Veena Das

in Structure and Cognition

Third edition

Published in print May 2012 | ISBN: 9780198077404
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081172 | DOI:

Series: Oxford India Perennials Series


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This introductory chapter discusses Hindu caste and ritual. It examines the religious texts in Sanskrit, which serve as relevant sources of information on Indian society. It takes a look at anthropological research and the formation of a positivist approach, as well as the consequences of defining social reality based on concreteness. It introduces Louis Dumont's writings, where he rejects the dichotomy between behaviour and thought, and insists that an explanatory model cannot be limited to copying observed reality. It then pinpoints the two Sanskrit texts that will be analyzed in detail, namely the Dharmaranya Purana and the Grihya Sutra of Gobhila. The chapter also studies the caste Puranas, who are defined as a class of Sanskrit language that is concerned with the five main themes of creation.

Keywords: Hindu caste; Hindu ritual; religious texts; Sanskrit texts; anthropological research; Louis Dumont; Dharmaranya Purana; Grihya Sutra; caste Puranas; themes of creation

Chapter.  7021 words. 

Subjects: Social Theory

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