09_02 Braj Landscape

09_02 Braj Landscape - September 2: Braj Landscape Chapter...

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September 2: Braj Landscape Chapter 5: Sacred Landscape of Braj -Braj = major pilgrimage center in Uttar Pradesh -Archetypal associations of nature (animism and sexuality) are transcended -Cultural zone demarcated by language, customs, and topography in northern India; located by Yamuna River -Mathura has several legends: 1) founded on site of forest Madhuvana in which dwelt a demon Madhu and his son Lavana who were killed by Shatrughana, brother of Rama, and god-incarnate of epic Ramayana -Religions: Jainism, Buddhism and Hinduism -Center of landscape of Braj -Krishna (god-incarnate of epic Mahabhrata ) born in Mathura and returns after growing up -Born to Davaki and Vasudeva in prison: confined there by Davaki’s Brother (Kasna king of Mathura) who believes that his death will occur at the hands of his sister’s child -Kasna kills 6 of Davaki’s newborns Vasudeva transports newborn Krishna across Yamuna Landscape of Braj: Pastoral & Animistic Aspects – -Braj derived from Sanskrit root vraj (to go) and alludes to nomadic character of pastoral community in its meaning as place where cows wander -Mathura may be derived from Sanskrit root math (to churn) in reference to churning of milk and curds (prominent activity in community where economy is based on products) -Evidence of cattle, snake, tree, and mountain worship in Braj legends associated with Krishna and rituals celebrating him -Instead of declaring attempt to come to terms with earlier animism an act of profanity, nature worship is incorporated into Hinduism by anthropomorphizing its deities and making them members of Hindu pantheon, albeit secondary ones -Krishna reveals divinity by performing miraculous feats and subduing demons that lurk in forest and inhabit watery underworld -Does this effortlessly and playfully in form of lila in childhood -Legend of Krishna’s lifting Mount Govardhan in Braj exemplifies resuscitation of nature veneration in pastoral community of cattle worshippers -Krishna urges cowherders to worship mountain instead of Indra (Vedic sky god) who retaliates by sending monsoon clouds over Braj -7 days and nights, Krishna protects community from downpour by lifting up Mount, under which everyone gathers -Represents supremacy of Krishna and strengthens traditional practice prevalent in community -To celebrate victory, cattle are decorated and led around mountain and Krishna makes himself identical with the mountain deity and accepts cowherders’ offerings = annakut festival in which anthropomorphic form of mountain, made with cow dung on courtyard’s floor, is
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This note was uploaded on 02/21/2012 for the course MSEC 7102 taught by Professor Myers during the Fall '09 term at Texas State.

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09_02 Braj Landscape - September 2: Braj Landscape Chapter...

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