Download Tapta Marga: Asceticism and Initiation in Vedic India by Walter O. Kaelber PDF

By Walter O. Kaelber

This can be the main finished examine but made from tapas and of asceticism in the course of the Vedic interval. It additionally explains 3 different crucial parts of Vedic notion: sacrifice, homology, and data. those suggestions, besides tapas and initiation symbolism, demonstrate the center of Vedic faith. hence, this learn offers a "history of Vedic religion," prepared round the critical construction blocks of that culture.

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Extra info for Tapta Marga: Asceticism and Initiation in Vedic India

Sample text

47 The brahmacarin is quite strikingly an embryo in the womb of knowledge (vidya). And it is the Veda, which he approaches through tapas, that now gives him birth. The brahmacarin "broods" upon the Veda with a cognitive hatching-heat and is himself reborn. " Apastamba Dharma Sutra 1, 1, 1, 15-17 indicates quite clearly that the teacher causes the pupil to be born a second time by imparting to him the sacred knowledge (vidya). The second birth is the better one, the text continues, for the father and mother produce only the body.

But the sacrifice, as stated, is the primary vehicle of spiritual rebirth both mythologically and ritually. Through sacrifice at the paradigmatic level, as just illustrated, the gods overcame death, attained immortality, and ascended to heaven. It is therefore "seeing-through-tapas" and "knowing-through-tapas" that make spiritual rebirth a possibility not only "in the beginning" and ''on high" but also now and here below. 2011 21:52:13] cover Moving from the celestial to the earthly arena, we find the correlation of tapas and knowledge well illustrated in the activities of the poet-priest, the ascetic, the Vedic student (brahmacarin), and the sacrificer.

Such illustrations from the legal literature could easily be multiplied. Once again, tapas as purifying penance remains transparent to perhaps its "earliest" meaning, the fire's destructive heat. " The use of fire imagery in the context of purifying penances is, in fact, striking. Consider the Vasistha Dharma Sastra (27, 1): "If a hundred improper acts, and even more, have been committed, . . "83 We observed above that as part of his ritual purification the diksita sacrifices an oblation into the fire.

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