[INDOLOGY] Brahmā in early Vedic materials?

Bill Mak bill.m.mak at gmail.com
Fri Jun 21 22:36:03 UTC 2019

Dear colleagues,

I wonder if anyone could point me to any recent research on the history of Brahmā as a deity in early Vedic (pre-Buddhist) sources. I am aware of Bailey’s The mythology of Brahmā, where he described his origin as the apotheosization of the brahmā priest in the śrauta sacrifice. I am also aware of Thieme’s very thorough study on the Bráhman in his Kleine Schriften (Teil I), where the the original senses and etymology as in RV are discussed. I am however still somewhat puzzled about the presence of Brahmā as a deity in the early Vedic saṃhitās.

This puzzle came about when I was going through the list of nakṣatras in all the Vedic sources, which give either 27 or 28. The difference between 27 and 28 lies in the nakṣatra Abhijit, which is always associated with Brahmā. If Brahmā has a late origin, it is likely then an interpolation, and the 28-nakṣatra system may also likely postdate the 27 one. But before I proceed on this line of analysis, I would appreciate it if anyone could enlighten me on Brahmā as an deity in the early Vedic sources, along with the most updated references on studies on the early Vedic deities.

Best regards,

Bill Mak

Bill M. Mak

Institute for Research in Humanities, Kyoto University
Yoshidahonmachi, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto

[from Oct 2019]
Needham Research Institute,
8 Sylvester Road,
Cambridge, U.K.

copies of my publications may be found at:
http://www.billmak.com <http://www.billmak.com/>

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