Archive for the ‘sama’ Category

The 6th Vedic workshop held at Kozhokode, Kerala India from 7th to 10th 2014

January 14, 2014

The 6th Vedic workshop held at Kozhokode, Kerala India from 7th to 10th 2014

Bhaskaran Nayar. T. P. Mahadevan

Bhaskaran Nayar. T. P. Mahadevan

The sixth international Vedic workshop [hereinafter mentioned as SIVW for brevity] was held in Kozhiokode from January 7 to 10 2014 and there have been a lot of publicity in the Indian media and internet by the interested and involved carried on. Ironically, in facebook[1], twitter[2] and blogs[3] also there have been entries, but when I asked for or tried to get more details they could not give. Incidentally, there has been some opposition to the workshop, as I could note from the internet search[4]. As I could not attend it, because of the clashing of dates with the international conference on Mahabharata [mentioned as ICMB] in Tirupati from 7th to 11th 2014. In fact, I was eager to note how the non-Indians could have acted and interacted in the proceedings of the Vedic workshop. So I just started enquiring and gathering details about it. During the ICMB itself, I was discussing about SIVW with the hundreds of Sanskrit Pundits, professors and scholars came there to present papers. Particularly, I interacted with the research students from Rastriya Sanskrit Vidhyapeeth, Tirupati who registered with the ICMB more than 170. Very few knew about it, but they did not want to attend for many reasons. When enquired, they gave the following:

  1. The delegate fees was very high, perhaps half of the salary they receive in teaching Sanskrit in schools and other places.
  2. They cannot get leave, as they have already in their jobs.
  3. Even if they forego salary cut etc., their Masters / Gurus / Employers did not encourage.
  4. They are not familiar with the Vedic studies, as they have chosen different topics for their M.Phil, Ph.D research and dissertation.

Of 100, only few – two   from Chennai, one from AP and another from Pondicherry know him[5]. Ironically none of the Sanskrit Pundits, scholars and professors responded that they do not know him even after showing his photograph!

Elizabeth Tucker, Cezary Galewich

Elizabeth Tucker, Cezary Galewich

Non-Indian or Foreign domination in the 6th Vedic Workshop conducted in India: This observation is made for the purpose of Vedas, Vedic studies and Vedic research carried on in India and outside. When Max Mueller translated Vedas without seeing or coning to India, and other translators also did, reservations were expressed about their quality of translations. In spite of such doubts expressed and mistakes pointed out, their printed books were, are and being printed, sold and filled in the libraries of Universities, colleges and even in Sanskrit schools. When critical editions have been published for Ramayana and Mahabharata, none has done for Vedas. About the dates of Vedas also none has fixed conclusively, yet different dates are followed for research and historical purposes. Under such circumstances only, this aspects is noted and discussed. The Doctors / Professors who chaired the sessions have been as follows as per their programme:

Vedic workshop - old photo

Vedic workshop – old photo

  1. Masato Fujii,
  2. Michael Witzel,
  3. M. G. S. Narayanan
  4. Alexander Lubotsky
  5. Didhiti Biswas,
  6. Mislav Ježić,
  7. Patrick Olivelle,
  8. Joanna Jurewicz,
  9. Cezary Galewicz,
  10. S. A. S. Sarma,
  11. Michael Witzel ,
  12. Kiyotaka Yoshimizu,
  13. Joel Brereton,
  14. C. M. Neelakantan,
  15. Jarrod Whitaker.
  16. Renate Sohnen-Thieme,
  17. S. S. Bahulkar,
  18. P. Bhaskaran Nayar
Micheal Witzel, F B J Kupier, Fredrik Kortlandt

Micheal Witzel, F B J Kupier, Fredrik Kortlandt

Of the 18, only 6 have been Indians, i.e, 33% and 67% been non-Indians. So, in India, I have to take that even in subjects on Vedas, 2/3rds scholars had to be from outside India and dominate the show. However, the chantings, rites, rituals, rites etc., have to be done by Indians and the non-Indians would go on photographing, videographing, commenting, criticizing and even recommending that such and such rituals should have been performed like this and not like that.

