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Letters...but in all the shouting, no one’s listening.


The real fight is that the University’s Religious Studies Department [Chicago has no religious-studies department per se; there is a graduate-level Divinity School, and the College offers a religious-studies major.—Ed.] is deeply immersed in social-sciences methodologies which do not provide legitimate interpretations of classical Indic texts dealing with religious experience.

While Christian traditions argue theology based mostly on the “rational” faculty, this is not the faculty Indic texts use, or even acknowledge as a faculty, but accept only as one of the senses, an instrument of translation of experience, of regathering of habits. Indic texts (Sruti) are from “experience,” not theory. Where do we find in the works of your Chicago heroes the categories that lead to the type of experience Indic texts lead to, point to, or come from?

The story of the decapitation of Ganesha is not the oedipal theme but an invented story carelessly linked to Oedipus and Ganesha, because the methodology used allows for this kind of arbitrariness. The Chicago school of interpretation that is trying to decapitate Ganesha and the memories of a culture is the same one that had already done so with Plato, and with this decapitation our access to memory in our own Western culture.

I find it distasteful that you have to make conspiracy suggestions about Rajiv Malhotra. Does he not try to correct an injustice done to his people and religion the way you would protect your own people? It is an ironic ending of the article that while Doniger utilized her visits to India to accumulate wealth through antiques expropriated from there, Malhotra uses his own wealth to correct her page.

Antonio de Nicolas
St. Augustine, Florida

The Magazine welcomes letters. Letters for publication must be signed and may be edited. To ensure a range of views, we encourage letters of fewer than 300 words. Write Editor, University of Chicago Magazine, 5801 S. Ellis Avenue, Chicago, IL 60637. Or e-mail: