The brown Pandit's brown count and welcome to another edition of The Brown Pundit broadcast today we have with us Srikanth Krishnan Macharia. I hope he'll correct my pronunciation soon, but she can't. Is someone that I got to know on Twitter and in my mind is sort of represents the more intellectual traditional Hindus on Twitter.
And I asked him if he can do a podcast and he was happy to do this. So we have him today and we'll ask him. We have a picture and we'll come back with us. And I'll start by just asking you, can you tell us a little about himself? Who is what got him interested in various topics he discusses on Twitter, anything he wants to tell us about himself?
Sure. Thanks a lot for the introduction and thanks for the opportunity to interact with the new team for America. I was born and raised in Delhi, in Bangalore, the fairly conventional middle class upbringing in terms of education. I did my engineering, followed it up with an MBA. I worked in India for several years and then I moved to New York some five years ago. And right now I'm based in New York. A lot of you probably know me through Twitter.
I mean, I discovered Twitter years ago and I've been very active as they usually tweet on matters relating to Indian history, religion, culture, politics and occasionally economics. In terms of my development, intellectual development to speak, I guess I started off as a liberal in my early teens. Right. I vaguely remember rooting for the Congress party back in 96 as a kid. And I think during my early mid 20s, late teens like so many MBA, right, I had my libertarian faith that I was heavily influenced by Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell and those guys.
And then I sort of outgrew that. I became more of a political and cultural conservative over the past six to seven years. I'm not sure what triggered that. Maybe it was a certain atavistic interest in religion when coupled with some of it, a certain dissatisfaction with modern liberalism, politics, assumptions like, for instance, the idea of progress or the obsession with materialism. And I don't necessarily see myself as a part of the Hindu right. I mean, I'm sympathetic to some of its causes, but I do believe Hindu nationalism, the Hindu myth, so to speak, is an important glue holding India together.
But but I have many differences with the Hindu right. I don't see myself as a part of the movement, so to speak. And in terms of family, I mean, I belong to a fairly traditional Brahmin family in southern India and which was nevertheless very urbanized. So my maternal ancestors, as well as my paternal ancestor, were being city dwellers for about four generations. Now, that's hardly typical of India, given that it was a predominantly rural country for 40, 50 years ago.
And it's not just me, but even my grandparents have very little idea of what it takes to stay in a village. So in that sense, it was somewhat atypical. And my parents are fairly apolitical. They were conservative with a small fee, but not much into politics. And there was nobody in my family associated with the RSS or BJP. So that definitely wasn't a part of my upbringing. And in terms of what made me turn conservative, I think had something to do with my family background as well.
And so the community I belong to is the creation of, I think, touched upon it briefly. And so the Tamil Brahmin Angus, whose population around the world of less than a million, probably seven hundred eight hundred thousand to three, were to get all langurs together. They might be accommodated in a largish suburb of Bombay or Delhi. Right. It's that small. And to that that made me deeply aware of the value of diversity. It's such a tiny community and yet very distinct Tamil Brahmin population itself.
It's pretty small to just about a couple of million around the world. Within that, it's about one in three Tamil grievances and anger. And that sort of made me aware of the value of diversity. This community wouldn't exist if a few philosophers, theologians of a thousand years ago did not have the intellectual courage to stand up for what they believed in and take a stance which was at variance with the prevailing Vidant extensive rate. And I think that emphasised the need to stand up for your beliefs and also the importance of intellectual diversity, which I think characterizes India a great deal, especially in terms of religion.
There are so many so tradition, so many sympathisers. Right.
And the value of diversity was driven home by my own. Background, the fact that I belong to a tiny community and this community wouldn't exist had people not had the intellectual courage to interpret certain thoughts in the tradition in a radical way. Right. And that's very important for me, the value of diversity, which I think is a core conservative value. And, you know, I think that that's what I would stop. Any questions on that? OK, OK, so I've heard the question I wanted to ask you, you can trust that I'm curious if you know anything about your family law through family law or from your readings about what a person in your community, what his life would have been like three, four hundred years ago.
So I'm imagining precolonial times. And in the south of India, that would even be before Turkey colonization. What was the role of these people in the community where they you know, they were, I guess in some ways very, very privileged also. But what would be their lifestyle? What would be their aims? What would be their training or anything like that?
Yeah. So I think within the Tamil Brahmin population in the south, I think there's a lot of heterogeneity. Right, in terms of economic status. Even in traditional times. There are quite a few Brahmins who had very little land, but others were large landholders. So in my own case, I don't think any of my ancestors were particularly rich or distinguished. Right. And they were mostly in secular professions, at least on the maternal side. A lot of them were into teaching.
Right, teaching Sanskrit teaching in Canada. Right. The vernaculars. And on the paternal side, I mean, my grandfather was in the Indian army, was a store manager, that he was not in the forefront, but he participated in the Second World War. So it was I mean, most of them were into secular professions and they were all deeply religious in their private life. But none of them were from a priestly background, so to speak.
And that's what I know from my interactions with my elders in the family. Right.
And yeah, I'm going to become a shrink. I think for me, like we have a similar background. My my father's side is very much from the Karaka region, and my grandfather was the first. Well, so in this way we're different. My grandpa was forced to leave the village and he went and got his masters and became a teacher. So I do think a lot of iron I've met tend to have a much more educational background the past couple of generations.
And before that, I mean, like, you know, on my mother's side, they were from a village and my grandfather, again, was my great grandfather was the first person to leave the village and come to a city in Patros. So in that sense, we have a very similar background.
Sounds interesting. Yeah, I think that's sort of true for a lot of people in this community.
It's a fairly urbanized community by the standards of India, a significant chunk of time, Bremen, I guess, city dwellers even 50 years ago. That can't be said for a lot of the communities. And and that sort of reflects in the headstock that some of these groups had during the British Raj, given their concentration in the larger towns. And they were from the only recipient of English education. Right. And that's reflected in the literacy rates in British census records.
If you go back to the nineteen thirty one, that's the last time the census was conducted in India on the basis of caste. And since then we have stopped doing gas to be census. And it means that there are certain groups in India that rank very high in terms of literacy rates, that familiarity with the English language. I'm one of those groups with, of course, the groups of southern India and the same thing could be said about Bengali and Bengali gift of right up gift.
And so it's not necessarily a function of varanus, so to speak, because even among a lot of diversity, if you go back to nineteen thirty one, the up Brahmin literacy rate in that year was around 16 percent. I'm talking about general literacy. I'm not talking about English language literacy, gender literacy, but on 16 percent and in Madras, Mysore, it was like fifty five percent, which is still not very high, but about three times as high of the Brahmin retreated.
