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Rejuvenating Spiritual Heritage – “Book Review -Essays in memory of XuFancheng ”

On December 21st, 2018, China and India came together in New Delhi, for the first meeting of the China-India High-level People-to-People and Cultural Exchanges Mechanism. China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj released “Essays in Memory of Prof. Xu Funcheng” at the China-India cultural evening.  

Geopolitical calculations and constructs tend to dominate headlines and reportage on China-India relations. What is often lost and forgotten in contemporary discourse is the deep spiritual and cultural bonding that binds the two ancient civilisations. The world of Upanishads, Vedas, Chinese sutras and sagephilosophers takes us to another realm where it’s possible to get a deeper insight into the spiritual connections that link China and India. In this context, the life and works of Prof. Xu Fancheng, one of greatest Chinese scholars of Indian philosophy and thought who lived in India for over three decades, opens another world of cross-cultural and spiritual intermingling between the two civilisations. A new book — Essays in Memory of Prof. Xu Fancheng — vividly illuminates the multi-faceted legacy of this legendary Chinese scholar and his exemplary contribution to building spiritual bridges between the people of China and India. To appreciate his legacy, it’s important to encapsulate his achievements: he diligently translated Fifty Upanishads, Bhagvad Gita and Shakuntala from Sanskrit to Chinese. He was the first Chinese who introduced India’s spiritual sagephilosopher Sri Aurobindo to China, and translated Sri Aurobindo’s The Life Divine and Integral Yoga into Chinese. “We know that in the modern history of India, there were three great men, namely Rabindranath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi and Sri Aurobindo. The first two men are well known in China. It was due to Professor Xu’s contribution, China began to know Sri Aurobindo,” said China’s Ambassador to India Luo Zhaohui at a symposium held in memory of Prof. Xu Fancheng in Puducherry, home to the iconic scholar for many years, in March 2018. Prof. Xu’s love for India, Indian culture and Indian philosophy emanated from the depths of his being. “He is one of the Chinese scholars who lived in India for the longest period of time. He came to India at the age of 36 and returned to China at 69. He really understood India, loved India and introduced Indian culture to China,” said the envoy.

Prof. Xu emerged as a bridge between different cultures. He translated German philosopher Nietzsche’s books into Chinese and also wrote books such as Confucianism and The Corpus of Seng Zhao in English, introducing China’s ancient classics to the world. A multi-faceted personality, Prof. Xu is also known for his hauntingly beautiful paintings. In his Foreword, eminent Indian scholar Dr Lokesh Chandra has evoked the special nature of Prof. Fancheng’s unconditional devotion to India and China-India intellectual and spiritual exchanges. “Prof. Xu changed his name to include Fan ‘Brahman’, unaware that it came from the depths of his reincarnations,” he writes. “The personal name of Prof. Xu begins with Fan or Brahman, the central concept of the Upanisads. The Chinese Ju-leng-ch’ieh-ching or Lankavatarasutra calls the Upanisadic doctrine Brahmayana or the Way of Brahman. In the same vein, Prof. Xu’s translation of the Shakuntala of Kalidasa comes from twelve centuries of China’s adoration of the great classic of Kalidasa.”

The book comprises essays by well-known scholars like Prof. Huang Xinchuan, Dr. Huang Xianian, Nirmala Sharma, Devdip Ganguli, Prof. Jaishaktivel, Richard Hartz, Prof. Sharad Joshi and Prof. Priyadarshi Mukherji who illuminate myriad aspects of Prof. Fancheng’s oeuvre and his pioneering role in spawning an enduring dialogue of ideas and spirit between the two ancient civilisations. These well-crafted essays are written straight from the heart, and underline the need to continue this rejuvenation of Indian philosophy in China and Chinese philosophy in India. These essays are a must-read for students and scholars of China-India relations who wish to move beyond news headlines to get a deeper sense of spiritual and intellectual underpinnings of the China-India relationship. There is no better way to do so than to delve into the extraordinary live and works of Prof. Xu Fancheng, an enlightened spirit who transcended cultural divides to compose a lasting spiritual symphony for ChinaIndia relationship.

Wang Yi And Sushma Swaraj Released Essays In Memory Of Xu Funcheng Xufanchengculturestudycenter Xucsc Indiachinaculture Bikashkalidas 2
Wang Yi And Sushma Swaraj Released Essays In Memory Of Xu Funcheng Xufanchengculturestudycenter Xucsc Indiachinaculture Bikashkalidas 3

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