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Sacred Spaces: Exploring Traditions of Shared Faith in India by Yoginder


Publisher: Penguin India 0143029312 | Paperback Format: B | 288 pages

| List Price: Rs 250.00 Published : 1/15/2003 Territory : World

Rating : -->

A fascinating journey through the world of Sufi pirs, babas and rishis

The politics of communal hatred in recent times has brought under attack the

heterodoxy of our religious life. This book explores popular religious cults

from various parts of the country that defy the logic of communities as neatly

separated from and necessarily opposed to each other. Travelling from Kerala to

war-torn Kashmir, and from Punjab to Madhya Pradesh, through twenty-five places

of popular pilgrimage—dargahs, temples and shrines—Yoginder Sikand finds

followers from different communities flocking together in common worship.

At Hazrat Nund Rishi at Charar-e-Sharif, or the Wavar shrine at the Ayyappa

pilgrimage of Sabarimala, at the temple of Goddess Elamma of Sauditti, or the

dargah of Sarmad of Delhi, Sikand meets saints, keepers and devotees to

discover how traditions associated with these places have historically

challenged religious as well as secular elites, and offered their adherents a

powerful and deeply humanist vision of the sacred, freed from the narrow

boundaries of caste and creed. But it is also noteworthy that some of these

shrines, such as the Swami Dattatreya Budhan Baba in Karnataka, have been

transformed over time and become sites of communal contestation.

Weaving together legend, history, ethnography and reminiscences with critical

insights, Sacred Spaces affords us a rare glimpse of religious traditions

outside the mainstream. This rich legacy could well be invaluable in promoting

alternate ways of understanding religion and the notion of community identity,

a need that has never been more urgent than it is today.

">Customers Who bought this book also bought Customers Reviews

What does Isreal have to do with India's battle against Pakistan sponsored terrorism in India [not just Jammu & Kashmir]?

Few months or years, how could one remember, India was talking of teaching Pakistan a lesson, IA was ordered at the border, India was finally at war, but suddenly after giving our Jawans a brutal sun-tan they were asked to retreat. Why?

Now we have our PM speaking the language of peace, to who? A man who carries a gun and has shown clear intentions of using it if you dont give him your dollars. Well there is no real clash of civilizations. US wanted a stronghold in oil regions and a jumping plank for future energy reserves in the world. It has got them. Now US wants to break the economical and political back of this Jihadi or as one should say "Arab nationalism", Lawrance must be hating me right now.

A real clash would have been if Muslims all over the globe would have pressured their govts to cut of all ties to US and declare a Jihad against US, did it happen? Oh, Islamic brotherhood you say, its only in the books. Behind all this charade its power that all seek. Well today power lies with US and no Islamic or Arab or any can deny that. US has declared its own Jihad against Jihad. It has reminded the Muslim world that it will not tolerate its chaotic and brutal methods. Post Sept-11 the bombings and killings done by Muslims around the world have no more sympathizers, they are being viewed as criminals, prior to Sept-11 you could have found thousands of leftist Europeans or Indians hailing or having a casual attitude to a bus bombing in Isreal or to a US hostage or US hijacking etc. Well not anymore.

With all sensibilities look at the Islamic civilization today, where does it stand? The false notion of defeating a super-power [USSR] the fanatic Jihadis think they can bring US down, they are mistaken. USSR was not US neither is US USSR. US has always defined its policies in pratical manner and are always revolved against its own interests. Sorry clashers of civilizations, there is not clash, the great Ummah or should I say Islamic civilization, it simply doesnt exist. So what clash are we talking of?

India's case? Well I leave that to the Pundits, cant understand how they can simply argue with truth. Till India doesnt change its mindset and calls spade a spade, till then not just Pakistan, but even Sri Lanka will be a thorn in India's ass.

Achraya: If I'm not mistaken this thread is to post book reviews - kinda like one on BR?

All: Please post the purpose of thread if you are starting one. This way everyone is aware as to what kind of posts go in where. If you want to start a thread - please feel free to do so (rules lot relaxed compared to other places - for now <img src='http://www.india-forum.com/forums/public/style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/wink.gif' class='bbc_emoticon' alt='Wink' /> )

Gill: Welcome. Please see if your post is relevant here - you might have to start a new thread if it dosen't fit into one of the existing one. More on the topic later.


Transitional phase in history

THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY IN INDIAN HISTORY — Evolution or Revolution? P.J. Marshall— Editor; Oxford University Press, YMCA Library Building, Jai Singh Road, New Delhi-110001. Rs.650.

THE 18TH Century is an important watershed in the long and chequered history of India. The period saw the gradual decline of the mighty Mughal Empire that had for centuries, controlled most parts of the country except the extreme south. For a brief while, the Marathas appeared to replace the Mughal hegemony. But the power of the Marathas was irretrievably crushed by the British who, slowly but steadily, rose to political prominence throughout South Asia.

The historiography of the 18th Century India has, for long, been monopolised by the transition of Mughal provinces into successor states often dominated by rebel or splinter groups not belonging to the royal stock.

