‘History of the Art of Avadhana' by Prof. Radhavallabh Tripathi
The third talk in the Monthly Lecture Series organised by Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth’s Centre for Avadhanam (CFA), provided an opportunity to be enriched by the rich reserve of knowledge that Prof. Radhavallabh Tripathi (former Vice-Chancellor of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi) brings with him. He is one of the senior-most professors of Sanskrit who is also a poet and playwright, with innumerable works to his credit. The historical study of any art – a subject that is usually dismissed as dry – in this case, was dealt with in a refreshing fashion. Elaborating on the rigorous methodology of memorisation taken up by the Veda-adhyayis, for the verbatim preservation of what had been learnt orally from the guru, Prof. Tripathi presented the intricacies of the eight vikṙti-pathas and how they are a part of Vedavadhaannam. Citing catchy instances from the Puranas and Itihasas, especially focusing on the Mahabharata, he brought out the rudiments of some of the components of Avadhanam, those of which find mention in specialised texts like Lalitavistara. Since the subject was extremely vast, the speaker could not cover the period from the 6th century to the 17th century. It will be taken up on another occasion.
As a concluding remark, Prof. Tripathi mentioned that Jain and Buddhist contributions to Avadhanam are not given as much importance as they deserve. His reply to one of the questions raised by a participant underlined the many topics that need to be researched upon so that the history of the art of Avadhanam is complete.
The lecture was attended by around 40 people. Dr. Ramakrishna Pejathaya, Director, Centre for Avadhanam and Assistant Professor, Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth, set the stage with a welcome address and concluded the session with a vote of thanks. Dr. Mridula Aswin, Project Assistant, CFA, conducted the proceedings.