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Bibliography on Asceticism in the Epics


Contributed by Jarrod L. Whitaker, Wake Forest University 


AAs requested, here is the bibliography specifically on Asceticism in the Epics. Once again thanks to everyone for all the sources, whether listed below or not. If you would like the entire bibliography, which contains material on asceticism in general, please write to me off list.

Sullivan, Bruce. “The Ideology of Self-Willed Death in the Epic Mahabharata,” Journal of Vaishnava Studies, 14, no. 2 (Spring, 2006): 61-79.

Shee, Monika. Tapas und Tapasvin in den erzahlenden Partien des Mahabharata. Reinbeck : Verlag fur orientalistische Fachpublikationen, 1986.

Alf Hiltebeitel's Ch.5 in Rethinking the Mahabharata (with excellent bibliography).

Jim Fitzgerald's introduction to the first half of Santiparvan.

Kevin McGrath's The Sanskrit Hero (Brill, 2004)

Bob  Goldman's work on the Bhargavas.

Bob Goldman, ed. Introductory materials in each of the kandas to Ram. (see esp. Kishkindakanda volume on Ravana's boon). 

Nick Allen (1998) 'The Indo-European prehistory of yoga', International
Journal of Hindu Studies 2.1, pp. 1-20.

Minoru Hara: (1975) 'Indra and tapas', Adyar Library Bulletin 39, pp. 129-160;
(1977-1978) 'Tapasvin´', Annals of the Bhandarkar Oriental Research

Institute 58-59, pp. 151-159; (1997) 'The losing of tapas', in D. van der Meij (ed.), India and beyond: aspects of literature, meaning, ritual and thought - Essays in honour of
Frits Staal, London and New York: Kegan Paul International, pp. 226-248.

Julia Leslie has collected some material on 'termite-mound asceticism' from
the Mbh (i.e. Cyavana >> Valmiki) in 'Authority and Meaning in Indian
Religions' (Ashgate, 2003).

Viz. "ascetic violence (to oneself and others)" in Mbh the stories of
Bharadvaja's children Yavakrita (CE 3.135-139) and Srucavati (CE 9.47 =
Ganguli 9.48) are most salutory, as is the story of Janaka and Sulabha (CE
12.308; see James L. Fitzgerald's translation in the Journal of Indian
Philosophy 30.6, 2002, pp. 641-677).

Gavin Flood, The Ascetic Self: Subjectivity, Memory and Tradition (New York: Cambridge, 2004). Chapter 3, The asceticism of action: the Bhagavad-gita and the Yoga-sutras.

J. M. Masson's "The Psychology of the Ascetic" Journal of Asian Studies 35(4) 1976, 611-625.

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Revised: February 27, 2007