Response To Shatavadhani Ganesh

The following are the my responses to the points mentioned in the article “Bhagavad Gita Before The Battle” by Shatavadhani Ganesh(Ganesh). His article can be found here.

My Responses are in black colored text. Rajiv Comments are in blue colored text, Ganesh comments are in Orange Colored text

Before the Great War, Arjuna developed cold feet and Krishna counselled him to lift up his weapons and fight. But how would have Krishna reacted if Arjuna had been over-zealous to battle the sons of Dhritarashtra even before the Pandava side was fully prepared? Perhaps the way Yudhishthira reacted to Bhima’s impatience in Bharavi’sKiratarjuniyam (Canto 2, Verse 30) – “Act not in haste! A loss of sagacity (viveka) is the worst calamity. Fortune and prosperity comes to one who analyses and calculates.”

  • It is in the battlefield (Kurukshetra) where Arjuna by seeing his Kinsmen, nephews, Gurus , grandfathers becomes emotional and sentiment. Then Arjuna surrenders (sharanagati) himself to Krishna, and requests Krishna to tell “What is My Duty ?”. It is then Bhagavad Gita starts. The comment by Ganesh on Arjuna develops cold feet(lack of courage) is not correct.
  • Arjuna is always guided by Yudhistara and Yudhistara is guided by Dharma( Sanathana Dharma or eternal dharma). In sanathana dharma, the four Purushartha are always a blend of Artha, Kama(desires of man) under the regulation of Dharma as to attain moksha which is universal Value. So here kama (Over-Zealous — Ganesh Assumption) of Arjuna is always guided by Dharma in the form of Yudhistara and Krishna. So Arjuna will never act in haste.
  • On the otherhand Rajiv Malhotra is always aligned his artha and kama under the regualtion of Dharma( in the form of dayanada saraswati) for the past 25 years. He is spending his energies( vyashti) to the universal flow (samishti ) which is the spirit of yajna. Ganesh has failed to understand Rajiv Malhotra(Rajiv). Rajiv like Arjuna will never acts in haste.

In the battle for Sanskrit, Rajiv Malhotra is like an enthusiastic commander of a committed army whose strengths and weaknesses he himself is sadly unable to reconcile. Doubtless there is a battle for Sanskrit and one must wholeheartedly applaud Malhotra’s efforts for Sanskrit. Without hesitation, we shall stand shoulder to shoulder with him and fight this war till the end. We too are opposed to “those who see Sanskrit as a dead language… [and those who] would ‘sanitize’ Sanskrit, cleansing it of what they see as its inherent elitism and oppressive cultural and social structures…” (p. 30). But before the clash of weapons, an objective assessment of our ancient tradition is imperative.

  • The effect of digestion of Sanskrit and showing it as oppression by the west is clearly seen today  in decline of Sanskrit usage in INDIA. I see, except in Uttarakand where sanskrit is official lanaguage, no other state using sanskrit as official language by state government. Very less by efforts of traditional scholars which are translated to the rise of sanskrit in INDIA. I see other countries like China (An example), Germany(An Example), thailand (where it hosted World Sanskrit Conference in 2015) pushing for sanskrit learning. This means there is extraction of scientific treasure from INDIA ( Youtube: Sushrutha Samhita Wellcome Library UK) simulaneously oppression in Sanskrit is shown by western forces so that INDIA will always be in the receiving mode whether be it Modern Science and Technolgy / Social abuse. So already clash of Intellectual weapons is happening and it is here Rajiv is defending the clash and at the same time requesting home team ( traditional scholars in sanskrit ) to rise to the occasion. It is the duty of traditional scholars in sanskrit like Shatavadhani Ganesh to analyze opponents .. and give their intellectual weapons to people like Rajiv to fight the battle who are already in battlefield. If they can’t help, atleast they should keep quiet.

