Vrindavan, 2011.10.29 (Chakra, VT): Brazilian Krishna devotee Demian Martins has already spent years of his life researching and studying the contributions of Baladeva Vidyabhushan to the philosophical thought of India. Now he has launched the Vidyabhushan Project in order to collect, preserve, translate and publish all the works of Baladeva, many of which are quite difficult to find.
The 36-year-old Demian became a devotee quite young and started studying learning Sanskrit on his own. He completed both M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Benares Hindu University, writing in Sanskrit on acintya-bheda-abheda Vedanta according to Baladeva Vidyabhushan’s Govinda-bhÄá¹£ya. He will begin teaching Sanskrit at Benares Hindu University this year.
Fluent in both Sanskrit and Hindi, he made his mark by defending his thesis in spoken Sanskrit, which is rarely done even by native Indians, what to speak of foreigners. He has already engaged in number of ambitious projects, including translating A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami’s Bhagavad-gita purports into Sanskrit, but this research work into Baladeva represents his life’s mission.
Dr. Martins says, “The intellectual genius of Sri Vidyabhusana is equal in all respects to that of Sri Jiva Gosvami, Sri Ramanuja Acarya, Sri Vedanta Desika or any of the greatest philosophers, and it is most unfortunate that his works do not yet occupy the exalted position they deserve, even in Vaishnava circles.”
He points out that Baladeva’s corpus of writings includes not only an outstanding philosophical legacy, but also important works on grammar, poetics, literature, prosody and dramaturgy.
Baladeva Vidyabhushan departed this world nearly 250 years ago, and as yet no serious attempt has been made to collect everything he wrote in its entirety.
Martins says, “In the first half of the last century, Haridas Das Babaji from Nabadwip and Krishnadas Babaji from Kusuma Sarovar collected a great number of manuscripts with great hardship from all over India and managed to publish a good number of them. Their books, however, were distributed in limited numbers and have long been out of print. But many of the manuscripts they found have never been published. Others have never been found. It is time that this priceless asset of the Gaudiya sampradaya be found and made accessible to all students of devotional philosophy.”
So far, Martins has already prepared English translations of two works by Baladeva: one of SiddhÄnta-darpaá¹‡a, a treatise that establishes the Srimad Bhagavatam as the sound incarnation of the Lord and refutes several objections against its authenticity, and Chandaá¸¥-kaustubha, a book of poetic meters written by Radha Damodara Goswami and commented on by Baladeva. This latter works is being published by Chaukhamba Sanskrit Samsthan, India’s largest publisher of traditional Sanskrit texts.
The primary objectives of the Vidyabhusana Project are:
- Search for lost manuscripts. (Such as the commentaries on nine Upanisads, Srimad Bhagavatam, etc.)
- Digitally preserve manuscripts currently existing in different libraries.
- Digitally preserve all editions of Vidyabhusana’s books.
- Digitally preserve articles written about Vidyabhusana.
- Type all the original texts in digital unicode system, which can be converted into Devanagari, Bengali and Oriyan characters.
- Prepare a critical edition for each work.
- Publish all material online (with permission if copywrited).
- Translate all the works into English.
- Publish all translations with the original Devanagari text.
- Investigate and verify existent biographical data of Vidyabhusana, including historical evidences of the conflict between the Gaudiyas and the Ramanandis of Rajasthan.
- Publish a comprehensive biographical work.
Dr. Martins has already received cooperation from the following institutions and individuals to achieve the objectives of the project:
- Sanskrit Faculty, Benares Hindu University
- Matsya Avatara dasa, Bhagavata Vidyapitha
- Vrindavan Research Institute
- Sri Krishna Gopalananda Gosvami, Mahanta of Sri Sri Radha-Syamasundara Temple, the home of Vidyabhusana in Vrindavan
- Gaudiya Grantha Mandira
- Jiva Institute, Vrindavan
- Shyamananda Sanskrit College, Vrindavan
Dr. Martins invites anyone who wishes to help in any capacity, but particularly requests assistance in the following ways:
- Contacting libraries and research institutes in India and abroad.
- Locating and acquiring texts.
- Typing Devanagari and Bengali texts in transliterated Roman script.
- Proofreading transliterated texts.
- Website development and maintanence.
- Editing and publishing.
- Financial support for meeting travel and accomodation expenses.
While the official website is under construction, the collected material and the project updates will be temporarily hosted at vidyabhusanaproject.blogspot.com/
To enquire, donate or provide assistance in any capacity, please contact Dr. Demian Martins on [email protected]