Most of the earlier writings strongly regard the 18th century as a period of intense revolutionary changes that in turn, paved the way for further revolution. Recent research, however, reveals the "evolutionary nature of these changes, thereby indicating the unbroken continuities between the Mughal Empire and its immediate successors".

Against this backdrop, even the frightening Battle of Plassey (June, 1757) may not exactly be the "turning point" in history but one among a series of events that finally led to the British rule in India.

The book under review, a collection of 15 papers or essays by eminent historians from all parts of the globe, critically explores the nature, volume and pace of political and economic change in the 18th Century India. All the essays were earlier contributed to academic journals or books.

The first four essays provide a generalised account of the movements and events of the 18th Century India. They also probe the historical theories and problems pertaining to this period.

The essay by Irfan Habib will be of special interest to students of economics and commercial history as it deals with the variegated agricultural and revenue systems, industries, exports and imports.

Most of the subsequent essays are detailed and in-depth analyses of specific political systems or events confined to a particular region or area. Bernard Cohn's essay furnishes instances to prove that the decline of the Mughal power in Delhi emboldened several provincial governors and clan leaders to assert independent political control over specific areas or principalities.

The only essay exclusively dealing with South India is that of Susan Bayly. She provides a graphic description of the politico-religious history, administrative policies and court culture of the Nawabs of Arcot. The final essay by Rajat Datta focuses on agrarian economy, with special reference to Bengal region. It includes nine interesting graphs highlighting the fluctuating economic fortunes of the 18th century Bengal.

The book concludes that this was a period of evolution and continuity rather than change. It is a must read for all those keen to know India's complex transition from the medieval to the modern.

POPULATIONS OF THE SAARC COUNTRIES — Bio-cultural perspectives: Jayanta Sarkar and G.C. Ghosh — Editors; Anthropological Survey of India and Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd., L-10, Green Park Extension, New Delhi-110016.

Rs. 300.

ANTHROPOLOGY BEGAN by studying little known exotic populations in order to understand and also generalise principles of human society.

Some historians felt that such an approach was not adequate to understand complex industrial societies. Despite these objections studies of peoples with a focus on a nation started appearing in fairly good number during the 1950s. One of the earliest such attempts is that of L.K. Hsu which appeared in 1952.

It was titled, A Study of China in Transition and Its Implication. Almost in the same year M.N. Srinivas published his study on the Coorgs of Karnataka and Iravati Karve brought out her work, Kinship Organisation of India. Adrian Mayer's Land and Society in Malabar or for that matter, S.C. Dube's Indian Village are similar attempts to focus at a microcosm in order to develop a macrocosm.

Gradually anthropologists started changing this stand because of purely methodological reasons. It was argued that the universe of any kind of anthropological study could not be based on geo-political or linguistic boundaries.

Instead the correct method has to be based on endogamous ethnic groups or what the physical anthropologists will like to call a Mendelian population.

The book under review, consequently, has to be taken as an attempt of only bringing together a large assortment of diverse information for merely the purpose of documentation.

Information on population from seven different countries in the general neighbourhood of each other and forming a club under a political treaty viz., the SAARC countries, has been dealt with in this book.

Part I embodies an article by Chumki Piplai, which traces the population dynamics and ancient movement patterns of the major inhabitants of the SAARC member countries.

This is followed by another article by J.M. Sarcar, which traces the biological affinities of the major population of these countries. Most of this exercise has been done by compiling secondary data. Consequently, nothing more than what is, by far, a well-established fact could be achieved.

For instance, the western populations have higher frequency of Glucose-6 phosphate deficiency while the Mongoloids have low frequency of blood group MS and CDE.

Part II considers the cultural aspects of affinities among the people of the SAARC countries. Jyotirmoy Chakraborty and Rabiranjan Biswas try this difficult task by using such diverse areas of consideration as trade, religion, myths, epics and chronicles.

Even art and architecture as vehicles of cultural diffusion have been considered. Obviously what comes out, as a major casualty in the process, is the fact of overlapping. That each one of these areas can influence one or more of the other areas seems to not bother the authors.

Further myths and epic literature are clubbed together for understanding cultural linkages. This is not entirely the right approach because myths and epics belong to two entirely different genres.

While myth can be considered closer to oral history, epic is in the category of literature. Further, why then not consider the Silapatikaram and the Manimekalai and also the Sangam literature?

The final section of Part II, titled the "Epilogue", and written by J.K. Sarkar and G.C. Ghosh, draws heavily from three publications by Kennedy brought out before 1990.

Apparently the authors missed Kennedy's latest book published in October 2000, God, Apes and Fossil Men. This could have helped them to understand the metamorphosis of prehistoric populations in South Asia in a more holistic manner.

This book aims at an enormous canvas and attempts to deal it within 135 pages. Consequently it basically remains superficial. However, this may help non-specialists to have a glimpse of the people of this region.

