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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 Poetics of Paths

The Poetics of Paths

Mantras of Journeys

(p.152) Chapter 7 The Poetics of Paths
Bringing the Gods to Mind

Laurie L. Patton

University of California Press

This chapter analyzes the Vedic mantras associated with journeying through space, including Rig Veda 1.42, 1.99, 1.189, 3.33, 3.45, and 10.57. The Rig Vedic imagery describes the dangers of journey-taking in general and invokes particular gods who are agile at finding their way, such as Pūsan and Indra. These hymns frequently pray for wealth as well as safety on a journey, as the two are inextricably linked in the Vedic world. In the Śrauta literature, these mantras can be used as part of the “sacrificial extension” of recitals that links one day and the next in a multiday sattra, or session. In the Grhya material, the mantras are applied in the case of the samavartana ceremony, the ritual performed by a Vedic student who wishes to leave after completing studies. In the Vidhana material these mantras are used more generally, when setting out on any dangerous journey. They act as expiation for going astray or committing a wrongdoing, or for when one is setting out on a business journey in the anticipation of garnering wealth.

Keywords:   Vedic mantras, Rig Veda, journey, Grhya Sutras, Vidhana, Śrauta Sutras, hymns

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