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Religion and the Philosophy of Life$
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Gavin Flood

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198836124

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198836124.001.0001

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The Sacrificial Imaginary

The Sacrificial Imaginary

Indic Traditions

(p.119) 4 The Sacrificial Imaginary
Religion and the Philosophy of Life

Gavin Flood

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines the vitalism entailed in Vedic sacrifice, the Axial transformation of that theme in the Upaniṣads, and the philosophies that attempted to categorize and analyse life into specific components. Finally, we will see how a full philosophy of life comes to articulation in the tantric traditions. All these modes of thinking and practice were deeply concerned about offering repair, correcting ignorance and giving relief from the constant suffering entailed by life, and the desire for life that has so often been negatively evaluated in this history. The chapter examines the earliest sources that articulate some understanding of the category of life itself in terms of sacrifice, namely the Vedic scriptures, and goes on to discuss medieval Brahmanism, the tantric traditions, and modernity.

Keywords:   Veda, Brahmanism, Tantra, Vaiśeṣika, Vedānta, Jainism, Buddhism

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