Flowers and Fish in the <i>Mahābhārata</i>

James McHugh

in Sandalwood and Carrion

Published in print October 2012 | ISBN: 9780199916306
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199980260 | DOI:
Flowers and Fish in the Mahābhārata

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What do odors make people do in South Asian narratives? Through a close reading of two well-known episodes from the epic Mahābhārata—one involving a fragrance, and one a stink—the chapter introduces the idea that that smells in South Asian narratives, as well as in other contexts, very often serve to unite the smeller with an odorous other (e.g. god, person, or flower) who is removed in space. This differs from the notion of smells as invoking memories, so prominent in modern European discourses, whereby smells unite the self with the former self removed in time, though not necessarily in space.

Keywords: smell; Mahabharata; affect; Proust effect; Matsyagandhi

Chapter.  5863 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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