religious embryology in India

Michael Slouber mjslouber at BERKELEY.EDU
Thu Jan 27 22:19:02 UTC 2011

Dear Andrey,

I don't have any kind of complete bibliography, but here are a few ideas:

On Fertility: 

-Allocco, A. (2009). Snakes, goddesses, and anthills: Modern challenges and women's ritual responses in contemporary south india. Thesis, Emory University.
-Balzani, M. (2004). Pregnancy rituals amongst the rajput elite in contemporary rajasthan. Playing for Real: Hindu Role Models, Religion, and Gender, 141.
-Parpola, A. (1987). Bangles, sacred trees, and fertility: Interpretations of the indus script relating to the cult of skanda-kumāra. In South asian archaeology 1987: Proceedings of the ninth international conference of the association of south asian archaeologists in western europe.
-Patton Laurie, L. (2002). Mantras and miscarriage: Controlling birth in the late vedic period. Jewels of Authority: Women and Textual Tradition in Hindu India, 51-56.

Little of the vast medieval literature on this topic has been edited.  Look in the NGMCP catalogue for the word "sūtikā" for instance.

Prenatal and Childhood demonic possession:

Filliozat, J. (n.d.). Etude de démonologie indienne: Le kumaratantra de ravan. A et les textes paralleles indiens tibétains, chinois, cambodgien et arabe. Cahiers De La Société Asiatique, Series, 1.
Granoff (2002). Paradigms of protection in ancient india or an essay on what to do with your demons. Essays in Jaina Philosophy and Religion, 2, 181-212.
Granoff (2009). The art of protecting children: The ritual context for some early terracottas.
Sarma, E. M. K. (1975). Kumāratantram. South Indian Archaka Association.
Smith, F. M. (2006). The Self Possessed: Deity and spirit possession in south asian literature and civilization. New York: Columbia University Press.
Wujastyk, D. (1999). Miscarriages of justice: Demonic vengeance in classical indian medicine. Religion, Health, and Suffering, 256-75.

Ditto concerning the lack of work on primary sources for this topic.  There are dozens of manuscripts on it in every archive in South Asia.  

The Kriyākālaguṇottara has the following chapters that may be of interest:

-abhiṣekapaṭala 19 (on possession causing fertility problems and remedies)
-sūtikopadrava 20
-jātamātrabālacikitsā 21
-bālānāṃ cikitsā 22
-bālagrahacikitsā 23
-rakṣāpaṭala 24 (protection charms for children and others)

There is a lot of Ayurvedic material on this--the Kāśyapasaṃhitā comes to mind--but you don't get as much of the religious perspective there as the sources I mentioned above.

Good luck,

Michael Slouber
Ph.D. Candidate
UC Berkeley

On Jan 27, 2011, at 7:22 PM, Andrey Klebanov wrote:

> Dear all, 
> I'm searching for publications (or any other academic input), which deal or touch upon the topic of religious attitudes, rituals etc. concerning conception/ embryonal development/ birth and early childhood in India (past or present). 
> I would be absolutely grateful for any hint or advice. 
> best,
> Andrey Klebanov

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