And there was many middle class in southern India and Ferlinghetti's in Karnataka, that literacy rate with about the same as that up Bremen's. Even though in terms of ritual status, I mean, you would say that the Brahmins and you enjoy higher rituals. So I think this is something that when we talk of caste, I mean, the myth that the distinction between ritual status and social things. Right. For instance, you talk about keisters in Bengal, they have a relatively lower ritual status compared to the Bremen's and Beedis, but they are socially very dominant.
And even during the later years of British Raj, we look at the literacy rates of Griest of it's significantly higher than that of. Particularly in the North Indian cleaning up in Bihar, and that's something which I always found interesting, that the distinction between ritual, stative and social status and how your place in society and your material well-being is not necessarily a function of where you rank in the social hierarchy. Right.
That's interesting. So what is what would be your definition of of Hinduism and more particularly of traditional Hinduism? Yeah, that's an interesting question. I mean, it's hard to answer it very succinctly. There's obviously the influence of the Vedic tradition, which represents the high culture, so to speak, within Hinduism, the higher register and a lot of the living traditions today, companies they defend, they have really groups within the pedantic tradition. You have a debate with the way the three schools I mean, there are more, but I'm just naming three.
And they are quite obviously defend from the Vedic tradition in terms of how the respective gurus have interpreted the source texts in the tradition of the Upanishads, the drugs or the data itself, the differing interpretations gave rise to different sects, which are still with us. So in that sense, the debate is pretty strong. But having said that on the ground, I mean, the familiarity with the native Texan is pretty.
I mean, the link to the weather on the ground is pretty tenuous, so to speak, to talk to someone on the street. I mean, he's not going to be familiar with any part of the Vedic tradition, any of the really cool sticks. I mean, most people may not even be able to recite one verse from the Punisher or from even a non-native text like say them to not be the text, but still it's a part of the Vedic tradition.
So there's a great deal of variety on the ground in terms of how people practice their religion. Right. And a lot of it is orthopraxy that's driven by your. I mean, to certain practices which have inherited from your parents, so to speak, from your ancestors, and that's what defines Hindu practice on the ground, even though a lot of these people may claim to belong to somebody of which are rooted in in the footsteps of the tradition.
But the familiarity with the statistics itself may not necessarily be very deep. That's the point I'm trying to make. So let me give you an example, Rachel. So within the Vedic tradition, you have a great deal of intellectual diversity, so to speak, of one tradition which claims that the world is real. There's another tradition, the Advaita tradition, which claims that the world is an illusion. So these are very fundamental differences. And as an outsider, if you were to view this, you would say that the differences between Wavish deadweight and wait and wait, for instance, that in some respects it's even bigger than the gulf between Christianity and Islam.
There's one school which claims that the world is real. There's another school which claims that the world is an illusion. And that's a huge difference in philosophical terms. But the people who belong to do some produce, they don't necessarily see it as such a big system, so to speak. Right. But I was saying a lot of intermarriage that happens in our times and the philosophical divides are not perceived to be strong enough to regard these two companies as different religions, so to speak.
What matters more is the element of orthopraxy. I mean, if you compare that both of them, Ibram, and there are a lot of practices that are common in terms of the rituals you undertake, the annual Shadowfax defeats then densest of the Fangio and then you do every day.
The commonalities in terms of religious practice are much stronger than the sort of the theoretical divides in terms of philosophical interpretations. Right. And to me, that sort of sums up Hinduism that the emphasis on practice as opposed to belief.
So let's say. If you have, you know, like Jans are obviously in people in an indie tradition are the Hindus. And theoretically, not quite, because they don't acknowledge the evidence and they don't acknowledge a creator God or supreme someone, so to speak, right. So you could say it's a non theistic religion, but in terms of practice and people don't see them as their feet of being very antagonistic to the rest of the Indian tradition, maybe because they have similar festivals in terms of their lifestyle, they are vegetarian for that sort of that sort of brings them close to a lot of other Hindus or vegetarian that, ah, lifestyle connects.
And the differences in belief, the differences in philosophy don't seem to matter as much.
For instance, not just from the point of my question was more about I'm trying to get at how you would define someone as being either Hindu or non Hindu. The first definition you gave, which is heavier on practice, that they practice sort of the traditions of their ancestors. Everyone in India would practice the traditions of their ancestors are all the ancestral traditions are obviously not being counted as Hindu in this conversation. So what makes some of them Hindu and some of them non Hindu?
Well, is it the respect for the words and or something else? Polymorphous. Yeah, I mean, to be honest, that's a difficult question, very hard to define what a tight category and decide which gaffed is Hindoo, which one isn't. But broadly speaking, I mean, the the theoretical definition in terms of whether you acknowledge the that's a fair enough definition, I would say. And going by that definition, Jains are not Hindu, so to speak.
Right. But but does it really matter that that's the larger question I'm asking. Right. In terms of practice on the ground of how we view genes, the fact that they are not Hindu in a strict sense doesn't seem to matter as much. So I have relatives who are genes, some of my cousins of my genes, and they don't see it as an interreligious marriage. Right. Because there are similarities in lifestyle are so strong that it doesn't seem to matter that James don't subscribe don't acknowledge Davidov.
I mean, that seems to be a theoretical point, which doesn't seem to matter as much on the ground. So let me give you an example. Say there's a button left and there is a choice between marrying if you feel Tabram and if you have a choice between marrying a Jain and marrying a different Catholic, let's say you have a and in the arranged marriage market, so to speak, are deliberating between marrying a gene and marrying a Goda, so to speak.
Right. And I know a lot of my my jambia because they feel the lifestyle connect is stronger. I mean, a vegetarian. So I can add up to the the similarities in some of the lifestyle choices seems to drive to what extent you're willing to relax the constraints of dogma as opposed to similarities and belief, because going by belief that there are lots of gaps in India with which you should feel stronger, connect for yourself then genes. But I see a lot of grabbing marriages these days, which is very interesting given that the philosophical divide, the full stock, but it doesn't matter on the ground of much.
So I come from a Gujarati perspective or not. So for us, I would say, and I think I could extend this to Hinduism as a whole, what she said is right about the way that, you know, the way those a very important if you reject it, you're not Hindu. And I think that's a pretty black and white definition. That's a very usted definition. Jains, Buddhists and Sikhs would be called Gnostics, not necessarily meaning atheist, but in the definition that they're heterodox.
They reject the Vedas as they are right now. Now might attract some ire here and say that I I believe personally, from what I've read, a lot of these, at least maybe Buddhism and Sikhism, there's definitely strains that say that, oh no, Devadas, as they are right now, aren't correct the way that's a corrupted. Now we preach the original Vedic way or the way of barmitzvah or the way of Buddha the proper way. Now that's their perspective.
But from a Hindu perspective, when we look at those, when we hear chanted to us that's, you know, from ages past or from Pamala himself or itself. And that's a very theistic definition. But I think that's a very normalized definition. If you ask any guru or any head of a son or daughter, that would be like, yes, we believe in the business that we're divinely revealed. But she makes a good point about practice. You know, like there's the dogmas, there's Dunera, which both of those I wouldn't necessarily say there may be that Vidic, but there's definitely overlap.
And some people say, oh, they're not non Vedic sources. If you ask some tribal or someone just as a lay person on the street about the Vedas, they won't be able to talk about it. They might not even be able to talk about like the opening shots or even maybe even specific verses in the Geetha. But they just have that lifestyle that, you know, it's still like a genocide. Klaw, that's the best I could put it on.
So you just know that they're Hindu and the way they live it.
Yeah, I mean, just that point, I'm sure. I mean, there's a couple of things. I think this is one of the big problems in defining what a Hindu is, because it's it's so difficult, because if you look at the history of our of the tradition, even the Buddhist one good, though, is around like there was so much overflow between the Buddhists, Hindus. They I mean, Buddhism wasn't necessarily a religion about the world.
Right. It was a philosophy about how to approach the issue of suffering. So many do we know this from a lot of the you know, the history of your background, like the textural forces or whatnot, that most of the followers where you coming from the to your community or from the community? And those people tended to be. Bronwyn Bishop here at home, but the moment they would go to the Buddhist discourses and they don't into some sometimes they weren't necessarily saying there weren't teeth, they were just like, we're doing the liturgy, the Praksis, but we're also believing the way the Buddha thought.
And I feel like, for example, even with the change, all the Jain, for the most part, not all. But let me rephrase. Quite a few of them are deeply intertwined with the Hindu tax rate like you have you have about in in the Hindu Symphonia. But then the Jains have their honeybun, which is the story told from a Jain perspective. So it's not necessarily that they had different theologies or different gods. There was a similarity across the board with this Hindus, what we call Hindus and James.
But even even even if you come to modern times, we talk about our history punker Alkimos.
A lot of the a lot of the conflict practices and theology is lip service to the V.A. They will say lip service to intimidate us, but they just go on their own tangent, like, for example, like, you know, like with China and all these other paths that they follow, like they claim lip service. And part of me even says, like even within our tradition, you know, like the the concept of living on the right, we have the concept that there is the basic or the the the promenade with us and then the thermometer.
It so many people, many in Gaza probably don't even know anything about the the political leaders. They know so much.
About a couple of minutes, there are more likely to be chanting not only a different problem, but they are to be necessarily always doing, you know, push them or this or that. I mean, there is communities that preserve both. But it's important to note that within the larger Hindu or whatever stream of consciousness, it has been kind of syncretic and accepting, but at the same point, like they've been allowing people to differentiate. So if a Buddhist wants to differentiate the Buddhist, they're welcome to do so.
But the simple fact is their history, through their attacks in the Buddhists, the change the Hindus, it's all self-referential, like you might refer to a much younger argument. In a particular text in history, Batia takes on the Jain viewpoints. Buddhist viewpoints takes on multiple viewpoints in a way to show that even though those perspectives are out there, my perspective is more true to the Vedas or what's your experience?
I think to two quick things. So two quick things I want to touch on. I think what really defines Hindu or Indian intellectual ism, at least from from the Vedas to the Wizards and onwards, is those two essential ideas, invader's, which is ICMS, but probably gonna butcher this, but it comes out of a budget of Adante. You know, the the verse basically goes, you know, truth is one, but the sages or the wise know by many names.
That's a rough translation, probably get shot for it. But that's a rough translation of what it means. And the other one is definity, which is, of course, you know, not this, not that. And those two concepts have really shaped what both Shrikant and we're going to have talked about that diversity of thought, but it all merges into one eventually. Yeah, so I haven't seen the response to that, what I should have said right at the end.
I know it that within days is a pretty well-known statement from the Rigveda Mandela 10. Right. And there's also a statement in Upanishads states that such a majority tends to suggest that the truth is one and we can interpret it. We know it by different names. But is that actually true? I mean, I don't necessarily subscribe to that viewpoint, because if you look at the interpretations of the Vedic literature by the different companies, they don't seem to converge at all.
I mean, for instance, if you take additions, right, he regards the world as an illusion and he believes in the ultimate political reality, the unity of the supreme soul and the individuals. In the tradition of Rahmaniya, the universe is basically a part of the Supreme Souls body of power, so to speak. Right. And then, of course, the other day, that tradition, which again emphasizes the reality of the material world and the complete distinction between the supreme soul and the individual.
So now these are radically different interpretations. And in my view, the truth is perceived to be very differently by the difference and order to suggest that there is only one truth and the varying interpretations that we see, just the different ways of communicating the same thing. I don't necessarily subscribe to that. I think there is genuine diversity in terms of even what the truth is within the Vedic tradition, which is something that is not acknowledged readily by people on the Hindu side, particularly the Hindu right, so to speak, because they want a certain homogeneity and there is a tendency to downplay the differences between somebody else in the cause of the greater Hindu unity, so to speak, which is important in a political sense.
Yeah, yeah. No, I mean, just not quite sure. I mean, I will I will do a tiny bit of pushback here, because I think, for example, like if you if you look at any of these commentaries, they like use the day with the sexual argument or the argument that's found across all the all the companies in their commentaries on the promotion of the keepers. Basically the argument is it's the snake rope or you perceive a shell and you think it's over.
But it's actually white idea is that we're all experiencing something that's all the same. It's how we're experiencing one reality. But the way we understand it or perception or permanence and they're functioning properly will give us some element of understanding that reality. And that reality appears to us in different ways based upon our limitations. So it's not to say that we are all we are all there's the truth. We're all experiencing the same way. That's not the argument at all.
I think the argument is we're all experiencing the same thing when it comes up. We're all experiencing it. But the way we describe it, the way we engage with it is entirely different based upon our own, our own mental and our are some scholars or ambassadors or our ideas. Right. So there is I think there I think you're right in that we're we're overplaying the unification and downplaying the diversity. But I do think there is this concept because that's even why I put this in.
Jane's can have the same platform to have the same discussions, because we're all understanding we're talking about the same thing now. We're describing in different ways based upon our, ah, mental states. Yeah.
And on this point, I have an interesting analogy from the West. Right.
So I read a lot of Harry Mansfield, who's one of my favorite thinkers in the US. Right. And he gave this example of how the fact value distinction collapses. Right. So he was given the example of a university where he asked the question, how many students are that in the classroom? And the registrar, the registrar had about 50 students. But the professor replied response about doing but doing a hundred. What that means is that even though there are 50 students registered in the classroom, only one of them is a true student in that professor's eyes.
So he is giving it a qualitative assessment of who the student is, as opposed to just going by the register and saying that there are 50 students in a class. And when that happens, the fact value distinctions would completely collapse because depending on who you speak to, you may speak to Professor Eight, who may respond that there are five students in the class when Professor B Methy 15 students in a classroom, because that depends on their respective definitions on who is a student.
And that sort of ties back to what you were saying as well. Right. So what we assert of. The truth will differ depending on what how you define the student in this particular case, right. So I know there is this tendency to say distinguish between facts and values. So this is a fact and this is a value. But I don't think the divide is clear. The because a lot of things that we perceive as fact that actually values, so to speak.
Well, the facts and values are still being discussed within language. You can go even further back. There is a there is a book that I read recently by a professor, I think his name and I look at it, Antonio de Nicholas meditation's through the Rigveda. And the guy is the whole argument is very philosophical. But he starts from the fact that he thinks that the message of the web is, first of all, auditory, not written.
Does that make a difference? What do you think is the importance of hearing it versus reading it?
Yeah, I think that's important in the sense that a lot of traditionalists will scoff at you if you say that, hey, I read I learned the way that by just reading a book, so to speak. Right. And I read it in translation, that wouldn't go down well with a lot of traditionalists because the emphasis in Hinduism, as I said, the emphasis on practice and more importantly, on the words themselves as opposed to what they mean. Right.
So this is one of the few religions in the world where there's so much emphasis on reading the scriptures in the original, but nobody reads Bhagwat Gita in translation. They actually chant the Sanskrit verses as they were written twenty five hundred years ago. Right. And the same is true even with respect to whether it's even stricter, because what matters is not just the words, but also how you pronounce them and also the intonation. Right. Which you can muster only if you learn with a teacher.
And that matters a lot in the Hindu tradition, as opposed to what the words mean that the meaning takes a back seat. In sharp contrast to Christianity, that very, very few Christians actually read the Old Testament in Hebrew and New Testament in going Greek. Right. I mean, correct me if I'm wrong about this, but the emphasis is not so much on the language. It's more on the meaning of the word. Right. Because you read the Bible adjective in English and you don't become a Christian because you're not reading it and going Greek.
I think it's very different with Hinduism and the emphasis is very much on the words themselves as opposed to what the words mean, because that's just figuring out what they mean doesn't necessarily make you a Hindu and it doesn't necessarily make you learned in that scripture, so to speak.
Well, let me put it that way.
But what is the message in your view then, when you said that there is such a thing as this? There has to be to be a Hindu is to have certain respect for the Raiders or for the to regard the Vedas as the source of your tradition? Maybe. But what is that saucing and what is there is there like a central message there?
I don't think that you can sum it up with a single message, so to speak. And that ties back to the point of intellectual diversity that I brought up. Right. There's genuine diversity within the Hindu tradition, even in terms of how we interpret the way the texts and by Vedic texts. I don't just mean the Samhita, I mean the Summit of Promenades, Upanishads, and of course, the secondary literature spawned by these Vedic text, which includes, of course, the sutras.
We don't trust the interpretations of those. We don't trust the Bhagavad Gita itself. So all of this constitutes the Vedic tradition, in my view. And and the way we interpret these texts obviously differs a great deal from one simple idea to the next. And I don't think there is a central idea, so to speak. I mean, of course, there is a genuine respect for polytheistic practice, which which goes back to the degree that. Right.
I mean, even in the end, as someone commented recently on the Brown Pundits blog, even in the family books, which are the older section of the Rigveda looks two to seven, there's an acknowledgement that you can perceive divinity in different ways and there is a certain acknowledgement of polytheistic tradition, which is very much there.
Having said that, there are traditions within Hinduism which lean towards monotheism. I'm not sure if I can regard them, for instance, as a monotheistic text, but it has leanings in that direction. And and of course, there are other traditions like that of Guyot's who are perceived to be very A.I.M., but they are teef, so to speak. They worship only Shiva in a certain form.
So in terms of theology, I mean, I don't believe there is. Central message from the way that we've got to be honest, there are many of the guards who we don't worship anymore, I mean, at least not as commonly as we probably did three thousand years ago and 500 years ago. We were not in rights. And also in terms of the.
Relative emphasis of the different tax, I mean, the really quite a lot of foreigners benefit from it and there's a great deal of emphasis on the ritual aspect on how you conduct your goods and sacrifices and the punishments. There are certain sections in operations that you actually see a critique of the sacrificially the ritualistic tradition and most evident in the opposition, where there are verses which distinguish between the higher knowledge and the lower knowledge, so to speak. Right.
And there's an implicit suggestion that the Vedic rituals, as practiced in the earlier traditions of the summit of in prominence, their present lower knowledge, so to speak, as opposed to the realization of the self, the done Umaga, as it is called in later traditions, that's what matters more. And you get that sense of openness and maybe with simplifying it a little bit.
So I, I would say that not a single central message, which I don't think can be summed up in one or two words. I know there is a tendency to do that. I mean, the one thing that I often hear, they come out with something great and that's pretty catchy, I think. And it sums up a lot of Hinduism.
And pretty well, if you go by the book I mentioned earlier, that professor book, he would he says the central message is actually more sort of radically philosophical than that, that the message is actually that that language itself is incomplete, that what appears to us to be contradictions. And, you know, like there are 30 creation myths in the lake, whether it's like there's no one story. Right. There's many stories which contradict each other if you take them literally.
But that the only way to sort of grasp it is to not take it literally and to realize that there is some truth behind the sort of literal meanings which no single literal meaning can cover. But I also wonder when I read books like that, if these are people projecting their 21st century sort of problems back in time. Do you think that the Russians were trying to do that? Exactly, or they were not? And we are interpreting it like that.
Yeah, and I think there is a preoccupation here to find a grand narrative for the Vedic tradition of Hinduism more broadly, right? I think it's an admirable effort, but I'm not sure if it's it will necessarily result in a conclusive answer. So maybe you will always have debates on this.
And I understand that the answer goes in a different direction, which I wanted to ask you, actually, because this is something I am very curious about. If you look at any sort of translation of the rig that I read about, the whole thing revolves around sacrifice and hence. What is this sacrifice and why is it being done every day and what does it mean?
Oh, yeah, so that is a transactional element to the sacrifice, at least innovative perceived on the ground. And that's very much a part of modern Hindu practice as well. I mean, even in the Pooja's that happened, that that's not exactly a sacrifice that has changed a lot over time. And even in the modern emphasis on Pujari, the debt of the transactional element, if you ask Hindus, why do you pray?
They pray for certain tangible outcomes.
When you go to a temple and you undertake a puja because you want to get better marks the exam, so to speak. This may seem very low brow, but that sort of describes a lot of Hinduism on the ground, to be perfectly honest. And having said that, I mean, in a theoretical sense, I'm I'm not well enough to comment on the concept of Yeghiayan sacrifice, as you touched upon. But there is an association of divinity itself with sacrifice.
And I think in one of the commentaries on Vishnu's astronomer, if I recall, I'm not sure if it's Shankara or Parashar, but to right. And one of their commentaries, it's mentioned that Vishnu himself is the sacrifice.
And I think that this comes in the commentary for the dome, which comes in from an addition and makes that well.
Well, Vishnu himself is called. Yup, yup. Me. Right. So he is the sacrifice himself. And to your point of sacrifice, I mean, part of the the answer is that the debate rushes in many ways, will not the wishes themselves. Great. So this is just their outpouring or their mantras, their experience of reality or or the hymns as they came out. The leader summit is the way they approached. It was much more about the sacrifice itself is the microcosm of the macrocosm.
The creation of the universe and the maintenance of the universe was participated through the sacrifice. So the sacrifice had particular purposes like, you know, ugly Stormare or whatever it was, the various different sacrifices related to particular aspects of nature that they were engaging with in the creative process of the universe. So it was it was a way for them to to keep the connection with something larger than themselves in a way that they could control it.
But that's given how much difficulty we are having, figuring out what sacrifice is or is not in the Rigveda, our modern Hindus, even Vidic, because in the realm of that self sacrifice is like central. It's there all the time. Right.
And I think that I mean, that that's a legitimate question that can be asked by some people. And and that stems from a very narrow definition of the way that even today in academia and elsewhere and we use the term Vidic, we instinctively mean just as some hit us and not even the Brahmin.
I mean, that's the reflex tendency we need to convey that you think of the summit, but that's not necessarily how the average Indian perceives the way for the average Indian. And it's not just the summit, but not just the promenades or even the Punisher's. It goes beyond that. It encompasses all the secondary literature that has been spawned by these forced oral traditions from the Vatican.
And that includes, of course, the primacy of the interpretations of the Brahmaputra, which have given rise to a lot of the idea of which are Vitters to this day of the of matters. Right. And all all of them have with the group, so to speak, because they stem from that tradition, the tradition of interpreting the bishop's right. And of course, there are a lot of elements in Hindu practice which are not necessarily strictly Vedic.
I mean, even within the premedical tradition, if you have to become a temple, a temple priest in a situation where temple it the skill sets that you require are not necessarily related to the Vedas. Right. And you need to be well versed in the agama literature which occurred briefly touched upon. And in the tradition you primarily have two arguments of arguments. Ponchartrain, kind of the right. And these arguments have their own tradition. Great. I mean, I wouldn't say they are anti any in any way, but they are sort of you could say non they in terms of their tradition, I don't think it can be traced back directly to the way that some might disagree with me.
So even within the.
What I regard as a medical fact, like sensationalism, that is a reliance on tests which are not necessarily medically like the character attacks which I used for temple worship, the worship in the temple is regulated not by any Vedic text. It is regulated by the Pontchartrain's tax, the way kind of attacks in the way of a tradition. And of course, there are other arguments that I same arguments right now. I think that's something we need to keep in mind because not everything is necessarily Vedic.
There's an acknowledgement of the inspiration that comes from the east, but a lot of these traditions, having said that, a lot of the texts in the tradition, Danville's, have non-leading thoughts as well. And that's why I did the I think. So one one point we could touch on from at least a theistic perspective is when Hindus say they're Vidic or when somebody or Guru says, I follow a Vedic sonatine, somebody or Dharma, one of the ways to kind of prove that is their Basham's.
Now, the first person to do a was, of course, are these so-called Sharia commentaries, which is basically abortion would be a commentary on the optician's, the Brahma sutras and I believe the budget Geetha. And like she said, this is all kind of descended from the Vedas. So, of course, they'll also talk about the Vedas and other secondary scriptures or Sympathy's or other Barones, whatever. But from those three primary scriptures, I think they call it the president.
That's how they really derive that stamp of approval or saying, hey, this is our interpretation. They'll be debated on it, they'll be challenged on it. And if they could show their case, that's when they really earned that. You know, where somebody and I think one of the cool parts about Hinduism is a lot of other companies will acknowledge that. They'll say, OK, we don't agree with you. And in many cases, I've seen literal verses where like people from verses of it will call advertisings Gnostic, like not not they're not talking about Jains or Sikhs or Buddhists or anything.
They're calling another supper. They themselves Gnostic. Well, they also go written about them, especially that's a big one. Yeah, so they can be pretty nasty between each other. But, you know, there's always like we were talking about, there's this dichotomy unground. It's you know, no one's killing each other just because you're.
Well, just a point, I think, like so we're talking specifically about the Arctic pack, which is you guys both alluded to earlier, which is the you know, there's kind of a concern that the anaconda as a later break down so we got to really focus is only on the Upanishads from Soopers and the Geita, which are the more the knowledgebase. The other school, for example, romancer doesn't even touch Upanishads. All they do is engage with the Savitar's and the proportion in terms of the liturgy.
Why should you follow the Vedic practices? Why you should do a particular Haoma? What do the basic statements make so that that is right, that is entirely focused on the practice of the of the sacrifice of Yemenia. Why that should be done. And it's in some ways atheistic. They don't even give a crap about having a deity in that system. And they also have their sutras. They have their own entire tradition that goes with the two. This is going to be a fascinating and endless discussion, but we'll move to a slightly different topic, which is modern Hinduism.
What is know, we sort of discussed and reached some sort of consensus that it's Vedic tradition is not necessarily a radical religion in the sense that the weather dictates everything. Right. But it's a radical tradition and it's a tradition that comes down from that time and to which hundreds of layers of other things have been added or subtracted, for that matter. But this tradition today in the 21st century, where does it stand in your view and what does it have to offer and what is its future like?
Yes, so one thing to bear in mind is that Hinduism today, I know there's a lot of talk about reform in 19th century, people refer a lot to the so-called Hindu reformation of the 19th century. To my mind, that that angle is overdone. Hinduism today is largely an unreformed religion, so to speak. I don't mean that in a negative sense. What I mean is that there is a great deal of continuity from ancient times and even medieval times.
And we touched upon the aspect of continuity earlier in the call. Right. This is a sharp contrast to, say, Christianity, where there was a fundamental break with the past, I mean, during the Protestant Reformation in many ways.
So if you talk if you look at modern Christian traditions, like if you accept Calvinism, Lutheranism. Right. And then in 18th century, you had Methodism, Puritanism and all of these sects, they have a history of about 300 to 400 years. Right. Not more than that. That they originated for the most part as a as a revolt against the Catholic Church. Right. And their origins lie very much in the recent past 500 years, so to speak.
And you can't say that about Hinduism this year. We had a reformation in the 19th century, but that reformation, in my view, was not deep enough. And a lot of the traditions that Indians follow today are not from those reformed, so to speak. For instance, Bromo Samaj was a tradition that were founded in the early 19th century. But how many promotor margins exist in India today that the only 19th century fact, which is still running strong in India, is probably the idea of the march, which was founded in northwest India by then.
And so that's what the end that's still pretty popular in Punjab and other parts of northwest India.
But for the most part, the the older some of the still very vibrant. Right. So you have the SHANKARA makers, the fortune chromatographs, and five, if you include kanji and these are some that these are institutions which claim a history of at least a thousand two hundred thousand two hundred years. And if you talk to them, of course, they will place additional himself in the community, which I don't buy. But but these are pretty old traditions.
And even when you talk about the way that most of the free, no matter what particular matter, I hope they have a history of about 600 or 700 years or so in that sense, that it is not necessarily a reformed religion, so to speak. We didn't start with a blank slate. It's more like a palimpsest where you write on the same slate over and over again. So there are more than influences. But then the ancient influences have not gone away.
They are still they are still with us. And I don't mean that in a pejorative sense. I, I think we should embrace that. So it retains much of its modern character.
And because of that, there's also conflict in terms of the engagement with modernity, because certain things which are taken for granted and in the West, like, for instance, the importance of associated with the meaning of words, I touched upon this earlier in Christianity, very few people actually read the Bible in the first language, in Hebrew or in going Greek, whereas in India the emphasis is very much on the word itself, on the Shabda, right on.
And in the case of whether that's even stricter than the emphasis is on the intonation. Right. So these are certain ancient notions which may be jarring to certain modern sensibilities, and it definitely creates conflict in daily discourse. And I don't think I bemoan that. I think that's something we should welcome and it's a part of the Indian exceptionalism narrative. So that's what makes us exceptional. So in this narrative, obviously, one of the big elements is the question of cost, right?
The there are clearly people sort of motivated people whose objections to cast are motivated by their own. I guess the missionary proclivities. They are missionaries for other religions. And that can include, if you want Marxism. But they are they're not neutral observers. But on the other hand, even if a neutral observer were to go out and look at Hinduism or look at India, the question of caste will come up. And it was clearly a part of traditional Hinduism.
And it is clearly something that has become very controversial in modern times. What is your solution to this sort of difficulty and what is your preferred solution for this difficulty?
So I'm not sure if I have a solution in mind, but yeah, as you rightly said, caste is not necessary and definitely not a British creation, as some people put it. Right. I mean, genetic studies are showing that it goes back a long way, at least two thousand years, if not more. And there's definitely being a part of Indian society for a very long time. Right. But what happened in the colonial period is, of course, the institutionalization of caste and the universalisation of certain identities.
And I think Micallef death touches upon it in his book. So I think what happened in the British period was that a lot of ethnographic studies, academic study of gaffed and what came out of it was the. And certain identities became more congealed and rigid. For instance, the idea of being an untouchable now I should. Should I view it as a local thing or would it be a big deal if you were to move to a different geography in traditional India?
I'm not really sure. If you are someone end up you move to Mullewa, you retain that sense of being a Dalit, or can you make a fresh start when you migrate to a new geography? Right now, I'm not sure if we have evidence on that, but I would like to think that there was a great deal of flexibility in that regard.
So to what extent did Gaffed stick on women when you migrate to a different geography? That's an interesting question. But what came out of the British rule is the fact Gaffed became more rigid. You had lists drawn up on which caste is a scheduled caste, which gas does not, and that have sort of strengthened caste identities. Ironically, in modern India, where you have very rigidly drawn lists in terms of who is Dalit, who isn't, and I'm not sure if that's very helpful.
I think it has had the opposite effect of actually weakening glowsticks liberals might long for.
So I'm just going to I'm going to address I'm going to push back a little bit because I just think, like the issue of caste that you're presenting, like Dirk said, it is it's a ossification and Insys in the word superior. But anyways, it is ossification the stratification of caste in a way that never existed before. I think this is a semantic argument, but some level. But I would add my position is caste is entirely a creation of the British.
What I mean by that is the rigidity, the structure, the singular identity of people around.
One particular thing I think is very much a British construct, because historically, even within the EU, if you look at the the text and then it actually what's your name, professor out of Ohio. Lavanya of them, he talks about this in in her studies of quite a bit of the of the actual physical evidence. Land grants to delegates or shoot them, change their cars was a part and parcel of the traditional Hindu world. Like we even know, for example, maybe the Moreas or the group does or or even before the numbers were probably not shapir by birth.
They take on the identity of Shukria when they became rulers. So I think this was not a way of there was this movement growth and it was a very different way to view the world.
Now, I'm not saying there was not clearly antagonism between communities or the concept of untouchability. It was there for sure, because, you know, so much of our ah, the past thousand years of either the freedom of movement or even the progression of a movement was in a ways to address these concerns. But I think cast itself, as we think about it today is not the cast of the ancient world. It is entirely the cast created by the British.
Now, I'm not I'm not saying the past wasn't it was not some form of quote unquote caste. It was different.
It didn't exist the way it does today, whether it was different or the same in the same or whatever is less of an issue. The bigger issue tends to be that there is. The notion of cost itself of sort of hereditary cost and of there being people in different costs, having different ideal occupations is a notion that modern people sort of rebelled against. I'm not even going to argue whether it's right or wrong. Who cares? The issue is that it's not easily compatible with modern kind of.
Oh, I agree with you. I agree with you. And so something has something that was traditionally accepted in India is no longer accepted in the same way in the modern world. And so India is adjusting to that. Right. And Indians themselves may have wanted or did want actually to change it in many cases. Right. And you can say that it doesn't have to be an imposed solution. It's not that the white saviours came and told India to give it up or whatever.
Maybe Indians themselves decide to give it up. But whatever the case, the situation is, it's a big change from the traditional society was like right on that.
I would like to mention of the Association of GAF with occupation that has weakened considerably. Right.
I mean, and you barely see even among the most brandenberger and secular professions. And that was the case. Even traditionally, even even if you go back 500 years, a large chunk of Brahmins were likely in secular professions, not necessarily related to priestly occupations. And of course, you talk of history of children's or the Catholic may claim to belong to each of these. Well. You don't see a very strong with occupation anymore. So the aspect of caste which remains strong is the marriage choices.
And 90 percent of marriages are still within caste in India. And I think that will probably remain to significant extent. But what that means that we will see on the ground of the units of Togami might change over time. Right. For instance, 30 or 40 years ago in my own family and I are marrying and I think I would have been anathema to a lot of people. But today, I mean, a lot of these marriages happen. And I think it's quite possible that both these groups, notwithstanding their deep philosophical or religious differences, might become a single unit in 20 or 30 years time right now.
