(This is the final part of the monograph “Western Indologists – A Study in Motives” – by Pandit Bhagvad Datt, which is being presented as a 4 part series. Read earlier parts here – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3)
Most Bharatiya Scholars And Politicians Unaware Of This Bias
We have sufficiently exposed the mentality of this type of Western scholars. They received enormous financial aid from their Governments and also from the British Government in Bharat, which they freely used in writing articles, pamphlets and books propagating their reactionary views in a very subtle and disguised manner. It was their careful endeavour not to give themselves away and to mislead the world and the people of Bharatvarsha under the cloak of scholarship and impartiality. They might have pretty well succeeded in their work had not their apple-cart been upset by Swami Dayananda Saraswati, who ruthlessly exposed their nefarious designs.
Swamiji was a man of unique personality, indomitable courage, keen intellect and far-reaching vision and imagination He had come in contact with many European scholars of his time. He had met George Buhler, Monier Williams1, Rudolf Hoernle, Thibaut and others who had worked with Christian zeal in the field of Sanskrit research. He was the first man whose penetrating eye could not fail to see through the ulterior motives of their research work, although the common run of people in Bharatvarsha and even most of the learned men in the employ of the Government here had permitted themselves to be deluded by their so-called profound scholarship, strict impartiality, scientific and liberal outlook. He gave a timely warning to the people of his country and to a great extent succeeded in saving them from the clutches of these pseudo-scholars and clandestine missionaries.
We have studied almost the entire literature produced by generations of Western scholars and have thoroughly examined it with an open mind. We have arrived at the conclusion that there is a definite tinge of Christian prejudice in the writings of most of these scholars, which is responsible for discrediting all that is great in Bharatvarsha. The ultimate aim of the writers seems to be the proselytization of the people of this land to Christianity by instilling into their head in a subtle manner the inferiority of their indigenous religion and culture.
But truth can never remain hidden for long. Now some modern scholars of Bharatvarsha have also begun to see to some extent, though not thoroughly, through the thin veneer of European scholarship, for e.g:
I. Prof. V. Rangachary writes:
“Incalculable mischief has been done by almost all the English and American scholars in assuming arbitrarily the earliest dates for Egypt or Mesopotamia-dated going back to 5000 BCE at least-and the latest possible dates for Ancient India on the ground that India borrowed from them.”2
II. Sri Nilakantha Sastri, the Head of History Department of Madras University, although a supporter of many untenable Western theories, had to write:
“What is this but a critique of Indian Society and Indian history in the light of the nineteenth century prepossessions of Europe? This criticism was started by the English administration and European missionaries and has been nearly focused by the vast erudition of Larsen; the unfulfilled aspiration of Germany in the early nineteenth century, doubtless had their share in shaping the line of Larsen’s thought.”3
III. Sri C.R. Krishnamacharlu, ex-Epigraphist to the Government of Bharat, having realized the ulterior motives of European writers, has expressed his views more strongly. He writes:
“These authors, coming as they do from nations of recent growth, and writing this history with motives other than cultural, which in some cases are apparently racial and prejudicial to the correct elucidation of the past history of India, cannot acquire testimony for historic veracity of cultural sympathy.”4
IV. Prof. R. Subba Rao, M.A., L.T., in his Presidential address, (sectional), Sixteenth Session of Indian History Congress Waltair, (29th December, 1953) writes:
“Unfortunately, the historicity of Puranas and their testimony has been perverted by certain Western scholars who stated rather dogmatically that the historical age cannot go back beyond 2000 BCE, and that there is no need for fixing the Mahabharata war earlier than 1400 BCE. They accused the Brahmins of having raised their antiquity and questioned the authenticity of the Hindu astronomical works.”5
In short, the foregoing pages make it clear that it was this Christian and Judaic prejudice which :
(a) Did not allow the real dates of ancient Bharatiya history to be accepted by the occidental scholars, who were always reluctant to give to the Vedas a higher antiquity than the earliest portion of the Old Testament and to place them beyond 2500 BCE.6
Even the school of Paul Deussen, A. W. Ryder and H. Zimmer, which followed Schopenhauer in the appreciation of ancient Bharatiya intellect, but which did not work directly on chronology, could not throw off the burden of these extremely unscientific, fictitious dates.
(b) Gave rise to the two interrelated diseases of Western Indologists: firstly the disease of myth, mythical and mythology, according to which Brahma, Indra, Vishnu, Parvata, Harada, Kasyapa, Puru-ravas, Vasishtha and a host of other ancient sages have been declared as mythical. Nobody ever tried to understand their true historical character apprehending that the dates of Bharatiya history would go to very ancient periods; and secondly, as a corollary to the above, the disease of “attribution” and “ascription” under which the works of these and other sages have been declared to be written by some very late anonymous persons who are said to have ascribed or attributed them to those “mythical” sages.
It may be of some interest to note the following examples:
I. Professor Max Muller writes (1860 CE) in ‘History of Ancient Sanskrit Literature’:
(a) “The first (Pratishakhya) is ascribed to Saunaka,” …. P. 135.
(b) Anukramani ascribed to Katyayana;’ P. 215.
II.Professor A.A. Macdonell writes (1904 CE) on the title page of a work edited by him:
“The Brihad-Devata attributed to Saunaka.”
III. Prof. L.D. Barnett writes (1907 CE) in ‘Brahma Knowledge’, P.II :
“Brahma Sutra traditionally ascribed to one or the other of the legendary sages-Badarayana and Vyasa.”
IV. Prof. Maurice Bloomfield writes (1916 CE) in ‘Rigveda Repetitions’ P. 634 :
“The statements of the sarvanukramani ascribed to Katyayana.
V. Prof. Jullus Jolly writes (1923 CE) in his ‘Introduction to the edition of Arthashastra’, p. 47 :
“The ascription of the work to Kautilya or Chanakya was entirely due to the myths current regarding that fabulous minister who was looked upon as the master and creator of art of policy and as the author of all the floating wisdom7 on the subject of Niti”.8
VI. Prof. A.B. Keith writes (1924 CE) in ‘The Sanskrit Drama’:
“Text-books for Natas, ascribed to Shilalin and Krishashva,” (P.31).
VII. Prof. M. Winternitz writes (1925 CE) in ‘Some Problems of Indian Literature’: “Arthashastra ascribed to Kautilya.” and writes (1927 CE) again in his ‘History of Indian Literature’:
(a) “Songs (hymns of the Rigveda Samhita) which had been composed at widely separated periods of time, were united at sometime in a collection, and ascribed to famous personages of prehistoric times.” (P.57).
(b)”Rigveda Pratishakhya, which is ascribed to Shaunaka, who is supposed to have been a teacher of Ashvaiayana.” (P.284).
(c) “Vajasaneyi-Pratishakhya-sutra ascribed to Katyayana,” (P.284).
VIII. Prof. A. Berriedale Keith writes (1928 CE), in his article “The author-ship of the Nyaya Pravesha'” published in Indian Historical Quarterly, Vol. IV, No. I :
“Kanada, the author to whom the Vaiseshika Sutra is ascribed.”
IX. Prof. W. Caland writes 11931 CE) in his Introduction to the English translation of the Panchavinsha Brahmana, (p.IV): “attributed to Drahyayana.”
Now a few citations from their proteges :
X. Sir S. Radhakrishnan writes (1948 CE) in his introductory essay on P.14 of the Bhagavad Gita:
“We do not know the name of the author of the Gita. Almost all the books belonging to the early literature of India are anonymous. The authorship of the Gita is attributed to Vyasa, the legendary compiler of the Mahabharata.
XI. Prof. Altekar writes (1949 CE) :
“In ancient India authors often preferred to remain incognito and attributed their works to divine or semi-divine persons.” (State and Government in Ancient India,P.2).
XII. Shri Man Mohan Ghosh writes (1951 CE) on the title page of his English translation of Natyashastra :
“The Natya Sastra ascribed to Bharata Muni.”
These subtle insinuations against Bharatiya tradition, which has been scrupulously guarded through millenniums, have succeeded in creating a doubt in the minds of many of the educated people of this country about the very existence of their ancient sages and the genuineness of their works. The extent of mischief wrought by this masked propaganda can be estimated from the fact that even responsible men like Sir S. Radhakrishnan have been led to accept the wholly irrational and unhistorical views of the Western orientalists without question; they have rather joined with them in proclaiming that the whole nation of Bharat, was a nation of liars.
(c) Brought to the fore-front, the most fanciful and groundless theory of the migration of the Aryans into Bharat, according to which the very existence of Manu, the first Crowned King of Bharata: Ikshvaku, Manu’s glorious son; Bharata Chakravarti, the glorious son of Sakuntala; Bhagirath, who changed the course of the Ganga; Kuru, after whom the sacred sacrificial land is called Kurukshetra; Rama, the son of Dasratha and a number of other kings is being totally denied.
(d) Was responsible for the altogether wrong translations of Vaidika works, and misrepresentation of Vaidika culture.
(e) Did not allow the acceptance of Sanskrit, as being the mother language of at least the Indo-European group; as at first very ably propounded by Franz Bopp, and often mentioned by ancient Bharatiya authors.
We are not sorry for all this, for nothing better could be expected from such biased foreign pioneers of Sanskrit studies.
With these brief remarks we earnestly pray that the light of truth may dawn on every thinking and learned man of Bharatvarsha, so that in these days of political and individual freedom he may shake off the yoke of intellectual slavery of the west.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti.
- Monier Williams himself writes of his meeting: —-‘Dayanand Saraswati,….. I made his acquaintance at Bombay
in 1876, and was much struck by his fine countenance and figure. There I heard him preach an eloquent discourse on the religious development of the Aryan race. He began by repeating a hymn to Varuna (IV. 16) preceded by the syllable Om, — prolating the vowel in deep sonorous tones.” Brahmanism and Hinduism, M. Williams, 4th ed. 1891, p. 529
“In one of my interviews with him, I asked him for his definition of religion, he replied in Sanskrit: —
‘Religion is a true and just view and the abandonment of all prejudice and partiality – that is to say, it is an impartial inquiry into the truth by means of the senses and the two other instruments of knowledge, reason and revelation.” Ibid (p. 530).
- History of Pre-Musalman India, Vol. II, Vedic India, Part I, 1937 CE, p. 145.
- All Indian oriental conference, December 1941 part II P. 634 printed 1964
- “The cradle of Indian History”, P-3 Adyar Library, Madras. 1947
- J.A.H.R.S, Vol. XX P 187
- Cf. A.L. Basham : “Few European scholars would agree with professor Altekar (O-19) that the Rig-Veda dates from 2500 BCE (J.R.A.S 1950 CE) part 3-4 P.202
- The theory of “floating wisdom” or “floating verses” has been ruthlessly criticized by Johannes Meyer in his uber das Wesen der Altindischen Rechtsschriften. P.V. Kane, who disagrees with the author on many problems, however accepts the “non-existence of a floating mass of versa.” (History of Dharmasastra, Additions P.VII, 1930 CE)
- It is a matter of some satisfaction that despite the repeated insistence of western scholars to the country, most of the Indian scholars have begun to accept the historicity of Kautilya and the authenticity of his authorship. We hope for similar awakening regarding other important personage.