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Indian Studies in Cambodia

Saturday, 19 May 2012 / Published in Reports / 2,302 views

By Gunaavatara dasa

Report of the seminar on April 03, 2012

On 03 April 2012, the Faculty of Archeology of Royal University of Fine Arts organized a seminar on Sanskrit and Bhagavad Gita. It was the first public lecture in the series “Indian Studies in Cambodia”. The program had been conceived in order to promote the Sanskrit learning in Cambodia.

The seminar consisted of three lectures:

1.“Sanskrit Learning in the last 90 years in Cambodia” by Ms. CHHOM Kunthea,
2.“Sanskrit as soul of India” by Professor Pradyumna Dubey
3.“An introduction to Gita” by Mr. Gopinath Prabhu.

The first speaker, a lecturer of Sanskrit in the faculty, drew our attention to the fact that Sanskrit language had not been sufficiently studied in Cambodia during the last 90 years. The language had been unfairly neglected after the fall of Angkor; it became deeply rooted in Khmer language though. In the contemporary Cambodia, the Sanskrit learning started in 1922 with initiation of a French scholar namely Loius Finot. Since then, it kept on going on its slow pace and in its own rigueur. Currently, it is available from secondary high school (Buddhist schools) to university level. Yet, it cannot answer to the need of Sanskrit knowledge in the field of archeology, let alone for establishing indology in this very indianized country.

The second speaker, Professor Dubey, emphasized the importance of Sanskrit in the history of Indian literature as well as its crucial role in the modern Indian society. It functions as a knot binding all the regions of India and all the Indian languages.

While the two previous speakers focused on Sanskrit as a language, the third one, Gopinath Prabhu, led the audience to a specific field: philosophy of the Gita. The speaker started his lecture by asking all the seminar participants to chant after him some prayer to Lord Krishna. He stated that Gita was a spiritual treatise which had to be applied in life. Next, he narrated his own experience of how impacts it had on him.

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