The Introduction argues that masculine ideologies and roles are central to the men who participate in sóma rituals in ancient India and these ideals are encoded in the three manly gods, Agni, Indra, and Soma. In order to understand and fruitfully interpret these ideals and roles, it further examines various social science and cultural studies approaches, such as theories on discourse, practice, ritual, and the body. It thus explores various ways in which R̥gvedic poet-priests produce and justify their institutionalized androcentric ideology in ritual performances; how they define and enforce social relationships and masculine practices, especially the patriarchal socio-political order; and how they maintain their own positions of power, wealth, and ultimately their ritual tradition.
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