Libmonster ID: IN-1372
Author(s) of the publication: S. D. SEREBRYANY

The history of international conferences of Sanskrit scholars goes back 30 years.

In March 1972, on the initiative of Indian scientists, with the support of the Ministry of Education and Social Welfare of the Republic of India, the 1st International Conference of Sanskrit scholars-Visva-samskrta - sammelana (which can literally be translated as "World - Sanskrit-meeting") was held in New Delhi.

In 1973, the International Association of Sanskrit Studies (IASS) was established in Paris during the 29th International Congress of Orientalists .1 Its main task was declared to be the periodic holding of World Sanskrit Conferences.

Subsequent conferences were held: in 1975 in Turin (Italy); in 1977 in Paris (France); in 1979 in Weimar (then still in the GDR); in 1981 in Varanasi (India); in 1984 in Philadelphia (USA); in 1987 in Leiden (Holland) in 1990 in Vienna (Austria); in 1994 in Melbourne (Australia); in 1997 in Bangalore (India) 2 and in 2000 - again in Turin (Italy) 3. The 12th conference was held on July 13-18, 2003 in Helsinki (Finland).

From the very beginning, Russian indologists took an active part in the activities of IASS and in world Sanskrit conferences. For a long time, the representative of the USSR in the Permanent Council (Board) of IASS was G. M. Bongard-Levin. In 1990, T. Y. Elizarenkova became the representative of our country in the IASS Council (then this position was called "vice-president") (for more than 20 years, until 1989, she was "banned from traveling"). At a conference in Helsinki, T. Y. Elizarenkova resigned, and, at her suggestion, St. Petersburg Sanskrit scholar Y. V. Vasilkov was elected to this position.

The expression "Sanskrit Studies" needs some explanation. In modern Western Oriental studies, there is a difference (and even a certain antagonism) between those who call their studies "(classical) Indology" and themselves" indologists", and those who prefer to speak of" South Asian Studies "(i.e.," South Asian studies", or - more in Russian- "South Asian studies"). "South Asian studies"), and describe themselves as " Southasianists "("South Asian researchers"). To simplify things somewhat, the main difference between these two groups is their approaches to learning Indian languages and traditional cultures, which these languages serve as a means of self-expression. "Indologists" claim that no meaningful study of India (South Asia) is possible without a deep knowledge of at least one Indian language and related culture. "Southasianists" also admit that when studying South Asia (in any case, modern), some researchers (for example, historians, economists or sociologists) may limit themselves to English as a means of learning South Asian reality. "Indologists" sometimes accuse the "Southasianists" of being pro-Russian and Eurocentric. In response, there are sometimes accusations of "fruitless scholarship" and "avoiding pressing problems." Of course, in this confrontation there is a lot of "extra-scientific", due to personal conflicts and the struggle for financial resources-


1 See the IASS website on the Internet at: http://iass.findhere.com

2 See details: East (Oriens). 1997. N 3. pp. 150-158.

3 Information I learned from the next (seventh) The IASS Newsletter, courtesy of the Association's General Secretary, J. R. R. Tolkien. Brockington (Edinburgh).

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The most reasonable representatives of both " factions "cannot fail to understand that both" (classical) Indology "and" South Asia Studies " are two inseparable parts of the same cognitive field, which cannot exist without each other.

The expression "Sanskrit Studies" should in this case be understood almost as a synonym for "(classical) indology". As will be shown below, the Helsinki conference dealt not only with (texts in) Sanskrit proper, but also with the Vedas, and with texts in Pali, Prakrit, Apabhransha, and even (in some cases) New Indian languages .4 Here it is appropriate to emphasize that for Indology and South Asian Studies, the study of Sanskrit (i.e., Sanskrit studies, including Vedic studies) can and should be considered a kind of fundamental discipline, just as, say, theoretical physics is the foundation for other branches of this science. For many practical purposes, other types of physics are more important than fundamental physics, but without its further development, the progress of physics as a whole is impossible. Similarly, Sanskrit studies sometimes seem to be just the play of armchair scholars, but in fact the development of this field of knowledge is a necessary condition for our understanding of India (South Asia) - both its past and its most pressing modern problems. The last conference convinced me of this once again.

