About the Book
Narratives or mythical accounts from Veda to Puranas, at every place, support the issues occurring in the multi-faceted ancient Indian tradition. For every change, though slight, in the ancient Indian society, and for a new face-lift of the society, in the sphere of code of conduct, these narratives figure as arthavada, and have functional value. To know the real purport of these narratives is the right key to unfold the fine synthesis of 'Olds and 'New', that has made the Indian Man. The present book enables the readers to know the Indian way of looking at things through narratives.
About the Author
Dr. (Mrs.) Sindhu Sadashiv Dange had been R.G. Bhandarkar Professor and Head, Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai (1984-1997). She has to her credit numerous research articles and 16 books, including the present one - 10 authored by her, 1 co-authored with Dr. Sadashiv A. Dange and 5 edited by her.
Wellknown in India for her contribution to the field of Sanskrit t, she is particularly interested in Vedic myths and rituals and Puranic-Hindu beliefs and practices.
She is the recipient of numerous awards and honours, including the degree 'Mahamahopadhyaya' from the Kavikulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University, Ramtek (2012); Silver Medal from the Asiatic Society of Mumbai (2006); Presidential Award of the Certificate of Honor from the President of India (2005); Shri Guru Gangeshvarananda Veda-Vedanga Rashtriya Puraskar from the Bastiramji Sarada Pratishthan, Nasik (2004); Award from the HRD Ministry (2000); Award from the State Government of Maharashtra (1997); Springer Research Scholarship from the University of Mumbai (1977-1979) and felicitations from several institutes and academic bodies.
In my efforts to study the concept of arthavada, this is my third book, which I am glad to present to the scholarly world. Here, I have viewed the concept of arthavada in a wider perspective as applied to the narratives from Veda to Puranas. The arthavadas about Speech (Goddess Vac) were dealt with by me in my first book Aspects of Speech in Vedic Ritual (Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 1996). The University Grants Commission gave me aid for my project titled "Arthavada—A Study in Vedic Ritual Reasoning", under the scheme of 'Support for Major Research Project' (1991-1994). At the completion of my project, with the results got by me, related to the cultural history of the Indian society in Vedic times, I had my second book Vedic Beliefs and Practices through Arthavada, in two volumes (Aryan Books International, New Delhi, 2005). My study of arthavada up to that time was restricted only to the Vedic sphere. But when I was invited to deliver the Keynote Address at the National Seminar on "Katha in Sanskrit and Prakrit Literature", by the Department of Sanskrit and Prakrit Languages, University of Pune (Feb. 17-19, 2012), I again turned to the topic of arthavada, but from a wider sphere with a new approach. I could find out that it is from the point of view of arthavada that many narratives arc given in the Veda, Epics and Mahapuranas. These narratives try to explain the matter in hand, and are full of deeper meanings, which I have tried to reveal here, in my own way. I was rather happily surprised with the results arrived at.
I could know that for every 'change', though slight, in the ancient Indian society and for a new facelift of the society, in the sphere of the code of conduct (dharma), the best device has been arthavada in the form of narratives mostly mythical accounts. I could also note that the concept of arthavada, initially from the sphere of the Purvamimamsa system, where it is related only to vidhi (rite or ritual), has been a recourse of the Epics and the Puranas (mainly Mahapuranas), to make their standpoint appealing to others, by giving narratives supporting it and glorifying it. Thus giving arthavada in the form of narratives—I call it 'Arthavadaism'—has become a distinguishing mark of this literature. Even while presenting an individual case, the narratives have before them the society at large, its age-old norms as well as its phases. As seen this way, these narratives have functional value as per the needs of the very structure of the society of those times.
My thanks are to Dr. Madhavi Narsalay and Miss Mrunalini Newalkar for the information they gave me about the god Nrsimha (Narasimha). Similarly, my discussions with Shri Ravindra Lad and Shri Arun Bhandare about the living tradition of .the god Nrsimha proved helpful to me. I thank them for this.
Dr. Brajkishore Swain, Puri, pointed out to me the exact meaning implied of the word 'dalta' in the context of the cult of Lord Jagannatha. Shri P.P. Ramachandran provided me information about the temples of god Brahma, which, though very few, other than that at Pushkar (near Ajmer, Rajasthan), have to be taken into account. My thanks to these two for their help.
My thanks to Dr. Anjali Bhelande for her valuable suggestions for the book.
Dr. Ashwin Sawant and Dr. (Mrs.) Sucheta Sawant—Ayurvedic practitioners, and also studying for the Ph.D. Degree (in Sanskrit), in the Department of Sanskrit, University of Mumbai—ever ready to help, gave me information about the matters concerning Ayurveda. I have really no words to thank them.
(Mrs.) Ujwala Satam, Director, Accord Institute, Mumbai and Shri Rajiv Satam, Director, Accord Career Solutions and Training, have prepared an apt cover-design of the book, which can serve as a curtain-raiser to the contents inside. My hearty thanks to them, coupled with joy for the bond of friendship.
My sense of gratitude for the scholars whose works were of great help to me, though I have differed from them at many places.
I entrusted the work of publication of this book to Shri Vikas Arya (Aryan Books International, New Delhi), who has been publishing our books (mine and those of my husband (late) Dr. Sadashiv A. Dange) since 1994, with a sense of belonging. He has brought out this book also with the same feeling. I am thankful to him.
I shall feel rewarded if this endeavor of mine proves helpful in knowing the Indian way of looking at things—respecting the 'Old' and accepting the 'New', bridging the two—through narratives, coming as arthavada.
Narrative literature has a definite place in the history of any country. Coming from all strata of the society, which are wide apart from one another on several accounts, this literature presents a panoramic picture of its times and also the varied spheres, from which it has emerged.
On the Indian scene, we have the first prose narratives in the form of mythical accounts in the Vedic ritual-texts in their arthavada sections. Hariappa believes that the practice of preserving the narrations of various events was prevalent in the period of the RV, or even earlier'. The mythical accounts in the form of long or short narratives, in the Vedic ritual-texts, are joined to the respective vidhis, glorifying them or even condemning them, if these vidhis are performed wrongly. Thus praise or condemnation (of the wrong vidhi i.e. rite or ritual) are the distinguishing characteristics of arthavada. The narratives in the form of mythical accounts, figuring in the arthavada sections, which the later age knew by the