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David Frawley (or Vāmadeva Śāstrī वामदेव शास्त्री) is an author on Hinduism, Yoga and Ayurveda, and the founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which offers courses on Yoga philosophy, Ayurveda, and Hindu astrology. He is also the "Professor of Vedic Astrology and Ayurveda" at the "International Vedic Hindu University" (IVHU) at Orlando, Florida. He is a Vaidya (Ayurvedic doctor), and a Jyotishi (astrologer).[1]

Contents

Biography

Frawley was born in 1950 into a Catholic family in La Crosse, Wisconsin, United States. He was the second of ten children. He attended a Catholic school until he was about ten years old. After that he and his family moved to Denver, Colorado.

As an American Hindu, Frawley is one of the few Westerners to be recognized by a major Hindu sect in India as a Vedacharya or teacher of the ancient wisdom.

In 2000, his book How I Became a Hindu, details his own spiritual journey from his earlier Catholic upbringing to finally embracing Hinduism as his religion. He learned Sanskrit from a Sanskrit grammar book and a copy of the Vedas around 1970.

Frawley founded and is the director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Through his institute, he offers courses on Yoga philosophy, Hindu astrology (jyotisha), and Ayurveda. In addition to directing his institute, he conducts lecture tours in India every year, delivering talks at universities, Hindu conferences, and to the general public.

Awards, titles and credentials

"Dr. Frawley has a background in Chinese medicine, in which he received a doctor's degree in 1987. He taught Chinese herbal medicine at the International Institute of Chinese Medicine from 1984-1990."[2] In 1991, under the auspices of the Hindu teacher Avadhuta Shastri, he was named Vamadeva Shastri (वामदेव शास्‍त्री), after the great Vedic rishi Vamadeva.[1] "Vamadeva was one of the first Americans to receive Jyotish Kovid title from the Indian Council of Astrological Sciences (ICAS, 1993), the largest Vedic astrology association in the world."[2] In 1995, he was given the title of Pandit along with the Brahmachari Vishwanathji award in Mumbai for his knowledge of the Vedic teaching. In 1996 he received the Brahmachari Vishwanathji Award in Mumbai: this recognized him a Pandit and Dharmacharya.

Views and opinions

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Importance of the Vedas

"Vamadeva [Dr. David Frawley's chosen name] sees his role as helping to revive Vedic knowledge in an interdisciplinary approach for the planetary age. He sees himself as a teacher and translator to help empower people to use Vedic systems to enhance their lives and aid in their own Self-realization. He sees Vedic wisdom as a tool for liberation of the spirit, not as a dogma to bind people or to take power over them. Vedic knowledge is a means of communing with the conscious universe and learning to embody it in our own life and perception."[2]

Argument for Westerners to become Hindu

Frawley says, "[T]rue religion, whether it predominates in the Eastern or Western parts of the world, is not a matter of geography... Why should it be a problem for us if anyone finds spiritual benefit from a teaching that arises outside of their given cultural context?"... Before we think that we are Westerners or Easterners, we should know that we are human beings. "Identity is something that we are going to lose anyway."[3]

Racial Theory of Aryans and Dravidians

In books such as The Myth of the Aryan Invasion of India and In Search of the Cradle of Civilization, Frawley criticizes the 19th century racial interpretations of Indian prehistory, such as the theory of a conflict between invading caucasoid Aryans and Dravidians.[4]

"There is no racial evidence", according to Frawley, "of any such Indo-Aryan invasion of India but only of a continuity of the same group of people who traditionally considered themselves to be Aryans."[5]

"[T]here is no such thing scientifically speaking as Aryan and Dravidian races. The so-called Aryans and Dravidian races of India are members of the same Mediterranean branch of the Caucasian race,... The Caucasian race is not simply white but also contains dark skinned types. Skin color and race is another nineteenth century idea that has been recently discarded."[6]

"The Puranas make the Dravidians descendants of the Vedic family of Turvasha, one of the older Vedic peoples...[T]he Puranas regard the Chinese, Persians and other non-Indic peoples to be descendants of Vedic kings. The Vedas see all human beings as descendants of Manu, their legendary first man."[6]

Reception

Edwin Bryant writes that Frawley's work is more successful in the popular arena, to which it is directed and where its impact "is by no means insignificant", rather than in academic study.[7] He adds "(Frawley) is committed to channeling a symbolic spiritual paradigm through a critical empirico rational one".[8]

In a series of exchanges published in The Hindu, Michael Witzel rejects Frawley's linking of Vedic literature with the Harappan civilisation and a claimed lost city in the Gulf of Cambay, as misreading Vedic texts, ignoring or misunderstanding other evidence and motivated by antiquity frenzy. Witzel argues that Frawley's proposed "ecological approach" and "innovative theories" of the history of ancient India amount to propagating currently popular indigenist ideas.[9]