The conference deserves a special scientific study. My notes can be considered as preliminary materials for such research 5 . The author of this review participated in such a conference for the first time 6, which has both its disadvantages and its advantages: on the one hand, I can not compare this conference with previous ones, and on the other, my perception is fresher than that of the "veterans".

During registration, each participant of the conference was presented with a voluminous (more than 300 pages!) book with the program, abstracts and a list of participants. According to this list, the conference was attended by about 270 delegates 7 from 31 countries8 . The total number of reports is about 230 (some participants came without reports; some made two reports each). Of course, one participant could listen to only a small fraction of the total number of reports and communicate with only a few of the forum participants. Therefore, the following description of the conference is based partly on personal impressions, partly on reading the book in question and on additional e-mail correspondence with colleagues after the conference.

To begin with, it is interesting to analyze the distribution of participants by country. However, before turning to such an analysis, it is necessary to make a significant reservation. In the modern "globalizing" world, a person's belonging to a particular country, even sometimes to a particular nation, is not always clearly defined. In particular, indology is quite an international discipline, so a scientist who hails from one country can live and work in a completely different one. This was very clear at the conference. Thus, the Romanian Bogdan Diaconescu was listed as a representative of Switzerland; one Israeli (sabra!), Eli Franco, represented Austria, and the other, Sharon Ben-Dor, represented Finland; the Swede Olle Kvarnstrom came from Germany, and the German (judging by the name) Werner Knobl is from Japan. Czech Vit Bubenik (who left his homeland in the sad memory of 1968) is now a Canadian scientist, and one of the British delegates


4 As J. R. R. Tolkien writes: According to Brockington in the above-mentioned IASS Bulletin, "the founders of the Association intended the term 'Sanskrit Studies' to mean that the Association, without limiting its activities to Sanskrit in a narrow sense, would give priority to research work based on a solid knowledge of one or more Indian languages and on a fundamental study of textual sources from South and Southeast Asia." Asia. The Association still follows the same principles."

5 See also the conference website on the Internet: http://www.helsinki.fi/hum/aakkl/12wsc

6 In the 1970s and up to the second half of the 1980s. I was "banned from traveling", and then there were other temptations and other, mostly financial, obstacles. Participation in the Helsinki conference was made possible for me thanks to a grant from the Russian Humanitarian Science Foundation, for which I would like to express my sincere gratitude.

7 In fact, there were more participants in the conference, because some of them came as "escorts" of official delegates.

8 As J. R. R. Tolkien informed me. Brockington, this is the largest number of participating countries in the entire thirty-year history of such conferences.

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He had a distinctly Polish name, Dominik Vujastik. The most exotic in this regard was a half-Japanese, half-Jewish Harunaga Isaacson - a fairly well-known Sanskrit scholar working in the United States.

Anyway, in terms of the number of participants, three countries were the undisputed leaders at the conference: India, the United States, and Japan. There were 35 delegates from India, and another 16 from the diaspora - most of them from Canada (6) and the United States (5), as well as from the United Kingdom (2), Germany, France and Switzerland (one each). I counted 34 delegates from the United States (excluding five Indians and one Russian). Of course, the American scientific (university) world is very diverse in its ethnic composition. So, among the American participants, at least ten had clearly German (or Jewish) surnames. For example, the famous linguists Hartmut Scharfe and Hans Heinrich Hock are Germans who were "rooted" in the United States in different years. One participant from the United States had a distinctly Bulgarian name-Gabriela Nik. Ilieva. And Christopher Minkowski of Cornell University (where V. V. Nabokov taught and where several of his novels are set) is a distant relative of the famous mathematician Herman Minkowski (1864-1909), one of the founders of the theory of relativity and a native of the Minsk province of the Russian Empire. 22 Japanese people came from Japan itself, and two more from the "diaspora".

European countries were represented by a smaller number of participants each, but if we take Europe as a whole, we can say that it dominated the conference. There were 17 guests from France (however, one of them is Hungarian and one is Indian), 15 from Germany (one of them is the aforementioned Swede working in Leipzig), 12 from Italy, 11 from Finland (including one Israeli), 10 from the UK, and 9 from the Netherlands, from Sweden-8, from Belgium and Poland - 7 each, from Austria-6, from Hungary and Switzerland - 3 each, from Bulgaria and Norway-2 each, and from Denmark, Luxembourg, Romania, Croatia and Ukraine-one each.

