The Ritual of Battle: Krsna in the Mahabharata
This book is a study of India s great epic, the Mahabharrata, against the background of Indo-European myth, epic, and ritual. It builds upon the pioneering studies in these areas by Georges Dumezil and Stig Wikander to work toward the goal of understanding how this epic s Indo-European heritage is interpreted and reshaped within the setting of bhakti or devotion-al Hinduism. The book begins with a comparative typology of traditional classical ep-ics, arguing that epic is a distinctive mythical genre, and that the Maha-bharrata in particular should be studied as part of an Indo-European epic (and not just mythical) continuum. The reshaping of Indo-European theme is then examined in relation to the Mahabharrata s central mystery : the figure of Krsna, hero and ally of the Pandava brothers in their struggles against their cousins, the Kauravas, and incarnation of Visnu. The study argues that Krsna figures in the epic at the center of a coher-ent theological ensemble that builds upon continuities in Indo-European, Vedic, and particularly Brahmanic sacrificial idioms. Ultimately, Krsna guides the forces of dharma or righteousness through a great sacrifice of battle whose eschatological background recalls Indo-European and Vedic themes, while projecting them into the Hindu bhakti cosmology of universal dissolutions, recreations, and divine grace. The study vigorously opposes attempts to explain Krsna by arbitrary theories of the Mahabharrata s growth through interpolations.
About the Author
Alf Hiltebeitel is Professor in the Department of Religion at George Washington University. Dr. Hiltebeitel is the editor of Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees: Essays on the Guardians of Popular Hinduism, also published by SUNY Press, and he is the author of The Cult of Draupadi, Vol. 1, Mythologies: From Gingee to Kuruks.
- Product Code: BK9902
- Publisher : Motilal Banarsidass Publishers
- Edition : January 1, 2017
- Pages : 368
- Weight : 410g.
- Size : 8.3 x 5.4 x 1 inchesCover : Hardcover
- Auther : Alf Hiltebeitel
- Language : English
- ISBN : 8120840348, 978-8120840348