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Vedic Roots, Epic Trunks, Puranic Foliage (Dubrovnik International Conference on the Sanskrit Epics and Puranas, DICSEP publications, vol. 7)

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Item Code: HAG029
Publisher: Dev Publishers And Distributors
Author: Ivan Andrijanic & Sven Sellmer
Language: English
Edition: 2023
ISBN: 9789394852761
Pages: 426
Other Details 9.50 X 6.50 inch
Weight 790 gm
Book Description

This volume of the DICSEP publications contains ten papers. Five of them are concerned with the Mahabharata, two with the Ramayana, two with the Puranas, and one with the Mahabharata and some Puranas.

The Mahabharata

The paper of Johannes Bronkhorst Who Composed the Mahabhara ta, Why and When? discusses the question raised first by V. S. Suk- thankar (1936) about the role of the Bhargavas in the amplification of the Mahabharata and in particular its brahmanization. Sukthankar's hypothesis was modified by N. J. Shende (1943) who concluded from the numbers of occurrences of the names of Brahmanical families in the Mahabharata that both the Angirasas and the Bhargavas share the responsibility for the redaction of the great epic because the Bhrgus are mentioned 1 500 times in the Mahabharata, the Angirasas 3 200 times, and each of the remaining families less than a hundred times. Both families are responsible, as Bronkhorst argues, for the creation of the Atharvaveda. He quotes a number of citations of the names of differ- ent Vedas, and particularly of the Atharvaveda, from Vedic, Buddhist and Sanskrit epic texts, which show that the older sources cite three or five Vedas, among which there is no Atharvaveda as a collection, that there are cases where the Atharvanic mantras are cited as Athar- vängirasah, Atharvaṇaḥ or even Bhrgvangirasah (in Atharvan texts). and that only late Vedic texts, passages from the Mahabharata or Jaina canon mention the Atharvaveda as a collection. From these occurences one can assume that even texts like the Aitareyabrahmana or Sata- pathabrahmana may have preceded the creation of the Atharvaveda collection (as Bloomfield already thought). This is in accordance with the importance of the Atharvaveda in the Grhyasutras. A possible date ante quem for the Atharvaveda is Patanjali's Mahābhāṣya citing it as a collection of 20 books. All these data point to the period after the rule of the mighty dynasties of Nandas and Mauryas as the time when the brahmanical redaction of the Mahabharata introducing many sto ries about the Bhargavas and Angirasas must have taken place. Bronk- horst does not think that these two families themselves were authors or redactors of the Mahabharata, but that the brahmanical redactors used stories about their supernatural might and powers, in accordance with the magical purposes of the Atharvavedic mantras (especially the stories about Rama Bhargava, who even eradicated ksatriyas thrice seven times), with the intention to impress their audience, primarily the ksatriyas, and to convince them that the brahmans should be giv en the highest status in society again, not inferior to the ruling class (after the period of the previous mighty Magadhan dynasties that did not give them such a prominence). This 'reinvention of Brahmanism', along with the compilation of the Atharvaveda, as attested in the Maha- bharata, served the purpose of socially empowering the brahmans after the period when they were disadvantaged. The last part of the paper discusses the possibility that the Mahabharata in some form was men- tioned already in Pănini's sutra 6,2.38 concerning accents. Bronkhorst does not exclude that possibility, but considers it 'not fully compel ling'. He even mentions in a footnote (68) Abrecht Weber's enumera- tion of names specifically belonging to the Mahabharata and occuring in Panini's grammar like Yudhişthira, Hastinapura, Vasudeva, Arjuna, Andhaka-Vrsnayab or Drona, but holds the speculation about an earli er (accented?) Mahabharata 'indeed unnecessary. In fact, for Bronk horst's very clear argumentation concerning the brahmanical redaction of the Mahabharata in the post-Mauryan period and the 'reinvention of Brahmanism', the question of earlier stages of the Mahabharata transmission is irrelevant because it has no bearing on his main thesis or argumentation. He brilliantly answered the questions who composed the brahmanized redaction of the Mahabharata, why and when.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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