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Alf Hiltebeitel

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780824834661

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824834661.001.0001

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Classical Brahmanical Dharma

Classical Brahmanical Dharma

(p.60) Chapter 5 Classical Brahmanical Dharma

Alf Hiltebeitel

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter looks at the post-Vedic texts in which Brahmanical dharma developed: the dharmasūtras, Manu, and the two Sanskrit epics. These texts open up the concept of dharma for what will come to be called Hinduism. If Indians recall the epics for their manner of relating dharma to what is familiar in everyday lives, they tend to cite Manu for its proverbial authority on particulars of traditional law. The chapter then foregrounds the legal meaning of dharma by often translating it as “law.” It also introduces the epics around the figures of their great kings and queens—Rāma and Sītā of the Rāmāyaṇa; Yudhiṣṭhira and Draupadī of the Mahābhārata.

Keywords:   post-Vedic texts, Brahmanical dharma, dharmasūtras, Manu, Sanskrit epics, traditional law, Rāmāyaṇa, Mahābhārata

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