The Poetics of Paths

Laurie L. Patton

in Bringing the Gods to Mind

Published by University of California Press

Published in print June 2005 | ISBN: 9780520240872
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520930889 | DOI:
The Poetics of Paths

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This chapter analyzes the Vedic mantras associated with journeying through space, including Rig Veda 1.42, 1.99, 1.189, 3.33, 3.45, and 10.57. The Rig Vedic imagery describes the dangers of journey-taking in general and invokes particular gods who are agile at finding their way, such as Pūsan and Indra. These hymns frequently pray for wealth as well as safety on a journey, as the two are inextricably linked in the Vedic world. In the Śrauta literature, these mantras can be used as part of the “sacrificial extension” of recitals that links one day and the next in a multiday sattra, or session. In the Grhya material, the mantras are applied in the case of the samavartana ceremony, the ritual performed by a Vedic student who wishes to leave after completing studies. In the Vidhana material these mantras are used more generally, when setting out on any dangerous journey. They act as expiation for going astray or committing a wrongdoing, or for when one is setting out on a business journey in the anticipation of garnering wealth.

Keywords: Vedic mantras; Rig Veda; journey; Grhya Sutras; Vidhana; Śrauta Sutras; hymns

Chapter.  6885 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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