[Advaita-l] Upanishads, Samkhya and Buddhism

Jaldhar H. Vyas jaldhar at braincells.com
Tue Aug 21 23:42:27 CDT 2007

On Tue, 21 Aug 2007, Murali Karamchedu wrote:

> Wikipedia has a fairly good writeup on Coomaraswamy
> (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ananda_Coomaraswamy ), although if I remember
> correctly from biographical essays  by Durairajasingam and Rama Coomarasway,
> he was a geologist by training (just to nitpick! ).

When I was a student at Columbia University,  I took a course in Indian 
Art and Coomaraswamys history was considered one of the authoritative 
works on the subject.

> I agree that his interpretation is sometimes idiosyncratic, particularly the
> way he approaches punarjanmA, for example in his essay on 'Time and
> Eternity'; but I never got the impression that he did not read the primary
> sources. If anything, his writings are overdone with references and
> footnotes to sources. Is there any particular reason that you would draw
> that conclusion? Just curious.

The trouble with those "perennial philosophy" types is that in order to 
shoehorn every religion into one box, they take all kinds of liberties, 
selective quoting, not understanding context etc.  They rarely are 
familiar in depth with the actual traditions they claim to be studying. 
Even in those days Coomaraswamys philosophical works seemed somewhat 
dubious to me in comparison with his artistic scholarship.  Well maybe he 
did study the primary sources but it doesn't look to me like he understood 
them.  Olivelle seems to me to be a much more solid scholar but to tell 
you the truth I don't read translations much anymore so there might be 
even better candidates than either of them.

Jaldhar H. Vyas <jaldhar at braincells.com>

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