The Caves at Aurangabad: Early Buddhist Tantric Art in Indiaby Carmel Berkson

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  • The Caves at Aurangabad: Early Buddhist Tantric Art in India by Carmel BerksonReview by: John MostellerJournal of the American Oriental Society, Vol. 109, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1989), pp. 171-172Published by: American Oriental SocietyStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/604413 .Accessed: 17/06/2014 23:13

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  • Brief Reviews of Books 171

    Vedanta: Voice of Freedom. By SWAMI VIVEKANANDA; edited by SWAMI CHETANANANDA. New York: PHILOSOPHICAL LIBRARY, 1986.

    The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda comprise eight volumes and include lectures, essays, poems, letters, and recorded conversations, all of which span a period of ten years (1893-1902) and several continents. Vivekananda's mind was both brilliant and original. Like all great teachers, he spoke and wrote spontaneously, in a manner suited to the need of his audience; and often his teachings varied as much as the audiences which he addressed. Whether or not his utterances gave the appearance of consistency was something he obviously was not concerned with. It is no wonder then that certain difficulties present themselves when one attempts to study systematically the teachings of Vivekananda.

    There are several different approaches one can take in attempting such a task. He can read the works of Viveka- nanda as they appear in the original eight volumes; he can separate the essays from the lectures, the poems from the letters, and read each in chronological order; he can compare the messages given in India with those given in the West; or he can compare the utterances of Vivekananda topic by topic. All of the above approaches, with the exception of the first, require a certain amount of effort. And in fact, before the publication of Swami Chetanananda's Vedanta: Voice of Freedom, the last was an all but impossible task.

    Swami Chetanananda, the current minister of the Vedanta Society of St. Louis, has gone through the eight volumes of Vivekananda's works, taken what he feels represents the most important aspects of Vivekananda's message, and has arranged and categorized them under twelve broad headings. He has kept the original language of Vivekananda intact, with all its freshness and force, making only a minimum of editorial changes for the sake of readability. The portions quoted are generally long enough for the reader to get a feel for the context in which they were spoken or written, al- though shorter fragments are also included. Each section is followed by the volume and page number from the Complete Works so that the interested reader may refer to the full lecture or essay in order to follow the flow of Vivekananda's thought. In addition, Chetanananda has supplied footnotes indicating scriptural references in Vivekananda's works, an introduction, glossary, index, and bibliography for further reading.

    What we find when we read Vivekananda topic by topic is a unity of thought which transcends the various ideas which he sets forth, a unity which is perhaps best explained by Vivekananda's own personality and his desire, on the one hand, to awaken and uplift his fellow countrymen, and, on the other, to spread the ancient teachings of Vedanta to a Western civilization which he felt was uniquely qualified to assimilate them. And yet, the Vedanta which he taught,

    though rooted squarely in the Hindu scriptures, such as the Upanisads and Bhagavadgltd, also represented a direct con- frontation of ancient beliefs with contemporary thought, a marriage, as it were, of philosophy and modern psychology, of religion and science.

    Swami Chetanananda has performed a valuable service by presenting Vivekananda's thought in such a systematic fashion. Of course, there is no substitute for reading one of Vivekananda's lectures or letters in full, following the thread of his thought from beginning to end. But as a companion volume to the Complete Works, for the serious student, or as a first introduction to Vivekananda's thought, Vedanta: Voice of Freedom is a valuable addition to the store of modern Vedantic literature.

    STUART ELKMAN

    THE VEDANTA SOCIETY

    The Caves At Aurangabad: Early Buddhist Tantric Art in India. By CARMEL BERKSON. New York: MAPIN INTERNA- TIONAL, 1984. $32.50.

    This handsomely produced book is, as the author herself says at the beginning, intended for a general readership. After an evocative story contributed by Mulk Raj Anand, the author explores, in turn, the general cultural background of her subject, the history of the area of the Aurangabad caves, and a brief survey of several different schools of Buddhism (Theravada, Madhyamika-Mahayana, and Tantra- Vajrayana). She then offers a discussion of the style, struc- ture and concept of the art of these caves. The balance and majority of the book is taken up by a visual survey and description of the caves themselves. A glossary of technical terms (without diacritical marks) and an excellent list of suggested reading conclude the volume.

    The perspective that dominates the work is a reverential one toward the art of the caves as a timeless expression of the spirit of Tantric Buddhism. This approach has produced a photographic essay which, though it cannot be said to document exhaustively the caves, presents a memorable impression of them which can be enjoyed by both the general reader and scholar. In the course of the description of the caves an attempt has been made to illustrate the way in which the sculptural reliefs were proportioned and composed. The example chosen for this purpose is the famous panel showing dancing Tara in Cave 7. There can be no doubt that such reliefs were composed using proportional systems as also compositional devices, and to this extent the author's suggestions are well taken. However, it is clear from the technical discrepancies in the drawings (the proportional

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  • 172 Journal of the American Oriental Society 109.1 (1989)

    divisions superimposed over the photographs do not corre- spond to those used in ancient practice) that what is depicted here can be viewed as only suggestive of the systems actually used. The latter can only be determined through a careful analysis of measurements taken from the relief itself.

