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|Title:||The Early Cult of Skanda in North India: From Demon to Divine Son|
|Authors:||Mann, Richard D.|
|Advisor:||Granoff, Phyllis E.|
|Abstract:||<p>This thesis studies the development of the Hindu god Skanda-Karttikeya from the fourth century BCE to the fourth century CE in north India. I argue that during this time period the deity is transformed from a demonic being associated with childhood diseases to a respected divine ge1eral and son to Siva. I begin with a discussion of the earliest written material about the deity found in the two Sanskrit Epics (The Mahabharata and The Ramayana) and other texts. These texts establish Skallda-Kal1tikeya's origins in demonic beings and illustrate his transformation into a martial deity. These texts also demonstrate how Brahminical redactors assimilated this deity into their own traditions. This process; of assimilation takes an inauspicious and unorthodox deity and transforms him into an auspicious and orthodox deity.</p> <p>1 go on to argue that this transformation did not result in the increased popularity of this deity, but brings about the end of his popular cult in the north of India. Based on ancient coinage, statuary and inscriptions I demonstrate that this deity's popularity was related to his earlier terrible image and a propitiatory cult designed to appease him. Once the dangerous aspect of his image was removed, so was the main source of his popular cult. As opposed to previous scholarship on this deity, I argue that the Brahminization of this deity's cult brings about its end.</p> <p>I also demonstrate, based on this deity's depiction on ancient coinage, statuary and epigraphy, that there were also political forces at work in this process. My research demonstrates that the most important groups in this process were non-Indian. Primarily, I identify the Kusanas as the main political group who transform this deity. This conclusion related to the foreign influence~e 'in the development of this deity lie in stark contrast to previous studies of this deity.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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