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Risk, förlust och oviss utgång i vedisk kungaritual
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Ethnology, History of Religions and Gender Studies, History of Religions.
2016 (Swedish)In: Chaos. Dansk-norsk tidsskrift for religionhistoriske studier, ISSN 0108-4453, E-ISSN 1901-9106, Vol. 65, no 1, 149-172 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Risk, loss and unknown outcome in Vedic royal ritual

Ritual is often seen as a safe and certain of success. That the question of risk and failure is important for our understanding of ritual has, however, been argued by an increasing number of scholars. This article analyses two Vedic śrauta rituals - the horse-sacrifice and the royal consecration - from this perspective. According to brahmanic theory, sacrifice implies a dangerous break-up of cosmic structure; once started, a ritual must be successfully brought to an end, or the performer will come out lesser than before. Royal ritual also involves political dangers: being a claim to overlordship, rivals might oppose and defeat the sacrificer. Śrauta ritual appears not as a microcosm devoid of danger and unknown outcome. Rather, risk increases a ritual’s value and is an essential part of Vedic royal ritual, wherefore the most awesome sacrifice has the highest risk factor. Danger and conflict in śrauta ritual reflect the aristocratic-agonistic culture in which it evolved.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Forlaget Chaos, 2016. Vol. 65, no 1, 149-172 p.
Keyword [en]
Vedic religion, ritual, sacrifice, risk, royal consecration, horse sacrifice
Keyword [sv]
Vedisk religion, ritual, offer, risk, kungakröning, hästoffer
National Category
Philosophy, Ethics and Religion
Research subject
History of Religion
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-136679OAI: diva2:1055849
Chaos symposium 2015, Stockholms universitet, 22-23 maj 2015.
Available from: 2016-12-13 Created: 2016-12-13 Last updated: 2016-12-13

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