Indological Programme

The Indological programme will consist of four courses: Features of Vedic Poetry, The syntax of Vedic Prose, Readings in anonymous Śaiva Literature, and Royal Encomiums in the Raghuvamśa and in early mediaeval Sanskrit inscriptions.

Slot 1: Features of Vedic Poetry (9.30-11.00)

Werner Knobl (Kyoto)

Course description
The Ṛgveda, which in 10 Song-Cycles contains more than 1000 hymns of over 10000 stanzas, was compiled some time before 1000 B.C. It is the oldest and richest poetical text-corpus of this size in any Indo-European language.

In our Vedic Poetry course, we will read — “as slowly as possible”; non multa, sed multum — a few particularly interesting and thought-provoking hymns of the Ṛgveda. To be sure, the interpretation of this highly complicated text depends on a thorough knowledge of Vedic grammar and syntax, on an intimate acquaintance with prosodic patterns both regular (e.g., verses of eight, eleven, or twelve syllables to the line) and exceptional (e.g., catalectic or hypermetrical verses). Also, the linguistic background of Vedic (i.e., Indo-Iranian and Indo-European) must be taken into account, and therefore comparative evidence will play an important role in our classes.

In addition to all this, the creative side of language will be highlighted, with greater emphasis than is usual in a course of this character. Examples of rather tricky poetic and rhetorical techniques, ranging from anacoluthon to zeugma (but also other, less well-known literary devices, such as “word haplology”, portmanteau formation, or “mid-word caesura”), will be discussed. All these tricks and artifices which were employed by the word-artist, and can be enjoyed by us, in a quite natural way, even without any knowledge of the traditional terminology testify to the often eccentric inventiveness of the Vedic poet, and, at the same time, may make him attractive to us.

Level
A fairly good knowledge of Sanskrit Grammar and Literature is required in order to follow the classes with profit. Some familiarity with the Vedic language, not necessarily of the Ṛgveda, would certainly increase the students' understanding of the selected texts, and enhance the sensual as well as intellectual enjoyment of a particularly enjoyable kind of poetry.

Literature to read in advance
Participants who wish to prepare for this course may consult two easily accessible works by Arthur A. Macdonell:A Vedic Grammar for Students (Oxford, 1916; repr. Delhi, 1987, etc.) and A Vedic Reader for Students (Oxford, 1917; repr. Delhi, 1981, etc.). Those who have questions concerning the course may write to me at the following address: wernerknobl@hotmail.com.

Slot 2: The Syntax of Vedic Prose (11.30-13.00)

Werner Knobl (Kyoto)

Course description
The texts we are going to read in this course cover half a millennium of Vedic Prose. They will be chosen from Sahitās (Paippalāda-, Maitrāyaṇī-, Kaha-, Taittirīya-S.), Brāhmaṇas, Āraṇyakas, and Upaniṣads not only for their narrative or discursive interest, but also, and more especially, as examples of Vedic Syntax. Rules concerning word order in verbal and nominal sentences; the suppletive relation between certain defective verbs in the total verbal paradigm; the specific function of tenses and moods in various literary genres and periods of time; particularities of direct speech; the position of particles, pronouns, and vocatives; the ordinary ranking among these; the importance of sentence particles (, vái, etc.) in opposition to word particles (iva, evá, etc.); the distinctive deictic character of demonstrative pronouns; the unique multi-functionality of etád; the difference between adjectival and substantival use of the a-pronoun; and many other syntactical topics.

Level
Participants are expected to have a good knowledge of Classical and, preferably, Vedic Sanskrit. I am confident, however, that even those who have studied Sanskrit for only two or three years may profit from this course; because my explanations will be very detailed (and, if necessary, repetitive). Students should feel free to contact me any time before the beginning of the course, and to make suggestions as to which text or topic they would like me to treat with preference. Here is my private e-mail address:wernerknobl@hotmail.com.

Literature to read in advance
In preparation for this course, those who are familiar with German may want to have a look at Berthold Delbrück's Altindische Syntax (Halle an der Saale, 1888; repr. Darmstadt, 1968 and 1976) or at J. S. Speyer's Vedische und Sanskrit-Syntax (Strassburg, 1896; repr. Graz, 1974). Those who are not conversant with German could consult Chapter VII “Outlines of Syntax” in A. A. Macdonell's Vedic Grammar for Students (Oxford, 1916 etc.), pp. 283—368, instead.

Slot 3: Readings in anonymous Śaiva Literature: working with manuscripts (14.00-15.30)

Peter Bisschop (Leiden)

Course outline
This course provides hands-on experience in working with Sanskrit manuscripts and making a critical edition. We will read and discuss selected portions of two anonymous Śaiva texts. Draft editions will form the starting point of the readings, but we will also work with some of the available manuscript material. The following two texts will be read this year.

1. The The Śivadharmaśāstra. The text is the first in a large corpus of ritual literature collectively known as the Śivadharma. The corpus has hardly been studied, but it has been central in spreading ideals of lay Śiva devotion. We will read a draft edition of chapter 6, prepared on the basis of several Nepalese palm-leaf manuscripts. The chapter contains a rich invocation aimed at appeasing all gods and cosmic powers.

2. A Vārāṇasīmāhātmya attributed to the Matsyapurāṇa. The text survives in a unique palm-leaf manuscript written in old Nāgarī script. The text is as yet unpublished. We will read a draft edition of a section on Śiva’s release of Brahmā’s skull at Kapālamocana.

One of the primary aims of this course is to introduce and illustrate issues of textual criticism in anonymous Sanskrit literature. To this end, we will pay specific attention to reading manuscripts, setting up a critical apparatus, reporting variant readings and making editorial decisions, and consider the methods and aims of a critical edition. We will also discuss cultural aspects of the texts.

Level
The course requires a sound knowledge of classical Sanskrit. I will distribute the selected passages and photographs of some of the manuscripts beforehand.

Contact
Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the course: p.c.bisschop@hum.leidenuniv.nl

Slot 4: Royal Encomiums in the Raghuvaṃśa and in early mediaeval Sanskrit inscriptions (16.00-17.30)

Csaba Dezső (Budapest)

Course outline
During the first week we are going to read the 18th canto of Kālidāsa’s Raghuvaṃśa with Vallabhadeva's commentary from a new edition (currently being prepared and to be distributed later; in the meantime all are welcome to read it from any available edition with Mallinātha's commentary). This canto glorifies the rulers of the Ikṣvāku dynasty and offers several parallels with early mediaeval inscriptional panegyrics from South and South East Asia. During the second week we are going to read selections from Sanskrit inscriptions that show the influence of kāvya literature and especially of Kālidāsa's poetry, from 5th century Malwa to 10th century Cambodia.

Level
The course requires a sound knowledge of classical Sanskrit. I will distribute the selected texts beforehand, in the meantime all are welcome to read the 18th canto of the Raghuvaṃśa from any available edition.

Contact
Those who have questions should feel free to contact me: dezso.csaba@btk.elte.hu