Other countries and continents were represented as follows: Canada - 6 delegates, Australia - 4, Argentina and Sri Lanka - 2 each, Iran, Israel, Nepal and Taiwan - one each.

Against this background, the "Russian presence" looked quite decent. In present-day Russia, Sanskrit studies exist only in two cities. Moscow was represented by T. Y. Elizarenkova, B. A. Zakhar'in, V. G. Lysenko and the author of these lines; St. Petersburg was represented by Y. V. Vasilkov, N. V. Gurov, V. P. Ivanov and S. S. Tavastsherna. In addition, L. Kulikov (a linguist, a student of T. Y. Elizarenkova) came from Holland, B. Ogibenin (who emigrated in 1974) from France, M. V. Orelskaya from India, and N. A. Yanchevskaya from the USA (both graduates of the Eastern Faculty of St. Petersburg State University). Thus, there were 8 people directly from Russia, but the total number of Russian participants was 12! In addition, as already mentioned, there was also one representative of Ukraine, Y. Zavgorodny from Kiev.

The conference was held in fourteen sections; 14 traditional "sciences" are also found in the Hindu tradition - perhaps this coincidence is not accidental. In each section, the composition of participants was truly international, there was no predominance of representatives of any one country. I suspected that this was not without the special efforts of the conference organizers, who, as far as I know, quite carefully selected delegates from among the applicants (who sent applications for participation). But the secretary of the organizing committee of the conference, P. Koskikallio, assured me that the international nature of the sections was completely spontaneous. This probably reflects the truly international nature of modern Sanskrit studies (with some reservations, which will be discussed later).

It is also worth noting that there were many women among the participants of the conference. Based on the published list of participants, it is difficult to determine the exact "gender composition" of the conference (because, of course, "gender" is not indicated in the names, and the names themselves are sometimes ambivalent), but I would not be surprised if an accurate calculation showed that at least half of them are women. Both working sessions and backstage "get-togethers" were always decorated with Indian women in colorful saris. The Russian delegation was quite "politically correct" in this regard: for eight men-four women (despite the fact that the undisputed leader of the delegation was T. Ya. Elizarenkova). At the first plenary session, S. Jamison (Los Angeles University) delivered a keynote address "On animals and (wo)men: traditional philology and new paradigms for studying the past" ("On animals and women/men: traditional philology and new paradigms for studying the past").). One of the main points of the report (as far as I understood it) was that various newfangled "paradigms" (in particular, "gender approach") cannot detract from the importance of a good traditional philology, which is quite capable of studying the Russian language.-

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They are able to accept new ideas and methods, but not being carried away by them recklessly and not accepting them as universal revelations, but including them in the general context of science.

The following list contains section names; the first digit in parentheses indicates the total number of reports per section, the second digit indicates the approximate number of "participating countries", and the third digit indicates the number of reports of Russian scientists:

1) "Veda" (29, 12,2);

2) "Epos" (22, 13,0);

3) "Puranas" (17, 11,0);

4) "Agamas and Tantras" (10, 6, 0);

5) "Grammar" (18, 6, 3);

6) "Linguistics" (16, 10, 2);

7) "Poetry, Drama, Aesthetics" (19, 12, 1);

8) "Scientific literature" (13, 7, 0);

9) "Buddhism" (9, 8, 0);

10) "Jainism" (15, 7, 0);

11) "Philosophy" (36, 13, 1);

12) "History and epigraphy" (10, 8, 1);

13) "Law and Society" (2, 1, 0);

14) "Art and Archeology" (4, 4, 1).

As we can see, the forum participants paid almost the greatest attention to Indian philosophy. In terms of the number of reports, the second place was occupied by the section devoted to Vedic texts, the oldest layer of Indian literature. In third place is the section devoted to the epic ("Mahabharata" and "Ramayana"). However, the thematic boundaries between the sections were sometimes rather arbitrary. Thus, sections 2 (epics), 3 (puranas) and 4 (agamas and tantras) were largely similar in subject matter (religious texts, ideas and images of Hinduism). Some of the papers in sections 9 (Buddhism) and 10 (Jainism) could easily be read in section 11 (philosophy) - and vice versa.

There were a total of nine Indian speakers in the Philosophy section: six from India itself and three from the Diaspora. These figures, presumably, reflect the important place of "Indian philosophy" in the self - consciousness of modern Indians (at least in university circles). Here I would like to make a not entirely "politically correct" remark: some of the reports of Indian scientists could be perceived not so much as indological studies, but as extensions of traditional Indian "discourses", i.e., as material for indological research. I found the reports of the "diaspora" Indians to be the most interesting, especially the speech of an Indian woman from Canada, Rajam Raghunathan, in which she analyzed and elegantly criticized the translation of Dharmakirti's treatise "Nyaya-bindu" into English, made by our famous compatriot F. I. Shcherbatsky.

The second largest number of participants in this section was Japanese: seven reports. Modern Sanskrit studies in Japan began to develop after the "Meiji Revolution" - as Japanese Buddhists discovered and studied the original sources of their faith in India. In today's Japan, Sanskrit studies seem to be less closely associated with Buddhist circles, but three out of seven Japanese papers were devoted specifically to the history of Buddhist thought. All the Japanese reports were impressive in their scholarship, but for the most part they were difficult to understand by ear (often due to a strong Japanese accent).

Among other (Western) reports of this section, I was most impressed by J. Bronkhorst's report on the analysis of Vedanta in its relationship with mimansa. J. Bronkhorst (a Dutchman living and working in Switzerland) is undoubtedly one of the leading modern researchers of traditional Indian thought.

In the Veda section, a larger number of reports also belonged to Indian scholars (8). Their reports were mostly traditional (i.e., they reflected Indian traditions of scholarship). Three reports were made by Japanese scientists (one of them was a joint Japanese - Finnish one) and five reports were made by scientists from the United States.

It is worth noting the obvious "cultural-anthropological" bias of modern Vedic studies, the development of" field research " in this area. From the very beginning and for many decades, Vedic studies in the West and in Russia were exclusively text studies, often completely ignoring the contexts in which these texts exist.-

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per. Modern Vedologists (undoubtedly due to the development of communication tools and the emergence of new technical means of recording sound and images) are increasingly engaged in "field research", i.e. studying the life of Vedic texts in today's India. Thus, already at the first plenary session, Ts Galevich (Jagiellonian University, Krakow) showed a film about the recitation of Vedic hymns in Kerala today .9 One of the Indian reports at the section itself was also devoted to the recitation of Vedic texts (namely Samaveda hymns) in Kerala, and another to the fading existence of Atharvaveda texts in Varanasi. One of the American participants spoke about his experience of studying Vedic traditions in India. About the same thing was said in the only Danish report. One of the two German reports dealt with the use of Vedic texts in rituals at the Venkateswara Hindu temple in Tirumalai (Andhra Pradesh) .10 Two reports (characteristically Japanese and Japanese-Finnish) reported on" projects " for the search and preservation of Vedic manuscripts in Kerala and Tamilnadu. Unfortunately, for obvious reasons, this area of research has not yet been developed in Russia.

Oddly enough, there was practically no cultural and anthropological "access to modernity" in the reports of the sections "Epos", "Puranas", "Agamas and Tantras". Historical and philological approaches prevailed here. Especially interesting was a report by K. Minkowski (Cornell University, USA)about the Mahabharata commentator Nilakantha, a Marathi Brahmana who lived in Varanasi in the 17th century. He left an extensive literary legacy, from which you can extract a lot of interesting information about the Indian culture of the XVII century.

The "Grammar" section (more precisely, "Vyakarana") was devoted to traditional Sanskrit grammar, mainly Panini, and the "Linguistics" section was devoted to modern, mainly comparative - historical studies of Sanskrit (including Vedic) and other Indian languages. Both of these areas of indology are very specific, sometimes almost esoteric, and I do not undertake here to even briefly characterize the work of these sections. I will only mention the report of J. Guet (France), a computer scientist in his main specialty. He develops a computer program capable of performing grammatical analysis of Sanskrit texts: so that the" input "is any text, and the" output " is the words that make up this text, but in their simplest (dictionary) form with the application of a complete grammatical description of those word forms that are represented in the analyzed text. According to J. Guet, so far he is only halfway to completing the task 11 .

This report shows another notable trend in modern Sanskrit studies - the active introduction of computer technologies. So, Michio Yano (Kyoto, Japan) told about the computer program he created for recalculating dates in various Indian chronologies to our calendar. S. Baums (Seattle, USA) reported on computer methods of paleographic analysis of Kharosthi and Brahmi texts.

