Asura in Early Vedic Religion

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In the Rg-Veda the word asura is frequently used as an epithet for various deities. However, in later Sanskrit it is used instead for a class of demons who are enemies of the gods.

In this book the Vedic passages containing the word asura - are examined to see how such a remarkable shift in meaning could occur. Every verse in the Samhitas containing the word asura- or a derivative or a compound of it is quoted, translated, and discussed. The occurrences of this word and in the prose passages of the Brahmanas are reviewed and the more interesting are quoted. In order to examine the semantic field of this word, occurrences of the terms dasa-, dasyu-, and raksas- are also examined in some detail. In the appendix, the relevant occurrences of the cognate word ahura- are quoted, translated, and analysed.

If the author's conclusions are accepted, then some commonly held ideas about early Indo-Iranian religion will have to be revised. In particular, any ideas about the cult of Asuras distinct from the Devas who were worshipped by some people will have to be abandoned.

The author summarizes the prevailing theories about this semantic development of the word asura-, and subjects them to criticism. He develops his own theory and sums it up in the concluding chapter.

The book is addressed primarily to the scholars, researchers and students of Indology. It is also intended for those who are interested in the study of theology and religion.

About the Author:

WASH EDWARD HALE was born in Little Rock, Arkansas. He obtained Bachelor's Degrees in Mathematics and Philosophy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1970. He completed the course of Theological Studies in History of Religion in Harvard Divinity School and became the recipient of Masters Degree in 1973. In 1980, he obtained Ph. D. in Comparative Religion from Harvard University.

CONTENTS


Acknowledgements

Abbreviations

Introduction

CHAPTER
    I. PREVIOUS THEORIES ABOUT ASURA
      F.B.J. Kuiper
      Criticism of Kuiper's Position
      Haug
      P. von Bradke
      Summary of Reviews of von Bradke's Book
      Criticism of von Bradke's Position
      Rudolf Otto
      Criticism of Otto's Position
      Emile Benveniste
      Criticism of Benveniste's Position
      Sten Konow
      Criticism of Konow's Position
      V.K. Rajwade
      Criticism of Rajwade's Position
      U.Venkatakrishna Rao
      R.N. Dandekar
      Criticism of Dandekar's Position
      James Darmesteter
      Criticism of Darmesteter's Position
      R.G. Bhadarkar and K.R.V. Raja
      Criticism of Bhandarkar's Position
      A.Banerji-Sastri
      Criticism of Banerji-Sastri's Position
      A. Padmanabhayya
      H. Skold
      S.C. Roy
      Criticism of Roy's Position
      Ananda K. Coomaraswamy
      Criticism of Coomaraswamy's Position
      R. Shamasastry
      Jean Przyluski
      Criticism of Przyluski's Position
      Leopold von Schroeder
      Criticism of von Schroeder's Position
      T. Burrows
      Criticism of Burrow's Position
      Alfred Hillebrandt
      Criticism of Hillebrandt's Position
      I.J.S. Taraporewala
      Criticism of Taraporewala's Position
      Herman Lommel
      Criticism of Lommel's Position
      V.Fausboll
      Criticism of Fausboll's Position
      T. Segerstedt
      Criticism of Segerstedt's Position
      Paul Thieme
      Criticism of Thieme's Position
      IIya Gerschevitch
      Criticism of Gerschevitch's Position
      Mary Boyce
      Criticism of Boyce's Position
      Arthur A. Macdonell
      Criticism of Macdonell's Position
      Hermann Oldenberg
      Criticism of Oldenberg's Position
      Karl F. Geldner
      C.S. Venkatesvaran
      Criticism of Venkatesvaran's Position
      Jan Gonda
      Criticism of Gonda's Position
      Suggested Etymologies of Asura-
      Criticism of Suggested Etymologies
      Conclusion of Survey

    II. ASURA - IN THE FAMILY BOOKS OF THE RV
      Summary and Conclusions

    III. DERIVATIVES AND COMPOUNDS OF ASURA- IN THE FAMILY BOOKS OF THE RV
      Sumary and Conclusions

    IV. ASURA - IN BOOKS ONE, EIGHT, NINE AND TEN OF THE RV

      Summary of Singular Occurrences and Conclusions
      Occurrences in the Plural
      Summary of Plural Occurences and Conclusions
      Appendix on RV 10.124

    V. DERIVATIVES AND COMPOUNDS OF ASURA- IN BOOKS ONE, EIGHT, NINE AND TEN OF THE RV
      Conclusions

    VI. ASURA- IN THE ATHARVA VEDA
      Summary of Singular Occurrences and the Conclusions Plural Occurrences
      Summary of Plural Occurrences and Conclusions
      Appendix on Asura- in the AVP
      Conclusions

    VII. DERIVATIVES AND COMPOUNDS OF ASURA IN THE ATHARVA VEDA
      Summary and Conclusions

    VIII. ASURA- IN THE SAMA VEDA SAMHITA, THE RGVEDA KHILA, AND THE MANTRA PORTIONS OF THE YAJUR VEDA
      Summary and Conclusions

    IX. DERIVATIVES AND COMPOUNDS OF ASURA- IN THE SAMA VEDA SAMHITA, THE RGVIDA KHILA, AND THE MANTRAS OF THE YAJUR VEDA.
      Summary and Conclusions

    X. RAKSAS- IN THE RV

    XI. DASYU- IN THE SAMHITAS AND BRAHMANAS

    XII. DASA- IN THE SAMHITAS AND BRAHMANAS

    XIII. ASURA- IN THE BRAHMANAS

    CONCLUSION

    APPENDIX: AHURA- IN THE AVESTA

    INDEX OF VERSES

    BIBLIOGRAPHY: TEXTS

    BIBLIOGRAPHY: SECONDARY WORKS AND TRANSLATIONS

    INDEX

Item Code: NAB295
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 1999
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 8120800613
Language: English
Size: 8.8" X 5.8"
Pages: 242
Other Details: Weight of the Book: