About the Book :
Vedic Sanskrit literature contains a wealth of material concerning the mythology and religious practices of India between 1500 and 500 BCE—a crucial period in the formation of traditional Indian culture. Stephanie W. Jamison here addresses the conditions that have limited our understanding of Vedic myth and ritual, such as the profusion and obscurity of the texts and the tendency on the part of scholars to approach mythology and ritual independently. Tracing two key myths through a variety of texts, Jamison provides insight into the relationship between early Indic myth and ritual as well as offering a new methodology for their study.
After a brief survey of Vedic literature and religion, Jamison examines the recurrences of the myths “Indra fed the Yatis to the hyenas” and “Svarbhanu pierced the sun with darkness.” Focusing on their verbal from and ritual setting, she essays a general interpretation of the myths and their ritual purpose. Her book sheds light on some central figures in Vedic mythology and on the evolution of Vedic mythological narrative, and it points to parallels in other cultures as well.
About the Author :
Stephanie Jamison is Professor of Asian Languages and Cultures and Head of the Program in Indo-European Studies at UCLA. She is the author most recently of Sacrificed Wife/Sacrifice’s Wife: Women, Ritual, and Hospitality in Ancient India and The Rig Veda between Two Worlds.