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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 18 September 2021

The Vedic “Other”

The Vedic “Other”

Spoilers of Success

Chapter:
(p.117) Chapter 5 The Vedic “Other”
Source:
Bringing the Gods to Mind
Author(s):

Laurie L. Patton

Publisher:
University of California Press
DOI:10.1525/california/9780520240872.003.0006

This chapter discusses the conception of the enemy and its history in particular usages of Rig Vedic mantras 1.32, 1.50, 1.83–84, 6.73, and 6.2.11. The Vedic enemy concept is rich in metonymic usages in the ritual schools, instead of being simple “black magic.” In each case of imprecations against the enemy, something is selected out of the ritual context of the speech utterance (the mantra) and placed in contiguity (metonymy) with it. In Rig Vedic imagery, verses about the enemy are directed at foes that need to be defeated repeatedly. In the Śrauta literature these same verses are used in rituals that are exceptions to regular sacrificial performances. In the Grhya material, these mantras describe some aspect of brahminical victory and vulnerability. In the Vidhana material, mantra recitations transform any potentially harmful agent or situation (enemies, illness, and so on) as it comments on it. The change in interpretive strategy from earlier texts to the Rig Vidhana is one of generalization from sacrificial situations to ones that include any and all possible circumstances in which the verses might be relevant.

Keywords:   metonymy, Vedic mantras, Vedic rituals, enemy, Grhya Sutras, Rig Veda, Vidhana

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