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Books > Language and Literature > History > History, Philosophy, Culture (Revisiting Professor G.C. Pande’s Thoughts and Works)
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History, Philosophy, Culture (Revisiting Professor G.C. Pande’s Thoughts and Works)
History, Philosophy, Culture (Revisiting Professor G.C. Pande’s Thoughts and Works)
Description
From the Jacket

Endowed with multifaceted intellectual prowess, Prof. G.C. Pande ranks among the foremost original Indological thinkers of this century. Almost all the branches of Indology, history, culture, art, philosophy, poetics and aesthetics have become richer by the touch of his creative and sharp intellect.

The scope and scale of his output have no doubt been encyclopedic, but the word ‘encyclopedic’ does not say all about the nature of his works. Several minds expressed in several themes make an encyclopedia; in the case of Prof. Pande, however, there is no mistaking the same mind expressing itself in the several themes he takes up. Extraordinary range and diversity are not the most important aspects of his contributions; more significant is the basically unified outlook or vision that he brings to bear upon the diverse fields of his studies. Most of Pandeji’s works despite covering various areas seem to be parts of a larger whole. And from that point of view, he may be regarded as a system builder. This raises him to the rank of a thinker, a philosopher with a certain point of view besides that of a great scholar.

The present collection of essays will sever as a reasonable introduction to Prof. Pande’s interest and expertise and will provide useful insights into his mind and thoughts. The range and depth of Prof. Pande’s scholarship reflected in a variety of works covering widely diverse field are truly remarkable. The present volume, we hope, will offer a fair glimpse of the wide reach of his interest and the value of his works.

Gold Medallist in Ancient History, Culture & Archaeology from Allahabad University in 1958, Prof. Sibesh Bhattacharya was British Council Scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London from 1972 to 1974. he was Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient History, Allahabad University (1991-1997) and National Fellow in the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (2001-2004). Prof. Bhattacharya was President, Indian Social Science Congress in 1999.

Preface

Hopefully the present collection of essays will serve as a reasonable introduction to Prof. Pande’s interest and expertise and will provide useful insights into his mind and thoughts. The range and depth of Prof. Pande’s scholarship reflected in a variety of works covering widely diverse fields are truly remarkable. The present volume, we hope, will offer a fair glimpse of the wide reach of his interest and the value of his works. Practically every contributor to this volume has referred to his encyclopedic learning. It is an aspect that is so obvious that anybody familiar with his works is unlikely to miss it. In this age of super specialization such extensiveness of interest and expertise is becoming more and more of a rarity. It can be predicted with reasonable certainty that the modern age is unlikely to produce and nurse figures like a Vacaspati Misra or a Madhavacarya Vidyaranya or a Madhusudhana Sarasvati. Prof. Pande is one of the last representatives of this vanishing tribe. And the last representatives of a fading sect almost always contain a hint of a tragic story, a story holding in its folds a hint of anachronism.

The scope and scale of his output have no doubt been encyclopedic, but the word ’encyclopedic’ does not say all about the nature of his works. Several minds expressed in several themes make an encyclopedia; in the case of Prof. Pande, however, there is no mistaking the same mind expressing itself in the several themes he takes up. Extraordinary range and diversity are, in our view, not the most important aspect of his contributions; more significant is the basically unified outlook or vision that he brings to bear upon the diverse fields of his studies. In this respect he is rather different from, say, a Vacaspati Misra, the great tenth century polymath from Mithila. Most of Pandeji’s works despite covering various areas seem to be parts of a larger whole. And from that point of view, he may be regarded as a system builder. This raises him to the rank of a thinker, a philosopher with a certain point of view besides that of a great scholar.

It will help us to appreciate his works more deeply if we keep in mind what may be called his basic philosophy: his idea of man and his universe. We may start by noting that Pandeji believes that there is a spiritual core in man that really defines him. This spiritual core is also the fountainhead of the deepest human aspirations. There is a perennial yearning in man, a ubiquitous sense of non-fulfillment leading to a fundamental sense of suffering, a nagging duhkhabodha, in him. This yearning is basically an urge to transcend the finitude of the mortal world. All the finer and valuable aspects of human life and endeavours are the manifestations of this spiritual urge. Expressing itself in symbolical idioms it provides the basis of art and religion and even of society. This spiritual core seeking fulfillment really is the sole dependable ground of aesthetic and value judgments, the basis of Saundarya and Mulya Mimamsa.

