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The Sanskrit Epics' Representation of Vedic Myths

Danielle Felller (Author)
Synopsis This book studies several mythical motifs, found in the Veda (especially in the Rgveda) on the oe hand and in one or both Sanskrit epics on the other: Agni’s hiding, the theft of the Soma, Indra’s rape of Ahalya, Upamanyu’s salvation by the Asvins, and finally the representation of the Great War of the Mahabharata as a sacrifice. These myths are fairly well represented in both Vedic and epic literature. While the god Indra retains a fair amount of importance in the Ramayana, Agani’s role is very limited, the Asvins’ practically non-existent, and the myth of the theft of the Soma is only very briefly and allusively narrated in this text. Finally, the topic of the sixth chapter of this does not concern a myth. It primarily concerns the sacrifice, but the connection between myth and sacrifice is often though not always quite prominent. While it is often said that the subsequent Indian literature only paid “lip-service” to the Vedas without really knowing, much less understanding these texts, the present study not only shows that many Vedic myths are still kept alive in the epics, but more importantly that their deep underlying meaning was perfectly understood by the epic mythmakers, and reactualized to fit the changed religious conditions of epic times.
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About the author

Danielle Felller

Danielle Feller was born in Switzerland in 1965. She studied Sanskrit at the Universities of Lausanne, Switzerland and then Pune, India. She now teaches Indian Religions and Sanskrit at the University of Lausanne. The present book is the outcome of her doctoral dissertation, defended in Lausanne in 2001.

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Bibliographic information

Title The Sanskrit Epics' Representation of Vedic Myths
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2004
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8120820088
length xiv+369p., Bibliography; Index; 23cm.