Close to a century ago, Prof. M Hiriyanna – whom Daniel H H Ingalls praised as a “great scholar of whom it might be said that he never wrote a useless word” – said in an address to Sanskrit scholars, “By the application of what is known as the comparative method of study of Sanskrit language and literature, modern scholarship has brought to light many valuable facts about them. It will be a serious deficiency if the Pandit passes through his career as a student altogether oblivious of this new knowledge… The excellences of the old Pandit such for example, as the depth and definiteness of his knowledge, the clearness of his thinking and the exactness of his expression, were many. But there was a lack of historical perspective in what he knew; and he was apt to take for granted that opinions, put forward as siddhantas in Sanskrit works, had all along been in precisely the same form. We may grant that there are some fundamental truths which never grow old; but as regards knowledge in general, change is the rule… Two or three decades ago, our Pandits confined their attention only to the subject in which they specialized, and even there to a few chosen books related to it… But thoroughness is no antidote against the narrowness of mental outlook which such a limited course of study was bound to engender.” (‘The Value of Sanskrit Learning and Culture,’ an essay from Popular Essays in Indian Philosophy)

  • The opinion of Prof. M Hiriyanna is exactly what Rajiv is telling in the “Battle of Sanskrit” book. He wants traditional scholars of INDIA to come out of comfort zone and understand “change in interpretation of sanskrit knowlegde being applied against INDIA”. The above comment applies to scholars like Ganesh aptly.

To ably carry out such an assessment, we must understand Hinduism’s underlying philosophy. The Hindu worldview is that of using a (scriptural) text and then transcending the text (see Rgveda Samhita 1.164.39). On the one hand we have a tradition of the “ever-growing text” and on the other we have a tradition of “transcending the text.” The growing body of knowledge (made possible by the varied and original commentaries of scholars, e.g. Shankara) helps prevent the text from getting outdated. Going beyond the text (as demonstrated by avadhutas, e.g. Ramana Maharishi) helps prevent the text from becoming an imposition.

The means of transcendence may be through text, ritual, or art, but adherents aim to go beyond Form and internalize Content (by means of reflective inquiry into the Self), thus attaining what the Taittiriya Upanisad calls ‘brahmananda.’ This transcendental approach ensures that we neither harbour any malice towards divergent views nor give undue importance to differences in form. It helps us achieve harmony amidst diversity. This quality of transcendence unites the various groups that come under the umbrella of what we call today as sanatana dharma or Indian cultural and spiritual heritage

  • The foundational scripture of India is the Veda.It is apaurusheya—not written by man. The Vedas are also known as sruti means “Something that is heard”. They were recited by Guru and heard by the disciple which is known as Guruparampara. Studying the Vedas from book or studied independently , such a procedure does not exist. (Source: Swami Krishnananda – Link is here ). Ganesh is buying “Sheldon Pollock’s idea of knowledge starts with text/book” by saying Hindu Culture starts with text. Sanathana dharma idea of transcendence is different from Abrahamic faiths salavation. Rajiv talks about Divergent Views between Sanathana Dharma transcendence and Other faiths Salavation. Ganesh failed to understand Rajiv.

Sanatana dharma includes revelation of the seers (Vedas) as well as epics (Ramayana and Mahabharata). The Greek and Roman traditions have epics but no revealed scriptures. The Semitic traditions have revealed scriptures but no epics. Other traditions like the ancient Chinese, Mayan, Incan, etc. have neither. In spite of having such a rich Vedic and epic tradition, sanatana dharma teaches transcendence. The idea of transcending comes neither from inadequacy nor from inability to handle variety. While the tradition respects diversity, its focus is on going within and going beyond.

Malhotra’s intent is noble (and something that we too share) but his understanding of the nature of sanatana dharma as a transcendental system is flawed. He aims to show that Hinduism is exclusivist in its own way and its exclusivism is somehow better than other exclusivist faiths like Christianity or Islam (see his previous book, Being Different). His line of reasoning would reduce this battle to a Communist vs. Theologist type scuffle (and yet he accuses his enemies of being anti-transcendence; see pp. 97, 116). His approach goes against Gaudapada’s observation – “Dualists have firm beliefs in their own systems and are at loggerheads with one another but the non-dualists don’t have a quarrel with them. The dualists may have a problem with non-dualists but not the other way around.” (Mandukya Karika 3.17-18)

  • Ganesh failed in understanding Rajiv here also. Rajiv in “Being Different” compared the difference between transcendence of Sanathana Dharma with abandonment /salvation nature of Abrahamic faiths. He compares Sanathana Dharma as blend/gradation of Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha with Abrahamic faiths of Heaven/Hell (No gradation). Ganesh failed to understand the difference between transcendence of Sanathana Dharma and Salvation of Abrahamic faiths. (Source : Swami Krishnananda)

In the Indian debating tradition, the first step is to establish the pramanas (the methods and means by which knowledge is obtained). Then we embark on purvapaksa (a study of what the opponent says) and finally move to siddhanta (a rebuttal to the opponents; also called uttarapaksa). The first imperative step of establishing pramanas is missing in The Battle for Sanskrit.

