The Meticulous Rigour and Discipline of P.K. Gode's Research

In his own words, P.K. Gode reveals the secret that made his research almost perfect and unimpeachable.Originality is yet another pronounced imprint that we notice in a majority of Gode’s research papers. It is this self-imposed meticulousness, dogged perseverance and ironclad discipline that enabled Gode to become both the pioneer and the monarch of an unique school in the larger university of Indology.
The Meticulous Rigour and Discipline of P.K. Gode's Research
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The Meticulous Rigour and Discipline of P.K. Gode's Research

MUCH TO OUR DELIGHT, P.K. Gode reveals the secret that made his research almost perfect and unimpeachable. Much inspiration is embedded in these words which are worth quoting in some detail: 

To me all old manuscripts, documents, printed books, not to say other sources of history, are worthy of reverence and careful preservation. In fact they are the very life-blood of all historical research… It is the duty of every genuine research-worker in…Indian literary and cultural history to squeeze out this source material again and again for enriching our scanty knowledge of the specific fields of this history… 

There is nothing inherently enchanting in the dead bones of the sources of history but they become enchanting to an investigator of historical truth when he realises the bearing of the contents of these sources on the problems under his investigation. In fact, it is the spirit of investigation that makes these dead bones alive…

The wider and deeper the acquaintance of an investigator with the known sources, the larger is the number of problems that crop up… He alone is a “Complete Angler” in historical research who sits patiently on the shores of antiquity by casting a close and comprehensive net of knotty problems and catches daily some new facts bearing on the solution… Though I am not a “Complete Angler,” I have practiced such angling on the shores of Indian antiquity commensurate with the scanty leisure at my disposal. I have under investigation innumerable problems and have maintained separate “Problem Files” for them. Facts bearing on these problems, as soon as they are discovered, are noted on separate sheets with indication of their chronology and inserted in these files. When a sufficient number of analogous facts clarifying a problem is gathered in due course…these facts are released in the form of an article. Sometimes it takes years before a problem is…completely solved; but if an investigator toils diligently year after year he is sure to be rewarded…by a decent number of original research papers… [Emphasis added]     

Originality is yet another pronounced imprint that we notice in a majority of Gode’s research papers. Here, we notice how his words flow like the unhurried gush of a full-bodied river that self-assuredly follows its natural course or charts an alternate course when confronted by an obstacle. At the end of his foregoing discourse, Gode unearths this severe reprimand from the Yogavāsiṣṭha: 

 “yenā'bhyāsaḥ pariṣyaktaḥ iṣṭe vastuni so'dhamaḥ

He is the meanest wretch who abandons the pursuit of his ideal.” 

Abhyāsa is defined as “repeated application.” 

It is this self-imposed meticulousness, dogged perseverance and ironclad discipline that enabled Gode to become both the pioneer and the monarch of an unique school in the larger university of Indology. His researches in offbeat topics also supplied the raw, complementary and supplementary material for scholars engaged in research of an all-encompassing nature. On several occasions, his research resolved several knotty problems faced by such scholars. It was akin to that elusive tinge of a colour that not only makes a painting full but embellishes it. 

Three examples will suffice to illustrate this.

In his extensive research on the aforementioned history of the nose-ring (Nath) in India, Gode for the first time, unearthed a forgotten manuscript titled, Nasamauktikapañcavimsatih. But for him, it is doubtful whether it would have ever been discovered. Although the paper generated some outrage in the Hindu community of the time, P.K. Gode remained stoic as an unafraid devotee of truth.

He performed a similar feat by unearthing the manuscript of Sāyaṇācārya’s Samāvēdārthaprakāśikā. This effort yielded the valuable outcome of rectifying mistakes made by Western scholars in dating Sanskrit manuscripts.

In another instance, P.K. Gode’s prowess in manuscripts helped correct the mistake of a scholar of D.C. Sircar’s stature. In a brilliant riposte spread over 20 pages, Gode conclusively disproves Sircar’s contention that Sawai Jai Singh (the powerful Rajput ruler of Amber) had not performed the Aśvamēdha Yajña.

Throughout his imposing corpus, P.K. Gode interchangably uses the terms “Indology,” “Indian historical studies,” “Sanskrit Studies,” and “Manuscriptology” to characterise his work. But at the core and in essence, these were largely studies drawn from his findings in the treasure trove of the 20,000 manuscripts that were fortunate to fall under his tender and devoted minstrations. 

Even in his graduate days, Gode had understood the unerring truth that the key to accurately grasp Indian history and culture was the Sanskrit language and literature. It would have been impossible for him to imagine that in less than a decade after he passed away, a new criminal breed of Stalinist ideologues would usurp his field and write political pamphlets on Indian philosophy, culture and history without knowing a single syllable of Sanskrit. 

To be continued

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