Johannes Adrianus Bernardus (Hans) van Buitenen

1928 – 1979
Sanskrit, philosophic-religious and narrative literature

Curriculum vitae

1928born in The Hague on May 21
1946final examinations of the gymnasium; introduced in the Sanskrit language by Ali Beth
1946studied Sanskrit with Jan Gonda in Utrecht; fellow student of J.C. Heesterman
1953PhD under the supervision of J. Gonda, Utrecht University
1953-1956stayed in India with subsidy of ZWO and other institutions
1957-1958participated in the Indian Studies Programm in the United States
1959-1961reader Indian philosophy at Utrecht University.
1961returned to the United States
1961-1979professor of Sanskrit and Indic studies, the University of Chicago; founded successfully the department of South Asian languages and civilizations
1979passed away in Champaign, Illinois, U.S. on September 21

Special activities and positions

  • Photographing, recording and filming (colour) Vedic ceremonies such as the Vājapeya ritual (materials kept in the archives of the University of Chicago), 1953-1956
  • Co-worker on An encyclopaedic dictionary of Sanskrit on historical principles, Deccan College Research Institute in Poona, 1953-1956
  • Initiator of the the translation of the Mahābhārata into English on the basis of the critical Poona edition; continued after his death by James L. Fitzgerald


  • Gonda, J. “Herdenking van Johannes Adrianus Bernardus van Buitenen (21 mei 1928 – 21 september 1979).” In: Jaarboek KNAW 1979 (Amsterdam 1980), pp. 199-203. pdf
  • Gonda, J. “Obituary.” In: L. Rocher (ed.), Studies in Indian literature and philosophy: collected articles of J. A. B. van Buitenen, Delhi 1988, pp. xi-xviii. [Transl. by the editor from Jaarboek KNAW 1979].
  • Ingalls, D.H.H. “Obituary.” In: L. Rocher (ed.), Studies in Indian literature and philosophy: collected articles of J. A. B. van Buitenen, Delhi 1988, pp. xix-xxii.
  • wikipedia


