Laurie Patton, “Achieving Other Worlds in Vedic Religion”
This talk will address the power of mantra and a theory of imagination, particularly associational imagination in the Vedic world. While Vedic texts do not express any clear aesthetic theory, such as we find in later classical Sanskrit thought, we can infer an understanding of the Vedic theory of imagination through viniyoga, or the choice of which mantras to use in which rituals. Through examining the uses of the same poetic image in different ritual contexts, or “ritual metonymy,” we can also show how those associational worlds changed over time. We will dive more deeply into Vedic metonymy through a case study of mantras for achieving other worlds, or lokas, through recitation in the late Vedic period.
Patton, Laurie. Bringing the Gods to Mind: Mantra and Ritual in Early Indian Sacrifice, selections from chapters 2, 3, and 8.
- 2:00pm - 2:45pm
- 2:45pm - 3:30pm
Laurie Patton has served as the 17th president of Middlebury College since 2015, following four years as the Dean of Duke University’s Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion from 1996-2011 at Emory University, where she also served as the chair of the Religion Department for 7 years, and received the Emory Williams Award for excellence in teaching. She brings her expertise in South Asian history, culture, and religion, having written nine books and over 50 articles in the field, as well as having translated the classical Sanskrit text, the Bhagavad Gita. Her lectures center around interfaith issues and religion and public life. She has consulted with the White House offices on faith-based initiatives and civic engagement. She also served as the president of the American Society for the Study of Religion.