the present sorry state in which the nation finds itself it has
to learn about its own heritage like the Vedas from the findings
of Western soholars called "orientalists" and from
Indians conducting research on the same lines as they. I concede
that European scholars have made a very valuable study of the
Vedas. We must be thankful to them for their work. Some of them
like Max Muller conducted
research out of their esteem for our scriptures. They took great
pains to gather the old texts and published volume after volume
incorporating their findings.
hundred years ago Sir William Jones, who was a judge of the Calcutta high court,
started the Asiatic Society. The number of books this institution
has published on Vedic subjects should arose our wonder. With the
help of the East India Company, Sir William published the Rgveda
with the commentry of Sayana and also a number of other Hindu
works. Apart from Englishmen, indologists from France, Germany
and Russia have also done outstanding work here. "The
discovery of the Vedas of the Hindus is more significant than
Columbus's discovery of America, " thus exclaimed some
indologists exulting in their findings.
foreigners discovered Vedic and Vedantic texts from various parts
of the country. They translated the dharma-, grhya- and srauta - sutras. The
Kundalini Tantra gained importance only after Arthur Avalon had
written extensively on it. A number of Westerns have contributed
studies of other aspects of our culture also. It was because of
the Protection of Ancient Monuments Act that came into force
during the viceroyalty of Lord Curzon that our
temples and other monuments were saved from vandals. Fergusson took photographs of our artistic treasures
(sculptures) and made them known to the world. Men like Cunningham, Sir John
Marshall and Mortimer -Wheeler
did notable work in Indian archaelogy. It was
because of the labours of Mackenizie who
gathered manuscripts from various parts of India that we come to
know about many of our sastras. The department of epigraphy was
started during British rule.
suffered in many ways at the hands of the British but it was
during their time that some good was also done. But this good was
not unmixed and had undesirable elements in it. The intention of
many of those who called themselves orientalists or indologists
was not above reproach. They wanted to reconstruct the history of
India on the basis of their study of the Vedas and, in the course
of this, they concocted the Aryan- Dravidian theory of races and
sowed the seeds of hatred among the people. Purporting to be
rationalists they wrongly interpreted, in an allergorical manner,
what cannot be comprehended by our senses. In commenting on the
Vedas they took the view that the sages were primitive men.
Though some of them pretended to be impartial, their hidden
intention in conducting research into our religious texts was to
propagate Christianity and show Hinduism in a poor light.
number of Westerners saw the similarity between Sanskrit and
their own languages and devoted themselves to comparative philology.
may applaud European indologists for their research work, for
making our sastras known to a wider world and for the hard work
they put in. But they were hardly in sympathy with our view of
the Vedas. What is the purpose of these scriptures? By chanting
them, by filling the world with their sound and by the
performance of rites like sacrifices, the good of mankind is
ensured. This view the Western indologists rejected. They tried
to understand on a purely intellectual plane what is beyond the
comprehension of the human mind. And with this limited
understanding of theirs they printed big tomes on the Vedas to be
preserved in the libraries. Our scriptures are meant to be a
living reality of our speech and action. Instead of putting them
to such noble use, to consign them to the libraries, in the form
of books, is like keeping living animals in the museum instead of
in the zoo.
About "Hindu Dharma"
"Hindu Dharma" is a book
which contains English translation of certain invaluable and
engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at
various times during the years 1907 to 1994).
For a general background, please see here