Here are some books that i have found useful. Some I own and some i have had a chance to glance through. But a list such as this is hard to come by even in India. The original file is available in [url="http://f6.grp.yahoofs.com/v1/UAlnP0XOGFkroVbQADHMTIvbPZ2tK5lLR88qlUyu9sTvwClKc6UrUKMLRmx7nf2VD9yOJAl75YsjBfuHN2rkquaE8BY/Indian%20History%20Books"]Bharatnirbhaya [/url]

This file will be continuously updated as new references are found.

The goal is to make this a resource for those who are interested(laymen as well

as scholars) in this subject.

References on Indian History;

The History and Culture of the Indian People(HCIP) by R.C. Majumdar is a

comprehensive multivolume series that covers the entire history pretty well too

but then he is also called "saffron" though what he

wrote is the same as written by the Muslim historians

K.A. Nilakanta Sastri et al (eds.)A comprehensive History of India , Calcutta, 1957

K.A. Nilakanta Sastri, A Historyof South India from PreHistoric Times to the fall of Vijayanagara, Madras , 1955


A Brief Bibliography of Military History (University of Illinois) Contains a decent collection of titles on Indian History from Ancient to Post Independence

The Sarasvati Sindhu Vedic Period


A Historical Analysis


Aditya Prakashan, New Delhi,2000


By David Frawley (Vamadeva Shastri)

Aditya Prakashan, 2001, New Delhi, 550 Rupies, Hardback 363 pages,

ISBN 81-7742-039-9.We have a few copies of the book available for sale in USA at the price of $15.00, which includes shipping. Send payment to:

American Institute of Vedic Studies

PO Box 8357, Santa Fe NM 87504-8357

www.vedanet.com, vedanet@a...

Vedic Aryans and the Origins of Civilization

Navratna S. Rajaram & David Frawley

(with a Foreword by Klaus K. Klostermaier)

New Delhi,Voice Of India, 2001, 3rd Edition

The Problem of Aryan Origins, from an Indian Point of View, KD Sethna, Aditya Prakashan, 1980


Evolutionary History of a Lost River in North Western India (Memoir 42)

Edited by B. P. Radhakrishna and S. S. Merh

Geological Society of India, P.B. No. 1922, Govipuram, Bangalore-560019

Price Rs. 500(PB)

Reviewed by K. V. RAMAN

Classical Period

Medieval (Muslim) Period

History of the Rise and fall of the Mohamedan Power in India by Mahomed

Kasim Ferishta, translated by John Briggs

Travels of Ibn Batuta -- translated by H A R Gibb gives first hand account

of the Muslim rulers of INdia as observed by a Muslim traveller -- he can

hardly be called "saffron"

History of India as told by its own historians by Elliot and Dawson

Jadunath Sarkar is a well respected historian and his books on Aurangzeb

and other Muslim rulers are also good source. His book on Aurangzeb is not

easily available since reprint rights are not granted. Some libraries might

have old prints. It is worth reading though. Sarkar does have his bias

against the Marathas, for whatever reason.

Legacy of Muslim Rule in India

K.S. Lal

New Delhi, Aditya Prakashan, 1992

406 pgs, ISBN 81 85179 03 04

{Other books by K.S. Lal: History of the Khaljis (1950, 1967, 1980);

Twilight of the Sultanate (1963, 1980);

Studies in Medieval Indian History (1966);

Studies in Asian History (edited - 1969);

Growth of Muslim Population in Medieval India (1973);

Early Muslims in India (1984);

The Mughal Harem (1988);

Indian Muslims: Who Are They? (1990);

Muslim Slave System in Medieval India (1994);

Growth of Scheduled Tribes and Castes in Medieval India, Aditya Prakashan (1995);

Theory and practice of the Muslim state in India,(1999) }

The following is not a book on Indian History but describes the concept of Jihad

Jihad in the West : Muslim Conquests from the 7th to the 21st

Centuries by Paul Fregosi, Hardcover - 442 pages (October 1998)

Prometheus Books; ISBN: 1573922471 ; Dimensions (in inches): 1.51 x

9.34 x 6.36

Amazon price is $23.80

Some British writers of Indian History from whom we have learnt Indian History

Major General John Malcolm - A Memoir of the Central India (1824)

Captain Grant Duff - History of the Marathas (1826)

Gen. John Briggs - History of the Rise of Mohammedan Power in India (1829)(translation of Tarikh i Farishta by Farishta)

Lt.Colonel James Todd - Anals and Antiquities of Rajasthan (1829-32)

M. Elphinstone (Resident at Peshwa Court, later Governor of Bombay), History of India (1841)

Joseph Cunningham (brother of Gen.A.Cunningham) History of Sikhs (1849)

Lt. R.F.Burton - History of Sindh (1851)

British colonial period

Peter Hopkirk "The Great game , The struggle for empire in Central Asia",Kodansha International, first published 1990

"The British Conquest and Dominion of India" by Sir Penderel Moon. Published in two volumes by India Research Press, 1999.

Pages 1264. Price Rs 1800.