So the units of army will change and in that sense, gaffed will lose them, but it might not lose them by as much as some liberals might hope for. Right. It will not completely go away, but you will see the coarsening of caste identities and besides modernity. And there's one other thing which will militate against gaffed, and that is female Bergomi. Right. And the women want to marry men who earn more than them. And that's the universal observation.
Right. And in communities where you have very high levels of female education and and if you are a male in those groups who is not very well educated, then you're forced to look beyond your community and marry someone from a different Gascón. And I actually have seen that in coastal Karnataka that I recently visited. I thought that a lot of poorly educated Brahmin men have married Linga to women. And this is interesting because these are not very westernized people sort of thing.
I mean, they live in small towns. They are very much traditional, rooted religious, and yet they have married out of their caste simply because they're not very well educated and the women in their community don't want to marry them right anymore because of the female education in southern Brahmin communities. That's pretty high and have a meal. If you're not very well educated, you're not being to college, then you're forced to look out and marry from a different community because the choices are so limited.
And in this respect, I think caste will continue to weaken, but it won't go away. I mean, and Ogami will remain in awful terms, and I think it will remain a force of cultural and intellectual diversity, as we touched upon earlier in the Indian scheme of things. Diversity is very important and gaffed contributes to that diversity. Yeah, I think that sounds right to me, that this is likely to be the near future outcome, but related to this is another question I had, which is that I know this is just purely anecdotal.
I don't have any data on this, but I'm just saying, as a person who has lived in Saudi Arabia and America in different places and have always had Indian co-workers and Indian friends, and I go around, I ask people these kinds of questions, actually ask people all kinds of questions all the time. And the answers I get are not the sort of answers you are seeing on this podcast. Educated Indians, doctors, engineers seem to know very little about Hinduism.
And I find that sort of striking because educated Muslim doctors with me know much more about Islam than educated Hindu doctors do about Hinduism. And why is that and what effect could that have on the future of India's?
Hmm, yeah, that's interesting and out of that as well, and that's in part what to do with the nature of Hinduism itself in the sense that it doesn't lay as much emphasis on belief as it does on practice. Right. And what have happened with modernity is that even the.
Aspects related to religious practice, even they have eroded, right, and you now have a situation where Hindu, a lot of Hindus, they don't seem to have strong theological beliefs, nor do they practice their religion as rigorously as was done by their immediate ancestors, even one or two generations ago. Right. And that results in a certain level of agnosticism, both in terms of belief and also a certain degree of definition in terms of practice. You're not practicing the religion in any meaningful way.
That's that is a concern. But I don't know how big a concern that should be. And I think there are always atavistic tendencies in society and these things can revive over time. I mean, for instance, my father was not particularly interested in religion, but I am so so that's that's interesting because you would expect the definition to progress from one generation to another.
And in this case, it hasn't. I have probably reverted to the roots more than my father did. And I think maybe.
Do you think that has more to do with living in India or did you revert in America, so to speak? I don't know, that probably coincided with the move to us, but I'm not sure if the move to have had anything to do with it. Yeah, but I you see this happening a lot with the youngsters in India, right? People who are in the age group of twenty, twenty five. They seem to know a lot more about Hinduism than their parents who did not have at least.
At least on Twitter, the impression seems to be that a lot of that is political, not strictly speaking religious, that these are not people who are becoming more religiously Hindu, they are just politically more Hindu.
I think that might be a starting point. I mean, the political Hinduism may lead to a deeper interest in religion as well over time. Right. And it might be a work in progress because I do know a lot. I have personally known them and ah, I've lived all their lives in the US and Singapore. They haven't even been to India. Right. And their knowledge of the scriptures is pretty deep. Right. And I've seen some of them on Twitter and I think and I don't know anyone in my among my acquaintances in real life right around me who are anywhere close in terms of their understanding of religion and some of these and not who I met online.
So I think that can be a revival. We shouldn't rule that out. I don't think history progresses. And I do mean you don't necessarily get more and more definitive with every generation. And that could be related to that would be the question that if there are so many Indians that I get to meet and maybe it's because I eat more left leaning people than maybe the other people on this podcast, too. But in general, it seems like not just that they're less interested or what you're calling like deracinated or whatever, but that they are in many cases actively hostile to the idea of religion, of their own religion.
Interestingly, that seems that's fascinating to me because I see there are Muslims around me who are hostile to other religions, but they're not hostile to their own religion. That seems to be an unusual thing. Or maybe I'm just seeing it wrong, you know, so I'm in my twenties right now.
I was born and raised in America. And what you're saying is completely true, like most Hindus that I know. And for my background, you know, I grew up in there and I'm still Hindu. I'm a theistic Hindu, too. I'm not an atheist. I can do anything as to can do so. That's my perspective. But from what I gleaned from my peers, there are definitely many of them are definitely hostile to Hinduism or just, you know, they just don't care about it.
And the reason why I could tell you the reason why I'm not. And I think that's because, you know, I go to my parents made me go to Monday regularly. I made friends at one there. I learn more about who I am. I got more and more interested in it. And it's funny, there was a bit of openness to it, too. There was like, you know, read stuff in books or in school textbooks.
And I'd be like, you know, this isn't Hinduism. This is what I learned. And I kind of did that wolf rebellion where it's like, yeah, no, I'm standing up for my rights and for what I am and why people are putting me down and stuff like that. It sounds stupid, but that's that's really how I kind of got a lot of pride for Hinduism. I went more deep into it. And now I'm overly simplistic view of that.
But in terms of why Diaspora or maybe I could talk about, in my view, why people in India, that older, educated generation, they're a little bit more domesticated. I mean, I think this is me sounding very conspiratorial, but I think a lot of the education in that, I guess, cream of the crop, I don't think it was very favorable towards Hinduism. You know, Marxist came in third when Indira Gandhi was a ruling.
And I'm sure they did a lot of whatever they wanted to do with the curriculum general culture in that era. And maybe Srikanth or you guys could talk about it more. Maybe I'm completely wrong. But from my view, there was a lot of, you know, not necessarily shame, but a lot of like a little bit of self-hatred in the earlier generations in terms of what Hinduism is. It's uncouth, it's savage. It's it's not what these English speaking upright people do.
It's what these village people do. It's you know, it's not elite. It's not what I want my kids to be. I want them to be, you know, this, this and that. I don't want them to be, you know, this rustic heathen Hindu.
Well, I will ask Srikanth the question that I'll put on my materialist hat, although I don't fully believe this material is there, because I think Muslims themselves look like an exception to it. But dematerialise theory would be that if India becomes richer, Indians will suddenly discover that they have lots of things to be proud of in Indian culture, that the first thing, too, that needs to happen is not the pride in the culture. The first thing that needs to happen is the place needs to become more developed.
