4-day National Tutorial Workshop on
Śāstric Research Methodology

Opportunities and Challenges in Indic Knowledge Research

organized by

MIT School of Vedic Sciences (SVS), MIT-ADT University, Pune, and
Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University (KKSU), Ramtek, Nagpur

Organizing Team

  • Course Designer: Prof. Shrinivasa Varakhedi, Vice-chancellor, Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Ramtek, Nagpur
  • Co-designer: Prof. Nagaraj Paturi, Ex Senior Professor, FLAME University, Executive Committee Member, MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune
  • Academic Coordinator: Prof. Madhusudan Penna, KKSU, Ramtek, Nagpur
  • Organizer: Dr. Sai Susarla, Dean MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune
  • Course Coordinator: Dr. Vaishnavi Nishankar, Faculty, MIT School of Vedic Sciences, Pune

Quick Summary

  • Dates: Oct 20-23, 2018 – Saturday to Tuesday (4 days), 9.00am – 5.30pm
  • Venue: Maharashtra Travel and Tourism Department MTDC Seminar Hall, Seminary Hills, Nagpur
  • Accommodation for Participants: MLA Hostel (Shared basis), Nagpur
  • Audience: Aspiring researchers and faculty in Indic knowledge studies – Admission by screening
  • Workshop fee: ₹ 6,800 (includes food and accommodation), ₹ 4,300 (excluding accommodation)
  • Eligibility: Bachelors’ degree, familiarity with a shaastra
  • Indic Academy is kindly sponsoring a limited number of student scholars to attend (based on merit and faculty nomination)
  • Click here to register online. Alternatively, scan the QR code with your mobile camera and visit the site.

  • Contact: info.mitsvs@gmail.com or visit mitvedicsciences.com

Workshop Overview

To revive India’s native śāstric method of inquiry and skillfully integrate it with modern methods, MIT ADT University’s School of Vedic Sciences is launching a new course called Śāstric Research Methodology in collaboration with Kavikulaguru Kalidasa Sanskrit University, Nagpur. This course will be delivered as an immersive workshop over 4 full days for aspiring Vedic science researchers (traditional śāstra faculty and students as well as modern-educated professionals). It will be taught by celebrated traditional scholars who are well-versed in both Indian and modern methods.

Approach

This workshop familiarizes the audience with India’s traditional method of critical inquiry and discourse, evidence-based discovery of truth, interconnection among various branches of knowledge, how to analyze Indic texts with fidelity to the native cultural and philosophical context of India, and how to propagate the Indic scientific discourse. Specifically, the lectures focus on the following:

  • Thought process and Methodology of śāstra, not their content
  • Evolution of thinking process over time in different Indic knowledge domains
  • Higher-level philosophical observations more than specific textual details

 Motivation

India had its own native, robust tradition of scientific inquiry and discourse that thrived over millennia until its decline only a couple of centuries ago after the advent of British education. Its methodology of research has many features distinct from the contemporary methodology, and is based on a different but equally valid worldview and culture from the prevailing European one.

The scientific rigor and import of India’s intellectual output, called the śāstras, cannot be fully appreciated without understanding their methodology and worldview. Such a study is also essential to fully unlock the value of Vedic sciences for contemporary applications. However, due to being cut off from India’s native education system, modern scientific community tends to misinterpret Indic literature or disregard its śāstras as unscientific or not relevant anymore. Traditional śāstra scholars tend to focus more on preservation than on application of śāstric wisdom.

For instance, śāstras have their own method of abstracting and characterizing observed real-world phenomena called lakṣaṇa-karaṇam, analogous to modeling in modern sciences. However, śāstra authors emphasize fidelity to actual observations and adjusting the characterization accordingly. Their modeling is amenable to continual adaptation, which is in line with the emerging trend in modern science of data-driven analytics.

Second, modern Indologists emphasize a history-centric approach to judging the authenticity of evolution of ideas. They bring in a heavy dose of assumptions based on the cultural tendencies applicable to a European upbringing, which does not apply to Indian authors. This has led to numerous misinterpretations of Indic texts and the notion of “prakśepa” or “later interpolations” as a way to explain away ill-understood concepts. Indian authors tend to preserve multiple views intact when referring to a subject regardless of their difference of opinion, and give more cultural value to the knowledge content than its authorship. This is often construed as plagiarism or willful insertions into texts by modern scholars doing critical editions of ancient texts.

In summary, to approach India’s knowledge heritage for a rigorous scrutiny, its cultural and intellectual background needs to be understood and taken account of. There is need for modern-educated researchers to unlearn some prevailing notions and be open to a different viewpoint.

There is a need to understand the ‘śāstric’ research methodology to enable further access and more precise interpretation of sources of Indic knowledge, which have so far been subjected to research methods foreign and inapplicable for the Indic śāstras. When studied in this way, Indic śāstras can bring a paradigm shift to many fields with beneficial effect for our future.

Speaker Profiles

Speaker Affiliation Role / Expertise Area # of sessions
Prof. Shrinivasa Varakhedi Vice-chancellor, Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University Overall Course Design 3
Prof. Kapil Kapoor IIAS Shimla Cultural context of Indic research 1
Prof. Radhavallabh Tripathi Former VC, Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan Sāhitya śāstra, Translation studies 3
Dr. Vinayachandra Director, Veda Vijnana Shodha Samsthanam, Bengaluru Yoga and Psychology 1
Prof. Nagaraj Paturi Executive Committee Member, MITSVS Indology, Cultural context of Indic Research 3
Dr. M. Jayaraman Director, Krishnamacharya Yoga Mandiram Yoga sūtras, Tantra yuktis 1
Dr. Anant Dharmadhikari
Pune Ayurveda 1
Dr. Madhusudan Penna Dean of Faculty, Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University Sahitya 1
Prof. V. N. Jha Former director, Centre for Advanced Sanskrit Studies, Pune University Nyaaya Shaastra 1
Prof. Kanchi Gopinath Professor of Computer Science, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore Computer Science, Sankhya 1

Course Outline

We approach Śāstric research methodology along the following dimensions:

# days Topic
1.0 Inputs: The sources of śāstric knowledge and how to decipher them
1.0 Method: Indic approach to critical inquiry and research
0.25 Outlook: The role of cultural context in research, especially in śāstric tradition
0.75 Output: Indic method of thesis-writing
1.0 Case Studies: Illustration of above concepts in specific Indic scientific treatises
4.0 Total (@ 6 hours per day)

The Outlook: Dharma – The Cultural Context behind Indic Śāstric Tradition (0.5 day)

  • भारतीय-जीवन-पद्धतिः, पुरुषार्थ-आलम्बित-जीवनम् (Prof. Kapil Kapoor)

The Inputs: How to Decipher Saṃskṛit Knowledge Sources (1.5 days)

  • Resources for Research – Prof. Shrinivasa Varakhedi
  • Translation Studies – Prof. Radhavallabh Tripathi
  • Śruti and Smṛti Paramparā – Prof. Madhusudan Penna

The Method: Indic Approach to Inquiry (1 day)

  • Western – Prof. Nagaraj Paturi
  • Indic Research Methodology – Prof. Shrinivasa Varakhedi

The Output: Indic Method of Discourse – Thesis-writing (0.5 day)

  • Tantra yukti – Dr. M. Jayaraman
  • Anubandha catuṣṭaya – Prof. Shrinivasa Varakhedi

Case Studies of Indic Treatises (1.5 days)

  • Pāṇini Aṣṭādhyāyī
  • Sāhitya-Śāstra and Nāṭya-śāstra (Prof. Radhavallabh Tripathi)
  • Ayurveda – Dr. Anant Dharmadhikari

