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Rethinking the Upaniṣads Vaṃśas: Teacher Lineages as a Literary Genre

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published

Journal publication date2011
JournalReligions of South Asia
Journal number1-2
Volume5
Number of pages27
Pages51-77
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

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.