Malhotra claims to merely perform purvapaksa, but in places where he unwittingly tries his hand at siddhanta, he falls short. In other places where the siddhanta is well-reasoned, it is entirely borrowed (from scholars like K S Kannan, Arvind Sharma, T S Satyanath, etc.) Perhaps bringing them on board as co-authors might have salvaged this work in terms of the quality of siddhanta (and also the diagnosis of the problem). However, Malhotra deserves credit for attempting a purvapaksa. And this is why The Battle for Sanskritis a valuable work.

  • Indian debating system comes under sanathana Dharma. In this pramanas is always based on the Knowledge based on Veda. “Tat Shastram Pramanam te – Lord Krishna in GITA”. Shastram is pramanam. Where Ganesh failed to understand is the opponents does not consider Veda as the pramanam to understand the Abosulte Truth.
  • Rajiv shows in The Battle For Sanskrit, the western Indologists accepted pramana is different from Indian tradition(Sanathana Dharma) pramana. Rajiv himself told that his purvapaksha is limited (resentation during the book launch events) for traditional scholars doing indepth purva paksha and uttara paksha. Here Ganesh failed to understand Rajiv.

Hinduism has had a long history of dissent. Even in the earliest works, the Vedas, which lay the foundation for our tradition, we can see disagreement and conflict. Our ancestors were comfortable with such differences in opinions and ideas. They did not perceive it as something strange or repulsive since they were constantly and successfully finding harmony and reconciliation amidst diversity. A striking example is the series of exchanges between Yajnavalkya and other scholars in the court of Janaka (Brhadaranyaka Upanisad 3.9). Our tradition has savants like the Buddha whose disagreements created a whole new system of faith (though spiritually not alien to sanatana dharma).

All through our philosophical, literary, aesthetic, and artistic discussions spread over millennia, we have seen remarkable variance in theories and approaches. However, it is noteworthy that Time has been unkind to theories and approaches that have been against the spirit of sanatana dharma.

Western scholars are familiar with dissent but they often lack a framework to reconcile with the differences and transcend them. While Malhotra respects this spirit, he is unable, unfortunately, to express it clearly in his book.

  • Ganesh fails to undertsand the paramarthika / vyavaharika of Sanatha Dharma and Salvation of Abrahamic Faiths. Rajiv clearly showed in his book how Sanathana Dharma shows the gradation of the materialistic values(vyavaharika ) of Artha and Kama using Dharma as cementing force to attain the Moksha (vayavaharika ).

For Malhotra, the starting point of this battle is European Orientalism. And since he tends to ignore the strong internal differences – often clubbing all insider views as ‘the traditionalist view’ (see p. 36, for example) – his argument is rendered weaker. In the Indian tradition, different schools of Vedanta – advaita, dvaita, dvaitadvaita, shuddhadvaita,vishishtadvaita and others – revere the Vedas equally but claim that the others have misrepresented the Vedas and that only their interpretation is the right one. We find this also in the commentators on the Veda. Consider the commentaries of Skandaswami (10th century), Venkatamadhava (12-13th century) and Sayana (14th century). In the 19thcentury, Dayananda Saraswati gave a completely different interpretation to the Vedas while paying due respects to it. Similarly, in the 20thcentury, Sri Aurobindo gave his own esoteric interpretation to the Vedas. Who is to say what the right version is? Which of these schools qualify to be ‘the traditionalist view’? Who is the ‘ideal insider’?

