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Traditions of the Seven Rsis
Traditions of the Seven Rsis
Description

About the Book:

Ascetics and mystics have played a prominent role in the development of nearly all religious traditions. The particular importance of such figures within Hinduism is especially evident in the traditions recounted of the Seven Rsis - the seven archetypal sages or seers who through their ascetic practices attain heaven, commune with the gods and are absorbed into the mystical absolute or brahman. The Seven Rsis are depicted as being more important and powerful than even the gods themselves indeed, through their asceticism the Rsis become the progenitors of the gods, as also of men, demons and all other orders of creation. Traditions of the seven Rsis is the first systematic study of these traditions, and consists of two separate but closely related parts: the first part is a text-historical examination of how and when different traditions were formulated, while the second part explores the various activities and ideas associated with the Seven Rsis. Basing his study on the Sanskrit sources, but making use also of Tamil, tribal and non-Indian sources, Dr Mitchiner sets out the main traditions associated with the Seven Rsis and traces the underlying themes in those traditions - particularly that of the creative role of these ascetic figures. The work encompasses a wealth of original literary material, much of it previously untranslated, and is both a sourcebook of the Rsi traditions and a study of the historical development, symbolic meaning and interconnectedness of those traditions, illustrating above all the dynamically creative role of the ascetic and mystic within Hinduism.

About the Author:

JOHN EDWARD Mitchiner graduated from Bristol University and obtained both M.A. and Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University where his doctoral thesis was on the Sanskrit traditions of the Seven Rsis. Between 1977 and 1979 he held successive research fellowships at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, and at Calcutta University. After Completing the present work, he joined HM Diplomatic Service where, following assignments in Turkey, New Delhi, and Switzerland, he has held appointments as Ambassador to Armenia and as British Deputy High Commissioner in Calcutta. He has travelled extensively throughout India, the Middle East and South-East Asia, and is the author of Studies in the Indus Valley Inscriptions, The YogaPurana; and Guru: The Search for Enlightenment as well as of numerous articles on Indian history and religion.

 

CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES AND MAP

GUIDE TO PRONUNCIATION

INTRODUCTION

PART ONE: TEXT-HISTORICAL TRADITIONS

  1. THE FORMULATION OF THE GROUP
    1. Introduction
    2. Vedic Literature
      (a) The Sutras
      (b) The Brahmanas and Upanisads
      (c) The Vedic Samhitas
    3. The Vedic-Epic Transition
      (a) The Lists of the Group
      (b) Further Designations of the Group
      (c) Variant and Alternative Names of Rsis
    4. The Epics
      (a) The Ramayana
      (b) The Mahabharata
      (c) The Harivamsa
    5. The Puranas
    6. Astronomical and Literary Works
    7. Conclusion
  2. THE MANVANTARA TRADITIONS OF THE SEVEN RSIS
    1. Introduction to the Manvantara Theory
    2. The Lists of the Seven Rsis
    3. The Seven Rsis in Manvantaras and Yugas
  3. FACTORS AFFECTING THE FORMULATION OF THE GROUP
    1. Introduction
    2. Gotra Factors
      (a) Outline of the gotra Organisation
      (b) The Seven Rsis as Founders of Lineages
      (c) Relationships between the main Rsis
      (d) Gotra influences in the Rsi Traditions
      (e) Conclusion
    3. Regional Factors
      (a) The Region of the Group
      (b) The Region of the Rsis in the Vedic Literature
      (c) The Region of Rsis in the Ramayana
      (d) The Region of Rsis in the Mahabharata and the Puranas
      (e) Conclusion
    4. Conclusion
  4. THE ERA OF THE SEVEN RSIS
    1. Introduction
    2. The Views of the Astronomers on the Era
    3. The Puranic Accounts of the Era
    4. The Commencement of Cycles of the Seven Rsis
      (a) The Commencing Year of Individual Cycles
      (b) The Naksatra with which each Complete Cycle Commences
    5. The Origins of the Two Versions of the Era
    6. Conclusion