1952  Sprookjes van een spook (Vetālapañcaviṃśatikā), uit het Sanskrit vertaald, Leiden (Bibliotheek van Oosterse letteren 1).
1953  Rāmānuja on the Bhagavadgītā: a condensed rendering of his Gītābhāṣya with copious notes and an introduction, ’s-Gravenhage. – PhD thesis Utrecht.
& P.C. Ganeshsundaram, “A seventeenth-century Dutch grammar of Tamil.” BDCRI 14: (1952-1953):
1954  “Note on katham … katham.” Vāk 4: 137-139.
1955  “Vācārambhaṇam.” Indian Linguistics 16: 157-162.
“The Śubhāśraya Prakaraṇa (Viṣṇu Purāṇa 6,7) and the meaning of bhāvanā.” ALB 19: 3-19.
1956  Rāmānuja’s Vedārthasaṃgraha , introduction, critical edition and annotated translation, Poona (Deccan College Monograph Series 16).
“Studies in Sāṃkhya (I).” JAOS 76: 153–157.
“On Atharvaveda 10, 8, 43b.” BDCRI 17 (1955-56): 77-80.
“Notes on akṣara.” BDCRI 17 (1955-56): 204-215.
Review of: V.H. Date, Vedānta explained: Śaṃkara’s commentary on the Brahma-Sūtras, vol. 1 [adhyāyas 1 and 2], Bombay 1954. JAOS 76: 48-49.
1957  “Studies in Sāṃkhya (II).” JAOS 77: 15–25.
“Studies in Sāṃkhya (III).” JAOS 77: 88–107.
“Dharma and mokṣa.” Philosophy East and West 7: 33-40.
Review of: S. Subrahmanya Sastri, The Vedānta Kaumudī of Rāmādvayāchārya, Madras 1955. JAOS 77,2: 149-150.
1958  “Vācārambhaṇam reconsidered.” IIJ 2: 295-305; correction in IIJ 4 (1960): 67.
Review of: D.D. Kosambi and V.V. Gokhale (eds), The Subhāṣitaratnakoṣa, compiled by Vidyākara, Cambridge, MA 1957 (Harvard oriental series 42). Journal of Asian Studies 18,1: 158-159.
1959  Tales of ancient India, translated from the Sanskrit, [Chicago]. – Repr. New York 1961, Chicago 1965.
“The Indian hero as Vidyādhara.” In: Milton Singer (ed.), Traditional India: structure and change, Philadelphia, pp. 99-105. – Repr. of Journal of American Folklore 71(1958): 305-311.
“Kapyāsaṃ puṇḍarīkam.” BDCRI 18: 336-343.
“Akṣara.” JAOS 79: 176-187.
1960  Review of: J.C. Heesterman, The Ancient Indian Royal Consecration, ‘s-Gravenhage 1957. JAOS 80 (1960) p.252
1961  “The relative dates of Śaṃkara and Bhāskara.” ALB 25: 268-273.
1962  The Maitrāyaṇīya Upaniṣad: a critical essay, with text, translation and commentary, The Hague (Disputationes Rheno-Trajectinae 6).
Verhalen uit India, keuze en vertaling, Utrecht [Eerder opgenomen in Tales of ancient India]. Repr. Bilthoven 1971.
“The name ‘Pañcarātra’.” History of Religions 1: 291–299.
1963  “The Gajāsurasaṃhāramūrti in Meghadūta 36.” Bhāratīya Vidyā 20-21 (1960-61; issued 1963) (= Munshi Indological felicitation volume: a volume of Indological studies by eminent scholars of India and other countries presented to dr. K.M. Munshi on his completion of seventy-five years in December 1962): 64-68.
“The elephant scene of Mṛcchakaṭikā, act two.” JAOS 83: 26-29.
1964  & J. Ensink, Glossary of Sanskrit from Indonesia, Poona.
“The large ātman.” History of Religions 4: 103-114.
1965  “A contribution to the critical edition of the Bhagavadgītā.” JAOS 85: 99-109.
1966 “On the archaism of the Bhāgavata Purāṇa.” In: Milton Singer (ed.), Krishna: myths, rites, and attitudes, Honolulu, pp. 23-40; 215-217.
1967  “Two notes on the Meghadūta.” In: Languages and areas: studies presented to George V. Bobrinskoy, Chicago, pp. 168-171.
1968  Two plays of ancient India: the little clay cart, the minister’s seal, transl. from the Sanskrit and Prakrit, New York. – Indian ed. Delhi 1971.
Rāmānuja on the Bhagavadgītā : a condensed rendering of his Gītābhāṣya with copious notes and an introduction, Delhi. – Published in 1953 as diss. Utrecht.
The Pravargya: an ancient Indian iconic ritual, described and annotated; forew. by S.M. Katre, Poona (Deccan College building centenary silver jubilee series 58).
“The speculations on the name ‘satyam’ in the Upaniṣads.” In: Bhadriraju Krishnamurti (ed.), Studies in Indian linguistics: professor M. B. Emeneau Ṣaṣṭipūrti volume, Poona [etc.], pp. 54-61.
“The Sāmaveda in the Pravargya ritual.” In: V.S. Agravāla (ed.), Mélanges d’Indianisme à la mémoire de Louis Renou, Paris, pp. 179-186.
“Some notes on the Uttara-Yāyāta.” ALB 32: 617-635.
1969  “The seven castes of Megasthenes.” In: D. Sinor (ed.), American Oriental Society, Middle West Branch: semi-centennial volume: a collection of original essays, Bloomington, pp. 228-232.
1971  & Eliot Deutsch, A source book of Advaita Vedānta, Honolulu.
Yāmuna’s Āgamaprāmāṇyam: or, treatise on the validity of Pañcarātra, Sanskrit text and English translation, Madras.
1972  “On the structure of the Sabhāparvan of the Mahābhārata.” In: J. Ensink and P. Gaeffke (eds), India Maior : congratulatory volume presented to J. Gonda, Leiden, pp. 68-84.
1973  The Mahābhārata [volume 1]: Book 1: The book of the beginning, Chicago.
1974  The literatures of India: an introduction, in cooperation with E.C. Dimock, Jr, E Gerow et al, Chicago-London.
1975  The Mahābhārata [volume 2]: Book 2: The book of assembly hall; Book 3: The book of the forest, Chicago.
Review of: J.B. Carman, The Theology of Ramanuja: an essay in interreligious understanding, New Haven London 1974 (Yale publications in religion 18). Journal of Asian Studies 34,2: 547-549.
1976  “A reply to Goldman.” Journal of Asian Studies 35,3: 470-473.
1978  The Mahābhārata [volume 3], Book 4: The book of the Virāṭa; Book 5: The book of the effort, Chicago.
& Cornelia Dimmitt, Classical Hindu mythology: a reader in the Sanskrit Puranas, edited and translated, Philadelphia.
1979  Buta Wetala [oleh J.A.B. van Buitenen]; [dialih-bahasakan] oleh I Gusti Ngr. Kt. Sangka [dan] I Gusti Kt. Anom [Denpasar]. – Vert. van: Verhalen uit India.
“Ānanda, or all desires fulfilled.” History of Religions 19: 27-36.
1981  The Bhagavadgītā in the Mahābhārata: text and translation, edited by J.L. Fitzgerald, Chicago.