aim is to grok at each of the strands that makes up the Indological tapestry. Each scholarly thinker – Ananda Coomaraswamy, Rene Guenon, Fritjof Schuon and Marco Pallis to B V Subbarayappa, Roshhi Rashed, Michio Yano and Vidyanand Nandundiah – matters to us if we need to comprehend the polyvalent matrix of Indological knowledge and wisdom.
Besides Indologists, India are also endowed with a vast repertoire of literature emanating from the yogic insights of – among others – Lahiri Mahasaya, Ramalinga Adigalar, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Satyanada Saraswati, and BKS Iyengar. I do not think one can ignore the yogic inheritance in one’s quest to understand the Indic legacy.
So, my intention is to dwell/delve on this vast resources of Indological/Indic discoveries that constitutes as Indian experience for us with all its multiple perspectives. My first entry is a bEginning. I hope to sustain.