CONCLUSION TO PART ONE

PART TWO: MYTHOLOGICAL PHILOSOPHICAL AND MYSTICAL TRADITIONS

  1. THE SEVEN RSIS ON EARTH I: Cultic and Ascetic Roles
    1. Introduction
    2. Cultic Role
      (a) Seers and Composers
      (b) Sacrificers
      (c) Teachers
    3. Ascetic Role
      (a) The Nature of tapas
      (b) The Paths and Goals of Asceticism
      (c) Ascetic Rivalries
      (d) The Power of the Ascetic
  2. THE SEVEN RSIS ON EARTH II: Political and Family Roles
    1. Political Role
      (a) Performing Ceremonies for Kings
      (b) Obtaining Conquests for Kings
      (c) Ruling Kingdoms
      (d) Obtaining Sons for Kings
      (e) Obtaining Gifts from Kings
      (f) Cursing Kings
    2. Family Role
      (a) Asceticism and Sex
      (b) Asceticism and Marriage
      (c) The Principal Wives and Children of the Rsis
      (d) Conclusion
  3. THE SEVEN RSIS IN THE SKY
    1. Introduction
    2. Transference to the Sky
      (a) Transference through Sacrifice or Agni
      (b) Tapas as Fire
      (c) The Rsis as the Sun
    3. The Rsis as Ursa Major
      (a) The Rsis and the Bears
      (b) The Rsis and the Krttikas
      (c) The Position of the Rsis in the Sky
  4. THE SEVEN RSIS IN THE BODY
    1. Introduction
    2. The Rsis and the soma Sacrifice
    3. The Rsis in the Head
    4. Prana and the Pranas in the Upanisads
    5. The Eclipse of a Concept
  5. "THEN SHALL THEY SEE GOD"
    1. Introduction
    2. The Turning Wheel
    3. The Turning Centre

CONCLUSION TO PART TWO

GLOSSARY
Abbreviations

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Texts and Translations
  2. Secondary Sources

INDEX

Traditions of the Seven Rsis

Item Code:
NAB456
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2000
ISBN:
81-208-1762-1
Size:
8.5" X 5.5"
Pages:
370
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 424 gms
Price:
$30.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book:

Ascetics and mystics have played a prominent role in the development of nearly all religious traditions. The particular importance of such figures within Hinduism is especially evident in the traditions recounted of the Seven Rsis - the seven archetypal sages or seers who through their ascetic practices attain heaven, commune with the gods and are absorbed into the mystical absolute or brahman. The Seven Rsis are depicted as being more important and powerful than even the gods themselves indeed, through their asceticism the Rsis become the progenitors of the gods, as also of men, demons and all other orders of creation. Traditions of the seven Rsis is the first systematic study of these traditions, and consists of two separate but closely related parts: the first part is a text-historical examination of how and when different traditions were formulated, while the second part explores the various activities and ideas associated with the Seven Rsis. Basing his study on the Sanskrit sources, but making use also of Tamil, tribal and non-Indian sources, Dr Mitchiner sets out the main traditions associated with the Seven Rsis and traces the underlying themes in those traditions - particularly that of the creative role of these ascetic figures. The work encompasses a wealth of original literary material, much of it previously untranslated, and is both a sourcebook of the Rsi traditions and a study of the historical development, symbolic meaning and interconnectedness of those traditions, illustrating above all the dynamically creative role of the ascetic and mystic within Hinduism.

About the Author:

JOHN EDWARD Mitchiner graduated from Bristol University and obtained both M.A. and Ph.D. from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London University where his doctoral thesis was on the Sanskrit traditions of the Seven Rsis. Between 1977 and 1979 he held successive research fellowships at Visva-Bharati, Santiniketan, and at Calcutta University. After Completing the present work, he joined HM Diplomatic Service where, following assignments in Turkey, New Delhi, and Switzerland, he has held appointments as Ambassador to Armenia and as British Deputy High Commissioner in Calcutta. He has travelled extensively throughout India, the Middle East and South-East Asia, and is the author of Studies in the Indus Valley Inscriptions, The YogaPurana; and Guru: The Search for Enlightenment as well as of numerous articles on Indian history and religion.

 

CONTENTS

LIST OF TABLES AND MAP

GUIDE TO PRONUNCIATION

INTRODUCTION

PART ONE: TEXT-HISTORICAL TRADITIONS

  1. THE FORMULATION OF THE GROUP
    1. Introduction
    2. Vedic Literature
      (a) The Sutras
      (b) The Brahmanas and Upanisads
      (c) The Vedic Samhitas
    3. The Vedic-Epic Transition
      (a) The Lists of the Group
      (b) Further Designations of the Group
      (c) Variant and Alternative Names of Rsis
    4. The Epics
      (a) The Ramayana
      (b) The Mahabharata
      (c) The Harivamsa
    5. The Puranas
    6. Astronomical and Literary Works
    7. Conclusion
  2. THE MANVANTARA TRADITIONS OF THE SEVEN RSIS
    1. Introduction to the Manvantara Theory
    2. The Lists of the Seven Rsis
    3. The Seven Rsis in Manvantaras and Yugas
  3. FACTORS AFFECTING THE FORMULATION OF THE GROUP
    1. Introduction
    2. Gotra Factors
      (a) Outline of the gotra Organisation
      (b) The Seven Rsis as Founders of Lineages
      (c) Relationships between the main Rsis
      (d) Gotra influences in the Rsi Traditions
      (e) Conclusion
    3. Regional Factors
      (a) The Region of the Group
      (b) The Region of the Rsis in the Vedic Literature
      (c) The Region of Rsis in the Ramayana
      (d) The Region of Rsis in the Mahabharata and the Puranas
      (e) Conclusion
    4. Conclusion
  4. THE ERA OF THE SEVEN RSIS
    1. Introduction
    2. The Views of the Astronomers on the Era
    3. The Puranic Accounts of the Era
    4. The Commencement of Cycles of the Seven Rsis
      (a) The Commencing Year of Individual Cycles
      (b) The Naksatra with which each Complete Cycle Commences
    5. The Origins of the Two Versions of the Era
    6. Conclusion

CONCLUSION TO PART ONE

PART TWO: MYTHOLOGICAL PHILOSOPHICAL AND MYSTICAL TRADITIONS

  1. THE SEVEN RSIS ON EARTH I: Cultic and Ascetic Roles
    1. Introduction
    2. Cultic Role
      (a) Seers and Composers
      (b) Sacrificers
      (c) Teachers
    3. Ascetic Role
      (a) The Nature of tapas
      (b) The Paths and Goals of Asceticism
      (c) Ascetic Rivalries
      (d) The Power of the Ascetic
  2. THE SEVEN RSIS ON EARTH II: Political and Family Roles
    1. Political Role
      (a) Performing Ceremonies for Kings
      (b) Obtaining Conquests for Kings
      (c) Ruling Kingdoms
      (d) Obtaining Sons for Kings
      (e) Obtaining Gifts from Kings
      (f) Cursing Kings
    2. Family Role
      (a) Asceticism and Sex
      (b) Asceticism and Marriage
      (c) The Principal Wives and Children of the Rsis
      (d) Conclusion
  3. THE SEVEN RSIS IN THE SKY
    1. Introduction
    2. Transference to the Sky
      (a) Transference through Sacrifice or Agni
      (b) Tapas as Fire
      (c) The Rsis as the Sun
    3. The Rsis as Ursa Major
      (a) The Rsis and the Bears
      (b) The Rsis and the Krttikas
      (c) The Position of the Rsis in the Sky
  4. THE SEVEN RSIS IN THE BODY
    1. Introduction
    2. The Rsis and the soma Sacrifice
    3. The Rsis in the Head
    4. Prana and the Pranas in the Upanisads
    5. The Eclipse of a Concept
  5. "THEN SHALL THEY SEE GOD"
    1. Introduction
    2. The Turning Wheel
    3. The Turning Centre

CONCLUSION TO PART TWO

GLOSSARY
Abbreviations

BIBLIOGRAPHY

  1. Texts and Translations
  2. Secondary Sources

INDEX

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