Independence Movement and Post Independence Period

RC Majumdar, ‘History of the freedom movement in India’,1962, 2nd revised edition, Firma KL Mukhopadhyay, Calcutta, 1971

V.P. Menon, The Transfer of Power in India, Bombay , 1957

V.P.Menon, The story of the Integration of the Indian states, Bombay, 1956.

The Fate of Tibet

When big insects eat small insects

Claude Arpi

with a Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama

New Delhi, Har-Anand, 1999

Muslim League Attack on Sikhs and Hindus in the Punjab 1947

Compiled for the SGPC



Introduction to the reprint



Voice of India, New Delhi
Prof.S.N.Balagangadhara's book has to be mentioned in this. It is extremely expensive so I would try and get it through inter-library loan system. He has also written a paper available for private distribution - I will have to ask for his permission to redistribute it.

Amazon link for the book

[url="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/9004099433/qid=1063756843/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/002-7951558-8160854?v=glance&s=books&n=507846"]The 'Heathen in His Blindness...': Asia, the West and the Dynamic of Religion [/url]

He has written a couple of articles on Sulekha also .

[url="http://sulekha.com/column.asp?cid=271421"]On Colonial Experience and the Indian Renaissance: A Prolegomenon to a Project [/url]

Other must-reads..

[url="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0691088950/qid=1063757152/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_1/002-7951558-8160854?v=glance&s=books&n=507846"]Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India by Nicholas Dirks.[/url]

[url="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0253213584/ref=pd_sim_books_1/002-7951558-8160854?v=glance&s=books"]Imagining India by Ronald Inden[/url]
Yvette Rosser, also known to many of us as RamRani, was seriously

injured in a automobile accident in New Mexico Friday. Last report

from the hospital was that she is in serious, but stable condition

and would not be able to accept phone calls for several days. She and

her two sons, who are ok, were traveling to the temple of her beloved

Hanuman-ji in Taos, New Mexico. She is hospitalized in Santa Fe, New

Mexico and many of her temple friends have come to be nearby. We will

provide an update on her condition when it is available.

Dr. Yvette Rosser completed B.A. with Honors in the Department of

Oriental and African Languages and Literature, an M.A. in the

Department of Asian Studies, and a Ph.D. in the Department of

Curriculum and Instruction all from University of Texas in Austin.

Her Master's Thesis topic was "Global Education: India in the

U.S.Secondary Social Studies Curriculum", and her Doctoral

Dissertation topic was "Curricula as Destiny: Forging National

Identities in India, Pakistan, and pray for her speedy and complete

recovery. Bangladesh." Currently, she is a Research Associate with

the Observer Research Foundation (ORF) in New Delhi, currently

resides in Austin, Texas.

Yvette has traveled widely in India and has done much to promote the

welfare of indigenous people in North-East India and elsewhere. We

Yvetteji (Ramrani) has been in correspondence sporadically with me in the past. May God grant her a speedy recovery back to a healthy and productive life. Yvetteji has been a consistent and proactive friend of India. She has followed up her adoption of Hinduism with a very active program of activities in support of the Hindu renaissance.

[quote name='Kaushal' date='Sep 17 2003, 11:23 AM'] Yvetteji (Ramrani) has been in correspondence sporadically with me in the past. [/quote]

Same here. I am sorry to hear of this and if there is any move to organize some form or assistance we would be happy to help. She had a wacky sense of humor and was an articulate writer on certain aspects of the Hindu universe.

I am also sorry to hear about Yvette Rosser. Any update on the situation?

On another note, I have a copy of "In search of Indo-Europeans" from the library. I am about to start reading the book. Is it worth spending several days? Any reviews of the book do you know of?

Quote:On another note, I have a copy of "In search of Indo-Europeans" from the library. I am about to start reading the book. Is it worth spending several days? Any reviews of the book do you know of?

Mallory expresses the classical view. One cannot fault linguistics for the conclusion which people fall into. Linguistics is a valid field of inquiry and i suppose Mallory is as qualified to write on the subject as any. Where linguistics falls short and provides little evidence, is the time scale over which migrations may have occurred or have been postulated. My own preference is Colin Renfrew 'Archaeology and Language - the puzzle of indo european origins, Cambridge University Press,1987.

A trap many europeans (and Indians ) fall into is that from the hypothesis that there existed a Indo european family of languages, there necessarily follows the conclusion that there existed a family of Indo-european people. All we know for certain at this point is that the IE family of languages were prevalent over a large portion of the eurasian land mass even in antiquity.

Here is one review [url="http://www.geocities.com/solarguard/pagan/searchindos.html"]http://www.geocities.com/solarguard/pagan/...earchindos.html[/url] .

As you can imagine views on this subject are for the most part polarized and depend on the camp to which the reviewer belongs.

If you have a serious interest in the Indo-European and Indo-Aryan problems, then Mallory is a must read. If you have no interest in linguistics then it may be of no interest. Mallory's forte is lingusitics and he is rather effective at that. However, in terms of archaeology it is somewhat dated. For a more updated view you may see the Tarim mummies along with Mair, where they discuss the IA problem more objectively. In any case archaeology has not thrown much light on the IE and IA problems. Renfrew's book is more heavy on archaeology but shabby in terms of linguistics and comparative mythology.

