Les sources et le temps: Sources and Timeby François Grimal

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  • Les sources et le temps: Sources and Time by Franois GrimalReview by: Ludo RocherJournal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 124, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 2004), pp. 196-197Published by: American Oriental SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4132196 .Accessed: 16/06/2014 02:38

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  • 196 Journal of the American Oriental Society 124.1 (2004)

    Les sources et le temps: Sources and Time. Edited by FRANCOIS GRIMAL. Publications du Ddparte-

    ment d'Indologie, vol. 91. Pondicherry: INSTITUT FRANIAIS D'INDOLOGIE-ECOLE FRANqAISE D'EXTREME-ORIENT, 2001. Pp. v + 412.

    The volume under review contains the proceedings of a colloquium held at Pondicherry on 11-13 January, 1997. A review cannot do justice to every detail in the 412 large and tightly printed pages of this volume; I can only briefly indicate what readers may look for in a volume published under the in-

    triguing title Les sources et la temps / Sources and Time. According to the editor's preface, the par- ticipants in the colloquium were asked "to display and to examine the manner in which texts stand the test of time, how they survive, are preserved and transmitted, and how philologists struggle to restore the best possible version, going on to show how, and with which of the available tools such as commen- taries, ancient and modern, oral and written, indigenous and otherwise, that version is better understood and, ultimately, to how it is translated bearing in mind that the epoch and metalanguage of the trans- lators is but the latest damaging aspect of time erosion, of course never to be final" (p. i). As one might expect, some contributions are nearer to answering these questions than others.

    I wish to stress above all that this is not your ordinary report on a colloquium, in which the papers presented at the conference are often printed without or with only slight revisions. Several contributions to this volume are polished articles, some of them qualifying as full-fledged monographs: Alexis San- derson's "History through Textual Criticism in the Study of Saivism, the Paficaratra and the Buddhist

    Yoginitantras" covers 48 pages, Muzaffar Alam's and Sanjay Subrahmanyam's "A Place in the Sun: Travels with Faizi in the Deccan, 1591-1593" 43 pages, and Subrahmanyam's own "A Palette of His- tories: Texts and Meta-texts about Raja Desingu" 49 pages. Several articles include extensive footnotes, for instance, Dominic Goodall's "Announcement of the Proposed Edition of the Earliest Commentary on the Raghuvamsga with Some Methodological Reflections on the Editing of Works of Kalidasa, and of Commentaries on Kavya," which reads like the introduction to his proposed edition (with Haru-

    naga Isaacson; see also Isaacson's abstract: "Scribes, Redactors, and Editors: On the Transmission of the Ur-Skandapurana") of Vallabhadeva's commentary Raghupaiicika, and, especially, Sanderson's en-

    cyclopedic contribution in which even continuing footnotes fill entire pages. Another characteristic feature of the colloquium and of the volume-as of the French Institute gen-

    erally-is the participation of traditional Indian scholars: this accounts for one article (Pandit S. L. P.

    Anjaneya Sarma's "Neranausuitravyakhydnasamiksd") and one abstract in Sanskrit (Pandit Ram Yatna Shukla's "Sphotavicarah"), and one article in Sanskrit followed by an English interpretation (Pandit N. S. Ramanuja Tatacharya's 'Vakyavakyarthavicarah: An Inquiry into Sentence and Sentence-meaning").

    Among the contributions not mentioned so far, one paper (Franqois Grimal's "'Par ddsir de faire une faveur 'a ceux dont l'esprit est lent' et 'pour le plaisir des savants': Premieres questions pour une

    6tude des commentaries littdraires sanskrits") and three abstracts (Jean-Luc Chevillard's "Le vocabu- laire de la causalit6 et la pratique du raisonnement dans la tradition grammaticale tamoule," Bruno Dagens's "A propos du Rauravagama: De l'organisation d'un texte agamique a sa chronologie" and Jean Pacquement's "Le 'futur' de la littdrature orale: Constitution de corpus et texte constitud" are written in French.

    The remaining articles, in English, include Michael Hahn's "On Editing codices unici," Roland Steiner's "Play Editing and Prakrit Grammarians," T. V. Gopal Iyer's "Naccinarkkiniyar and His In-

    terpretations on Kalittokai," Stephen H. Philips's "Ellipsis and Propositional Anaphora in Gafigela's Tattvacintimani: Translational Difficulties," Greg Bailey's "Translation from Sanskrit and Translation of Culture," Robert P. Goldman's "Of Time and the Epic: The Ramayana's Trajectory from Adikavya to National Epic," Y. Subbarayalu's "Inscriptions as Sources for History," Simon Digby's "The Indo- Persian Historiography of the Lodi Sultans," David Shulman's "Arcot Heroes: Designu Raija and Tfy- vika Raijan in Text and Time," D. R. Nagaraj's "Two Obstacles to Recover Historical Time: A Case Study of the Making of a Subaltern [Dalit] Identity," Hans Bakker's "Sources for Reconstructing An- cient Forms of Siva Worship," and K. V. Sarma's "Manuscript Repositories in India-an Analytical Survey." Finally, two abstracts: Frangois Gros's "Wandering the Tamil Archipelago" and Friedhelm Hardy's "Tradition and kivya: Illustrated from Govardhana and Veilkatadhvarin."

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  • Reviews of Books 197

    As this survey shows, as far as Sanskrit classical literature is concerned, the volume is heavily katvya (+ commentary) oriented. I wish the concept of "sources and time" had also been examined in some branches of more technical literature: mathematics, astronomy, medicine, and law. Here, too, it would have been interesting to explore the manner in which "the texts have stood the test of time." Compiling an index to a volume such as this might have been a major enterprise, but it would have been all the more helpful to those who search for some of the numerous texts and topics that are being discussed.


    Education in Ancient India. By HARTMUT SCHARFE. Handbook of Oriental Studies, sect. 2: India, vol. 16. Leiden: BRILL, 2002. Pp. 355, illus.

    A statement on the back cover of this volume rightfully claims that Hartmut Scharfe has produced "a true reference work" on education in classical India, for the entire period preceding Muslim rule (with occasional excursuses into more modern times). Indeed, both the primary (Sanskrit and Pali, and, as one might expect from Scharfe, also Tamil and Malayalam) and secondary source materials (includ- ing comparisons with Zoroastrian, Greco-Roman, and other ancient civilizations, as well as studies of oral and written education generally) used to compile this book are impressive.

    A general first chapter on "education as a topic," is followed by chapters on "the oral tradition," "content of the tradition-revealed and observed," "the final goal of education," and "modern apolo- gists." From this onward the book proceeds more chronologically: "training in early childhood," "ini- tiation," "tutorials and acarya-kula-s," "from monasteries to universities," "from temple schools to universities," "admission and the right to teach and study," "the study," "memorizing the Veda," "pro- fessional training," "the teacher," and "the close of study," with a kind of appendix on "various lan-

    guages." The text closes with reflections on "education and the Indian character," based, to a large extent but not exclusively, on psychologist Sudhir Kakar's The Inner World (2nd ed., 1981).

    Scharfe notes that, whereas writing on-and reforming-education in modern India has been pri- marily in the hands of Westerners (William Adam's Reports of 1835-38, Thomas Babington Macaulay's Minute on Education of 1835, etc.), until now the study of education in ancient India has been primarily researched by Indian scholars, "amongst them some of the most prominent and learned"

    (p. 64): A. S. Altekar (Education in Ancient India, 6th ed., 1965), R. K. Mookerji (Ancient Indian Education, 3rd ed., 1960), C. Kunhan Raja (Some Aspects of Education in Ancient India, 1950), etc. (I am struck by the fact that P. V. Kane's treatment of education in the History of Dharmasastra is hardly referred to.) Scharfe is quite critical of his Indian predecessors: "For all the usefulness of the material they collected, their work is surprisingly unsatisfactory" (p. 64). Altekar's theory of steady decline in literacy from the "golden age" to the modern period, from 80% to 40%, 30%, and 15%, "is sheer phantasy" (p. 85); Mookerji makes "anachronistic attempts" (p. 118) and an "outlandish claim" (p. 202); C. Kunhan Raja "forced the educational concepts of the first millennium A.D. into the Pro- crustes bed of Vedic rules several hundred years older" (p. 299). Criticism turns to sarcasm apropos of Mookerjee's using Yogastitra 1.2 to show that "the aim of Education is Chitta-vortti-nirodha, the in- hibition of those activities of the mind by which it gets connected with the world of matter or objects" (Education, p. xxii), "a statement that is somewhat ironic from an author who proudly refers to the sixteen books he has written on a wide range of subjects" (p. 67).

    Scharfe himself treats the sources critically. In connection with Taxila, for example, he warns that "[w]e have to be extremely cautious in dealing with the literary evidence, because much of the infor- mation offered in the secondary literature on Taxila is derived from the Jataka prose," which may be as recent as C.E. 500 (p. 141). Even when reading Fa-hsien we ought not to forget that "[h]is focus was strictly on the search for vinaya-texts" (141).

    A few thoughts on specific passages in the book follow.

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