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The Sanskrit Studies Podcast

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In-depth explorations into the field of Sanskrit Studies. Featuring candid conversations and interviews with scholars of Sanskrit across the disciplines of Indology, Linguistics, Religious Studies, Philosophy, History, and more. Hosted by Dr. Antonia Ruppel.
17 Episodes
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My guest this month is Amba Kulkarni from the Department of Sanskrit at the University of Hyderabad, who has also been associated with IIT Kanpur and the National Sanskrit University. Professor Kulkarni is best known for her work linking traditional Indian linguistic theory (starting with Pāṇini and focussing on aspects such as Śabdabodha and Kāraka theory as studied especially within the Navya-Nyāya/'Neo-Logical' school of philosophy) and AI theories of Knowledge Representation to effe...
My guest this month is Robert Zydenbos, who is Professor of Modern Indology at the LMU Munich. (Full disclosure: we thus are colleagues!)His first point of contact with Indian languages and philosophies was through Collier's Encyclopaedia. It introduced him to such ideas as rebirth, a concept found in various traditions (see e.g. here, here or here)His first degree was in Indian Studies at the University of Utrecht, at an institute that developed into a centre of Tantric Studies and that has ...
My guest this month is Professor Saroja Bhate, former Professor of Sanskrit and Head of the Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit Languages at Pune University, who has published prolifically on Vyākaraṇa.Her first contact with Sanskrit was through the recitation of stotras. She was educated at Pune University and at Ṭiḷaka Mahārāṣṭra Vidyāpīṭha, and among her teachers were Pundit Vāmanaśāstrī Bhāgavata, T. G. Mainkar and S. D. Joshi.Among the texts she read during her studies are the Rāmāyaṇa, M...
My guest this month is Patrick McCartney. His written work, on Sanskrit-speaking villages, Sanskrit in the Indian census, the popular use and the politics of Yoga (and many other topics), is very conveniently linked to here. His Yogascapes project has its own website. The Himāl article on Spoken Sanskrit he mentions is linked to here.His videos, including his 'A Day in our Ashram' and the videos on his search for the Sanskrit-speaking villages, are available on his YouTube channel.You can rea...
My guest this month is Mr Prakrit, Andrew Ollett, who teaches at the University of Chicago Perhaps his most well-known publication is the book 'Language of the Snakes', which you can download for free here.Among his teachers were Eleanor Dickey, Gary Tubb and Sheldon Pollock (whose book 'The Language of the Gods in the World of Men' Andrew mentions)He talks about his work comparing the language of Theocritus with that of Prakrit poetry, about the work of Mātṛceṭa and Aśvaghoṣa , a...
My guest this month is Wendy Doniger. Read more about her and her many wonderful books here and here. She was educated at Radcliffe, the only part of Harvard then to admit women, and at Oxford. She has taught at SOAS, but has spent most of her career at the University of Chicago's Divinity School, on the Committee on Social Thought, and in South Asian Languages and Civilizations.Among her teachers, she lists Daniel Ingalls at Harvard, Robert Zaehner at Oxford, and in India, Ali Akbar Khan, fr...
My guest this month is the scholar, translator and author Arshia Sattar. You can find her books here and here, and some of her many articles in may places (such as with Open, the Times of India, Scroll, Mint, and Words Without Borders. Much of her work has been focussing on the Rāmāyaṇa and also the Kathāsaritsāgara.Among her teachers were A.K. Ramanujan, Alf Hiltebeitel and Wendy Doniger. She also mentions Martha Selby, as well as Phil Lutgendorf and his work on the R...
My guest this month is Ananya Vajpeyi (read more about her and her main publications here). Her current academic home is the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS) in Delhi. As you will hear, I did not have a lot of work this time: Ananya only required minimal prompting to tell me the story of her life so far, which spans several countries in three continents and many fascinating encounters in and around academia. Ananya’s many teachers include Arindam Chakrabarti, Madhu Kha...
My guest this month is Anand Venkatkrishnan, Find some of his work here, here and here, and other interviews with him here and here.Among the teachers he mentions are Sarasvati Mohan, Paul Harrison and Linda HessIf you are interested in any of the texts mentioned in this episode, perhaps the following links will offer good starting points for the Mahāyāna Sūtras and especially the Rāṣṭrapālaparipṛcchāsūtra, the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, Śiśupālavadha, Mālatīmādhava, Naiṣadhīyacarita and Mṛcchak...
My guest this week is Madhav Deshpande. Read more about him here and here. Take a look here for a list of many of his publications and here for his Sanskrit textbook, In talking about his early life, he mentions the stotras of Śaṅkara, and the upanayana and sandhya cermonies. (And yes, I know I managed to bungle those pronunciations a bit in the podcast! )Among the many places of education in Pune, there are Deccan College and Fergusson College (see also here), which have bee...
My guest today is Mary Brockington. You can read more about her and her publications here. She read French at Oxford, and lists her teachers Reginald Perman and Mollie Gerard Davies among those who had a great influence on her. Her unique research perspective results from her applying her knowledge of early French texts such as the Roman de Tristran and Old French Epic in general to the study of the Sanskrit Epics, especially the Rāmāyaṇa. This research resulted e.g. in her book The Moti...
My guest this week is Professor John Brockington, about whom you can read more here and here. This contains many of his publications as well as a complete publication list.The main focus of Professor Brockington’s research has been on the Rāmāyaṇa. You can find the complete pdfs of the critical edition he mentions here.In addition to publishing his own work in studies such as Righteous Rāma (see details in the bibliography mentioned above) or The Sanskrit Epics, he has a long-standing and hig...
In this episode, I speak with Professor Dominik Wujastyk, Singhmar Chair in Classical Indian Society and Polity at the University of Alberta at Edmonton. He is the Principal Investigator at the Suśruta Project. You can find some of his publications here; this is his entry at Penguin.Early influences on Prof. Wujastyk included the philosophy of P. D. Ouspensky and George Gurdjieff, and the SES.Among his teachers at Oxford were Richard Gombrich, Thomas Burrow, Alexis Sanderson (see also here), ...
Our third interview is with Professor Michael Witzel of Harvard University, one of the greatest Veda scholars of our time. You can find his Wikipedia page here, his Harvard page here, and many of his publications here.Given Michael Witzel's long career and many incarnations, there are quite a few things to link to: – Details on the Nepalese-German Manuscript Cataloguing Project– Relating to Vedic Studies, there is the Viśvabandhu Vedic Word Concordance; digitized Vedic (and Sanskrit) dictiona...
For our second episode, we talk to Dagmar Wujastyk of the University of Alberta. Dagmar tells us about her experiences as a student, her truly international career, and especially also about her impressive AyurYog project. Funded by a prestigious award from the European Research Commission, it explores the 'Entangled Histories of Yoga, Āyurveda and Alchemy in South Asia'. Listen to her describe these areas in a truly accessible manner, and enjoy finding out more about how she plans to u...
In this first episode we speak with McComas Taylor. Hailing from the Australian National University in Canberra, McComas is a pioneer of online Sanskrit teaching and ardent supporter of open-access publishing. He talks to Antonia about how he vowed under a full moon to learn Sanskrit, about his reading the Mahābhārata every day, about the secrets behind his hugely popular online courses, and his brand-new, freely available translation of the Viṣṇupurāṇa. Links to books and pages mentionedMcCo...
In-depth explorations into the field of Sanskrit Studies. Featuring candid conversations and interviews with scholars of Sanskrit across the disciplines of Indology, Linguistics, Religious Studies, Philosophy, History, and more. Hosted by Dr. Antonia Ruppel. Subscribe now where ever you listen to Podcasts, and join us this summer for our debut episodes! 
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