    JOHN MOSTELLER

    UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

    Index to the Dhammasangani. By TETSUYA TABATA, SATOSHI

    NONOME, and SH6K6 BANDO. Pali Text Society Text Series, no. 176. London: THE PALI TEXT SOCIETY, 1987. Pp. vii + 127.

    This index represents the second in what is hoped will be a long series of indices to texts in the Pali Text Society editions of the Pali Buddhist canon. The first contribution was the Index to the Kathdvatthu, by Tetsuya Tabata, Satoshi Nonome, Toyoaki Uesugi, Shok6 Bando, and Gen- shoh Unoke (Pali Text Society Text Series, nc. 174; Lon- don: The Pali Text Society, 1982). In the foreword to this first contribution, Genjun H. Sasaki suggests that the index is intended to provide material for both textual and linguistic studies, and therefore, words are cited according to their form and use. With this in view, words are listed not by stem or root but with the actual grammatical form they have in the text. Compounds are separated into their components, and the placement of the components within the compound is clearly indicated through the use of hyphens. The Index to the Dhammasangani follows the same procedure. Both indices include three sections: 1. an alphabetical index, 2. a reverse index also listing words with their terminations, and 3. brief corrigenda to the Pali Text Society edition of the text indexed.

    These indices are a valuable resource for those interested in Buddhist Abhidhamma and Pali textual or linguistic studies. Given the interest of the compilers in Abhidhamma, we look forward to future indices of at least Abhidhamma texts, if not all genres of literature in the Pali canon.

    COLLETT COX UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON

    A Comparative Table of SA-BCAD of the Pramanavdrttika.

    By YOICHI FUKUDA and YUMIKO ISHIHAMA. Studia Tibeti-

    ca, no. 12. Tokyo: THE Toyo BUNKO, 1986. Pp. xi + 73

    (facing pages given a single number).

    In the present volume, the compilers have extracted and

    comparatively arranged the content divisions of six Tibetan

    commentaries on the Pramiinavarttika. The commentators whose works have been outlined include: "'U-yug-pa, Go- rams-pa, Shakya-mchog-ldan, Dar-ma-rin-chen, mKhas-

    grub-rje, and dGe-'dun-grub-pa." The outlines of all six commentaries are arranged in parallel columns on facing pages with the page or folio numbers of the commentaries and the corresponding verse numbers clearly indicated next to each topic heading. For the verse numbers of the Pra- manavarttika included with each topic heading and at the

    bottom of each set of facing pages the compilers have followed the numbering of YUsho Miyasaka, "Pramanavart- tika-karika (Sanskrit and Tibetan)," in Acta Indologica (Indo koten kenkyi), vol. 2 (Narita: Naritasan Shinshoji, 1971-

    72). The chapter numbers given at the bottom of each page, however, do not correspond to Miyasaka, but rather follow the traditional ordering of the chapters in the Tibetan com- mentaries: I. Svarthanumana, II. Pramanasiddhi, III. Prat-

    yaksa, and IV. Pardrthdnumdna. As the compilers note, this tabular outline is intended not

    only to facilitate reference to specific sections of the Tibetan commentaries on the Pramanavdrttika, but also to provide an overview of the structure of the Pramdnavarttika, and a

    basis for future comparative studies of these Tibetan com-

    mentaries. The labor of the compilers is to be appreciated, for producing a work that will no doubt be used with great profit for years to come by many scholars of Buddhist

    philosophy.

    C. C.

    Philosophy in India: Traditions, Teaching and Research. By

    K. SATCHIDANANDA MURTY. Delhi: INDIAN COUNCIL OF

    PHILOSOPHICAL RESEARCH, in association with MOTILAL

    BANARSIDASS, 1985. Pp. 237 + xi. Rs 90.

    K. S. Murty's Philosophy in India comes at the end of an

    important Indian philosopher's thirty-eight year career in the

    field and affords the author the opportunity for reflection

    and synthesis. His study derives from a "country report" on

    the teaching and research in philosophy, prepared for

    UNESCO. Murty concentrates only on Indian philosophers and Indian

    scholars of philosophy. After providing an overview of the

    principal forms of philosophical analysis from the time of

    the Veda to present day (Gopinath Kaviraj), he devotes the

    greater part of his work to surveying the major and minor

    Indian philosophies from a historical perspective. He includes

    topics seldom addressed in general works, such as Indo-

    Muslim philosophy and philosophy in modern India. Al-

    though a clear distinction between philosophy and religion is

    wanting (perhaps unavoidable in the Indian context), these

    chapters (2-4) serve as a useful guide to the major contribu-

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