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Pedagogical Strategies in Jīva Gosvāmin’s Sanskrit Grammar, Harināmāmṛta Vyākaraṇa

November 12, 2016 @ 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

This presentation will seek to question common assumptions about the socio-linguistics of religion in South Asia, which correlate Sanskrit with brāhmaṇical elit Harināmāmṛta, Jīva Gosvāmin’s (1523-1608) Sanskrit grammar, composed so as to make Sanskrit as accessible as possible. Rebecca Manring recently asked, “Does Kṛṣṇa Really Need His Own Grammar?”, answering that Jīva’s grammar is “cumbersome” even in comparison with Pāṇini’s, and suggests that this was an intentional feature aimed at keeping Sanskrit inaccessible and “perpetuating the Brāhmaṇical status quo, while pretending to espouse a philosophy open to all.” The current paper argues against this interpretation and suggests that facility of use appears to have been an important objective for Jīva. I examine Jīva’s grammar against the background of Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī, Śarvavarman’s Kātantra, and Vopadeva’s Mugdhabodha, demonstrating that Jīva knew these various grammatical traditions and followed their procedures alternately in presenting his own grammar.

Dr. Buchta’s primary area of specialization is Sanskrit poetry and theology of bhakti, particularly in the Gauḍīya Vaiṣṇava tradition associated with Caitanya (1486-1533). His approach to this body of literature highlights the interdisciplinarity of the Sanskritic intellectual world; he has thus developed secondary specializations in traditions of Sanskrit poetics (alaṅkāra), linguistics and grammar (vyākaraṇa), philosophical literature (darśana), and technical literature (śāstra) more generally. David is also interested in the reception of Sanskrit literature in Bengali and Hindi sources.


November 12, 2016
3:00 pm - 4:30 pm
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Anderson 117
University of Florida


The Center for the Study of Hindu Traditions (CHiTra) at UF