This unified view is the product of an integrative approach that has been a notable characteristic of Pandeji’s methodology. Prof. Nayak finds similarity between Pandeji’s treatment of certain aspects of Buddhist thought and the philosophy of neo-integralism. Instances of Pandeji’s integrative approach can be found in other papers too; some such instances can be found, for example, in Prof. Rastogi’s paper on Kashmir Saivism. In fact, this characteristic has been in evidence since the very first publication of Pandeji, his work on the origins of Buddhism. His ability to cut through the exterior of diversities while not ignoring them and to reach the kernel of unity facilitates this integrative approach. Yet, he does not misrepresent, mutilate, distort. For example, he is as authentic with the Vedic age as he is with Buddhism; and the authenticity does not diminish in any way when he highlights the conceptual connections between the two. It may be noted that such integrationist approaches could be smoothly sustained in studies of early Indian history and culture, the main area of Prof. Pande’s interest. The mula svara of Indian culture, it may perhaps be extrapolated, supplied Prof. Pande with the notations to represent the pitch and duration of the process of culture. Although Pandeji’s methodology and conclusions are not the same as that of Sorokin, who may be regarded as a founder of ‘integralism’, it might be interesting to explore the points of similarity between them, particularly in regard to the role of spiritualism in the formation of culture and truth—formulation.

Shailyaji has noted that Prof. Pande has been treated as an outsider by the practitioners of different disciplines within Indian academia. He is too much of a philosopher for the liking of present day Indian historians; the practitioners of philosophy on the other hand think he is basically an Indologist, and so on. But these quibbles over territoriality and citizenship of academic disciplines are not really serious issues. In fact, one would prefer to be regarded as the ’citizen of the world' rather than to be restricted to pigeonholes of narrow disciplines, the boundaries of which are often of dubious value. This is not the anachronism we have referred to above. The anachronism that we are speaking of has its source in his writings: the themes he takes up, the issues he raises, the conclusions he draws, the world view he projects. When strident 'globalism’ and shrill ’ethnicities’ are threatening to drown all other discourses in India, Prof. Pande, in line with Tagore, Gandhi, Aurobindo, etc., has been reaffirming the humanistic universal values enshrined in Indian thought—heritage. In the contemporary clime this can be easily seen as ’moving backwards’, if not, as ’obscurantist’ and ’rank reactionary’ attitude. Further, Prof. Pande speaks of the spiritual essence of man. Spiritualism, particularly Indian spiritualism offered by Indian yogis and gurus, has quite a few takers in the West, but to talk of spiritualism within the precincts of academia is now regarded a taboo in India. Prof. Pande has been repeatedly defying it. Moreover, the position he takes does not gel with the ruling mores of current politics. Prof. Pande thus has been a kind of a loner among the contemporary scholars in Indian academia. A kindred spirit, Prof. A.K. Saran, passed away a few years ago. It seems that Pandeji is destined to remain a loner, at least for the time being. But this is a fate that has befallen many before him. And, those who swim against the current do not inevitably and for ever remain forlorn figures. The author of the Mahabharata writing during a period of transition of a bygone age lamented that although he had been beseeching his contemporaries raising both of his hands, no body listened to him. The lament, perhaps, was not fully in order; his voice after all did not get lost in oblivion. The present collection of essays emanate from a similar hope that some may lend their ears to the voice represented in this volume.

CONTENTS

Preface v
2 Kashmir Saivism
-Navjivan Rastogi
16
3 Some Salient Features of G.C. Pande: With Special Reference to Neo-integralism in the Context of Sunyata, Tattva and Ekam Sat
-G.C. Nayak
43
4. Jaina Ethics as Ennunciated by Prof. Pande
Mukul Raj Mehta
56
5 The Historiography of Religion and the Verity of Religious Experience
Susmita Pande
80
7 Understanding Value in Atamanusandhana: Some Observations on G.C. Pande’s Mulya-Mimamsa
-Indu Sarin
100
9 Perspective of the Social and Ideational Foundations of Indian Culture
-B.N.S. Yadava
134
10 Philosophia Perennis, Culture and Society: Perspectives on G.C. Pande’s Thought
-Ram Krishna Mani Tripathi
142
11 Culture: A Vedantic Vision
-Kamal Nayan
181
12 Culture as Realization: The Primacy of a Metaphysical Alternative
-Geeta Manaktala
199
13 Understanding Society
Sibesh Bhattacharya
209
14 History as Value Seeking: The Views of G.C. Pande
-Sibesh Bhattacharya
223
18 Vaidik Samskriti: A Short Review
-Sibesh Bhattacharya
266
19 Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanti
-Sibesh Bhattacharya
273
Contributors 281

History, Philosophy, Culture (Revisiting Professor G.C. Pande’s Thoughts and Works)

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From the Jacket

Endowed with multifaceted intellectual prowess, Prof. G.C. Pande ranks among the foremost original Indological thinkers of this century. Almost all the branches of Indology, history, culture, art, philosophy, poetics and aesthetics have become richer by the touch of his creative and sharp intellect.