G. Miller (Germany) in the nearly one-hour report "Milestones and Recent Breakthroughs in the Digitisation of Indian Manuscripts" ("Milestones and recent breakthroughs in the digitization of Indian manuscripts") spoke about a" project " to create electronic versions of all existing Indian manuscripts - not only in Sanskrit, but also in other languages, and not only the texts themselves, but also illustrations to them. This "project", in my opinion, is partly of a commercial nature .12

Against this background, the Nepal-German Manuscripts Preservation Project (NGMPP), which was presented by a Nepalese working both in Nepal and Germany, looked almost archaic Divakar Acharya. During the implementation of this "project" over 31 years (from 1970 to 2001), more than 180,000 manuscripts were microfilmed in Nepal, about one-fifth of which are in Tibetan, the rest in English-


9 In the section" Poetry, Drama, Aesthetics " B. Slivcinska (Warsaw University) showed her film about the Kutiattam theater in Kerala: apparently, this is the only tradition of theater in Sanskrit that has survived to this day.

10 See the Internet address where you can get information about this church: http://www.tirumala.org

11 Preliminary results of this work can be found on the Internet at: http://pauillac.infria.fr/~huet/SKT/index.html

12 For more information about this "project", please visit: info@e-ternals.com

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diyskih languages. However, a preliminary list of microfilmed manuscripts in Indian languages already exists in the electronic version 13 .

The section "Poetry, drama, aesthetics" disappointed me somewhat (although it is possible that I did not hear the most interesting reports). I note that there were no reports from Japanese scientists at all at this section, and four Indian, two American, two Italian and one Australian scientists were somewhat naive, in my opinion. At this section, as already mentioned, B. Slivchinska showed her film about the Sanskrit theater in Kerala. And I also remember the report on the history of Sanskrit poetics made by the Israeli I. Bronner, who studied at the University of Jerusalem with our compatriot A. Y. Syrkin. G. Gren-Eklund from Uppsala University (Sweden) made a very interesting report entitled "How to define 'literature'? A question for Sanskrit poetologists."

Of the 13 papers in the Scientific Literature section, three were devoted to the history of Indian mathematics, and six were devoted to traditional Indian medicine, some of them using the results of "field research" in today's India. Three out of five reports by Indian scientists were more curious than informative.

On the contrary, the philological approach prevailed in the reports of the section "Buddhism" (more precisely, "Buddhist Studies"). India was represented by a teacher from Indraprastha College (Delhi) with a clearly artificial (non-Buddhist?) named Sundari Siddhartha. She made a presentation on a "psalm" from the collection "Theri-gatha" ("Songs of Nuns"), which is included in the Pali canon. The authorship of this "psalm" is attributed to the nun Sundari (lit.: "Beauty"). Another "attraction" of this section was a Buddhist nun from Taiwan, Zhuo-hsueh Shi (or Shi Zhuo-hsueh), who made a presentation on how the Buddhist canon required monks to treat monetary gifts from lay people. At the last moment, an interesting report by the young Polish indologist P. Schurek on the controversy with Buddhism in the Bhagavad-gita was "transferred" here from the "Epic" section.

The section "Jainism" (more precisely, "Jaina Studies") was very crowded and diverse. Obviously, this area of indology is developing intensively.

The History section was modest in terms of the number of reports, but quite diverse in content. Four reports were devoted to the history of Indology (in Sweden, Italy, Russia and Ukraine), the rest - to Indian epigraphy, paleography, chronology and cultural history.

The section "Law and Society" looked somewhat strange, where only two reports were read (both by American scientists): one - on some concepts in the dharmashastras, the other - on the roll calls ("intertextuality") between the "Laws of Manu" and "Arthashastra".

4 presentations were made in the section "Art and Archeology". The highlight of this section was a report on erotic images of the god Ganesha. The speaker, G. Bunemann (a German woman working in the United States), who looked like a strict schoolteacher, showed slides in which the elephant-headed Ganesha (usually revered as the god of wisdom and the remover of obstacles in business) was presented as the "master of sex", which was (for me, at least) quite unexpected.