In my opinion the Indo-Iranian languages and culture are most critical to the understanding of early IE. This was also the view of the western scholars until the end of the 1940s. Suddenly after that the focus on I-Ir started decreasing and it was relegated to a relatively unimportant position in IE studies. The books of both Mallory and Renfrew suffer from this bias against I-Ir. The excess attention given to Hititte by both these streams is real not helpful. This has had negative consequences in attacking the IE problem. In part Mallory and Mair try to address that in the Tarim mummies but their thinking is still constrained by the old biases that are still there. The mainstream Indologists spearheaded by Witzel and his lackeys are only adding to the problem by their inaccurate work on the Indian material. Likewise most native Indian scholars are also shoddy in their work and labor under some delusions effort to fight strawmen (The Aryan invasion debate). But one will have to do far more serious investigation beyond Mallory and Renfrew to understand the nuances of the problem. Nevertheless, they are a good place to start.
[quote name='Hauma Hamiddha' date='Sep 22 2003, 05:41 AM'] If you have a serious interest in the Indo-European and Indo-Aryan problems, then Mallory is a must read. If you have no interest in linguistics then it may be of no interest. Mallory's forte is lingusitics and he is rather effective at that. [/quote]

Kaushal and HH

Thanks for your suggestions. I am interested in digging to a suffieciently deep (but not very deep) level to understand what the question is and the the different POVs and solutions proposed by scholars working in the area.

I did a quick ~ 1 hr scan of the book. What is interesting to me was that inspite of Mallory being an archeologist (at least that is the impression I got from my quick scan), his theories are based on comparative linguistics. As HH says, he has not given lot of references to Sanskrit though quotes Sir Jones (the then Justice of the Indian Supreme Court and a Linguist of considerable standing) early on.

It is definitely a project of considerable effort to go through the book and summarize for the forum. I will try to do that in the coming month(s). Now that winter is just about here, I would have lot more time to spend on reading.

On another note, I have a copy of the Bhartrihari's Shataka Traya by Barbara Stoler Miller. There are a lot of interesting things said about Sanskrit poetry in general and Bhartrihari in specific. I hope to review some this stuff as well for the forum. Stay tuned.

I am soliciting the opinions of the forum members on Miller.

I have a print copy of Max Mullers - Rg Veda the primitive religion of the Brahmins.

I managed to get a copy from mail order from a white supramacist store
Bhartrihari was the poet laureate of India (during his era). Some accounts say he was the brother of K. Vikramaditya. I have Vairagya Satakam one of 3 series of the Subhashita trisati. There is a proposal to make Bhartrihari compulsory reading for all (English ) literature degree candidates. I dont know whether it has been implemented yet.There was no thought of such proposals during the time when i was a student in India (late 50's) and i suspect the very thought would have been considered sacrilegious. The subhashitas are gems of Vedantic wisdom.

Dawn of Indian Civilization Up to 600 BC

History of Science, Philosophy & Culture

in Indian Civilizations, Volume I, Part 1

Edited by G.C. Pande, December 1999

Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers

ISBN: 81-87586-00-X

819 pages illustrated

$97.50 Hardcover

This first volume is a new adventure in the historiography of Indian civilization. It avoids the ethnic and West-centred bias which has been a legacy of colonial historiography. It seeks strict scientific objectivity, differing from all hithero existing volumes of this kind by giving due attention to science and philosophy in the history of Indian civilization.

History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilization : Vol. I, Part I : The Dawn of Indian Civilization (up to c. 600 BC)/edited by G.C. Pande. New Delhi, 1999, xxxii, 787 p., maps, figs, plates, ISBN 81-87586-00-1.

Contents: Preface. General introduction/D.P. Chattopadhyaya. Introduction/G.C. Pande. I. Historiography of Ancient India: 1. Sources of ancient Indian history/V.C. Srivastava. 2. Puranic historiography of the Vedic age/S.N. Roy. II. Geography and Ethnography: 3. Physical features of India/Indra Pal. 4. Human geography of India/Indra Pal. 5. Approaches to Indian ethnography/Badri Narayan Tiwari. III. Prehistory, Technology and Social Evolution: 6. A brief note on Indian stone age archaeology/V.D. Misra. 7. Prehistoric technology/Prakash Sinha. 8. The emergence of culture in the Vindhya-Ganga region with special reference to old stone age/Radha Kant Varma. 9. Cave paintings of Central India/Sushila Pant. 10. Agriculture, domestication of animals, ceramic and other industries in prehistoric India: mesolithic and neolithic/V.D. Misra. IV. Proto-History (Harappan and Chalcolithic Cultures): 11. The Indus-Sarasvati civilization: beginnings and developments/S.P. Gupta. 12. Religious and burial practices of Harappans: Indian evidence/Jagat Pati Joshi. 13. Harappans and the Rgveda: points of convergence/R.S. Bisht. 14. Decline and legacy of the phase of Indus civilization/B.B. Lal. 15. Chalcolithic cultures and technology in India/D.P. Agrawal. 16. Early iron technology and its socio-economic impact/Vibha Tripathi. 17. Rise of cultures in eastern India/Purushottam Singh. 18. Material culture of South India as revealed in archaeological excavations/K.V. Raman. V. The Vedas, Vedic Society and Ideas: 19. The Vedas: their authors and significance/G.C. Pande. 20. Vedic society/Sibesh Bhattacharya. 21. Vedic rituals/Kishore Nath Jha. 22. Vedic and upanisadic philosophy/Arvind Sharma. 23. Astronomy and its role in Vedic culture/Subhash Kak. VI. Foundations and Beginnings of Systematic Science: 24. Vedic technology/Prem Sagar Chaturvedi. 25. Foundations of Indian mathematics and geometrical ideas in the Sulba Sutras/S.A. Paramhans. 26. Vedanga astronomy/S.N. Jha. 27. Development of Ayurveda from antiquity to AD 300/P.V. Sharma. 28. Panini, Katyayana and Patanjali: an overview of Sanskrit grammatical tradition/Rama Nath Sharma. Bibliography. Index.

