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Rethinking the Upaniṣads Vaṃśas: Teacher Lineages as a Literary Genre

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article


<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2011
<mark>Journal</mark>Religions of South Asia
Issue number1-2
Number of pages27
Pages (from-to)51-77
<mark>Original language</mark>English


This paper takes a literary approach to the major vaṃśas in the Brāhmaṇas and Upaniṣads. I will demonstrate that the vaṃśas follow a number of structural and compositional conventions, which are employed to construct sacred histories, indicate different branches of descent, combine different lineages, and claim authoritative transmissions vis-à-vis other lineages. By treating the vaṃśas as a literary genre, rather than as an empirical historical record, I hope to invite a new appreciation for their form and creativity, as well as to open up new ways for reading them.