Stories about Posts
Vedic Variations around the Hindu Goddess
After exploring several ethnographic facts that have escaped the notice of previous observers, Biardeau presents a variety of hunches, hypotheses, and insights building up to the provocative thesis of Stories about Posts: that the variations found in the contemporary cult of the Goddess—in both her royal and rural village aspects—reveal untraced regional histories of the Vedic sacrificial post, the yupa. Biardeau's work opens up new ways of thinking about Vedic sacrificial themes and elements as they recur in post-Vedic texts and iconographies. It also connects wayside stones in Maharashtra named after the buffalo to stones, posts, and people named after a so-called Buffalo King in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, and Tamilnadu.
A work of magnificent scholarship and fieldwork, Stories about Posts, in ways no previous work has attempted, much less accomplished, unravels much of the mystery surrounding contemporary Hindu ritual by connecting it to the ancient Sanskrit epics. As such, it will fascinate students of Indology, religious studies, and anthropology for years to come.