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Sandalwood and CarrionSmell in Indian Religion and Culture$
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James McHugh

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199916306

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199916306.001.0001

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Flowers and Fish in the Mahābhārata

Flowers and Fish in the Mahābhārata

(p.91) 4 Flowers and Fish in the Mahābhārata
Sandalwood and Carrion

James McHugh

Oxford University Press

What do odors make people do in South Asian narratives? Through a close reading of two well-known episodes from the epic Mahābhārata—one involving a fragrance, and one a stink—the chapter introduces the idea that that smells in South Asian narratives, as well as in other contexts, very often serve to unite the smeller with an odorous other (e.g. god, person, or flower) who is removed in space. This differs from the notion of smells as invoking memories, so prominent in modern European discourses, whereby smells unite the self with the former self removed in time, though not necessarily in space.

Keywords:   smell, Mahabharata, affect, Proust effect, Matsyagandhi

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