Now I will tell you briefly about the performances of our compatriots. T. Y. Yelizarenkova made a report on the words with the meaning of "body" in the Rig Veda at the Veda section. This report is part of an extensive project under the general title "Words and Things in the Rig Veda", which T. Y. Elizarenkova has been engaged in for many years. 14 In the same section, N. V. Gurov made a report (historical and linguistic) on "non-Indo-Aryan" words in the Vedic language.

Several other Russian reports were also of a linguistic nature. B. A. Zakharyin and S. S. Tavastsherna made presentations on Panini grammar and related problems at the Grammar section. The topic of V. P. Ivanov's speech is Bhartrihari's treatise "Vakyapadiya". At the Linguistics section, L. Kulikov presented a report on medial participles in the Vedic language, and B. Ogibenin - on the instrumental case in Buddhist Sanskrit.

M. V. Orel'skaya made a presentation on the theory and practice of classical Indian dance at the section "Poetry, Drama and Aesthetics". V. G. Lysenko, at the section" Philosophy " read


13 See on the Internet: samiksaa@yahoo.com

14 See in particular: Words and things in the Rig Veda, Moscow: Vostochnaya literatura, 1999.

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report on the idea of universals in the history of Indian thought. Ya. V. Vasilkov at the section "Art and Archeology" spoke about the most interesting discovery of ancient Scythian "mirrors" in the Altai, which may have an Indian origin. Finally, the author of these lines at the section "History and epigraphy" spoke about the history of Sanskrit studies in Russia. Thus, domestic Indology was represented in Helsinki in quite a variety of ways and, I dare say, quite adequately, although under more favorable circumstances ,the "Russian presence" could have been much more impressive.

As you know, at scientific conferences, personal contacts are equally important, interesting and useful. For me, perhaps the most interesting thing was to get acquainted with the family "tandem" from Argentina-with Professor Fernando Tola and his wife Carmen Dragonetti (who arrived without reports). They gave me several of their books, including a Spanish translation of the Sad-dharma-Pundarika Sutra (or the Lotus Sutra) .15 We had a lot of topics to talk about, among others - the history of Indology and its fate in different countries (cultures). F. Tola and C. Dragonetti bitterly said that in the Spanish - speaking world - both in Spain and in Latin America-Indology is almost not developing, Indian culture (as well as the history of Indology in other countries). few people are interested in Buddhism, 16 and so they had to work almost alone. They publish their books mostly in English or Spanish , but in the United States, where there is a large Spanish-speaking population. F. Tola is inclined to explain this situation by the influence of Spanish Catholicism, which is hostile to other religions and other cultures.

In any case, there were no other delegates from either Latin America or Spain at the Helsinki conference .17 There were other "significant absences". Thus, the world of Islam was represented by the only participant - a linguist from Iran, Hassan Rezai Bagbidi, who made a report on Iranian loanwords in Sanskrit. Apparently, in other Muslim countries (even in Turkey), Indology has not yet taken root. Equally significant is the fact that China was represented by only one (the above-mentioned) Buddhist nun from Taiwan (who completed a postgraduate course at Oxford under Professor R. Gombrich). No one came from China to Helsinki 18 . There is nothing strange about these" absences". It can be said that Indology, like Oriental studies in general, is a "product" of Modern European culture, and in other countries and cultures it arose and developed only to the extent that these countries joined the New European type of development.

The example of Russia is illustrative in this respect. Oriental studies (including Indology) were "brought" to us in the course of Peter's (and post-Peter's) reforms, and throughout the 19th century it took root with obvious difficulty. It is characteristic that Germans predominated among those who studied and/or taught Sanskrit in Russia in the 19th and early 20th centuries. And the largest Russian Sanskrit scholar of the 19th century was a German (though our Russian) Otto Betlingk (1815-1904), one of the authors of the famous Sanskrit-German "Petersburg" dictionary 19 . Go to the top


El Sutra del Loto de la Verdadera Doctrina: Saddharmapundarikasutra. 15 Traduccion del sanscrito al espanol, con Introduccion у Notas por Fernando Tola у Carmen Dragonetti. Mexico, 1999. As Senor Tola proudly noted, this is the first (and so far only) complete translation of the Lotus Sutra from Sanskrit into a European language after the French translation by E. Burnouf (1852) and the English translation by G. Kern (1884). In the twentieth century, the Lotus Sutra was translated into European languages (including Russian) almost exclusively from the Chinese version of Kumarajiva. See about this, for example: Serebryany S. D. "The Lotus Sutra": a preface to the first Russian translation. Moscow, 1999.

