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Daśaratha’s horse sacrifice in the Rāmāyaṇa

Brodbeck, Simon 2020. Daśaratha’s horse sacrifice in the Rāmāyaṇa. Orientalia Suecana 69 , pp. 1-28.

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Abstract

This article discusses Daśaratha’s horse sacrifice at 1.8–16 in Vālmīki’s Rāmāyaṇa. Daśaratha’s rite seems to be a horse sacrifice, then a son-producing rite, then a porridge-eating rite. The text has been seen as composite, but it works as a unit, using poetic registers and narrative symbols alive in the textual world of its historical location – that is, in the Rāmāyaṇa alongside the Mahābhārata, Harivaṃśa, and earlier texts such as the Upaniṣads. The brahmin Ṛśyaśṛṅga, key officiant at Daśaratha’s rite, is predisposed, by the narration, to inseminate Daśaratha’s wives. This article discusses Daśaratha’s rite gradually, with digressions and examples. Topics include Draupadī’s conception, the putrikā or ‘appointed daughter’, the horse sacrifice and the human sacrifice, the niyoga or ‘appointment’ (of a man to inseminate a woman), the ways in which the texts present sex, semen, and the masculinity of the inseminator, and the ways in which they present gods taking human form.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
Publisher: Uppsala University
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 27 February 2020
Date of Acceptance: 22 December 2019
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2020 13:55
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/128130

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