Once we realize that our own tradition has diametrically opposed views, we must consider the facts. We should rely on universal experience and not on personal revelations. We must operate in the material plane, not a metaphysical one. And we must always remember that a debate can proceed only after the pram??as have been agreed upon by both sides. Here is a historical example to illustrate this point. The great 11th century scholar-sage and proponent of vishishtadvaita, Ramanuja was deeply influenced by the divya-prabandham (divine verses, composed by the twelve alwars of Tamil Nadu) and considered it the ‘tamil veda.’ However, when he wrote his commentaries on the Bhagavad-Gita and the Brahma Sutra, he never quoted from the divya-prabandham since his opponents did not consider that as a pramnaa

  • Here Ganesh failed to understand Rajiv. Rajiv clearly shows Insiders are the one who accept Veda as pramana and Outsider are the one who do not accept Veda as Pramana. The names of Gurus mentioned above all accepted the Veda as pramana and took different paths in understanding / experiencing the Absolute Truth.

That said, Malhotra’s analysis of European Orientalism and its latter variant, what he terms ‘American Orientalism’ is reasonably accurate. When the British scholars came in contact with Indian knowledge systems in the 18th and 19th centuries, they faced a worldview vastly different from theirs. Instead of understanding the Indian view in Indian terms, they force-fitted what they observed into the worldview they were familiar with. Added to this, there was the White Man’s Burden that egged them to ‘civilize’ the people they conquered. This led to a gross misrepresentation of the Indian culture and this would later become, ironically, the primary source for educated Indians to learn about their own culture. This viewing of India through the Western lens has given rise to several erroneous conclusions and Malhotra makes this point numerous times in his book (to the extent that he could have saved many pages had he chosen not to repeat himself).

  • I did not understand why Ganesh says repetition is an issue and worrying about number of pages in book. Rajiv intention is to show readers the depth of misinterpretation using Western lens

Malhotra makes a thorough analysis of the evolution of American Orientalism, showcasing their strategy of creating atrocity literature against the people they wish to dominate. While his comparison of the two kinds of Orientalism is notable, he begins to falter when he compares the ‘Sanskrit Traditionalists’ and ‘American Orientalists.’ Like we have discussed earlier, there is no single group that one can call ‘Sanskrit Traditionalists,’ and the distinctions Malhotra tries to make are rather shallow and even impertinent. For example, he says that the traditionalists see Sanskrit as sacred while the orientalists see Sanskrit as beautiful but not necessarily sacred. Why this divide between sacred and beautiful?

  • Ganesh fails to understand Rajiv here. Americal Orientalist dont take Veda as pramana where as  Sanskrit Traditionlist takes Veda as pramana. For example Traditionalist see Divinity in the beauty of Rainbow whereas Orientalist sees only beauty in Rainbow.In depth Analyasis can be found here Swami Krishnananda

Also, his suggestion for the revival of Sanskrit is to produce new knowledge in Sanskrit. Is this even practical given that scholars from many mainstream non-English languages (like Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Spanish, etc.) are finding it hard to make a name for themselves in the academic community, which is under the firm grip of English?

  • Why not?. When Isreal can revive Hebrew, China can revive mandarin why INDIA cannot revive sanskrit. Ganesh should The English Medium Myth book for detailed analysis

When Malhotra speaks about American Orientalism appropriating the Indian Left, some of his claims sound like conspiracy theories. Further, he seems to be ignorant of the voluminous writings of D D Kosambi, Debiprasad Chattopadhyaya, R S Sharma, and Rahul Sankrityayan, who opposed Sanskrit and/or Sanskriti long before this supposed American collusion (and even when he mentions Kosambi and Sharma, it is in passing). And more importantly, he fails to mention (or seems to be ignorant of) the luminaries who have categorically rubbished such attempts – A C Bose, A C Das, Arun Shourie, Baldev Upadhyaya, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Chidananda Murthy, D V Gundappa, David Frawley, Dayananda Saraswati, G N Chakravarti, Hazari Prasad Dwivedi, K S Narayanacharya, Koenraad Elst, Krishna Chaitanya, Kuppuswami Sastri, M Hiriyanna, Michel Danino, Nagendra, Navaratna S Rajaram, Padekallu Narasimha Bhat, Padma Subrahmanyam, Pullela Sriramachandrudu, R C Dwivedi, Ram Swarup, Ranganath Sharma, Rewa Prasad Dwivedi, S K Ramachandra Rao, S L Bhyarappa, S N Balagangadhara, S R Ramaswamy, S Srikanta Sastri, Shrikant Talageri, Sita Ram Goel, Sri Aurobindo, Sushil Kumar Dey, Swami Vivekananda, V S Sukhthanker, Vasudev Sharan Agarwal, Yudhishthira Mimamsaka… the list is endless. And the few scholars he refers to – like A K Coomaraswamy, Dharampal, G C Pande, K Krishnamoorthy, Kapila Vatsyayan, P V Kane, and V Raghavan – are only in passing.

  • Even after so many scholars opposing the Americal Collusion , rise of sanskrit has not taken place in INDIA after independence.

Tucked away in the second chapter is a veiled disclaimer – “Both Indian and Western scholars have extensively criticized the European approaches towards India that prevailed during the colonial era.” (p. 52) but this cannot, sadly, absolve Malhotra of his blatant disregard to the past masters (in spite of his ostentatious dedication line to “our purva-paksha and uttara-paksha debating tradition…”) Not stopping at ignoring the remarkable scholars of the past and present, in several places in his book, Malhotra directly accuses Indian scholars of either being unwillingly complicit with the enemies (p. 68), or being irresponsible (p. 15), or being uninterested (p. 44), or being unaware of Western scholarship (p. 1). He lacks empathy for the numerous scholars who are deeply involved in their own research – be it a specific aspect of Sanskrit grammar, or the accurate dating of an ancient scholar, or preparing a critical edition of a traditional text. And to top it all, Malhotra writes in several places that he is the first person to undertake such a task (see pp. 27, 44, or 379, for example), which as we know is false

  • Ganesh has to give explanation , even after somany scholars deeply involved in sanskrit , why there is no rise of sanskrit in every way possible in INDIA after independence?. Be it in Legal, Technical education , School education , as interstate language , spoken language etc.

On the one hand, he is an activist for the tradition’s cause but on the other hand he ignores past masters and looks down upon traditionalist scholars. And it is strange he has not quoted any regional language scholar. He could have gone through the writings in a regional language that he is familiar with, say Hindi, and seen the amount of work for and against Sanskrit that is available.

  • On one hand Ganesh “Who is Ideal Insider?” on the other hand he says Rajiv has not quoted regional scholar. Rajiv intention is to bring traditional scholar across INDIA as “Home team” not to divide traditional scholars on regional / National wise. Since Ganesh know about regional scholars he should give details to Rajiv and help in this Battle for Sanskrit to build strong Home team.

One can list several Indian scholars who have refuted baseless allegations from the European Indologists, Indian Leftists, and the post-colonial Orientalists. Here are just a few illustrative examples. In Art Experience, M Hiriyanna methodically debunks Max Mueller’s claim that the Hindu mind cannot appreciate beauty in nature. Baldev Upadhyaya’s writings show that the divide between Hinduism and Buddhism is not as sharp as they are made out to be. In his remarkable work On the Meaning of the Mahabharata, V S Sukhthankar provides a masterly rebuttal to Western scholars who accuse the Mahabharata of being chaotic and lacking in clarity; he methodically debunks all perverse Western theories about the epic (and Bankim Chandra Chatterjee long before, in his Krishna Caritra). Sita Ram Goel (and Swami Vivekananda long before) wrote extensively about the damage done to India by Islamic invaders. K S Narayanacharya in his extensive writings has systematically refuted accusations hurled at the Vedas and the epics. In his Politics of History, Navaratna S Rajaram describes the misrepresentation of Hinduism by Western scholars. In their brilliant research papers, Kuppuswami Sastri, P V Kane, V Raghavan, K Krishnamoorthy, and Rewa Prasad Dwivedi have defended Indian aesthetics and poetics from Western attacks. In response to ?am B? Joshi’s extensive but baseless theories about the Vedas, Chidambarananda wrote a detailed rebuttal. Equally, K A Krishnaswamy Iyer (in Vedanta: The Science of Reality) and Sri Sacchidanandendra Saraswati (in Paramartha Chintamani and Vedanta Prakriya-pratyabhijña) refuted all Western systems of philosophy (up to the early 20th century) and established a Vedantic tradition in a highly objective historical perspective.

This is not a new battle. It has been fought before, and won before. We (Malhotra included) have to humbly submit to the fact that we are merely trying to continue the great scholarly tradition.

