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Traditions of the Seven Rsis

John E. Mitchiner (Author)

Ascetics and mystics have played a prominent role in the development of nearly all religious traditions. The particular importance of such figures within Hinduism is especially evident in the traditions recounted of the Seven Rsis - the seven archetypal sages or seers who through their ascetic practices attain heaven, commune with the gods and are absorbed into the mystical absolute or brahman. The Seven Rsis are depicted as being more important and powerful than even the gods themselves indeed, through their asceticism the Rsis become the progenitors of the gods, as also of men, demons and all other orders of creation. Traditions of the seven Rsis is the first systematic study of these traditions, and consists of two separate but closely related parts: the first part is a text-historical examination of how and when different traditions were formulated, while the second part explores the various activities and ideas associated with the Seven Rsis. Basing his study on the Sanskrit sources, but making use also of Tamil, tribal and non-Indian sources, Dr Mitchiner sets out the main traditions associated with the Seven Rsis and traces the underlying themes in those traditions - particularly that of the creative role of these ascetic figures. The work encompasses a wealth of original literary material, much of it previously untranslated, and is both a sourcebook of the Rsi traditions and a study of the historical development, symbolic meaning and interconnectedness of those traditions, illustrating above all the dynamically creative role of the ascetic and mystic within Hinduism.

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About the author

John E. Mitchiner

John Mitchiner graduated from Bristol University and obtained both M.A. and Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University, where his doctoral thesis was on the Sanskrit traditions of the Seven Rsis. Following a year in Varanasi, he held successive research fellowships between 1977 and 1979 at Visva - Bharati, Santiniketan and at Calcutta University. He joined HM Diplomatic Service in 1980; following assignments in Istanbul, New Delhi and Berne he was appointed HM Ambassador to Armenia in 1997 and British Deputy High Commissioner Kolkata in 2000. He has traveled extensively throughout India, the Middle East and South - East Asia. He is the author of Studies in the Indus Valley Inscriptions, Traditions of the Seven Rsis, and Guru : The Search for Enlightenment, as well as of numerous articles on Indian history and religion.

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Bibliographic information

Title Traditions of the Seven Rsis
Format Hardcover
Date published: 31.12.2000
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 8120813243
length 370p., 8.5" X 5.5"