16 When I told them that the Russian translation of the Lotus Sutra (made by A. N. Ignatovich) Although it was published in 1999 with only a thousand copies and sold out within a few months, they replied that they could only envy this success: their translation of the Lotus Sutra, which was also published in the amount of a thousand copies, has not yet been sold out; almost all the copies are in the basement of the publishing house.

17 In the list of participants, I found only one more Spanish name: Maria Jose Izarra (Luxembourg).

18 J. Brockington informed me that there is at least one IASS member in Beijing, but he was unable to come.

19 However, the greatest British indologist of the 19th century was also a German - Friedrich Max Muller (1823-1900). In the 19th century, Germany also "exported" some outstanding Sanskrit scholars to British India (who then usually returned to Europe).

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In the 20th century, Russian indology has already reached the world level and has put forward such outstanding scientists as S. F. Oldenburg (1863-1934) and F. I. Shcherbatskaya (1866-1942). But in Soviet times, by the end of the 1930s, this scientific tradition was almost destroyed: S. F. Oldenburg and F. I. Shcherbatskaya were denigrated and intimidated, and their students were mostly destroyed. Indology, like other humanities disciplines, has become the " servant of ideology." A new upsurge was observed in the second half of the 1950s (during the Khrushchev "thaw"), but the" era of stagnation "(1970-early 1980) again threw science back: several prominent Russian indologists were carried away by the "third wave" of emigration, and the rest somehow had to "apply to science". meanness" (in the words of M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin). Nevertheless, the tradition of Indology (including Sanskrit studies) in our country has been preserved and continues for 20 years, but its further fate largely depends on the path taken by the country as a whole. If Russia continues to assimilate New European cultural values (which include, among other things, freedom of intellectual search and openness to the rest of the world, interest in other cultures), then Indology can continue to exist and develop in our country. If a certain neo-communist ideology or post-communist neo-Orthodoxy prevails in Russia, which brings with it dogmatism in the sphere of thought, as well as isolationism and xenophobia, then the fate of Indology and Oriental studies in general may turn out to be deplorable.

In conclusion , a few words about Finland. It is no coincidence that the next world Sanskrit Conference was held at the University of Helsinki. For many years (from 1958 to 1980), the famous scholar Pentti Aalto (1917 - 1998) was a professor of Sanskrit and comparative Indo-European linguistics at this university. In 1981, he was succeeded by Asko Parpola, who is probably best known for his work on deciphering the texts of the Indus Valley civilization ("Mohenjodaro and Harappa") .21 It was Professor A. Parpola who headed the organizing committee of the Helsinki Conference 22 . Other indologists work with him at the University of Helsinki. For example, Klaus Karttunen, whose position is called "Associate Professor of Indology and classical Ethnography". K. Karttunen deals, among other things, with the history of relations between India and the ancient world, as well as the history of Indology. At the conference, he demonstrated (in a manuscript) the extensive biobibliographic reference book "Who is Who in West Indology" prepared by him (which also includes Russian scientists who passed away before 2000).

The next, 13th World Sanskrit Conference will be held in 2006 in Edinburgh. It remains to express the hope that in the capital of Scotland, Russian Indology will be presented at least as well as in the capital of Finland.


20 See more details: Silver S. D. ancient Indian literature // the study of the literatures of the East. Russia, XX century. Moscow, 2002. pp. 372-402; Serebryany S. D. Yu. N. Roerich and the history of Russian Indology // St. Petersburg Roerich Collection. Issue V. St. Petersburg, 2002, pp. 20-77.

21 See, for example: Parpola A. Deciphering the Indus Script. Cambridge, 1994 (paperback edition: Delhi: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

22 It is worth emphasizing the clear organization of the conference's work and the genuine cordiality of its organizers.


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S. D. SEREBRYANY, Scientific life. Congresses, conferences, and symposia. 12th WORLD SANSKRIT CONFERENCE. Impressions and reflections // Delhi: India (ELIB.ORG.IN). Updated: 25.06.2024. URL: https://elib.org.in/m/articles/view/Scientific-life-Congresses-conferences-and-symposia-12th-WORLD-SANSKRIT-CONFERENCE-Impressions-and-reflections (date of access: 16.07.2024).

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