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Ajay Rao (1)

Key Points in Laurie Patton Lecture

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Ajay Rao

RLG205 Sept 28 th Key Points in Laurie Patton Lecture - ever expanding database of over ninety interviews with women Sanskritists (both older and younger women) - moving beyond the official narratives and showing the ways in which Sanskrit was experienced and learned personally by women of different generations - in certain places, if the trend continues, Sanskrit will soon become entirely the prerogative of women - ironic and progressive uses of Sanskrit by women - what was her thesis statement? o language has to be in interaction o women are revitalizing Sanskrit – using it in new ways The Ramayana Story - renunciation (giving up) and kingship Valmiki - very sensitive poet - sees hunter killing birds – feels tremendous pity - curses the hunter – first verse Dasaratha - has 3 wives and no sons – performs a sacrifice - miraculous – he has 3 sons – re-incarnations of Vishnu - his wife is evil so he exiles Rama to the forest – he doesn’t question and leaves (for 14 years) o renunciation – giving up the throne - Sita goes with him Ravana: the abduction of Sita - ravana is granted a boon – he is protected (granted after 10k years of worship) - he is King of the demons - Ravana’s sister is in love with Rama – doesn’t care about Sita - Lakshman (Ram’s brother) cuts off her nose - Ravana sends his brother in disguise as a deer – Ram goes about trying to capture that deer o deer has special powers – yells out in Ram’s voice “help me” o Lakshman says it has to be a trick – she accuses him of always liking her – he runs off and she gets captured by Ravan - she drops her jewellery on the way so that she can be found - Hanuman Date of the Ramayana - theory one: Late Vedic (750-500 BCE) o no description of Buddhism o what’s not in the text… - theory two: post Mauryan (after 300 BCE) o what is in the text… o the image of the divine King – Ramayana is about the King (reincarnation of Vishnu) but there were no Kings in 750-500 BCE… o has to exist in the world for the world of literature to describe it - so which theory is more convincing? Rama as a Renouncer - most striking aspect of the narrative is not martial valor but Rama’s refusal to claim the throne o to honour his father’s vow o they live like renouncers in the forest - central moment of the epic, the reason for his enormous esteem - contrast with heroes of Mahabharta Vessantara Jataka So the beggars, tired and weary, gathered at the departure of the great king who brought prosperity to the kingdom of the Sivis. “They have cut down a sturdy tree bearing all kinds of fruit in banishing Vessantara from the kingd
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