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Crossing the Lines of Caste
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Crossing the Lines of Caste: Visvamitra and the Construction of Brahmin Power in Hindu Mythology

Adheesh A. Sathaye

Abstract

What does it mean to be a Brahmin? And what could it mean to become one? While Brahmin intellectuals have offered plenty of answers to the first question, the latter presents a puzzle, since the normative ideology of caste deems it impossible for an ordinary individual to do so without first undergoing death and rebirth. In Hindu mythology, however, one notable figure named Viśvāmitra is said to have transformed himself from a king into a Brahmin sage by amassing great ascetic power, or tapas. This book examines the rich mosaic of legends about Viśvāmitra that are found across the Hindu mythol ... More

Keywords: Viśvāmitra, Hindu mythology, caste, Brahmins, Sanskrit, Marathi, storyworlds, performance

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2015 Print ISBN-13: 9780199341108
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199341108.001.0001

Authors

Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Adheesh A. Sathaye, author
Associate Professor, Department of Asian Studies, University of British Columbia