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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Ritual Culture of Appeasement: Śānti Rites in Post-Vedic Sources
by Geslani, Marko Allen, Ph.D., Yale University, 2011, 284; 3467902
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation tracks the early development of the ritual category of śanti (appeasement) in the ritual manuals (pariśistas) of the Vedic schools during the first millennium CE. It argues that this ritual category was generated within the Atharvan priestly group in conversation with the emerging astronomical-astrological tradition (jyotihś astra) of early Indian courts, likely in the middle of the first millennium CE (3rd–7th centuries). The development of this ritual category begins with application of techniques for producing "appeasement water" (śantyudaka )—originally from the earliest ritual manual of the Atharvan tradition—to the appeasement of omens in a ceremony of consecration (or bathing) called the "Great Appeasement Ritual" (mah aśanti). This consecration became the paradigm for a proliferating set of iterative, "apotropaic consecrations" in the late ritual manuals of this school. Such rites were first meant to be administered to the royal sponsor by the royal chaplain (purohita ). This larger network of consecrations spread from the Atharvan texts to the ritual manuals of the non-Atharvan schools, where it intersected with early rituals of image worship. In the texts of these non-Atharvan groups (such as the traditionally orthodox Black Yajurveda) we find a similar set of apotropaic consecrations applied to the treatment of images. Techniques used, for instance, in the image installation ritual (pratisth a) appear to be based directly on those seen in the Atharvan sources. Thus the dissertation argues that a ritual culture of appeasement (śanti) was formative to practices that became standard in so-called "Puranic Hinduism."

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Granoff, Phyllis, Shinohara, Koichi
School: Yale University
School Location: United States -- Connecticut
Source: DAI-A 72/10, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religious history
Keywords: Appeasement, Atharvan, Hinduism, Post-Vedic, Rites, Santi
Publication Number: 3467902
ISBN: 978-1-124-80577-1
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