The last Rsipahcami (September 9, 1975) marked the fiftieth death-anniversary of Ramakrishna Gopal BHANDARKAR. I thought that the Institute, which proudly bears his hallowed name, could best signalize that occasion by bringing out a small collection of articles which would re-view and re-assess BHANDARKAR'S pioneering work in the various branches of Indology, in the light of the new research done in the field in the course of the last half a century. An attempt could be made in that volume, on the one hand, to highlight BHANDARKAR'S distinctive methodology and refreshingly original and still valid contributions, and, on the other, to indicate the subsequent progress of knowledge regarding the many subjects which occupied the great savant throughout his long life. Such a volume would not only constitute a fitting tribute of piety and gratitude to the memory of one who had been a veritable fountain-head of inspiration for generations of students and teachers of Sanskrit in this country but might also serve as a source of solace and reassurance that serious efforts were still being made to keep alight the torch of scientific orientology which he had lit over a hundred years ago.
I feel grateful that all my colleagues whom I approached for contributions for this volume responded with a commendable sense of duty. No guide-lines were laid down in respect of the scope and extent of the articles. It will be seen that this has helped in making this volume a spontaneous combination of judicious appreciation of and worth-while addenda (and, in a few rare cases, corrigenda) to the Indological writings of BHANDARKAR. It, however, needs to be emphasised that this volume does not by any means claim to be a comprehensive critique of BHANDARKAR'S work.
Professor SIRCAR'S article, "Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar as an Indologist", in which he has mainly considered BHANDARKAR'S work as a historian, formed the address which he delivered on the occasion of the fiftieth death-anniversary of BHANDARKAR which was solemnised at the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute on September 9, 1975.
It is hoped that the two Appendices will be found useful
The word' Indology , means the study of any subject relating to India, such as its literature, history, philosophy, customs, etc., and this is the sense in which it is genera1Jy understood in the West.' In India, however, the word is usually taken to mean any subject concerning India of the ancient and early medieval periods. This is on the analogy of words like 'Egyptology' which is explained as the study of Egyptian antiquities."
This subject forms a part of 'Oriental Studies' which is a critical and detailed study of the various aspects of the history and culture of all the countries of Asia, particularly of the early and medieval periods. However, in India, such studies are more or less confined to early Indian subjects. The studies were begun in India by the British and other Europen scholars, administrators and missionaries who were eager to know the people of India, and a number of them headed by William JONES founded the Asiatic Society in Calcutta on the 15th January, 1784, for an enquiry into the history and antiquities, arts, sciences and literatures of Asia. Their zeal was stimulated by the discovery of the close relation of Sanskrit especially with Greek, Latin and other languages of Europe. The work began with a search for legends, inscriptions, coins and manuscripts as well as their collection, study and publication. The results of the search and study were published in the Asiatic Society's periodical entitled Asiatick Researches, the first volume of which was published in 1788 and the last (Vol. XX) in 1839. The first issue of its successor, the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, however, appeared in March, 1832, and is continuing till today. The interest in Indological studies having developed considerably in the country, similar periodicals began to be published from other parts of India, two of the most important among them being the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society and the Indian Antiquary, both published from Bombay, the first issue of the former appearing in 1842 and of the latter in 1872.
Indian scholars began to participate in the studies seriously in the latter half of the nineteenth century, and Ramakrishna Gopal BHANDARKAR was one of the occupants of the front rank among the Indian Indologists of those days. His articles were published in reputed periodicals like the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, the Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgenlandischen Gesellschaft, and the Epigraphia Indica; but a large number of them appeared in the Journal of the Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (from Vol. X, 1871-74) and the Indian Antiquary (from Vol. I, 1872).
R. G. BHANDARKAR worked on various aspects of early Indian history so that serious students of Indology have occasions to experience the greatness of his scholarship in their respective spheres of study. However, his writings appeared more than half a century ago, and the discovery of new material and the progress of study during this long period have naturally rendered some of his views obsolete; but, owing to his wide study and the soundness of his critical acumen, a large number of suggestions offered in his writings have now been generally accepted. Because his researches cover a wide area, it is not possible for us to discuss, in the limited compass of a single article, all cases of the above types even in a few of his works. In the following lines, therefore, we are inclined to refer generally to his contributions to the study of India's political history and social and religious life as well as to the history of Sanskrit literature and philology. In the course of our discussion, we shall refer to only a few of his important views which have been proved either wrong or correct by later discoveries and researches.
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