Re: [INDOLOGY] Brahmā in early Vedic materials?

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at
Sun Jun 23 18:21:57 UTC 2019

Dear Bill, Dear All,
At the moment of the acceptance of 19.7 and 8 in AV(Saunaka) there was
(already) an awareness of twenty-eight naksatras.
See discussion by Lanman in Whitney's translation -- hymn 7, which contains
the enumeration, is "wanting in Paipp."
A question related to yours and perhaps relevant to attempts to answer it:
Ancient China was aware of 28 naksatras, neatly distributed in four groups
of seven.
Has any study been done on a comparison of the ancient Chinese and the
ancient Indian lists or on possible mutual influences and their comparative
Best regards,

On Sat, 22 Jun 2019 at 00:36, Bill Mak via INDOLOGY <
indology at> wrote:

> 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
> Japan
> [from Oct 2019]
> Needham Research Institute,
> 8 Sylvester Road,
> Cambridge, U.K.
> copies of my publications may be found at:
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*Jan E.M. Houben*

Directeur d'Études, Professor of South Asian History and Philology

*Sources et histoire de la tradition sanskrite*

École Pratique des Hautes Études (EPHE, PSL - Université Paris)

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

54, rue Saint-Jacques, CS 20525 – 75005 Paris

*johannes.houben at <johannes.houben at>*

*johannes.houben at <johannes.houben at>*


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