Is that Shrikant, your view are completely opposite to what you would think? Yeah, I mean, even though I'm not quite a materialist, I mean, I would probably subscribe to that. Right. I think India is still a very poor country. I mean, our per capita income in PPP terms today is about the same as what it was in the US in 1920 and may be getting the wrong. But roughly that's the analogy. So India is about as rich today as US was one hundred years ago, and it's still a pretty poor country.
And and as society gets richer, there will be a renewed interest in religion and traditions and you will have a fair representation of those traditions, because today we look up to the US in many ways. And the reason that happens is, again, going back to what you mentioned and the reason other than ideal for a lot of Indians, is because the US is the richest country in the world, as simple as that. There is this obsession with material riches, which is unfortunately the case.
It's not going to go away. And as you get richer and your own culture will get a fair hearing, which is not getting right now. And it's sort of natural because the question will always be asked, if your culture is so great, why are you so poor? And it's hard to answer that question. And that is something to that rate. And you could argue that the culture is not responsible for us being poor. There are a lot of things that have contributed to India being poor economic policy and statism, so to speak.
You can go on and on on that. But that's a legitimate question in some ways.
But if you believe your culture is so special and why are you poor? And I think it's hard to give a rejoinder to that question.
And I think I think I remember reading somewhere that Gandhi gave an answer to that question, and his answer was that we are not actually worse off than you because we the things that you are so proud of are like the toys we have seen several times before. We get them and you lose them and then you become even unhappier. We have figured out that you don't need these toys. I don't know if buy this, but that was.
Well, let me just respond really quickly.
I think I think questions like that are very are very are very momentary because we're looking at a particular point in history throughout like the civilization on the whole, like what was America in 1776 when the values were the strongest? I don't know the what the economy was compared to now. So if we look at, like historically in at least at least the Indian context. Right, the response has to be because we for most of history, until the 15th, 16th century, we were like the most, I guess, of a third of the world income came out of India.
Third of the wealth in the world came out of India. So obviously there was cultural reasons for that. Now now I think the question in a moment in time today becomes more complex because we're dealing with not only the modern world, but we're also dealing with the remnants of what the colonial infrastructure and the time period post colonialism in which we have certain policies of fiscal incentives that weren't necessarily, quote unquote, Indic. Right, well, one thing one thing I would throw in there, though, is that when you talk about people talking about this whole fifteen hundred and twenty five percent of the world's wealth, I think in modern society is net wealth really has to do with net number of people.
India just had more people. China had the other 25 percent of the world's wealth because the percent of the people I don't think that's true.
I think they did determine this by, for example, finding the cost of a particular good within like, for example, if Rome had spent so much money to India, what did India take from Rome?
What was the kind of exporter?
It's a much more, I think, elaborate understanding of wealth than we're talking like people to people.
Yeah. And I think India is a very large place. And if you go back to me, 18th century, early 18th century, the parts of India which were relatively prosperous, comparable to the West Bengal, maybe even Mysore, but that couldn't be said about all the provinces. So there's a great deal of diversity in India in terms of economic outcomes even prior to the onset of modernity. Right. But, yes, I sort of get where Olmert is going with this, that there is I mean, modernity emphasizes material riches.
It focuses on what's visible, not so much on the phone, so to speak.
Right. And that naturally implies that cultures which are predominant in countries which are not as rich, they don't get a fair hearing.
Even Dikkers book. Right. Like his might now book that that really focuses on the the Western Democratic liberal enlightenment values and the values they brought to the world. It's a very it's a very powerful book among the argument that Obama was making right now.
Sort of. Yes, yeah. That's the liberal argument. But we cannot gainsay the fact that he can get it to get richer.
Right. And that would naturally contribute to Indian culture getting a fair hearing as well. Right.
And obviously, when the basic needs are met, you'll have more people taking an interest in the past.
Right. Which is not quite happening right now, as O'Mara hinted at earlier. So I think that's important.
Having said that, there are other issues since we are about to we are running short of time. We should do this one more time to get to the other questions. We haven't touched on a dozen things that we wanted to touch on. But before we finish, I did want to ask you, as a person who reads a lot and is sort of into all these things, who would you recommend people should read to learn about India and about Hinduism?
Is there an English popular book, you know, like you have these little pop history books or whatever, what would be recommended books or recommended people to follow?
Yes, of course there are the standard text which one can always start with, right? I think it'll Basham's the wonder. That was India has a pretty good introduction to many aspects of Indian civilization before the coming of Islam. I think it's a perennial favorite and I think it still holds up fairly well and I would definitely recommend that. And then, of course, on Indian philosophy, you have the secondary text written in early 20th century and the works of the Christian and not surrender.
But a lot of traditionalism may don't like these recommendations because they tend to oversimplify things to misrepresent certain positions. So a traditionalist would say, hey, this is not the way to go about it. You should engage with the solstice. Right, and learn from a teacher. And that's one reason why Hinduism is different right now, because it's not an evangelical religion. I mean, the emphasis is not so much on being accessible to the outsider, but the emphasis is more on correct practice within the right to which you belong.
And so obviously, a lot of the books that I'm mentioning here in the day may not go down well with traditionalists, but I think your audiences, you are referring to people who are not necessarily Hindu or whose Hinduism is not just in those may maybe very limited. Of course, these are good books to start with. Right. Having said that, of course, we don't have as much high quality literature on Hinduism in English that come as much as you see in the West.
In the West, you have a new book coming on the Bible just about every other year.
Right now, you don't necessarily see that level of output within Indian literary circles. And that's the feeling we need to address that and why we don't. Produce enough literature for a broader audience, why are we still relying on these old favorites? I mean, you talk about Radhakrishnan mean people still recommend that was written seven days ago. Same thing holds even for the text.
Why don't we have enough new books coming in which provide a big picture view? And that's a question for the people in India to ponder on. I think we definitely need to write more books being written.
Have you read Karbi Roberto Collazo? I've heard a lot about it, but I've read it myself. Yeah. Yeah.
So I think people recommend it. I think that's a great book to to read from a Western audience that wants to get a sense of the overall world view, the thought process of of what Vedic text kind of are going for.
Well, as I said, we have so many things to talk about that we didn't get to. But it's an hour and 20 minutes already. So we will stop here. And thank you very much for joining us. And we hope we'll do one more session with you in the coming months. We really need to get to some other topics that we never didn't even touch on in this one and get more recommendations and things from you. And we are lucky that you are now writing down broke down projects as well.
So I hope you keep adding to our knowledge there. And thank you for making that next year and everyone for joining us. And thank you, guys.
Thanks so much. Thanks.
It is great talking to you. And I look forward to inviting. Tune in next week for Brown. Yes.