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Sarama And Her Children

Sarama And Her Children

Bibek Debroy
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The most recognized dog in Indian myth is the dog in the Mahabharata that accompanied the Pandavasnot actually a dog but Dharma in disguise. There are, however, several more references to dogs in the classical texts. Mentioned for the first time in the Rg Veda, the eponymous Sarama is the dog of the gods and the ancestor of all dogs. In Sarama and Her Children, the evolution of the Indian attitude towards dogs is traced through the vedas, epics, puranas, dharmashastras and niti shastras. The widespread assumption is that dogs have always been looked down upon in Hinduism and a legacy of that attitude persists even now. Tracing the Indian attitude towards dogs in a chronological fashion, beginning with the pre-Vedic Indus Valley civilization, Bibek Debroy discovers that the truth is more complicated. Dogs had a utilitarian role in pre-Vedic and Vedic times. There were herd dogs, watchdogs and hunting dogs, and dogs were used as beasts of burden. But by the time of the Mahabharata, negative associations had begun to creep in. Debroy argues convincingly that the change in the status of the dog in India has to do with the progressive decline of the traditional Vedic gods Indra, Yama and Rudra (who were associated with dogs), and the accompanying elevation of Vishnu, associated with an increase in brahmana influence. Debroy demonstrates that outside the mainstream caste Hindu influence, as reflected in doctrines associated with Shiva and in Buddhist jataka tales, dogs did not become outcasts or outcastes. Drawing references from high and low literature, folk tales and temple art, Sarama and Her Children dispels some myths and ensures that the Indian dog also has its day.

Imprint: India Penguin

Published: Aug/2008

ISBN: 9780143064701

Length : 264 Pages

MRP : ₹350.00

Sarama And Her Children

Bibek Debroy

The most recognized dog in Indian myth is the dog in the Mahabharata that accompanied the Pandavasnot actually a dog but Dharma in disguise. There are, however, several more references to dogs in the classical texts. Mentioned for the first time in the Rg Veda, the eponymous Sarama is the dog of the gods and the ancestor of all dogs. In Sarama and Her Children, the evolution of the Indian attitude towards dogs is traced through the vedas, epics, puranas, dharmashastras and niti shastras. The widespread assumption is that dogs have always been looked down upon in Hinduism and a legacy of that attitude persists even now. Tracing the Indian attitude towards dogs in a chronological fashion, beginning with the pre-Vedic Indus Valley civilization, Bibek Debroy discovers that the truth is more complicated. Dogs had a utilitarian role in pre-Vedic and Vedic times. There were herd dogs, watchdogs and hunting dogs, and dogs were used as beasts of burden. But by the time of the Mahabharata, negative associations had begun to creep in. Debroy argues convincingly that the change in the status of the dog in India has to do with the progressive decline of the traditional Vedic gods Indra, Yama and Rudra (who were associated with dogs), and the accompanying elevation of Vishnu, associated with an increase in brahmana influence. Debroy demonstrates that outside the mainstream caste Hindu influence, as reflected in doctrines associated with Shiva and in Buddhist jataka tales, dogs did not become outcasts or outcastes. Drawing references from high and low literature, folk tales and temple art, Sarama and Her Children dispels some myths and ensures that the Indian dog also has its day.

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Bibek Debroy

Bibek Debroy is a renowned economist, scholar and translator. He has worked in universities, research institutes, industry and for the government. He has widely published books, papers and articles on economics. As a translator, he is best known for his magnificent rendition of the Mahabharata in ten volumes as well as the three-volume Valmiki Ramayana-both of which have been published to wide acclaim by Penguin Classics. He is also the author of Sarama and Her Children, which splices his interest in Hinduism with his love for dogs. Most recently, he translated the Bhagavata Purana and the Markandeya Purana for Penguin Classics.

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