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Bringing the Gods to MindMantra and Ritual in Early Indian Sacrifice$
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Laurie Patton

Print publication date: 2005

Print ISBN-13: 9780520240872

Published to California Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520240872.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
Bringing the Gods to Mind

Laurie L. Patton

University of California Press

This chapter introduces the book which is focused on the study of the use of Rig Vedic mantras in particular ritual schools. The use of Vedic mantras in particular ritual situations and the method behind it is called viniyoga. Viniyoga is undertaken according to particular hermeneutic principles based on metonymy, or associative thought. In the analysis of viniyoga, the Vedic imagination has powerful associative and metonymic properties, linking mantric image to ritual action. By these linkages, the interpretive schools (śākhās) of the Rig Veda suggest possible associative worlds that might be utilized in the performance of sacrifice. Several common Vedic categories (eating, enemies, eloquence, journeys, the attainment of another world) are discussed and the interpretation of a single Vedic mantra, or set of mantras, throughout the various Rig Vedic ritual schools, or branches, of the Vedic period, mainly the Śrauta and Grhya, are interpreted in this study.

Keywords:   viniyoga, Vedic ritual, metonymy, Rig Veda, Vedic literature, mantra, Vedic period

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