Workshop Schedule

Time Slot Speaker Activity
Day 1 – Saturday Oct 20, 2018
09.30 – 10.00am Inauguration
10.00 – 11.00am Shrinivasa Varakhedi Session 1.1: Śāstric Research Methodology – Approaches
11.00 – 11.15am Break
11.15 – 12.45pm Nagaraj Paturi Session 1.2: Western vs. Indic Approach to Research
12.45 – 2.00pm Lunch and Rest
02.00 – 3.30pm Radhavallabh Tripathi Session 1.3: Translation studies
03.30 – 3.45pm Break
03.45 – 5.15pm Radhavallabh Tripathi Session 1.4: SRM Case Study: Sāhitya and Nāṭya Śāstras
05.15 – 6.00pm Evening Break
6.00 – 7.00pm Parichay session of participants
Day 2 – Sunday Oct 21, 2018
09.30 – 11.00am Shrinivasa Varakhedi Session 2.1: How to develop Śāstra drishti
11.00 – 11.15am Break
11.15 – 12.45pm Radhavallabh Tripathi Session 2.2: Future directions in Śāstra Research: Advice to Young scholars
12.45 – 2.00pm Lunch and Rest
02.00 – 3.30pm Nagaraj Paturi Session 2.3: History of Indological studies
03.30 – 3.45pm Break
03.45 – 5.15pm Nagaraj Paturi Session 2.4: Critique of Western Approach to Indological Studies
05.15 – 6.00pm Evening Break
6.00 – 7.00pm Kanchi Gopinath Session 2.5: Research Direction: Influencing Modern Design with Nyaaya-vaisheshika models
Day 3 – Monday Oct 22, 2018
09.30 – 11.00am Madhusudan Penna Session 3.1: Lexicography – Western Dictionaries vs. Saṃskṛit kośas
11.00 – 11.15am Break
11.15 – 12.45pm Kapil Kapoor Session 3.2: Role of Cultural Context in Research in general, and śāstric research in particular
12.45 – 2.00pm Lunch and Rest
02.00 – 3.30pm V N Jha Session 3.3: Śruti and smṛuti paramparā
03.30 – 3.45pm Break
03.45 – 5.15pm M Jayaraman Session 3.4: Indic method of thesis writing: Tantra Yuktis
05.15 – 6.00pm Evening Break
6.00 – 7.00pm Participant talks 4 participants to present their research ideas (4 chosen)
Day 4 – Tuesday Oct 23, 2018
09.30 – 11.00am Shrinivasa Varakhedi Session 4.1: SRM Case study: Panini Aṣṭādhyāyī & its thought process
11.00 – 11.15am Break
11.15 – 12.45pm Vinayachandra Session 4.2: SRM Case Study: Yoga and Psychology
12.30 – 2.00pm Lunch and Rest
02.00 – 3.30pm Anant Dharmadhikari Session 4.3: SRM Case Study: Ayurveda
03.30 – 3.45pm Break
03.45 – 4.45pm All Session 4.4: Q&A on Suggested Research Topics
04.45 – 5.15pm Valedictory Function

Target Audience

  • Research scholars and advanced gurukul students proceeding to undertake research work (M. Phil, Ph.D and Post-doctoral Fellowship) in a field based on Indic śāstras
  • Independent researchers and freelancers who wish to enlighten themselves about the śāstric research methodology and enhance their research potential in Indic śāstras as a result
  • Faculty members of universities and colleges who have embarked upon or wish to undertake major/minor research projects in contemporary application of Indic knowledge
  • Participants of post-graduate courses (regular and certificate) offered by MITSVS

Participant Criteria

  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in a modern or Vedic discipline, OR equivalent level in gurukul education
  • Proficiency in spoken Saṃskṛit, exposure to concepts of Nyāya, basic vyākaraṇa and Ṃīmāmsa
  • Written statement of purpose (SoP) indicating specific area of research interest in śāstras in either English or Saṃskṛit
  • Phone interview based on SoP (at the discretion of the organizers)

Terms of Participation

  • This tutorial workshop is intended for those with demonstrable research intent. Certificates of participation in the workshop will be provided only subject to full-time participation in the workshop.
  • The workshop is an opportunity to brainstorm on the subject of śāstric research, which is rarely discussed in forums dealing with similar topic of discussion.
  • Each topic is discussed at length by the subject expert, with appropriate references and demonstrations and the participants get ample opportunity to interact with the subject experts in each of the topics.
  • The participants will get exposure to institutions, sources and networks that will aid in their research further.

Participation Fee

  • The suggested fee for the workshop is ₹ 6,800 which includes food and accommodation on twin shared basis (available from night of 19th Oct to evening of 23rd Oct). This does not include cost of travel to and from the workshop venue.

How to Register

  • Click here to register online (https://goo.gl/forms/6KbOgK6GEQWwJBz32). Alternatively, scan the QR code at the top of this document with your mobile camera and visit the site.
  • Once we receive your form, you will be asked to write a short Statement of Purpose indicating your background and interest in Indic knowledge research.
  • When shortlisted, you will be asked to pay the workshop fee online.
  • Upon receipt of payment, you will be notified about the confirmation of the registration. Make your travel arrangements.