[Advaita-l] Need information on learning Vedas online
sunil_bhattacharjya at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 22 11:12:11 CDT 2013
Dear Dr. Bharadwaj,
Further to my previous mail in this thread I would like to draw your attention of yours as well as of the other scholars seized with the general level of understanding of Sanskrit among the new learners, on the use of the Sanskrit word "varsha". Generally the word "varsha" means a "downpour" or a "year". However in the Valmiki Ramayana it has been used to indicate a day. Lord Ram was mentioned as having ruled for 11,000 years, whereas he could have, in reality, ruled for 11,000 days only. In fact there is another instance in the Valmiki Ramayana, where the word Varasha has been usewd to indicate a day.
From: Dr D Bharadwaj <dr.d.bharadwaj at gmail.com>
To: Ajit Krishnan <ajit.krishnan at gmail.com>; A discussion group for Advaita Vedanta <advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org>
Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2013 10:04 PM
Subject: Re: [Advaita-l] Need information on learning Vedas online
Good. Sri Bharadwaj. Good.
> I will give an example here.
I'd love to see a more complete list.
All the best Sir.
Dear Sri Ajit,
Am I right in understanding that you were hurt by my earlier reply to you,
Sir?? If so, I am terribly sorry. There is nothing to gain for me by
hurting a total stranger. The hurt, if any, was definitely untended. If I
am wrong in my understanding, not kindly ignore.
Pl let me explain if the terseness of my reply to you hurts you, Sir. I
chose not to respond fully to your earlier main because I perceived your
response as 'challenging' my opinion. I did not want to address the
challenge and disturb your rightful opinion.
I usually, esp in academic matters, avoid challenges, arguments and also
having to disturb and unsettle other's opinions and collar them, with the
force of eloquence, into mine..I usually just give my opinion as politely
as and as clearly as possible for people to choose to ignore it or make
whatever they like out of it. Yes, usually, because I do persist where it
matters to me, to my purpose.
Besides I was seen as opposing the Bharati as such. It is not true, I gave
appreciation where it is genuinely due, according to me, and opposed it
only in one specific area.
I tread with extra caution in scholarly Forum like this one.
Because of the query in your mail, I had included the Group in reply. You
said that you'd love to see a more complete list.
I understand, Sir. But please forgive me for refusing to. The list would be
too long and too old for and not so well motivated to do long typing. Also,
they might generate controversy as the expressions themselves are quite
'legal', 'grammatically correct' and questionable only if I share my some
But two more examples that comes to my mind are, the way they make
repeatedly 'overt' some of verbs (like asti, asmi etc.) which are 'implied'
for some good reasons, in prauDha saMskRtam. They do it in order to vibe on
par with the inevitable, unavoidable 'is', 'am' etc in the English language.
The second is their push for universalization of the usage of 'bhavan' (in
place of tvam) merely merely merely for convenience's sake. Bhavan is usued
for very special purposes in Sanskrit. Usage of tvam is more common and
recommended. There is not even a discussion on why tvam was preferred in
usage in the original!!
One more : they prefer to do away with the dual number in conversation.
They stick to, like the other languages, the singular and the plural usage.
There is whole of understanding of the truth of existence of the universe
in an unequivocal day to day, vyaavahaarik, acknowledgement of the
existence of a duality between the plurality and the singularity, which is
perceived so clearly by our culture that it is a part of our bhAShA.. We
cannot shoot down the diktats of millenia of cultural grounding to make our
hoary bhAShA suit the modern upshot dialects without match in their
cultural moorings with ours..We will not succeed, either!!
The bhAShA IS indeed our culture - saMskRti. We need to, *at least,* pause,
think, discuss and proceed with caution. The self-righteous rhetoric of an
effervescent reformist is not always as right as it seems on the surface.
This merely my opinion, Sir.
Dr. D. Bharadwaj
On Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 8:32 AM, Ajit Krishnan <ajit.krishnan at gmail.com>wrote:
> Good. Sri Bharadwaj. Good.
> > I will give an example here.
> I'd love to see a more complete list.
> All the best Sir.
> On Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 7:31 PM, Dr D Bharadwaj <dr.d.bharadwaj at gmail.com>wrote:
>> I agree with you Sri Vidyasankar, that the whole Samskrita Bharathi
>> initiative is in general ok.
>> I do not ask for its ban. I do not see any need to bridle them either. In
>> fact, as I had said, I am one of its patrons. I defend (and defended) the
>> Samskrita Bharati on many other counts too. There is no case for crying
>> foul here.
>> Nothing much to worry, either, imo. Anyway, ultimately, no collective
>> effort aimed at any ' collective reforms' (not just of a language but may
>> be of any deep aspect of a hoary culture) will succeed as much in pushing
>> the collectivity in the direction of its (the effort's) thrust, as in
>> bringing about *something else*, ( guided to the last detail beautifully
>> unstoppable, invincible Will of the ISvara) which is the resultant of the
>> 'qualified absorption' of the impact of the big effort by the whole.
