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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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The Recovery of a Hermeneutic Principle

(p.59) Chapter 3 Viniyoga
Bringing the Gods to Mind

Laurie L. Patton

University of California Press

This chapter considers the metonymic thinking present in the viniyoga. Viniyoga is a kind of application of Vedic mantra through the creations of new sets of associations in new ritual situations and is a special form of a hermeneutic principle that involves metonymy. It also involves two assumptions that mantras have some semantic content, even if it is only in terms of a single word association; and that some imaginative world is built in juxtaposing, or metonymically linking, ritual poetic word and ritual action. The Jaimini Sutras give several ways in which a mantra can be applied in ritual or the ways viniyoga can occur. The text articulates six principles called linguistic praman—or principles of application, including the application, or appropriate usage, of ritual instruments and actions as well as mantras. These exegetical principles include śruti or direct expression; linga or indirect expression; vakya or syntactic unity; prakarana or contextual unity; krama or order; samakhya or name.

Keywords:   viniyoga, metonymy, Vedic mantras, Vedic rituals, hermeneutics, Jaimini Sutras

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