  • If we have fought and won then in INDIA everywhere Sanskrit should be used, which is not happening ? Please explain Ganesh.

The assiduous efforts of Malhotra in writing The Battle for Sanskrit bears fruit in one department – a meticulous analysis of the works of Sheldon Pollock. While it is the saving grace of the book, it is also an indicator of Malhotra’s obsession with Western academia, to the extent that the reader gets the impression that Hinduism will not survive unless Western academia views it in a better light.

  • This is not true. Rajiv is saying unless INDIA holds the final adhikar in Sanskrit, then someone takes that adhikar (western academia) and use that adhikar as breaking INDIA tool

Sheldon Pollock is arguably the most influential and well-connected Indologist in the world today. And his agenda is clear, as Malhotra points out – “…to secularize the study of Sanskrit.” (p. 79). Pollock uses a new brand of philology (study of the history of a language) to help liberate Sanskrit from its supposedly oppressive and manipulative nature. He is also dead against any kind of Sanskrit revival (for instance, the work of Samskrita Bharati, the premier organization that teaches conversational Sanskrit and has been responsible for promoting Sanskrit in the modern world). Pollock sees the Ramayana as a literary work that was composed in order to oppress the masses. He also tries to show that there was a conflict between Sanskrit and the other regional languages of India (The word that Pollock and others often use is ‘vernacular’ languages; ‘vernacular’ is a 17th century word that was derived from the Latinvernaculus, meaning ‘native,’ which was originally derived from vernus, ‘a slave who was born in the house and not in a foreign land.’) Malhotra says that Pollock also claims in a roundabout way that Nazism and fascism were inspired by Sanskrit (see pp. 84-86 for a summary of Pollock main arguments; it is important to note here that such arguments have been made much earlier by scholars like Rahul Sankrityayan, in much more vociferous terms, and have been refuted by many scholars).

  • What is wrong in Rajiv again mentioning in his book. On the other hand, appointing sheldon pollock as General editor for Murthy Classical Library Of India shows traditional scholars lost and western academia won the battle in sanskrit.

While it becomes clear from Malhotra’s study of Pollock that the latter’s intent is far from noble, there is no use playing a blame game. One has to counter Pollock with facts, and that will come only from a deep study and understanding of the Indian tradition. While there are some instances in The Battle for Sanskritwhere Malhotra uses the works of other scholars and provides meaningful refutation to Pollock’s writings, there are instances where Malhotra has erred (see Appendix A), made untenable arguments (see Appendix B), is ignorant of earlier works and divergent views (see Appendix C), and has missed out critical points to counter Pollock (see Appendix D). While we have prepared an exhaustive list, we have provided only a representative one in the appendix.

  • Rajiv always used facts in the book to study Sheldon Pollock.

The battle for Sanskrit and Sanskriti is not a new one. San?tana dharmahas survived years of onslaught from many quarters in many guises. But this doesn’t mean that we should ignore the current threats. Malhotra has given a new shape to the debate and because of his influence, this message has spread widely. As he himself writes, it is hoped that more Indian scholars will get on board and provide fitting responses to Malhotra’s red flagging of problematic areas in Pollock’s discourse.

In the Upani?ads, we find a fascinating framework of three epistemologies – adhibhuta, adhidaiva, and adhyatma. Anything that pertains to the world of matter is adhibhuta (operates at the level of universe). Anything that pertains to the world of beliefs is adhidaiva(operates at the level of religion). Anything that pertains to the inner Self is adhyatma (operates at the level of the individual). Adhiyajna is the bridge that connects adhibhuta, adhidaiva, and adhyatma, all of which are rooted in sat (absolute Truth). Pollock tricks his readers using adhibhuta but while countering him, Malhotra confuses adhidaiva for adhyatma, thus taking the discussion nowhere. Added to that, he quotes views that are good but only partially correct, confusing the issue further.

In addition to showing the malicious motives of some of the Western Indologists, it is important to pin-point their errors they have made in translation (Dr. Shankar Rajaraman is currently working such a project) and in understanding our tradition (see the writings of Manasataramgini). We should also be objective about our own tradition and that will help us recognize the chinks in our armour (see the writings of D V Gundappa). When we enter into a debate with our opponents, we must ensure that the pramanas are mutually agreed upon. We should never forget that our tradition espouses universality and not exclusivity (see Appendix E). Finally, it is important for us to become an affluent, scientifically advanced, geo-politically influential culture if our words are to be taken seriously. We must strengthen ourselves by ushering in a strong work culture, aiming for greater efficiency, and laying emphasis on merit.

