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Ascetics and Brahmins

Studies in Ideologies and Institutions

Patrick Olivelle

Ascetics and Brahmins

A collection of Patrick Olivelle’s papers on Indian ascetical institutions and ideologies.

Imprint: Anthem Press
ISBN 9780857284327
December 2011 | 328 Pages | 229 x 152mm / 9 x 6 | 2+ figures
PRICE:  £70.00  /  $115.00  Buy from Amazon.co.uk  Buy from Amazon.com

About This Book

This volume brings together papers on Indian ascetical institutions and ideologies published by Patrick Olivelle over a span of about thirty years. Asceticism represents a major strand in the religious and cultural history of India, providing some of the most creative elements within Indian religions and philosophies. Most of the major religions, such as Buddhism and Jainism, and religious philosophies both within these new religions and in the Brahmanical tradition, were created by world-renouncing ascetics. Yet ascetical institutions and ideologies developed in a creative tension with other religious institutions that stressed the centrality of family, procreation and society. It is this tension that has articulated many of the central features of Indian religion and culture. The papers collected in this volume seek to locate Indian ascetical traditions within their historical, political and ideological contexts.

Readership: Students and scholars of ancient India, and to scholars working in comparative culture and religion.

Author Information

Patrick Olivelle is Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions at the University of Texas at Austin, where he served as Chair of the Department of Asian Studies from 1994 to 2007. He previously taught in the Department of Religious Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington from 1974 to 1991, where he was the Department Chair from 1984 to 1990.

Table of Contents

Abbreviations; Preface; 1. Introduction to Renunciation in the Hindu Traditions; 2. The Ascetic and the Domestic in Brahmanical Religiosity; 3. Village vs. Wilderness: Ascetic Ideals and the Hindu World; 4. A Definition of World Renunciation; 5. From Feast to Fast: Food and the Indian Ascetic; 6. The Beast and the Ascetic: The Wild in the Indian Religious Imagination; 7. Deconstruction of the Body in Indian Asceticism; 8. Contributions to the Semantic History of saṃnyāsa; 9. The Semantic History of āśrama; 10. Renunciation in the Saṃnyāsa Upaniṣads; 11. Odes of Renunciation; 12. Ritual Suicide and the Rite of Renunciation; 13. The Renouncer’s Staff: triviṣṭabdha, tridaṇḍa, and ekadaṇḍa; 14. Pañcamāśramavidhi: Rite for Becoming a Naked Ascetic; 15. Ānandatīrtha’s Saṃnyāsapaddhati: A Handbook for Madhvaite Ascetics; 16. Renouncer and Renunciation in the Dharmaśāstras; 17. King and Ascetic: State Control of Asceticism in the Arthaśāstra; Bibliography; Index