Bruce Lincoln attributes autochthonous ideas such as Frawley's to "parochial nationalism", terming them "exercises in scholarship ( = myth + footnotes)", where archaeological data spanning several millennia is selectively invoked, with no textual sources to control the inquiry, in support of the theorists' desired narrative.[10]

Koenraad Elst remarked, "Since the Marxists have occupied the seats of academic and media power for decades, it is no surprise that their attacks on others often take the form of a haughty dismissal. David Frawley's contributions are laughed off with reference to his lack of western academic training (he studied the Vedas in a traditional Indian setting, becoming an acknowledged vedacarya). The fact that he published about Ayurveda and Vedic astrology are sufficient to denounce him as a quack".[11]

Partial bibliography

  • Gods, Sages, and Kings, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-910261-37-7
  • From the River of Heaven, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-910261-38-5
  • Hinduism: The Eternal Tradition (Sanatana Dharma), Voice of India, New Delhi ISBN 81-85990-29-8
  • The Myth of the Aryan Invasion Theory online book, update, article
  • In Search of the Cradle of Civilization, with Georg Feuerstein, Subhash Kak. Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1999. ISBN 8120816269.
  • How I Became a Hindu
  • The Rig Veda and the History of India ISBN 81-7742-039-9
  • Hinduism and the Clash of Civilizations.
  • Yoga and Ayurveda, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-81-0
  • Tantric Yoga, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-910261-39-3
  • Wisdom of the Ancient Seers, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-910261-36-9
  • Oracle of Rama, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-910261-35-0
  • Yoga and the Sacred Fire, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-75-6
  • Ayurvedic Healing, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-97-7
  • Ayurveda and Marma Therapy, (with Ranade and Lele), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-59-4
  • Yoga for Your Type: Ayurvedic Guide to Your Asana Practice, (with Summerfield-Kozak), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-910261-30-X
  • Ayurveda: Nature's Medicine, (with Ranade), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-95-0
  • Yoga of Herbs: Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine, (with Lad), Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-941524-24-8
  • Ayurveda and the Mind, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-36-5
  • Astrology of the Seers, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-914955-89-6
  • Ayurvedic Astrology, Lotus Press, Twin Lakes, Wisconsin ISBN 0-940985-88-8

Notes

  1. ^ a b Dr. David Frawley Information infobuddhism.com.
  2. ^ a b c American Institute of Vedic Studies. Accessed July 11, 2008
  3. ^ About.com Hinduism. Accessed July 13, 2008
  4. ^ Arvidsson 2006:298 Arvidsson, Stefan (2006), Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science, translated by Sonia Wichmann, Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press.
  5. ^ Frawley, David. http://www.stephen-knapp.com/solid_evidence_debunking_aryan_invasion.htm
  6. ^ a b David, Frawley. The Myth of Aryan Invasion of India. "The Aryan/Dravidian Divide. Accessed July 11, 2008. [1]
  7. ^ Edwin Bryant (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate. Oxford University Press. pp. 291. ISBN 0195137779.  
  8. ^ Edwin Bryant (2001). The Quest for the Origins of Vedic Culture: The Indo-Aryan Migration Debate. Oxford University Press. pp. 347. ISBN 0195137779.  
  9. ^ David Frawley (June 18, 2002), Vedic literature and the Gulf of Cambay discovery, The Hindu, http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/op/2002/06/18/stories/2002061800030200.htm  ; M. Witzel (June 25, 2002), A maritime Rigveda? — How not to read ancient texts, The Hindu, http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/op/2002/06/25/stories/2002062500030200.htm  ; David Frawley (July 16, 2002), Witzel's vanishing ocean, The Hindu, http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/op/2002/07/16/stories/2002071600070200.htm  ; Michael Witzel (August 6, 2002), Philology vanished: Frawley's Rigveda — I, The Hindu, http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/op/2002/08/06/stories/2002080600070200.htm  ; Michael Witzel (August 13, 2002), Philology vanished: Frawley's Rigveda — II, The Hindu, http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/op/2002/08/13/stories/2002081300020200.htm  ;David Frawley (August 20, 2002), Witzel's philology, The Hindu, http://www.hinduonnet.com/thehindu/op/2002/08/20/stories/2002082000120200.htm  .
  10. ^ Bruce Lincoln (1999). Theorizing Myth: Narrative, Ideology, and Scholarship. University of Chicago Press. pp. 215. ISBN 0226482014.  
  11. ^ Elst, Koenraad. Update on the Aryan Invasion Debate. New Delhi. [2]

See also

References

  • Arvidsson, Stefan (2006). Aryan Idols: Indo-European Mythology as Ideology and Science. translated by Sonia Wichmann. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-02860-6.  
  • Nussbaum, Martha (2007). The Clash Within: Democracy, Religious Violence, and India's Future. Cambridge, Massachusetts: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. ISBN 0-674-02482-6.  

External links

Frawley on Indian history

Video links


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