  • Partially correct. Pramanas should be mutally agreed at tha same time But mutually agreed pramana should accept Veda as ultimate Pramana. “tat shastram pramanam te” – Gita by Lord Krishna

While we recognize the battle and continue to fight on the side of Sanskrit, we must also realize that diversity is the way of the world and should learn to tolerate opposing views, however different they might be from our own. And indeed, when we encounter intellectual dishonesty in scholars who tried to canonize their views as facts, we shall combat them with facts.

  • Rajiv is doing exactly the same. Otherwise why he invites western scholars for intellectual debates.

That said, if we allow ourselves to be too troubled by such scholars and such debates, we will never be able to attain the peace of a contemplative mind. While we shall respect scholars like Malhotra and Pollock, we shall also remember Shankara’s insightful words: “The web of words, akin to a great forest, deludes the intellect. Seek thus to know the true Self, O seeker of Truth!” (Vivekachudamani 60).

  • I did not understand this

“Shastras arise out of, and are deeply intertwined with, the metaphysics of the Vedas. Kavyas are less formal and hence more accessible at the popular level.” (pp. 37-38) – Rajiv

  • Rajiv is absolutely correct. Ganesh says “A sastra may or may not be connected to the Vedas”. This not correct. Sastra always connected to Vedas. Listen to This Sri Chaganti Koteswara Rao or read this swami-krishnananda

“Dhyana (meditation) is available without the need for analysis since it is entirely experiential.” (p. 98) – Rajiv

While defining yajña, he fails to use the nirukta (semantic etymology) of the word to describe it, thus giving a fuzzy meaning (p. 98). The word yajña comes from the root yaj-devapujasangatikaranadanesu, which means ‘worship of the divine,’ ‘interaction,’ and ‘sharing’. In general, yajña refers to an act of self-dedication or service above self.

  • Spirit of yajna is important rather than semantic etymology. Listen to this pravachanam swami-tatvavidananda . This is important pravachanam.

“Traditionally, Hindus have read Sanskrit for the purpose of understanding the ideas of ultimate reality.” (p. 101) – Rajiv

“Meditation mantras…produce effects which ordinary sounds do not.” (p. 21; also see pp. 32, 113 – Rajiv

While providing his reinterpretation of var?a (social classification), Malhotra says, “Manusmriti, 1.87, does give the criteria that the protection of the universe is the purpose of the system.” (p. 165) – Rajiv

This is a dangerous line of argument because many utterances of the Manusm?ti can be used against Malhotra’s reinterpretation. A scholar has the responsibility to perform a critical samanvaya. This will come only upon completely reading the text and transcending it. – Ganesh

  • Rajiv is correct. “The Roman and Greek cultures were mighty, no doubt, but they no longer exist for a single reason—namely, their incapacity to accommodate themselves with the requirements of the passage of time. When the times required them to change their ideals and ideologies, they refused, and they were crushed by the iron hand of nature. Nature does not respect persons. Nature has no friends, even as nature has no enemies. Nature has a purpose; this is something very important to remember. Nature loves only its purpose and nothing else, and it also loves those people who are in a position to help in the fulfilment of its purpose. Those who adamantly cling to an ideal which was once in conformity with certain activities of nature in the interest of the fulfilment of its own purpose, but which are now not required, will be shunned”. Taken from  The Heritage of Indian Culture by Swami Krishnananda

Malhotra opines that it was unwise of M S University, Baroda to have compiled a critical edition of the R?m?ya?a and preparing an English translation (p. 322) – Rajiv

Even before M S University took up this project, there were translations of the Ramayana in English and other European languages. What was so unwise in the critical edition project? Futher, the Western Indologists have the intellectual equipment to produce other critical editions as well as translations – will Malhotra not agree that it would be better if traditional Indian scholars undertook such work instead of Westerners? – Ganesh

