Re: [INDOLOGY] OM in the Purāṇas and Hindu Tantra

Jan E.M. Houben jemhouben at
Wed Feb 12 22:01:07 UTC 2020

Dear Finnian,
OMissions will be OMinous if you set out to chart the OMnipresence of OM.
To test -- to try to falsify and perhaps ultimately fortify -- your Vedic
origin thesis you could think of giving a higher priority precisely to
those textual corpora that seem to be farthest removed: Buddhism and
And of course to the use of OM in Tamil --
Neither proponents (starting with Asko Parpola 1981; now also Roots of
Hinduism p. 170) nor opponents (Hans H. Hock 1991) of the Tamil-origin
thesis seem to have verified or explored the use of OM in ancient religious
Tamil texts (but they have emphasized and accepted its use -- in the form
of AAM/OM -- in colloquial contexts in the meaning 'yes'): would we not
expect a quite extensive use of AAM/OM there? ... unless the theory is that
its original use in Dravidian was and remained exclusively communicative
and functional and that its religious symbolism was first conceived of and
developed exclusively in Vedic and Sanskrit circles...
Best regards,
Jan Houben

On Wed, 12 Feb 2020 at 15:37, Finnian M.M. Gerety via INDOLOGY <
indology at> wrote:

> Dear Colleagues—
> (Apologies for cross-posting). As some of you may know, I’ve been working
> for the last few years on a monograph on the history of OM in early India.
> The scope of this project, covering some 2000 years from Veda through
> Tantra, has compelled me to work on texts and materials far afield from my
> training in Vedic studies. Along the way, I’ve greatly benefited from the
> expertise of colleagues working in other domains, including many members of
> this list. I’m grateful to those who have shared their research and ideas
> with me so far…
> Now I’d like to reach out with another query. Having completed my basic
> research on OM in the Vedas, Dharma texts, Yoga texts, and Epics, I’m now
> delving into the Purāṇas and Hindu Tantra. I hope that some of you can help
> me hone in on key material in these massive textual corpora. While
> recommendations on secondary literature would be useful, my priority is to
> collect passages from primary texts. My aim is not to be comprehensive, but
> rather to choose excerpts and case studies that give insights into how OM
> is used and interpreted in these traditions. So passages that either
> exemplify broad trends or represent notable exceptions are especially
> welcome.
> Please send any info to me off-list at finnian_moore-gerety at
> Thanks in advance!
> Yours,
> Finnian M.M. Gerety
> Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies
> [Affiliated] Faculty of Contemplative Studies and Center for
> Contemporary South Asia
> Brown University
> <>
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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, Paris Sciences et Lettres)

*Sciences historiques et philologiques *

*johannes.houben [at] <johannes.houben at>*


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