Ivan Franko and Buddhism

Posted by on September 7, 2015

Иван Франко

In today’s article, we’ll touch on a little-known part of the biography of the famous Ukrainian writer and poet Ivan Franko. This piece of his life for some reason not covered in school lessons in literature and completely unknown to many people that the “great Kamenyar” (so called respectable Franko) was seriously interested and fascinated by Eastern philosophy of Buddhism and Hinduism. Honestly for me it was also a small opening, which I want to share.

In general, the most long-standing interest in the progressive circles of the Ukrainian intelligentsia mysterious East, in particular India, solar, its religion and culture appeared in the early 19th century. One of the first who began to study the tradition of Indian culture, was the Kharkov University. Its rector I. Riga in the book “Introduction to the Literature Circle” (1806) mentions about the ancient scriptures – the Vedas and ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. Subsequently Kharkov University became one of the leading Ukrainian centers for the study of Eastern culture – Oriental Studies.

Among Ukrainian researchers east there were many outstanding people, who have worked tirelessly in the field of education: it is the historian Mikhail Lunin; writer, ethnographer and folklorist Mykola Kostomarov, another well-known writer and folklorist Michael Dragomanov. The latter was on friendly terms with Ivan Franko, who also drew Frank mysterious Indian culture, religion and literature.

The interest and enthusiasm for India Franco were so large that in addition to a study of Indian and Buddhist scriptures, Franco worked Ukrainian translation of the sacred Hindu epic Mahabharata. Incidentally, the Ukrainian translation of a large rare book and find it on the shelves of bookstores (and even on the Internet!) Is not easy. (If suddenly someone still will be able to find it on the Internet, let a reference in the comments)

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