Revised site note 1/26/10: This page is left as it was originally with minor modifications to font and background color for ease of reading. The original FTP is no longer present, so I changed the text to indicate that one can simply "save as" from the file menu in any browser to download the text files found here. The new site launch is available here. Navigation links at the bottom follow the original old pathways through the site.
This is an introduction with links to general (instructions and such) and more specific descriptions of the site.
You are about to enter the labrynth of words which, in later Vedic Literature, came to be famous as part of the foundations of Indian Philosophy. I am developing my study around an analysis of 10 words variously referential to notions of the self or identity. I am expediting and enhancing this analysis by examining their usage, virtually (pun intended) case-by-case. I have used a quick-loading, text-only file to read Mandala's 2-7 of the Rig Veda--the beginning, or oldest section, of the text. This text-only file can be downloaded at a wonderful Indological resource site by clicking your file menu, save-as to get the newly re-worked (Januanry 2010) XHTML files. It can be used on IBM or Mac machines to do easy word searches.
For research purposes, I have linked each instance of my key words to an image, showing diacritic markings and accent, of the hymn by kind permission of Barend Van Nooten and Gary Holland, the compilers of the accented text on disk, and their publisher, the Harvard Oriental Series (see links on RV pages). A special addition has been made available by Dr. Winfred Lehmann in the form of a text of the Shatapatha BraahmaNa, perhaps second only to the RV in prominence for Indological research, which had been lost for some 25 years.
Repeat instances of the same word- e.g. brahmanas patiH, are simply emboldened in order to indicate their presence while not burdening memory with unnecessary links. In addition, several words--karma, dharma, prANa, budhna, &c.--are added because they are tangentially of interest enough for the study, and for the average Indologist, as to further make demonstration of this technological methodology machine more accessible.
The dissertation methodology using HTML is based upon the recent and varying works of Frits Staal, Jan Gonda, Michael Witzel, Madhav Deshpande, H. W. Bodewitz, and Tatyana Elizarenkova. In essence, what I draw from these scholars is discussed in detail in the methodology page. For summary's sake, I am looking--to use the term as boldly explored in Elizarenkova's recent study--at the semiotics of word usage where words for the self are concerned. Key components of the both the process and presumption upon which I embarkedin this research include Staal's call for formula, or syntax, of mantras in his landmark Numen article, Witzel's suggestions about text patterns and dating in the recent de Gruyter book and "Tracing the Vedic Dialects," Deshpande's reflections in the same cited work, and Gonda's views on key word associations and stylistic repition (exluding his oterhwise apparent indifference to text dates), and shared somewhat by his protege Bodewitz.
My own addition to this, building upon work in hypertext critical theory by George Landow and others, is to apply the immediate, spontaneous idea-linking afforded in hypertext to study ancient Vedic Literature. When the Vedic Rishis would meet to debate (brahmodya), they hardly carried voluminous texts with them. The materials were in memory, cross linked and organized according to meter, topic, usage, etc. The sub-structure of idea arrangement was also linked within and between "texts." This relationship can be shown with hypertext, certainly. With the web, it can be shared and the theory built upon the linked ideas in a text can be recorded an accessed by other scholars as they develop- an electronic brahmodya. This requires additional software, easily programmed, and currently under way.
Landow, et al, have explored the breakdown of an author's control over a text once a reader can access it from potentially endless varieties of reading sequences. Elizarenkova notes that the "history" and the "authors" of the Early Veda are largely out of reach of modern scholars based upon the nature of the transmission in the tradition, and by other factors of chance, time, and geography. However, she notes, the semiotics of their idea usage, a synchronic study, is immanently possible and arguably overdue. With hypertext, we can leave a map of an explored set of relations between ideas or linguistic forms--retracing it quickly and adding to it as we go, sharing it--more or less easily--over the net.
There are several points of access to the dissertation research and discussion. First, via the technical method section which addresses the software and hardware issues involved in this work; second, via the discipline-specific (Indology) methodological section (to be broadened in the coming weeks), and via the dissertation overview, which explains how to actually use this 7mb database.