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IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF XUANZANG: TAN YUN-SHAN AND INDIA

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FOND MEMORIES

12

 Remembering Prof. Tan Yun-Shan 

 

 Krishna Kinkar Sinha

I, as a raw young man, joined the Visva-Bharati Cheena-Bhavana in 1942. The Professor slowly and steadily  moulded me through a new channel,  taught  me Chinese  language, directed me in studying the Chinese Classics, sent  me to China and got me appointed as the Ist Indian Professor on Hindi and Indian Culture in the Oriental  life’s entire  activities have  been centralised and concentrated to materialise his cherished dreams, to promote the cause  of Sino-Indian Cultural  relations.  He has the habit of penetrating  so deeply  in his students that every one of them will proudly confess, “his thoughts  are our ideas, his programme  is our programme and he is the only source of inspiration  for all of us.” He is second only  to men  like Jesus and Rama Krishna in his singular devotion  and unlimited affection for his deciples. He often tells, “my students are my only hope and capital.” Immortal  are those words uttered by his noble lips in his characteristic low and ringing strong voice. “My boys, marks  my words. From the cultural union  of India and China will spring forth a spiritual force alone can save the humanity from the impending annihilation and total destruction. Our ambassadors were men like Kumarjiva and Huien-Tsang, Immortal blossoms of the humanity in every sense. They are almost worhiped even to-day and what are the achievements of these present  day political ambassadors! We  will have to follow the footsteps of Kumarjiva to complete his unfinished work.” He has a matter  of principle,  never gives much importance  to men of knowledge. For him, men of devotion to the cause, the ideal and the programme  are the real power. He used to say a critic co-worker is a dangerous  hindrance  in any work.

                The professor made Santiniketan his home. The Visva-Bharathi Cheena-Bhavana at Santiniketan is his life’s monumental work. For him, Gurudeva was not merely a master or a father but in true sense a God. The research  department of the Visva-Bharati Cheena-Bhavana is one of the most outstanding centres of Oriental Learning of the entire Asia. Indian monks who went to China in ancient days took with them thousands Sanskrit classics, They, there, studied the Chinese  language and translated all those Sanskrit books into Chinese. Such Chinese books are now held like the Upanishads by  the Chinese people. Now in India these Sanskrit texts are not available. The professor brought  all such Chinese  books into Sanskrit again. It will take  hundreds of years to complete  this great work for such is the vast volume of books he brought and collected in the Cheena-Bhavan Library at Santiniketan.

                The Professor is now completing thirty years of his selfless service in India. It is the sacred duty of every one of us in India to pray for a long life for this great  selfappointed Chinese Cultural Ambassador in India. His life will become one of the brilliant chapters of Sino-Indian Cultural History.

 

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