The scope and scale of his output have no doubt been encyclopedic, but the word ‘encyclopedic’ does not say all about the nature of his works. Several minds expressed in several themes make an encyclopedia; in the case of Prof. Pande, however, there is no mistaking the same mind expressing itself in the several themes he takes up. Extraordinary range and diversity are not the most important aspects of his contributions; more significant is the basically unified outlook or vision that he brings to bear upon the diverse fields of his studies. Most of Pandeji’s works despite covering various areas seem to be parts of a larger whole. And from that point of view, he may be regarded as a system builder. This raises him to the rank of a thinker, a philosopher with a certain point of view besides that of a great scholar.

The present collection of essays will sever as a reasonable introduction to Prof. Pande’s interest and expertise and will provide useful insights into his mind and thoughts. The range and depth of Prof. Pande’s scholarship reflected in a variety of works covering widely diverse field are truly remarkable. The present volume, we hope, will offer a fair glimpse of the wide reach of his interest and the value of his works.

Gold Medallist in Ancient History, Culture & Archaeology from Allahabad University in 1958, Prof. Sibesh Bhattacharya was British Council Scholar at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London from 1972 to 1974. he was Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient History, Allahabad University (1991-1997) and National Fellow in the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (2001-2004). Prof. Bhattacharya was President, Indian Social Science Congress in 1999.

Preface

Hopefully the present collection of essays will serve as a reasonable introduction to Prof. Pande’s interest and expertise and will provide useful insights into his mind and thoughts. The range and depth of Prof. Pande’s scholarship reflected in a variety of works covering widely diverse fields are truly remarkable. The present volume, we hope, will offer a fair glimpse of the wide reach of his interest and the value of his works. Practically every contributor to this volume has referred to his encyclopedic learning. It is an aspect that is so obvious that anybody familiar with his works is unlikely to miss it. In this age of super specialization such extensiveness of interest and expertise is becoming more and more of a rarity. It can be predicted with reasonable certainty that the modern age is unlikely to produce and nurse figures like a Vacaspati Misra or a Madhavacarya Vidyaranya or a Madhusudhana Sarasvati. Prof. Pande is one of the last representatives of this vanishing tribe. And the last representatives of a fading sect almost always contain a hint of a tragic story, a story holding in its folds a hint of anachronism.

The scope and scale of his output have no doubt been encyclopedic, but the word ’encyclopedic’ does not say all about the nature of his works. Several minds expressed in several themes make an encyclopedia; in the case of Prof. Pande, however, there is no mistaking the same mind expressing itself in the several themes he takes up. Extraordinary range and diversity are, in our view, not the most important aspect of his contributions; more significant is the basically unified outlook or vision that he brings to bear upon the diverse fields of his studies. In this respect he is rather different from, say, a Vacaspati Misra, the great tenth century polymath from Mithila. Most of Pandeji’s works despite covering various areas seem to be parts of a larger whole. And from that point of view, he may be regarded as a system builder. This raises him to the rank of a thinker, a philosopher with a certain point of view besides that of a great scholar.

It will help us to appreciate his works more deeply if we keep in mind what may be called his basic philosophy: his idea of man and his universe. We may start by noting that Pandeji believes that there is a spiritual core in man that really defines him. This spiritual core is also the fountainhead of the deepest human aspirations. There is a perennial yearning in man, a ubiquitous sense of non-fulfillment leading to a fundamental sense of suffering, a nagging duhkhabodha, in him. This yearning is basically an urge to transcend the finitude of the mortal world. All the finer and valuable aspects of human life and endeavours are the manifestations of this spiritual urge. Expressing itself in symbolical idioms it provides the basis of art and religion and even of society. This spiritual core seeking fulfillment really is the sole dependable ground of aesthetic and value judgments, the basis of Saundarya and Mulya Mimamsa.

