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Review

Author(s): Ludwik Sternbach


Review by: Ludwik Sternbach
Source: Journal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 101, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1981), p. 478
Published by: American Oriental Society
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478 Journal of the American Oriental Societv 101.4 (1981)

will eagerly look forward to the publication of other volumes


of this monumental work.

The first International Sanskrit Conferenc took place in

Delhi in March 1972 under the auspices of the Ministry of


Education and Social Welfare of the Government of India.
P. L. BHARGAVA

The late Professor V. Raghavan was then chairman of the

Academic Sub-Committee and he edited before his premature


Varuna and Vidasaka. On the Origin of Sanskrit Drama.
By F. B. J. KUIPER. Pp. 252. Amsterdam-Oxford-New
York: VERHANDLINGEN DER KONINKLIJKE NEDERLANDS
AKADEMIE VAN WETENSCHAPPEN. AFD. LETTERKUNDE.

death volume I, part 1, and volume II, parts 1 and 2, of the


Proceedings.

Volume I part 1 contains the 53 resumes and full texts of


papers presented to the Conference.

Volume II, parts 1 and 2, contains 98 resumes and full texts

NIEUWE REEKS, DEEL 100. 1979. Dfl. 95.

of papers dealing with Sanskrit and the other languages and

Varuna often equalled with Greek oi5pavoq is one of the

literatures of India and the World and their thought and

oldest Vedic deities and, perhaps, the least understood among

culture, as well as the heritage of different branches of

the Vedic Pantheon. He is usually associated with Mitra since

Sanskrit literature and their national and international signif-

he is the ruler of the night and Mitra of the day. Several books

icance Voliime II, part 2, deals in particular, with Sanskrit,

have already been written on the subject before F. B. J.

the Prdkrits, and Apabhramra, Sanskrit and modern Indian

Kuiper came with a new theory-Varuna against VidUska.

languages, the so-called Austro-Dravidian languages, Bud-

This book, as the author himself explains, is divided into two

dhist Sanskrit, the Sanskrit of Tulsiddsa; Sanskrit and the

chapters: the first is devoted to one of the crucial problems of

philosophy of language; Sanskrit and linguistic studies; the

Vedic religion. The exact nature of the Asuras and their

contribution of Sanskrit to the Orient, to Persia, to outside

relations to the Devas are considered from a new angle; the

India; Manu-smrti, Kautillya's Arthaiastra; the Bhagavadg-ta;

author came to the conclusion that there were two groups of

Vedanta; Puranas, Yoga; Tantra; fables and the Modern

Asuras. He explains the ambiguous position of god Varuna in

world; etc.

the Vedic pantheon by the fact that the Vedic poets call
Varuna an Asura as well as a Deva.

The contributions to these three parts of the proceedings of


the conference were not only by Indian scholars but also by

In the second chapter the author demonstrates with a

European, American, Asian and Australian scholars.

detailed analysis of Bharata's Natyagastra, that the oldest form

Volumes I, part 2 and III to V are yet to appear. They will

of the Sanskrit drama was a religious ceremony performed for

deal with Sanskrit and Archaeology; wit and education;

the benefit of the king and involved a reiteration of the

Sanskrit and science and technology; Sanskrit and World

cosmogony, which aimed at the renewal of the world; that in

languages, literatures, thought and culture; Sanskrit and

Bharata's work the traces of the earlier Vedic religion can still

Man; Universalism and Peace; Sanskrit and World literature;

be found and that the Vidiisaka of the Indian drama, far from

Sanskrit in the modern world; etc. Volume IV will deal with

being a mere buffoon, originally represented the god Varuna

papers on diverse topics of Sanskrit; language, literature,

as the divine scape-god.

thought and culture.

This new theory is thoroughly documented; not a single

Volume V will deal with miscellaneous papers on diverse

book or article on the subject seems to be omitted and each

topics of research as well as papers read in a section solely

read and digested. The same cannot be said, however, about

devoted to pandits and their papers.

the indices which are rather poorly prepared: many names of

The volumes will be of immense value to all indologists.

authors mentioned in the text are omitted there.

The Proceedings of the IInd International Sanskrit Confer-

F. B. J. Kuiper's new theory on the origin of Sanskrit drama

ence held in Torino (Italy) appeared in volumes III-IV of the

is worth studying in detail, and, at the first glance, seems to

Indologica Taurinensia (1975-76) and of the IlIrd Interna-

this reviewer convincing, despite it unusualness.

tional Sanskrit Conference held in Paris appeared in Volume


VI of the Indologica Taurinensia (1978). The Proceedings of

LUDWIK STERNBACH

the IVth International Sanskrit Conference held in Weimar

PARIS

(GDR.) will appear in a special publication of the Humboldt

Proceedings of the First International Sanskrit Conference.

resolutions of the Conference, minutes, etc. will appear in the

University, Institute of Asian Studies, Berlin 1979. The

Ministry of Education and Social Welfare, Government of

Indologica Taurinensia, volume VIII.

India. New Delhi; March 26th-31st, 1972; Vol. 1.1; 11.1;


11.2. Ed. by V. RAGHAVAN. Pp. viii + 578; viii + 480; viii +
458. New Delhi: MINISTRY OF EDUCATION AND SOCIAL
WELFARE, GOVERNMENT OF INDIA. 1975-6.

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LUDWIK STERNBACH
PARIS