Science and Sanskrit tradition: A Western scholar's challenge - 1

This is a first of a series of articles that attempts to capture a very interesting RMF debate and discussion in Sept-Oct 2012, between a Western scholar, Rajiv Malhotra, and RMF commentators.

Rajivji recently received a manuscript from Karl-Stéphan (KSB), and noted (Sept 12, 2012): "A Westerner who is studying Sanskrit in India has sent me a paper that challenges the way Indians want to integrate modern science and Sanskrit. After a few rounds of emails between us, he has agreed to my suggestion that we should post it as a separate thread in this egroup, so people can exchange comments. I intend to post my response to it tomorrow after members have had a day to read it. My goal is to discuss the substance of what is being said. He will then respond. After he and i have gone back and forth at least once each, others may also post their views. Let us not mix this thread with anything outside its topic. His condition is that I post his paper in entirely with no editing. I am doing that below."

I'm only posting the abstract below and will try to publish the paper if I obtain permission from Rajiv ji (you can of course find the entire paper on RMF). I will then attempt to summarize the responses from both sides over the next few days.The RMF link to this thread is here.

New perspectives on Indian doxography
Jawaharlal Nehru University, (Special Center For Sanskrit Studies) New Delhi, India 2012

After witnessing the persistent popularity of Fritjof Capra's The Tao of Physics among Indian intellectuals, I felt the need to review such literature. My thesis is that the modern Indian interest in unifying ancient philosophies and Western Sciences is the continuation of a long process of systematic attempts by Indian thinkers to combine all the known authoritative systems of thought under a unified and coherent world view that not only safeguards the foundation of their age-old tradition, often at the cost of doctrinal aberration, but that promotes itself as superior to any other competing discourse. Observing how these modern writings share striking features with ancient doxographical attempts, I suggest that such literature can be said to be a continuation of the Indian doxographical tradition and, in parallel, of the process toward Hindu unity.

As as first step toward understanding the KSB is talking about, i found the following entry for doxography in Wikipedia.

Summary Document of RMF Thread on Plagiarism

Rajiv Malhotra: I have uploaded a file with posts by various persons that highlight the discussion we had on plagiarism. I want wider readership on this issue than just our members. So one concrete thing you can do (for those who ask me for concrete things to do) is to get more people to read this as part of re-educating our own leaders, thinkers, writers, etc.

Rajiv Malhotra's major lecture at Chicago Balaji Temple, June 3, 2012

Rajiv Malhotra provides some context for his major lecture at the Chicago Balaji Temple:

"While my recent book has been discussed in numerous forums, each talk takes on a flavor depending on the specific audience. The talk in the above link was before an audience of well informed Indian Americans dedicated to their dharmic tradition. The focus, therefore, was specifically to convince such an audience of the major tenets of BEING DIFFERENT and why these matter to modern day practitioners.
This is the final part of my lecture series in Chicago this summer. Earlier I had sent out the videos of my other events during that trip.
I hope you will enjoy this video."

RMF Summary: Week of October 17-23, 2012

Italicized words are mine and not part of the original RMF post.

If you enjoy reading fiction:
The author a Prof. M. M. Ninan  has written a book "The Emergence Of Hinduism From Christianity" Nearly a 1,000 have downloaded it.
A Study of how Hinduism emerged from Christianity brought into India by St.Thomas by syncretic gnostic integration

Update: A person noted a similar situation at Karol Bagh station in New Delhi. The Bangalore Hindu did not keep quiet, and raised a ruckus upon being brazenly 'solicited', which scared the evangelist off. Interesting approach.
This is truly wonderful news. Please share this.
Rajiv Malhotra posts: I am copying below a concrete example of textbook changes we have caused just this past week with the help of a very tiny team and with zero budget. The Hinduism chapter of one very popular US school textbook is now being corrected as a result of what we did just in the past month. You can see the impact that has resulted very quickly. We did not hold any gatherings (of "like minded people" to give lectures to each other, or pat each other's backs, spend a single dollar of budget.) But we did the right action. Nor have we made any public noises about what we were doing. Since I initiated the USA textbook changes project nearly 20 years ago, we have a large database of such books and critiques, along with various attempts both successful and failed.... (7 comments)

October 22: Dramatic growth of Hindu education institutions across the country
The rising sun of the swamiji schools With yoga, transcendental meditation, Indian spiritual wisdom and cuisine having won themselves global reputation,..
(This may seem like the change that Hindus can believe in, but there is more to this than meets the eye it seems. Rajiv Malhotra, notes, among other things, ".. But many schools i visit that are run by big hindu gurus are in fact trying hard to become like the old convent schools run by christians. Even the yoga taught in many cases is like the secularized YMCA yoga, depleted of its hindu roots.")

October 23:  Thread Closed-"Foreign invaders were unimpressed by Hindustan"
This thread based on Eddie (Hadley?)'s comment is now closed. Is spite of the many & varied responses from other group members, commenter Eddie merely kept...
(what a relief!)

October 23: Italians converting to Hinduism - ??
Namaste. Placed below is a news item in circulation titled - Italians converting to Hinduism"  ! Please follow through the post below carefully. Contemplate.

Question:Who would be happy to gloat about and training their future killers and future generational bosses ?
ResponseThe so called  ' Hindus' who don't understand what is ' Dharma ' Protection !
Reasoning:  : Why would Vatican invite a 'Veda Pundit' to train their own small folk and get ' authorized entry' in to the ' targeted ' Vedic Tradition' ? and desire the training to he held at Italy ?

... To learn more, become a member of the Rajiv Malhotra Forum at Yahoogroups (it is free), and follow the illuminating discussions.


RMF Summary: Week of October 10-17, 2012

We list the various topics that we discussed the last seven days. In future, we will try to focus on a few discussions and distill the moderators and readers comments. My office work is on emergency mode, so apologies. Again, register for free and contribute as well as enjoy the discussions at RMF.

Oct 10: A Blog's interest in Chicago Videos
The chicago talk of Rajiv Malhotra can be found here and the blog link here.

Oct 11: Religious conversions - a problem I see
I have been part of this group for some time, but this is my first post. I would request you all to comment on a practical problem that I am seeing.
  1. As all of you have noted, Religious conversions are taking place at an alarming rate in India, specially in Andhra Pradesh. I have been interacting with some NGOs who have given me statistics of conversion which are pretty alarming (I am not quoting them here, since I have not verified those numbers).
... [5 comments so far]

Oct 12: Credibility crisis among Indian Christian leaders?
Even if below observation is right, I do believe in 20 years time Christian leadership will be seen in major sections of society. At present they are ...
Related article link is here.

Oct 12:  regarding Chicago video
In the Q&A session video in Chicago, Rajiv, you said, that gurus should do thorough purv paksha of Christianity which would need a 4 years course. I would consider it a waste of time for those Hindu gurus if they delved deeply into the belief system of Christianity, as the basic and major faults of Christianity are easily to grasp, yet...

Here's the link to the video.

Oct 13: Intense Q&A at two major Chicago temples
(see previous Oct 12 post for link to Q&A video)
Question: Does Christianity make people more individualistic than Hinduism?  Are Westerners more individualistic than Indians because of their religion?

Response: It is a common belief that Westerners are more individualistic and Indians are stuck in their caste or jati and they are stuck in a hierarchyand are not able to think for themselves.  This belief is one of the stereotypes that European Indologists built about us.  I argue against this stereotype by offering many counter-examples.... [4 comments so far]

Oct 13:  Re: Christian mysticism (was Science and Sanskrit tradition:..)
In light of the dark Christian mystical experiences catalogued by Surya below, does anyone know of any publications which have investigated differences between...
This is a very interesting thread that is a continuation of an original thread that started off as a debate between a western scholar planning to write a paper relating to Hinduism and India and Rajiv's response to his questions, followed by some very nuanced responses from several readers. This thread deserves a lot more space and we will discuss the original thread and the followup in depth in our next post.

Oct 16:  A Neuropsychiatric Approach to Deconstructing Western Civilization
Dear all, I came across a book by the British psychiatrist Dr. Iain McGilchrist, entitled "The Master And His Emissary," which puts forward a very interesting...

Oct 17:  Christian conversion efforts in Bangalore.
So I was walking down a very busy road in the South of Bangalore and got this flyer handed out to me. It was about how jesus could solve all my problems in.. [4 comments so far]

Oct 17:  Western confidence and Indian youths
In one of the chapter of BD, Rajiv explains that Indians youths today have been mostly westernized and the confidence they possess is western(or american) and... [10 comments]

Oct 17:  Foreign invaders were unimpressed by Hindustan
Rajiv, Sir, I have difficulty following your notion of "digestion". What is being digested and where is the rational debating framework? As you know,...[12 comments]
A person named Eddie quotes specimen like Babur, Macaulay, Amartya Sen in this polemic that has been rehashed so many times. Should readers rush to counter these claims or point him to volumes of information that have completed bypassed Eddie


The aim of this blog is to summarize the latest ongoing discussions and debates in the Rajiv Malhotra Forum (yahoogroups) and provide a quick, searchable reference and  short descriptions of for the latest happenings there. Note that the interpretations here will be ours, and thus liable to be colored by our subjectivity and cognitive limitations, given the increasing level of sophistication and nuances within the debates that take place on this forum. Therefore, it is highly recommended that you register and join the discussion group (it is free!) and follow the debates first-hand and use this blog mainly as a quick and approximate reference.

We plan to provide weekly updates. You can optionally follow @integralunity on twitter to subscribe to get the latest changes, or simply follow this blog. We use the hashtag #RMF on twitter to post updates, and request that you this hashtag if you tweet on these discussions.  This is a fully voluntary service. Those wishing to contribute or join in the effort can contact us via twitter.

In this first post, we highly recommend that you buy (or borrow if you cannot afford it) and read Rajiv Malhotra's book 'Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism'. This is virtually a prerequisite to be able to follow the intricate points raised in the RMF discussions.

Vazhga Dharmam. Let Dharma prevail.