[Advaita-l] URGENT MESSAGE TO HH Shankaracharya of Sringeri Matha - CIRCULATE AS WIDELY AS POSSIBLE

Venkatesh Murthy via Advaita-l advaita-l at lists.advaita-vedanta.org
Wed Aug 27 06:30:04 CDT 2014

I got this e-mail from well wishers of Sanatana Dharma.


Note on Columbia University

wanting to host a chair on Adi Shankara

Hindus worldwide who follow the US universities and academies  are saddened

note and shocked that Columbia University claims to be in the process of
setting up

a Professor Chair for Adi Shankara


 with the full help of Sringeri mattha and funding

by wealthy Indians.

We  sincerely request H.H. Shankaracharya to kindly delay his decision of

to this until the end of 2014, so that a more detailed report about all
aspects of this

initiative from all sources can be presented to His Holiness. The matter is

important. If done in haste, it can cause very serious damage to the study
of Adi

Shankara, to Hinduism more broadly, and to the Sringeri mattha. Also, there
is no

urgency to finalize this rightaway as the Columbia university people are

delighted about getting this large sum of money


 and they are accustomed to

donors of other chairs negotiating for years before a deal is finalized.

The leading person at Columbia who will be supervising this chair is a
Sanskrit scholar of certain repute

named Sheldon Pollock. He is a staunch leftist, who claims that:


The Aryans were foreigners who invaded India and  brought Sanskrit into


As Aryan invaders, they were allegedly very oppressive of the indigenous
people whereever they



Sanskrit is an abusive language because of Brahmin adhikara. It encompasses
and enables a

culture of abusing Dalits, women and others.


Sanskrit is already a dead language as a result.


It is not a good idea to revive spoken Sanskrit. It should be a language
meant for scholars like him

rather than to be thriving living tradition amongst the masses.


He is training leftist Dalit activists at Columbia in Sanskrit who later go
back to India and join

movements like those of Kancha Ilaiah, Mayawati, etc. This is his political
interference into our

Sanatana Dharma

In his famous essay titled "

The Death of Sanskrit

", he opens with the following paragraph. His political

motives and his attitude towards Sanskrit is not in doubt:


In the age of Hindu identity politics (Hindutva) inaugurated in the 1990s by

the ascendancy of the Indian People’s Party (Bharatiya Janata Party) and its

ideological auxiliary, the World Hindu Council (Vishwa Hindu Parishad),

cultural and religious nationalism has been promulgating ever more distorted

images of India’s past. Few things are as central to this revisionism as

Sanskrit, the dominant culture language of precolonial southern Asia outside


the Persianate order.

Hindutva propagandists have sought to show, for

example, that Sanskrit was indigenous to India,

 and they purport to

decipher Indus Valley seals to prove its presence two millennia before it

actually came into existence. In a farcical repetition of Romantic myths of

primevality, Sanskrit is considered— according to the characteristic

of the VHP—the source and sole preserver of world culture. The state’s

anxiety both about Sanskrit’s role in shaping the historical identity of the

Hindu nation and about its contemporary vitality has manifested itself in

substantial new funding for Sanskrit education, and in the declaration of

1999–2000 as the “Year of Sanskrit,” with plans for conversation camps,

debate and essay competitions, drama festivals, and the like."



 Vedic texts for European racism and Nazism. According to him,

"high Brahminism"


 to the "ideological formations of precolonial India"

and Nazism tried implementing this "at home" in Germany.



 that it

was the study of Sanskrit that led to the "legitimation of genocide". (More

genocide of Jews before World War II)

Pollock and his team fully lack shraddha and sadhana and do not encourage
their students or associated

scholars in this direction either. In fact, the majority of these scholars
in his team, more so those that

claim to study vedas, are pedestrian in their habits – including openly
advocating non-vegetarian diets,

drinking alcohol and other social vices.  They do not live the dharmic
lifestyle that should be a

prerequisite for doing shraddha and sadhana driven research into matters of
Samskrit, Samskriti and Adi


By "secularizing Sanskrit" which they claim they are doing, they have
removed the development of the

antah-karana in the student. This is meant strictly for bookworms as in the
case of Abrahamic religions,

where "hermeneutics" is strictly a matter of text analysis through mental
gymnastics. When you throw

away the injunctions requiring inner practice, you encourage Sanskrit
becoming both distorted and

digested into western dominated narratives.