>> Now, in its present first stage, Samskrita bharati has a set strong,
>> dedicated, self-less volunteers personally motivated by Sri Krishna Sastry
>> himself. This is the necessary condition of any reformist organization to
>> attain a fair amount of success. This is not sufficient. There is a
>> bottleneck ahead. As the time passes, if the original founder's spirit
>> survives in the organization to a reasonable level, even when, inevitably,
>> the turn of second tier (not directly trained by the spirited founder)
>> comes to be helm of the day to day affairs, it is then that the spirit
>> begins to catch on, making a bit of impact generally in the collective
>> The kind of (actual quality of) the damage that could happen if Samskrita
>> Bharati succeeds (with the collectivity in its efforts to make sanskrit as
>> sarala as it intends) can be understood only by those that comprehensively
>> understood the pure, pristine, classical samskritam as bhAShA, not of a
>> nation alone, but of a unfathomably deep, hoary culture and that it is the
>> live, responsible carrier of the culture. Such people are very few.
>> I will give an example here. Samskrita Bharati starts the course with
>> samskritiszation of the western way of saying one's name.
>> We are taught to say, in samskritam, 'my name is so-and-so'.
>> But here, in this country, for ages, we say 'I am called so-and-so'. Even
>> today I know some very cultured people consciously maintaining the
>> of saying 'I am called...'.
>> Now, what is the big difference for a casual observer?? None. But, if we
>> see with a discerning eye, there is a whole lot of the Indian Cultures's
>> profound perception of 'name' packed into this Indian speech form. We
>> never come across in any Indian Work of worth and true value in Samskrit,
>> anybody saying their name in a the shallow, 'mama nama so-and-so' form.
>> This is just one example...there are many....
>> Now, there is nothing grammatically wrong in the 'mama nama so-and-so'
>> (or with the other such forms promoted by SB). But now by popularizing
>> these western forms, we are unintentionally, unknowingly, callously
>> a different 'culture' into the a unique BhAShA that is the very carrier,
>> the (as of now) only live carrier of our great culture.
>> IMO, the samskrita bhashaa, which is pure and pristine till now,
>> fortunately not 'popular', not distorted by the trampling masses of the
>> present passing unfortunate culture, not yet 'massified' (to use Toffler's
>> terminology), is still the carrier of, replete with, the unique richness,
>> profundity, greatness and truth of the original culture of this ArSha
>> bhUmi. Pure pristine saMskRta bhAShA is a source of the Truth. A boon for
>> the earnest seeker. Its pristine purity is more important to preserves
>> most can comprehend.
>> If I may be forgiven for talking about myself here, I would like to add
>> that I gained real time in finding what I need to, for my life's
>> saarthakata, after I learnt how to 'understand' the RShi hRdayam, the true
>> way to approach the ArSha Texts, by understanding the right way, SaMskRtam
>> as a bhAShA .
>> The fall-out of the zealous enthusiasm of the Samsktita Bharati, which I
>> had termed (perhaps not to the liking of a few here) as 'collateral
>> and which I chose to perceive as 'heavy', is just an elaboration only of
>> opinion. is just a dispassionate personal observation mine, of a situation
>> as I happened to see. There is cause no for worry, imho. The impact of
>> movement also will of course be absorbed with aplomb by the wide, vast,
>> profound, strong, resilient, dynamic, live, deathless Indian Spirit.
>> Dr. D. Bharadwaj
>> On Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 12:35 AM, Vidyasankar Sundaresan <
>> svidyasankar at hotmail.com> wrote:
>> > Dr. Bharadwaj:
>> > > But, the unfortunate collateral damage is that they are causing a
>> > > considerable unintended harm to the original structural grandeur of
>> > > Magnificent Edifice of Sanskrit. Indifferent to the fall-out, they are
>> > > inventing many 'expressions' in Snaskrit twisting them, to make them
>> > > suitable and comparable to the corresponding the loose versions of the
>> > > Western Languages, into forms unthinkable - sometimes weird - in the
>> > > original impeccably structured Language where the very turn of the
>> > phrase,
>> > > the very form of expression is as expressive as (sometimes more
>> > expressive
>> > > than) the vocabulary chosen for the expression.
>> > I have some of my own reservations about the forms of linguistic
>> > used by people who go to Samskrita Bharati courses. However, I would
>> > the impact of the group as having a positive outcome that far outweighs
>> > negative.
>> > For a language to be used in day-to day communication, it needs to have
>> > room
>> > for change, while still maintaining the integrity of its roots.
