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On Hinduism$
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Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199360079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.001.0001

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Sacrifice and Substitution: Ritual Mystification and Mythical Demystification in Hinduism 1

Sacrifice and Substitution: Ritual Mystification and Mythical Demystification in Hinduism 1

Chapter:
(p.207) Sacrifice and Substitution: Ritual Mystification and Mythical Demystification in Hinduism1
Source:
On Hinduism
Author(s):

Wendy Doniger

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.003.0016

This chapter examines sacrifice in Hinduism and its relation to substitution. It begins with a discussion of what the Vedas texts say about the role of substitution in sacrifice and how substitution makes Vedic ritualism possible. It shows that sacrifice is regarded in Hinduism as the counterpart not only of the creator god and of the cosmos as a whole but also of the sacrificer himself, with the sacrificer functioning as a prototype with his own counterparts. It also considers the concept of pashu or sacrificial victim and illustrates how Vedic ritualism and the Hindu myths about the Vedic sacrifice explore the mysteries of sacrifice. Finally, it cites examples of the demystification of the sacrificial ritual in Indian mythology.

Keywords:   sacrifice, Hinduism, substitution, Vedas, ritualism, counterparts, pashu, sacrificial victim, myths, demystification

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