By Adheesh A. Sathaye
What does it suggest to be a Brahmin, and what may well it suggest to turn into one? through the years, intellectuals and dogmatists have provided lots of solutions to the 1st query, however the latter provides a cultural puzzle, when you consider that normative Brahminical ideology deems it very unlikely for a normal person to alter caste with out first present process demise and rebirth.
There is, in spite of the fact that, one impressive determine within the Hindu mythological culture who's acknowledged to have reworked himself from a king right into a Brahmin by means of gathering nice ascetic strength, or tapas: the ornery sage Visvamitra. via texts composed in Sanskrit and vernacular languages, oral performances, and visible media, Crossing the strains of Caste examines the wealthy mosaic of legends approximately Visvamitra chanced on around the Hindu mythological culture. It deals a entire historic research of the way the "storyworlds" conjured up via those quite a few tellings have served to evolve, improve, and make stronger the social identification of real-world Brahmin groups, from the traditional Vedic earlier as much as the hypermodern present.
Using a performance-centered method of situate the construction of the Visvamitra legends inside particular historic contexts, Crossing the strains of Caste finds how and why mythological tradition has performed an lively, dialogical function within the building of Brahmin social energy during the last 3 thousand years.
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Extra resources for Crossing the Lines of Caste: Visvamitra and the Construction of Brahmin Power in Hindu Mythology
Mighty Bhārata, how did he become a Brahmin without taking on another body? 3–17) Yudhiṣṭhira’s laundry list of incidents and allusions reflects what Mahābhārata’s audiences would have known of Viśvāmitra and his deeds—or rather, what its composers deem that they ought to have known. The passage also makes it clear that a full cycle of legends about him had already developed when this portion of the epic was composed. It has therefore been a valuable piece of evidence for assessing the textual history of these stories.
2] This is what I wish to hear, righteous ruler of men. So please tell it to me in detail, grandfather. 26  Tell me how, lauded as a Brahmin, that wise man went on to establish in this world the great Kuśika lineage that is replete with hundreds of Brahmin sages. Tell me how Ṛcīka’s son, the great ascetic Śunaḥśepa, was released from the great sacrificial rite in which he had been placed as a victim,  and how, during Hariścandra’s sacrifice, he became the son of great Viśvāmitra by gratifying the gods with his majesty.
By the term “folk group,” I follow Alan Dundes’s seminal definition of “any group of people whatsoever who share at least one common factor” (1965: 2). ” 21 Crossing the Lines of Caste in Sanskrit. And while it is reasonable to suppose that singers, storytellers, grandfathers, and grandmothers in premodern India would have told vernacular stories about Viśvāmitra much as they do today, what these performance traditions looked like and how they interacted with written Sanskrit texts are necessarily matters of conjecture, as are their continuities with present-day performance traditions.