>> > this is one
>> > aspect that even the traditional experts in Samskrita have neglected
>> for a
>> > few
>> > centuries now. We are all so used to reverting to a different Indian
>> > language for
>> > mundane activity, from Tamil to Kashmiri, saving the usage of Sanskrit
>> > only for
>> > specialized discourse. Of course, Samskrita Bharati is trying to make a
>> > difference
>> > on this count and that process does have its ups and downs. And
>> > saMskRta really does not have readymade vocabulary for cell phones and
>> > computers or even coffee and chocolate, so I see nothing wrong with
>> > new words, or borrowing them as is, or with appropriate sound
>> > modifications.
>> > Finally, I agree with your observation that understanding the content of
>> > the
>> > Sastra texts is not going to be an outcome of acquiring ability for
>> > conversational
>> > saMskRta, but at least it is a start. All depends on how the learners
>> > apply their
>> > language lessons beyond their immediate focus.
>> > Venkatesh Murthy:
>> > >
>> > > > Namaste
>> > > >
>> > > > The Mutts have to take up this matter very seriously. Today they are
>> > not
>> > > > doing much to propagate Vaidika Dharma and Sanskrit. What are they
>> > doing?
>> > > >
>> > ... ...
>> > > >
>> > > > Instead of doing all this they are collecting donations from
>> > and
>> > > > increasing the bank balance and counting the crores of rupees.
>> > > >
>> > > > It is a sad situation.
>> > > >
>> > I have come to expect this sort of reaction every time some such issue
>> > crops
>> > up for discussion. Our Mathas, especially the ones that are run by
>> > traditional
>> > standards, are doing a lot for propagating dharma and the saMskRta
>> > language.
>> > We fail to appreciate and support them in tangible ways. Instead, we sit
>> > and
>> > criticize them for not doing enough. The disconnect is really between
>> > Indian culture of old and the urban, educated people like us. A pity.
>> > Shreekrishna:
>> > > > > I live in what I could call a hamlet in southeast USA, where the
>> > > > cumulative
>> > > > > brahmin-by-birth population might not even be quarter-a-century,
>> > > > alone
>> > > > > the ones who perform sandhyAvandanam and associated nityakarmas.
>> > some
>> > > > > like us, who have an ounce of curiosity/interest at this time in
>> > > > (and
>> > > > > who knows how life will change) but not the local bandwidth to
>> > > > > satiated, it is just a desire to make hay while the sun shines,
>> > we
>> > > > > have to resort to non-traditional media to learn vEdAs or
>> > There are two aspects involved here. If the desire is to learn to
>> > there
>> > are quite a few people who have themselves been traditionally trained,
>> > are open to using newer communications technology to teach. A number of
>> > them are based in the USA itself nowadays. A number of US Hindu temple
>> > websites provide direct contact information, so it should not be
>> > to
>> > find someone who will be willing to teach you. If you are already
>> > conversant
>> > with some basics, then the process of learning in this manner is made a
>> > easier. Seeing as you are from a Madhva background, let me suggest the
>> > Puttige matha temples in the US as starting points for you
>> > (http://www.krishnavrunda.org/contactus.html
>> > and http://www.svkshetra.org/contact).
>> > That said, let me add a caveat from living experience, that in a
>> > pedagogical
>> > context, nothing can beat face to face contact with a teacher. The
>> > contact also helps establish rapport, so I would recommend doing the
>> > couple of lessons in person and then continuing online. Many music
>> > ask their long distance students to get a few weeks of in-person classes
>> > per
>> > year, to augment the online learning. It can work for music and it can
>> > for veda recitation as well, provided you and a teacher can make it
>> > If
>> > you are willing to put in the time and effort, you can indeed have some
>> > the cake and eat the rest of it too.
>> > > > > Finally, I may have to disagree that a knowledge of Sanskrit
>> > relieves one
>> > > > > from the "crutches of translations" based on what really was
>> meant by
>> > > > > translations, but in the event that they were references to
>> > or
>> > > > > commentaries, it would not be an unfair assessment of the current
>> > society
>> > > > > that there are few who can claim to have understood prasthAnatrayI
>> > > > > flawlessly without the help of *some* commentary or the other.
>> > > > >
>> > I think Jaldhar literally meant translations into English or other
>> > languages,
>> > not commentaries. As you spend time on this list, you will find that
>> > of
>> > us are very particular about word usage and for the most part, we intend
>> > exactly what we say/write.
>> > Rajaram Venkataramani:
>> > > > > >
>> > > > > > Is any senior vaidhika in sringeri or any other place protecting
>> > > > vaidhika
>> > > > > > dharma in traditional manner opposed to learning over skype?
>> > > > > >
>> > Let me put it this way. If the goal of the student is to become an
>> > reciter
>> > or take to paurohitya as a profession, then no senior vaidika anywhere
>> > endorse Skype or other VOIP technologies for learning. If it is only to
>> > obtain a
>> > working knowledge of the veda (a few frequently used sUkta-s, some
>> > ...),
>> > then nowadays, most of them welcome the fact that the interest for
>> > exists and they are willing to teach accordingly.
>> > Vidyasankar
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