[INDOLOGY] Evil, the Vedas and Upanishads

Shyam Ranganathan shyamr at yorku.ca
Fri Mar 7 18:58:09 UTC 2014

Dear Indologists,

Please excuse cross postings.

I would be grateful for references to any work done on the idea of /EVIL 
/in the Vedas and Upanishads.

I appreciate that there may not be a one to one correlation between the 
English "evil" and corresponding words in Vedic literature. "Evil" could 
range over ideas such as:  ra-ks.asa or darkness/ignorance (e.g. 
Br.hada-ran.yaka Upanis.ad 1.3.28 --- tamaso ma- jyotir gamaya).  In 
connection to this, anything about the demonification of asura-s (and 
the vindication of devas) would be welcome too.

In this connection I am also especially curious about blood offerings to 
evil spirits in animal sacrifices (e.g., Aitareya Brahmana II.1.7) and 
possible Vedic criticisms of the practice.

Thank you!

Shyam Ranganathan
Department of Philosophy
York University, Toronto

would include the idea of pathological agents, fault, and "darkness" 
construed as something bad.

I would also be interested in any evidence of darkness treated as a good 
thing. I figure we find this in the later tradition (in the idea of 
Krishna for instance).

Many thanks!


Shyam Ranganathan
Department of Philosophy
York University

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