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The Modification of Mantras in Vedic Rituals according to the ninth Adhyāya of the Dīpaśikhā of Śālikanātha Miśra

Lamers, Oliver

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The present study is based on a second-level-commentary called Dīpaśikhā (DŚ), "The peak of light", by Śālikanātha Miśra who is assumed to have written his treatises in the latter eighth and early ninth century CE. Śālikanātha belonged to the Prābhākara-school of Pūrvamīmāṃsā, named after its founder Prabhākara Miśra. Together with his rival Kumārila Bhaṭṭa, founder of the Bhāṭṭa-school of Pūrvamīmāṃsā, he stands for the "golden age" of Pūrvamīmāṃsā, when adherents of these sub-schools seem to have had vivid philosophical, exegetical debates amongst each other and with adherents of Buddhist and other schools. This study presents parts or chapters (adhikaraṇas) from the ninth book (adhyāya) of the DŚ in a first edition and translation. The chapters all deal with the question, whether and how mantras prescribed for specific Vedic rituals have to be changed in a new ritual context. The analysis of the passages reveals the following aspects: • Mantras, as well as “songs” (sāmans) and "embellishments" of ritual details (saṃskāras), may be subject to change after they have been transferred into a new ritual setting. • Only single phrases within mantras can be subject to change, the general proposition of the text remains the same. • The principles and rules expounded by Pūrvamīmāṃsā for structuring the Vedic texts, specifically mantras, help the specialist to determine the proper functional meaning of a (part of a) mantra within the ritual context. • On the basis of the functional meaning he can decide whether and how a phrase has to be modified. • Despite the system’s emphasis on "ritual pragmatics" the statements contained in mantras are not seen as essentially different from "worldly" counterparts. • The human aspect has to be accepted by Pūrvamīmāṃsā in this context, as it is the ritual specialist who determines the modification, ultimately led by his understanding of the meaning of the texts and situation at stake. • Like in other instances, the modification of mantras reflects the constant striving of the system to bring the orthodoxy expounded in Vedic revelation (śruti) to terms with the orthopraxis of an assumed ritual reality. While trying to establish rules to ultimately safeguard the unity and thus authority of the Veda, Pūrvamīmāṃsā here has to admit the human aspect into the system.

Item Type: Dissertation
Supervisor: Michaels, Prof. Dr. Axel
Date of thesis defense: 19 July 2012
Date Deposited: 28 Jun 2016 13:24
Date: 2016
Faculties / Institutes: Service facilities > South Asia Institute (SAI)
Subjects: 490 Other languages
890 Literatures of other languages
Controlled Keywords: Salikanatha, Prabhakara, Mimamsa, Vedic rituals, Mantras
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