"This first volume is a new adventure in the historiography of Indian civilization. It avoids the ethnic and west centred bias which has been a legacy of colonial historiography. It seeks strict scientific objectivity, differing from all hitherto existing volumes of this kind by giving due attention to science and philosophy in the history of Indian civilization.

"The contributions are based on the first-hand and critical study of the original sources by the best known experts. While meticulously attending to chronology and hard data, the volume also seeks to understand scientific and philosophical concepts, methods and theories. It seeks to present the symbolic world of art and culture as grounded in moral vision as well as social reality. The work is designed to be of use to scholars and specially to students and general readers.

"The volume is divided into six sections: Historiography; Geography and Ethnography; Prehistory, Technology and Social Evolution; Proto-History; The Vedas, Vedic Society and Ideas; and Foundations and beginnings of systematic science." (jacket)

[D.P. Chattopadhyaya also wrote Anthropology and Historiography of Science History, Individuals and World and Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx.]
More on Yvette Rosser and her recovery.

From: Kulkarni, Beth [mailto:kulkarni@hal-pc.org]

> Sent: Wednesday, September 24, 2003 5:43 PM

> To: Undisclosed-RecipientAngrypostman.medtronic.com;

> Subject: Yvette Rosser -- RamRani (Health status and

> bank account for donations)



> Please forward this to RamRani's friends:


> Yvette Rosser, whom some of us know better as

> RamRani, is recovering in Santa Fe, New Mexico from

> a serious automobile accident which occurred on

> September 11 as she was on the way from Austin to

> the Hanuman Temple in Taos. After time in ICU and

> regular room, she is now in a rehabilitation area

> where she is undergoing therapy and wanting to go

> home ASAP. I spoke to her just a few minutes ago and

> she was very alert.


> Unfortunately although Yvette has been working in

> Austin for a foundation based in India since

> completing her Ph.D. in August, she has no health

> insurance and the PIP part of her auto insurance is

> very limited.


> As per her daughter, for those who are able to help,

> either individually or through organizing

> fundraisers, a bank account has been set up for

> receiving donations to help with her medical and

> rehab expenses. It is at University Federal Credit

> Union in Austin. The routing number is 314977405

> and the account number is 900110174 for those who

> may wish to send a wire transfer. For mailing

> checks, the address is


> Yvette Rosser/Krystina Siebenaler

> 2403 Trafalgar Dr.

> Austin, TX 78723


> Yvette's daughter Krystina will be able to pick up

> and deposit checks.

An example of her recent efforts on the topic of teaching of history in India.


Note the reference to Dharampal and his book The Beautiful Tree ( an expression coined by Gandhiji)
Book Notice

Religion as Knowledge - The Hindu Concept

Janaki Abhisheki


Second rev. ed. 2003 (first published 1988)

xxvi+462p., 23cm ; ISBN 81-88643-03-3

Rs. 300/- (Pb)


Publishers & Booksellers

2/18, Ansari Road

New Delhi - 110 002 (INDIA)

Tel.2327 8034 ; Fax: (011)2328 2047

email: bibimpex@nda.vsnl.netin.



This book is a serious attempt at informing the average Indian, and

particularly the Hindu, of his philosophy, culture and heritage.

Although India’s is the oldest continuous civilization, for various

reasons the Hindu today is largely ignorant of his heritage. While some

of the reasons for this ignorance are historical, viz., the loss of

freedom, etc., some of it is due to our own neglect.

India has been free for about forty years but even today the average

Hindu is largely unaware of his identity and heritage ¾ a heritage that

any people would be proud to possess. Surprisingly, this most important

aspect of a people, their cultural identity, is not taught in our

schools and colleges. We see ignorant attitudes, misconceptions and

foolish denigration, which do little credit to a civilization that

respected Knowledge above all else. It is this living heritage of

knowledge that is preserved in Sanskrit literature and the many Prakrit


Religion is not meant for the next world but this world itself. Hindu

philosophy was concerned with knowledge, which meant a study of all

material ‘image,’ to search for its relevance and meaning. On the basis

of this philosophy the ancient Hindu thinkers worked out a practical and

dynamic pattern of living based on a Law, Order and a Work Ethic.

The Hindu philosophy relating knowledge to action will be seen to have

helped Hindus adapt to each age and place. It has given Hinduism its

demonstrable staying power. It provided the essential needs of a


If this book inculcates in the reader the desire to know more, the need

for purity in thought, word and deed, the need for honesty and

discrimination in the pursuit of knowledge, the necessity of unselfish

conduct, generosity, courage, devotion and hard work which is the

message of religion, then the book will have more than served its



Vaijayanti Ranade (1927-1999) studied at the Loretto Convent in Shillong

and later spent some time in Shantiniketan studying art at the Kala

Bhavan. Recognizing the power of religion, she spent a decade reading

and researching books on various religions, their scriptures, sayings,

teachings and history. For understanding Hindu thought she had to learn

Sanskrit to be able to go to the source of the original texts. She was

fascinated by the depth of knowledge, insight and understanding in the

Hindu Philosophy which dealt with matters from the most subtle to the


Conscious of the countless men and women who have through the ages

contributed and passed on this priceless heritage, she in all humility

assumed the name of Janaki Abhisheki, which suggests the anointing by a

daughter of the soil, and translated all the knowledge she had gleaned

into action by writing this book. Encouraged by the overwhelming

response to this book, she later wrote and illustrated the Tales and

Teachings of the Mahabharat published by Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay.

She passed away on Durgashatami, 19th August 1999.

Contents: Preface, Acknowledgement, (i) Introduction, (ii) A Brief

Historical Background, (iii) Sanatana Dharma, (iv) Veda, (v) Upanishad,

(vi) Smriti, (vii) Purana, (viii) Ramayana, (ix) Mahabharata, (x)

Bhagavad Gita, (xi) Arthasastra, (xii) Kamasastra, (xiii) Karma, (xiv)

Chaturvarna, (xv) The Six Philosophical Systems, (xvi) Saints, (xvii)

Women in Hinduism, (xviii) Meanings of Symbols in Hinduism, (xix) Hindu

Contribution to World Knowledge, (xx) Some Problems of Indology, (xxi)

Conclusion, (xxii) Chronological Table of Important Works, (xxiii)

Pronunciation of words rendered from English to Devanagari, (xxiv)

Bibliography, (xxv) Index.


“The author is a housewife, scholar, publisher, a spiritual seeker but

with the intellectual ability to theorize and formulate. Her recent

publication, The Religion as Knowledge: The Hindu Concept, is a valuable

document on Hinduism; it is valuable both for lay readers as well as the

learned...” - Ram Swarup

“... A study of your book will be a much needed re-education to all our

educated people in politics, administration, teaching, journalism, the

professions, and in private life. You have shown what blessings lie for

our people, especially our women if and when they will realise that

worship of Saraswati comes first, and then only should come the worship

of Lakshmi, that they are not two jealous sisters, as our people in

their decadent state have been thinking but are two very loving and

lovable sisters, with Saraswati standing for pure knowledge and Lakshmi

standing for applied knowledge...”

-Swami Ranganathananda, Ram Krishna Math, Hyderabad

“There are illuminating chapters on the Ramayana, the Mahabharat, the

Bhagavad Gita, Meanings of Symbols in Hinduism etc., all throwing new

light and providing new insights. On the whole, a volume worth reading,

and re-reading.”

- The Times of India

“... Unlike most books on Hinduism this one does not stop only with

treating the religious works but has also dealt with works on Artha

(politics and economics) and Kama (vital and cultural). This serves to

give a balanced view of Hindu thought as the accepted Hindu view deals

with the four goals of Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksa...”

-The Indian Express

“... Readers can benefit from this compendium on Hinduism. Kautilya’s

Arthasastra, a compendium of politics, sociology, and economics and

philosophy received the attention it deserves expounding how the king

was a symbol of power and protection of the people. There are brilliant

chapters on Indian Epics - the Ramayana and Mahabharata, the Bhagavad

Gita, the concept of Sanatana Dharma, etc. all throw a new light

providing penetrating insights into Hindu religion..."

- The Hindu

“... The title of your book is somewhat deceptive since religion has a

limited meaning in the English language. I was therefore pleasantly

surprised that you have touched and explained all the important aspects

of our culture, namely religion, the six systems of philosophy and the

achievements of our forefathers in different branches of learning. You

have also presented your views in an engaging and lucid language and the

book fully deserves to be read by our educated youth and Indians abroad,

who have now started evincing interest in their own culture...”

- Shri M.R. Yardi, Chairman, Bhandarkar O.R. Institute, Pune

“…Smt. Abhisheki has rendered a great service in bringing out this

concise but complete work touching upon all salient aspects of Sanatana

Dharma. This book helps to remove erroneous and half-baked ideas which

the modern man may have regarding certain monumental works such as the

Arthasastra and Kamasutra... To have made so much knowledge available in

so brief a compass in simple language is an achievement for which Smt.