Demonstration of Veda chanting in progress at 6th international workshop on the Vedas at Iringal Artand Crafts Village, Vadakara, on Wednesday 08-01-2014

Demonstration of Veda chanting in progress at 6th international workshop on the Vedas at Iringal Artand Crafts Village, Vadakara, on Wednesday 08-01-2014 (Coutesy – The Hindu)

Experimental “Yagnas” conducted for research: In fact, traditional Vedic scholars say that chantings, rites, rituals, rites etc., can be performed only for the purpose and not for demonstration, fun or observation, as being done in laboratories. No doubt, scholars like Frits Staal could have recorded “The Vedic Ritual of the Fire Altar”. Yagnas are conducted in different parts of India, even in homes depening upon the exigencies, but they are not publicized. Nowdays, just for publicity, some sort of “Yagnas for Peace” are conducted. In Kerala, the conduct of different Yagnas have been reported and attracted by the foreigners. At every time, the “sacrifice of animal” had become a controversial issue[6]. Doing Yoga by persons and getting benefits is different from doing Yoga by somebody and that is watched by others either directly or through film or on TV. Such seeing cannot bring any benefit. Here, in the case of “Conduct of Yagnas” for experimental purposes and shooting them, carrying to aboard and screen them as proof, this is the way Yagnas are conducted in India or were conducted 5000 years ago.

map-Simplified plan of the sacrificial area.with abbre.details

map-Simplified plan of the sacrificial area.with abbre.details

Reenacted, demonstrated and imitated Vedic representations could be taken as original, authentic and accurate: Here, in 6th Vedic workshop, Brahmins were asked to chant Vedas and recorded by the foreign researchers. Ironically, the Brahmins were questioned by Brahmins only or act as interpreters, while the foreign delegates were watching, photographing, and videographing. When mantras are meant for chanting at a particular time, place and purpose and they are done for the purpose demonstration, exhibition and display, how the real effect could be produced is not known. In Tamilnadu, the DK-fellows were imitating some of the rituals to show that they could also do without believing God, religion etc. Later, under the guise of Rationalist Society etc., some people started doing such rites. Thus, now for the purpose of International Workshop, such reenactments are carried on. Therefore, the reality is not there, but only, some sort of dramatic performance is taken as real.

Map used by the priests to lay out the sacrificial area -Barsi 2001

Map used by the priests to lay out the sacrificial area -Barsi 2001

Vedic chanting at odd hours: Nowadays, Yoga has become some sort of international business. Even non-Hindus started claiming that it is not Hindu. Thus, we have many Yoga-experts, teachers and gurus of US, Europe and even Arabia. The poor Christian and Muslim authorities many times have to take contradicting stands about their respective believing clergy turning into heathen or kafiri mode. Of course, in Tamilnadu, ot the land of “Dravidas/Dravidians”, Karunanidhi has already accepted and started doing Yoga, that too, from a “Aryan” master! So here also, Vedic job-workers have started doing their work on request or contract basis. Amazing and wonderful programme has been chalked out to accommodate them to chant according their tune.

For example, there were programs like this[7]:

Sl.No

Time

Program

4 08.45 – 09.1508-01-2014 Assembling in the Veda chanting hall 
5 09.15 – 10.15 Rgveda chanting session – Kerala tradition
8 11.30 – 12.30 Sāmaveda chanting session – Kerala tradition 
9 12.30 – 01.30 Yajurveda chanting session – Kerala tradition
11 02.30 – 03.00 Sāmaveda chanting session – Tamil tradition in Kerala
22 03.45 – 04.1509-01-2014 Akshara Sloka demonstration (only Sanskrit and Manipravaala slokas)

How these chanting would demonstrate the reality of chanting, the chanters and the listened within half-an-hour before lunch, after lunch and at odd hours.

(To be concluded)


[6] Frits Staal, The Vedic Ritual of the Fire Altar, Motilal Banarasidas, New Delhi, 2001, Vol,II,  pp.464-468.

Advertisements