This unified view is the product of an integrative approach that has been a notable characteristic of Pandeji’s methodology. Prof. Nayak finds similarity between Pandeji’s treatment of certain aspects of Buddhist thought and the philosophy of neo-integralism. Instances of Pandeji’s integrative approach can be found in other papers too; some such instances can be found, for example, in Prof. Rastogi’s paper on Kashmir Saivism. In fact, this characteristic has been in evidence since the very first publication of Pandeji, his work on the origins of Buddhism. His ability to cut through the exterior of diversities while not ignoring them and to reach the kernel of unity facilitates this integrative approach. Yet, he does not misrepresent, mutilate, distort. For example, he is as authentic with the Vedic age as he is with Buddhism; and the authenticity does not diminish in any way when he highlights the conceptual connections between the two. It may be noted that such integrationist approaches could be smoothly sustained in studies of early Indian history and culture, the main area of Prof. Pande’s interest. The mula svara of Indian culture, it may perhaps be extrapolated, supplied Prof. Pande with the notations to represent the pitch and duration of the process of culture. Although Pandeji’s methodology and conclusions are not the same as that of Sorokin, who may be regarded as a founder of ‘integralism’, it might be interesting to explore the points of similarity between them, particularly in regard to the role of spiritualism in the formation of culture and truth—formulation.

Shailyaji has noted that Prof. Pande has been treated as an outsider by the practitioners of different disciplines within Indian academia. He is too much of a philosopher for the liking of present day Indian historians; the practitioners of philosophy on the other hand think he is basically an Indologist, and so on. But these quibbles over territoriality and citizenship of academic disciplines are not really serious issues. In fact, one would prefer to be regarded as the ’citizen of the world' rather than to be restricted to pigeonholes of narrow disciplines, the boundaries of which are often of dubious value. This is not the anachronism we have referred to above. The anachronism that we are speaking of has its source in his writings: the themes he takes up, the issues he raises, the conclusions he draws, the world view he projects. When strident 'globalism’ and shrill ’ethnicities’ are threatening to drown all other discourses in India, Prof. Pande, in line with Tagore, Gandhi, Aurobindo, etc., has been reaffirming the humanistic universal values enshrined in Indian thought—heritage. In the contemporary clime this can be easily seen as ’moving backwards’, if not, as ’obscurantist’ and ’rank reactionary’ attitude. Further, Prof. Pande speaks of the spiritual essence of man. Spiritualism, particularly Indian spiritualism offered by Indian yogis and gurus, has quite a few takers in the West, but to talk of spiritualism within the precincts of academia is now regarded a taboo in India. Prof. Pande has been repeatedly defying it. Moreover, the position he takes does not gel with the ruling mores of current politics. Prof. Pande thus has been a kind of a loner among the contemporary scholars in Indian academia. A kindred spirit, Prof. A.K. Saran, passed away a few years ago. It seems that Pandeji is destined to remain a loner, at least for the time being. But this is a fate that has befallen many before him. And, those who swim against the current do not inevitably and for ever remain forlorn figures. The author of the Mahabharata writing during a period of transition of a bygone age lamented that although he had been beseeching his contemporaries raising both of his hands, no body listened to him. The lament, perhaps, was not fully in order; his voice after all did not get lost in oblivion. The present collection of essays emanate from a similar hope that some may lend their ears to the voice represented in this volume.

CONTENTS

Preface v
2 Kashmir Saivism
-Navjivan Rastogi
16
3 Some Salient Features of G.C. Pande: With Special Reference to Neo-integralism in the Context of Sunyata, Tattva and Ekam Sat
-G.C. Nayak
43
4. Jaina Ethics as Ennunciated by Prof. Pande
Mukul Raj Mehta
56
5 The Historiography of Religion and the Verity of Religious Experience
Susmita Pande
80
7 Understanding Value in Atamanusandhana: Some Observations on G.C. Pande’s Mulya-Mimamsa
-Indu Sarin
100
9 Perspective of the Social and Ideational Foundations of Indian Culture
-B.N.S. Yadava
134
10 Philosophia Perennis, Culture and Society: Perspectives on G.C. Pande’s Thought
-Ram Krishna Mani Tripathi
142
11 Culture: A Vedantic Vision
-Kamal Nayan
181
12 Culture as Realization: The Primacy of a Metaphysical Alternative
-Geeta Manaktala
199
13 Understanding Society
Sibesh Bhattacharya
209
14 History as Value Seeking: The Views of G.C. Pande
-Sibesh Bhattacharya
223
18 Vaidik Samskriti: A Short Review
-Sibesh Bhattacharya
266
19 Ekam Sad Vipra Bahudha Vadanti
-Sibesh Bhattacharya
273
Contributors 281
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