gosava rite

Madhav Deshpande mmdesh at UMICH.EDU
Mon Feb 2 13:36:05 UTC 1998

        About the Gosava rite, there is a fairly informative article in
the Bharatiya SamskRtikosha, Vol. 3, p. 192, Editor, Mahadeva Shastri
Joshi, Pune 1965, reprint in 1987.  It just happens to be in Marathi.
According to the information provided here (and I am now translating from
Marathi): "After performing the Gosava rite, the host should behave like a
cow for a year, or at least for 12 days.  He should eat what a cow would
eat and he should freely behave the way a cow would behave."  The last
clause with the words svacchanda AcaraNa is perhaps an oblique reference
to what Jonathan is referring to, i.e. possible incestual relations,
though I have not yet found any explicit description in a Sanskrit source.
Perhaps, the Shrauta experts on the list can elucidate this further.
Considering the fact that this rite is prescribed as an expiation rite for
BrahmahatyA "killing of a Brahman", it would be difficult to understand
incestual practices as part of this rite.
                                                Madhav Deshpande
On Sun, 1 Feb 1998, jonathan silk wrote:

> Many thanks to Madhav Deshpande for classical references to the gosava
> rite. What he has not mentioned, and what I am particularly interested in,
> is that the rite is said to involve incest. This of course is what the
> Buddhists (e.g. Vasubandhu and Yasomitra) find useful in attacking the
> Brahmanical position. Has any scholar studied especially this aspect of the
> rite?
> Jonathan Silk
> SILK at wmich.edu

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list