The comparatively late tantric embodiment of so-called Hinduism gives final shape to a conception the germs of which had indeed been present in the Indian religious world from the earliest times on — namely, that religious practices and the attendant prescriptive texts must constantly evolve and adapt under the pressure of the “heaviness of time” (kālagaurava) — by sanctioning in a recurrent strophe the partition of the Scriptures according to the declining world ages (yuga): whereas vedic ritual as laid down in the “Heard” Revelation (śruti) was fit for the Perfect Age, new and less demanding forms of worship, with their corresponding Scriptures, had to be promulgated down the course of time to cater to the failing powers of the human generations: the “Remembered” Codes (smṛti) in the following Age of Triads, then the “Ancient” Lore (purāṇa) in the Age of Duality and finally the “Newcome” Tradition (āgama) in the present Age of Strife. Outside the tantric context, however, the Purāṇas have been regarded as the authoritative Scriptures also for the present age of degeneration, and they have fulfilled their role as custodians and upholders of the living tradition by various strategies aimed at striking a difficult and sometimes precarious balance between conservation and innovation. Indeed, the notion of constant adaptive evolution is built-in in the very name of the Purāṇas, which according to a long-established (para)etymology defines them as “from of old becoming ever new”. This paper will analyze some of the ways the authors of this remarkable class of texts have gone about their wondrous task of making for change while ensuring continuity.
|Translated title of the contribution||[Autom. eng. transl.] "The ancient breathes again": the perennial vitality of Tradition in the dynamic canon of the Indian Scriptures|
|Title of host publication||La Religione. Natura, tensioni, prospettive|
|Number of pages||13|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
|Name||ARCHIVIO JULIEN RIES PER L'ANTROPOLOGIA SIMBOLICA|
- Sacred Scripture
- Sanskrit Literature