Chapter

The Brahman as the Head of a Household

Nathan McGovern

in The Snake and the Mongoose

Published in print December 2018 | ISBN: 9780190640798
Published online November 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780190640828 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oso/9780190640798.003.0005
The Brahman as the Head of a Household

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This chapter, complementing the previous one, examines the articulation of Brahman identity that understood the Brahman to be a non-celibate householder, namely, that found in the Dharma Sūtras. It shows that the Dharma Sūtras were not simply intra-Brahmanical texts, but rather polemical texts articulating a particular, non-celibate vision of Brahmanical identity. They did so first by using for the first time a fully explicit statement of the varṇa system to divorce brahmacarya (celibacy) from Brahmanhood and restrict it to their own group. Then, they used the āśrama system to taxonomize all forms of religious practice in their day, so as to reject all those that did not produce children.

Keywords: Brahman; Brahmanism; Dharma Sūtras; householder; varṇa; āśrama system; brahmacarya

Chapter.  13443 words. 

Subjects: Hinduism

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