Pollock's game plan has gone through three phases:


First he established his credentials as a young Sanskrit scholar by doing
translations of Sanskrit

texts into English - using dictionaries as he is said to be unable to
converse in Sanskrit. These

were non-controversial works, this is just to get established. But he is
not a sadhak, hence this

work is purely is textual analysis only and results in many a
aadyatmic-distorted understanding of

samskrit idioms and practices.


Then he turned into a Leftist social scientist and started producing a
large quantity of anti-Sanskrit

works like the above quotes. His thesis is that Sanskrit has been abusive
against dalits, women,

minorities. That the Aryans brought Sanskrit and its texts to India. That
Hindu chauvinists are

trying to revise history and claim otherwise. The above para quoted from
his paper says it all.


Finally, he started to champion the revival of Sanskrit but in a specific
manner: He wants to

secularize it by removing ALL references that are positive and Hindu. He
considers mantras to


devatas as a big problem. He is leading many projects in USA to bring
Dalits to Columbia and

train them in Sanskrit with his own political spin and twist. What he wants
is a Westernized

approach to Sanskrit that is not just in line with our traditional approach
but actually in conflict

with it. He praises this as "modernizing Sanskrit". This is similar to
decoupling Yoga from Hindu

in the name of "modernizing Yoga". The implication is that our traditions
are flawed and must be

'upgraded' by de-contextualizing it of its dharma and thereby modernizing
or secularizing it.

His department in all the places he worked is a major center for Indian
leftists to get trained and get

inspired for actions against dharma in India.

This is a replay of how Oxford university became the world center for
Indology in the British era – more

so with scholars who had an explicitly missionary motive. That was under
British rule but now these

kinds of efforts are under Indian rule. Indians in the coming years and
decade will throng to Columbia to

get certified if they want to be taken seriously in India as Sanskrit

This means such Indians will get a heavy dose of Western hermeneutics which
is the theoretical 'lens'

used in Columbia and elsewhere. This 'lens' sidelines all Indian siddhanta
approaches, subtly discrediting

them as and when necessary. It replaces the siddhanta with things like:


Freudian psychoanalysis





Subaltern studies






'Dalit studies

So traditional Sringeri mattha interpretations of their own guru will fade
away, and be replaced by the

"modernized" fashions. Indian pandits and acharyas will find themselves at
a very big disadvantage and

feel like outsiders in such discussions, unless they submit themselves to
get trained in hermeneutics -- in

which case they will end up getting brainwashed.

Our well-intended samskriti leaders simply lack enough competence to be
able to make such strategic

choices without a lot of help and support. Even if the first occupant of
the chair is a good one for us, there

are serious issues in the long term:


Subsequent selections as per contract will be 100% controlled by Columbia


The power center for Sanskrit studies will shift from Sringeri to USA. This
means the adhikar to

run conferences and journals, control translations, and produce the next
generation of PhDs and

researchers for worldwide teaching including India will be dominated by
them and their

viewpoints or approaches.


This chair will be cited as a role model to approach all other matthas and
Hindu organizations.

Taking Hindu money and using it to control (or discredit) their discourse
will become a fashion in

the name of "collaboration", "globalization", "modernizing", etc.

We must learn from what happened under the influence of the shrewd
missionary scholars of Samskrit

like Robert de Nobili  in the 1600s, William Jones in the late 1700s, and
Max Mueller in the 1800s.


While Indian leftists already hated Sanskrit, they lacked the direct
knowledge of the

language or its texts. This is where Pollock has provided them ammunition by

training a

small army of leftist Indians, and got them jobs in India, from where they

carry out the civilizational war far worse than the British ever could.
These new

sepoy slaves are Sanskrit educated by PhD factories in USA and do not do

to further the cause of traditional gnana in furthering the cause of

Sringeri mattha is being asked to lend its good name and facilitate

funding of several million dollars

 to help these PhD factories.

We have this absurd

situation that

Indians need to go to the USA or UK to earn PhDs in Sanskrit in order to be
seen as serious

scholars back home in India. Our very own Indian rich philanthropists ought
to set up world class

institutions in India. If India can set up such institutions in fields like
technology (IITs), management

(IIMs), and other “secular” fields, then why not set up serious and world
class centers of excellence on its

own civilization?

Sringeri has been the last remaining pure center of excellence in Samskrit
studies we had from the past

era that never allowed itself to get compromised or breakdown by violations
during the long period of

Mughal and then British rules.

We sincerely request everyone of the stakeholders involved  to protect it
from getting subtly colonized.




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