[INDOLOGY] New publication: Study of the Veda as a living tradition gives a voice ...

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at gmail.com
Thu Jul 30 19:09:20 UTC 2015

Study of the Veda as a living tradition gives a voice
to four generations of ahitagnis in ten families:
biographies, interviews, discussions.

David M. Knipe, *Vedic Voices*, New York, Oxford University Press, 2015.
*Vedic Voices: *
*intimate narratives of a living Andhra tradition. *

This study explores an intriguing but almost invisible living tradition.
It demonstrates, along the way, the viability of a predominantly oral,
intellectual culture, and its adaptation, survival and continuation in
E.g. p 250, citation from Yajulu Duvvuri, 28.3.1992:
"Reading and writing I acquired in the course of time. I never
went to school. There was no activity other than Veda."

>From the preface:

The four generations of ten families in this book represent a period of
rapid and
far-reaching changes.

This book highlights the essential features of contemporary Vedic life by
allowing ahitagnis and other Veda pandits, their wives, and their children
narrate personal experience. This is important because their communities
their individual narrations, all noteworthy and remarkable, are largely
unknown to
mainstream India. Certainly they are far removed from Western perception.
Outside of the subcontinent the general reader of books about India rarely
the Vedic tradition, and normally considers it a strange and remote period
that seems to have ended
thousands of years ago.

An energetic three-hour discussion of Vedic texts and rituals ensued,
leading off three
decades of engagement with the residents of this and nearby agraharas. When
modest rupee honorarium was extended to the senior ahitagni Baballa,
this initial unanticipated meeting, he declined with an elegant,
phrase: “Your interest in Veda is our daksina (ritual payment)!"


Directeur d’Études

Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite

*École Pratique des Hautes Études*

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

54, rue Saint-Jacques

CS 20525 – 75005 Paris

johannes.houben at ephe.sorbonne.fr



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