Abhisheki can rightly take credit...”

- Bhavan’s journal

“... Your book Religion as Knowledge - The Hindu Concept bears testimony

of your reasoned conviction in our Sanatana Dharma. Your effort is


- His Holiness the late Shri Jagadguru Shankaracharya Dakshinamnaya Sri

Sharada Peetham, Sringeri
crossposted from Bharatnirbhaya

Annapurna - Book review


by P. Arundhati. Concept Publishing, New Delhi. Pages 108. Rs 200.

Review by Kavita Chauhan

THE book under review is a collection of articles written and

lectures delivered by the author on different occasions. The title

of the book "Annapurna"is very misleading, basically the book is

about the life and culture of ancient India. The articles cover a

wide range of subjects like nourishment, medicine, ecology,

psychology, chemistry and petrology.

The book is a rich contribution to ideological studies. The author

talks about various concepts that flourished under different

dynasties in ancient India. The essay "Annapurna" is about the

spiritual significance given to annam (food) in Hinduism. The

term "annam"is derived from the Sanskrit root "ad" to eat, has its

origin in food and nourishment. The Aranyakas state that the jiva is

covered by five kosas (sheaths) ¨C namely, annamayakosa,

pranamayakosa, manomyakosa, vigynanamayakosa and anandamayakosa and

is nourished by means of annam in sukshma and sthulakosas. Thus the

Brahman who is the form of jiva is to be worshiped by offering annam.

The people of ancient India recognised the spiritual significance of

annam and held that it forms one of the sheaths annamayakosa that

the being of a person. Since annam is the main source of life, in

Hindu mythology there is a goddess associated with food, who is

known as Annapurna. Goddess Annapurna is the presiding deity of

Kashi, the most sacred place in India. Though very few temples are

dedicated to her; most of them are found in South India only. The

cult of Mother Goddess is expressed in different forms in Indian

literature: Aditi, Prithvi, Sita and Gauri are the Goddesses

mentioned in the Vedas.

Some of the essays are centred around Andhra Pradesh during the

Satvahana and Chalukya rule. The Nanaghat, Nashik and Talgunda

inscriptions left behind by the Satvahana dynasty show that Vedism,

Saivism, Bhagvatism and other Brahmanical cults and traditions

flourished during this period. The archaeological findings and

literary sources like Gathasaptasathi testifies this. The village

folk of ancient Andhra Pradesh was free from the domination of the

priestly class and complicated rituals. Their way of worship was

very simple. The path of bhakti occupied a higher place in the

hearts of people. Gathasaptsathi gives a detailed description of the

village life of the Satvahana dynasty.

In ancient India dietics is a subject intimately connected with the

welfare of the kings. King Somadeva describes in his "Yasastilaka"

that king Yasogarh listens to an exposition of sound dietics by his

royal physician as a part of his daily activities. Somadeva

discusses the medicinal values of food with reference to the nature

of human body and changing environment. According to the ayurvedic

system of medicine, the human body consists of panchamahabhutas or

the five elements ¡ª namely, earth, water, fire, wind and ether.

These five elements are to be substituted in the body by means of

food and drinks. The imbalance of these elements results in disease.

This is the reason why Somadeva like other ancient scholars and

philosophers, laid emphasis on sound dietics and exercise for the

welfare of the king; since the welfare of the whole country is the

summum bonum of his life.

The kings used to enjoy their leisure time listening to different

kathas. King Somesvara of the Chalukya dynasty gives a detailed

description of kathavinoda in his treatise "Mansollasa."

Bharata¡¯s Natya Sastra is the earliest and systematic treatise on

aesthetics. The concept of eight rasas propounded by Bharata

influenced king Somesvara. It is stated that kathas are of four

types ekvartrika, divivarika, chaturmuka and bahupurusa depending

upon the number of singers. The one whose voice is full of life,

well versed in all ragas, eloquent, capable of reading the passages

clearly, possesses knowledge of tala (beat), gita (lyric), and the

katha (story) should be invited by the king to sing kathas.

The Chalukyas of Kalyani who ruled over the present Karnataka and

Andhra during the 11th and 12th centuries were great patrons of

painting besides architecture. The temples of Kolpaka,

Paccalasomeswara, Allahdurgh are some of silent witness of their

love for art. The technique of vajralepa is unique in the history of

Indian paintings. The vajralepa is used for the preparation of the

ground for the painting. King Somesvara gives a method of

preparation of the lepan. The skin of a buffalo is cooked in milk

till it becomes a soft paste like butter. White clay and other

dhatus called naga is mixed with vajralepa and coated smoothly and

evenly on the wall three times before painting. The use of leather

and milk in the art of painting has been found in other countries

like Egypt, Rome, etc. even in modern period.

The author, as a Registering Officer in the Archaeological Survey of

India, discovered several sites and temples of archaeological

significance. The book offers interesting reading for those who are

into ideological studies.
i wonder what the author means by this sentence The articles reflect the strength and

vitality of Indian culture.


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