FOURTH INTERNATIONAL VEDIC WORK-SHOP
When Honourable Sri Rameshwar Thakur Ji, His Excellency the Governor of A.P. and the CHANCELLOR, learnt about the Vedic Work-shop at Austin through a letter from Sri Pranab Mukherji Ji, Honourable Minister of External Affairs, Government of India, immediately decided that the Vice-Chancellor, S. V. Vedic University should take part in the said Work-shop and ordered for issuance of deputation orders and clearances. The Government of A.P. issued a G.O. Rt. No. 991, dt.18.05.2007 facilitating U.S. Trip of the Vice-Chancellor of S. V. Vedic University to attend the Fourth International Vedic Work-shop held by the University of Texas at Austin from 24th to 27th May, 2007. The G.O. made it clear that the expenses would be borne by the University. The sponsoring institution, i.e., TTD also green signaled the participation of the Vice-Chancellor in the said Work-shop. Dr. Joel Brereton, the Convener of the Work-shop sent a letter inviting the Vice-Chancellor to take part in the Work-shop.Proceedings of the Work-shop:-
The Work-shop began with a welcome note followed by the Key Note address delivered by Prof. Ludo Rocher. The Key Note address focused on the contribution of H.T. Colebrooke to the Vedic Studies. Altogether, there were 16 sessions. In each session, there were 3-4 papers. Every presentation of paper was followed by the question slot leading to serious discussion. On the whole, the Vedic Linguistics, Rituals, Vedic Deities and the influence of Vedic culture were the prime subjects. Out of about 50 papers presented, some papers were very much informative and analytical.In-depth Study in Vedic Subjects:-
The paper presented by Prof. Konrad Kalus of Bonn University, Germany, under the title "Toward a New Vedic Index of Names and Subjects", drew the attention of all the scholars present in the Work-shop. A century ago, Keith and Macdonnel brought out a wonderful book - "Vedic Index of Names and Subjects" which was appreciated and utilized by almost all the Vedic Researchers in India and abroad. Now Prof. Klaus declared that still there are some more entries to be added to the above index. He added that his Department has taken up a huge project of identifying the left-outs and preparing a comprehensive Vedic Index of Names and Subjects. In the question hour the Vice-Chancellor pointed out some of the left-outs. These remarks were received by the intelligentsia with claps. In the Linguistic session, Dr.Tamara Ditrich of Queensland University, Australia, presented a wonderful paper on the historical development of "Dvandva Samasa" in Rigveda. Undoubtedly, this paper will cause surprise even to the traditional Indian grammarians by revealing several un-identified secrets of Vyakarana Sastra. Another young lady, Dr. Julieta Moleanu, Assistant Lecturer in Sanskrit, University of Bucharest, Romania presented a wonderful paper describing the concept of "Brahman" as envisaged by the Atharvaveda. The presentation of Julia Mendoza, "The Path to the yonder world" and the paper of Dr. Henry John Walker, "The Birth of Asvins in India and Greece" received alround applause. The paper "A short history of Vedic Prefix Verb Compound Accentuation" by Hans Henrich Hack and "The Accentuation of Satapatha Brahmana" by Dr. Jan Houben revealed the fact that the Western scholars excel many Indian Traditional Scholars in understanding the secrets of accents of Udatta, Anudatta, etc. Another such wonderful presentation came from Pof. Peter Scharf in the form of the paper "Vedic accent underlying versus surface". Smt. Sudha Gopala Krishnan's paper, on manuscripts gave a comprehensive picture of the status of manuscripts in India. The paper "Vadhula Anvakhyana" of Dr. Yasuke Ikari, based on the manuscripts available in Malayalam script reveals the depth of study in manuscripts carried out by the foreigners. Another such example is Prof. Michael Witzel's "Some Manuscripts, Colophons and Conclusions". Prof. Shingo Einoo's "Rites for Rain in the Vedic and Post Vedic Literature" gave a comprehensive picture of the rituals performed by the Indians for rains. Dr.Elizabeth Tucker's paper based on "Pippalada Samhita" reveals the thirst of knowledge of Westerners based on the Vedic Literature and Culture. It is also surprising that the Westerners, on large scale are engaged in penetrating research of Upanisads. Prof. Mislav Jezic's "Isa Upanisad - History of the text in the light of the "Upanisadic Parallels" is a wonderful paper presented in the session. Finally, Prof. David Knipe presented a paper "Reflections of Andhra Ahitagnis on Old Age and Dying" proving that the performance of Vedic rituals increases the longevity.Is it a Positive Research?
Though predominantly the Vedic research of Westerners is meant for unearthing the truth, sometimes it looks as if some papers are presented only to ridicule the Indian Customs and Vedic rituals. Dr. Stephanie Jamison of California University presented a paper "The Brahman's Wife". In her paper, Dr. Stephanie attempted to state that the role of the sacrificer's wife encourages vulgar element. It is Dr. Jarrod Whitaker's attempt to establish Indra as a drunkard and womanizing human being, who is a slave of mundane comforts in his paper "Indrahood and the Human Indra".
It is more surprising that some Indian scholars also followed the foot prints of those Westerners to ridicule the "established" Indian notions. For example, Sri Ramachandra Bhatt in his paper, "A new Rigveda revelation of the Vedic Hymns" tried to establish that even today there are sages, who are getting relevations and thus, a new Rigveda in the area of Gokarna, Karnataka is coming into existence. Another painful paper was generated by retired Prof. Ganesh Thite of Pune, India. In his paper, "Vedic ritual Ramayana and Mahabharata" tried to prove that there is no such thing as "Ashvamedha Yaga" and the Ashvamedha Yaga performed by Rama is not at all an Ashvamedha Yaga and thus, the ritual Ashvamedha Yaga is only an illusion. The most painful paper that was presented in the entire Work-shop was that of Smt. Madhavi Kolhatkar. She read a paper "Lakshmi - A branded animal". She went on explaining that the word Lakshmi means, only a cow or sheep or goat or horse with pierced ear or some kind of branding. The presentation of this type of papers can be justified saying that this is an academic research. But still it shatters down the faiths of the people following the oldest tradition on the earth and also leads to down grade the magnanimity of Vedic literature.Out-come of Participation:-
(a) Prof. Julieta Moleanu - Bukharest University, Romania. (b) Prof. Konrad Klaus - Bonn University, Germany. (c) Prof. Joel Brereton - University of Texas, Austin, USA. (d) Dr. Mislav Jezic - Zagreb University, Croatia. (e) Prof. Frits Staal - University of California, Berkeley, USA. (f) Prof. Tamara Ditrich - Queensland University, Australia. (g) Prof. Peter M. Scharf - Brown University, USA. (h) Sri Rangaswamy Iyengar - President, Austin Hindu Temple and Community Centre, Austin. (i) Dr. David M. Knipe - Wisconsin University, Madison, USA. (j) Dr. Neel Kulkarni - Director, Yoga Centre, Virginia, USA. (k) Prof. Laurie L. Patton - Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia.
The deputation of the Vice-Chancellor to the Work-shop is to be fruitful.