[INDOLOGY] Death's Footprint

Jarrod Whitaker whitakjl at wfu.edu
Wed Jan 6 16:35:58 UTC 2016

Has anyone written on the phrase mr̥tyóḥ padám (mr.tyo'h. pada'm) in the 
RV and AV (or later texts)? My cursory search has come up short.

Does death leave a footprint behind (possessive or subjective genitive)? 
Or are the footprints left by the living for death to follow (objective 
genitive)? The latter seems to be the reasonable conclusion, but it's 
not evident in the genitive phrase. The phrase appears in the RV's 
funeral hymn (10.18.2), where the living wipe out "death's footprint" 
when they return home, which suggests they erase their own trail so 
death can't follow them,  but in stanza 1 death is banished along his 
own faraway/distant/remote path (which is different to the gods), which 
suggests that death does follow (and leave?) his own footprints or 
trail. Perhaps it's some kind of "plenary" genitive indicating both 

Happy New Year!

Jarrod Whitaker, Ph.D.
Associate Professor,
Graduate Program Director,
Department for the Study of Religions.

Faculty, Department of Women's,
Gender and Sexuality Studies.

Wake Forest University
P.O. Box 7212
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
whitakjl at wfu.edu
p 336.758.4162

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