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« Two Years ... And Talking | Main | Doris Lessing on Bush, Blair and 9/11 »

October 23, 2007


re: vedist fundamentalism, i am struck by the anti-modern reaction to the scientific zeitgeist which emerged in the late 19th and early 20th century. xtian, islamic and hindu (even buddhist) fundamentalism arose at about the same time. basically, they're attempts by religion to co-opt science and other empirical scholarly fields by stealing their thunder. now, this vedic science may seem theoretical, but the problem is that once you scientize religion you then start conducting experiments based on religion (the magical properties of cow dung?) and those don't turn out so hot....

Here's a long list of 101 uses for cow dung.
Now, a large multinational corporation can fund a few million dollars of research to isolate the main ingredient behind these miracles, patent and sell miracle drugs based on it and make a gazillion dollars. Then you can pay through the nose for the Bovicin (TM) capsules that you need to treat the disease du jour.

Or, you could just take a grandma's word for its miraculous properties and benefit from its use, if you could find a 'Suitable Cow';)

Funnily, other types of dung are supposed to have healing properties as well.My mom used to tell me funny stories of how the kids would run behind the temple elephant doing the rounds of the neighborhood for baksheesh, in hope of stepping in fresh elephant dung!

My take on Vedic philosophy falls somewhere in the middle of the dismissive (communists/modern science/"rationalists") and the die-hard fans (hindutva). I do think that it deserves an open-minded scrutiny, and the proof is in the pudding. I also tend to go with the experiential in conjunction with the scientific evidence. My interest in it is from the health, environment and sustainable living angle, and how it can inform us today and tomorrow, rather than being used as a weapon in ideological wars, or to glorify the past.

Sujatha, good point. :)
Reminds me of issues with neem and turmeric.

Regarding the Vedas, agree completely with you as long as their use is limited along the boundaries that you specify. The problem as always is reining in the enthusiastic ideologues.

And thanks for the good wishes on our birthday.

The problem as always is reining in the enthusiastic ideologues.
Exactly - both red and saffron types ;)

interesting piece, particularly since i witnessed it's all in the vedas situation once. it was a seminar on postmodern theory where a research scholar presented a paper on the sabda-artha theory , and in conclusion stated that saussure's signifier-signified theory can be traced back to this, pointing out that saussure was a sanskrit scholar.
what shocked me was the response of the so called post modern specialists. they literally tore the paper apart ridiculing him for his it's all in the vedas attitude.
my knowlede of indian aethetics is less than sketchy but i do remeber when i first came across the sabda artha theory, i couldnt help noticing the echo of saussure's sign theory. of course i didnt dare to open my mouth in support of the paper presenter. it's funny, how, these seminars are always hijacked by decibels

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