  • I don not understand why “?” are present in word Ramayana.
  • Rajiv always wants adhikara to be in the hands of people following Sanathana Dharma. Ramayana is not a story , it is called “ithihasam – iti ha asam” means which happened and not an imaginative story by an author. For Ramayana pramana is Veda/Shruti. but basha is kavya basha. Does Western Academia takes veda as pramana ?. This what questioned by Rajiv to whoever translates Ramayana into other languages

Malhotra suggests that we must write new smritis for this era (p. 358) and wants traditional scholars to develop new texts (p. 360) – Rajiv

How is this practical? If someone were to compose a new constitution of India in Sanskrit, would s/he be taken seriously? For example, refer to the sastras and smritis composed by great scholars like Vasishta Ganapati Muni and Pullela Sriramachandrudu – what is the value given to their works by the laity and by the scholars? One can compose a sm?ti but what executive authority does s/he have? What are the kind of new texts can traditional scholars develop in Sanskrit? And what to make of compositions in Sanskrit hailing a tyrant like Lenin (Leninamritam)? Or hailing Indira Gandhi (Indira Jivanam), who was one of the major sponsors of Leftist scholars who have been dead against Sanskrit and Sanskriti?

  • This is where innovation is required  by traditional scholars and their supporters

Malhotra wants Sanskrit to be bracketed with Arabic, Mandarin, and Persian instead of Greek and Latin (p. 377) – Rajiv

Sanskrit grammar has remained more or less frozen from the time of Panini. However, widely spoken languages like Arabic, Mandarin, and Persian have undergone changes in grammar and structure over the years. It is best to put Sanskrit in a separate category. – Ganesh

  • Ganesh failed to understand Rajiv. Rajiv point is , Greek and Latin are dead languages and Arabic , mandarin , persian are living languages , so Rajiv wants sanskrit to be as living language in INDIA. It should be used by Central Government , State Government, between Central and State Government , as interstate language, in schools, colleges, MBA, Engineering , Medcine etc.

Malhotra speaks about an “Integral unity of Hindu metaphysics” (pp. 98-102) without caring to look at divergent view from within the tradition. The irony is that those whom Malhotra calls ‘insiders’ themselves have so many divergent views. – Rajiv

  • Rajiv is right . An example is A Garland on Lord Sri Venkateswara in Tirupati. How beautiful different flowers are arranged in Garland(Thomala). This Garland shows the Integral unity of Sanathana Dharma .

“Kavya is literature that can be merely entertaining, or can also be a means for experiencing transcendence.” (p.98) – Rajiv

  • Rajiv is right. Ramayana, Bhagavatam are examples

“If paramarthika is the realm ‘beyond,’ vyavaharika is the ordinary reality around us.” (p. 99) – Rajiv

Paramarthika is not just beyond but also within. By putting a premium on such a narrow interpretation of paramarthika, there is a danger of leaning towards absolute exclusivity. Also, Malhotra has not given a direct quote of Pollock rejecting the paramarthika. – Ganesh

Additional Approaches to Counter Pollock – by Ganesh

  • Ganesh should have included this as main article rather than writing on Rajiv


———————-    సర్వం శ్రీ  కృష్ణార్పణ మస్తు          ——————————


  1. babulal · · Reply

    Great response! In some of the points, it seems Ganesh is more in tune with Rajiv than Pollack. I think he just wants to overthrow Rajiv and take over the uttar-paksha (if that’s what his motive is).


    1. SureshVure · · Reply

      Thank You . Since Rajiv and Ganesh are from Sanathana Dharma, it looks Ganesh is in tune .. But Spirit of Ganesh Article is what matters and it is against Rajiv’s spirit of The Battle For Sanskrit


  2. Shubhangi raykar · · Reply

    The scholars of Sanskrit have to come forward as a team and form the uttar paksh. That is the need of the hour.


    1. SureshVure · · Reply



  3. […] By SureshVure RESPONSE TO SHATAVADHANI GANESH on 29 March 2016 (link) […]


  4. It would have been good if “Additional Approaches to Counter Pollock” was published as a article and other points were discussed with Rajiv one-on-one.


  5. Liked the elucidation and presentation. Time and effort taken is visible. Commendations and thanks. Had a book from Swami Krishnanda but didn’t finish it before. Probably will be able to :).


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: