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Title: Traditions of the Saptarsi Group down to the end of the Gupta Period
Author: Mitchiner, John Edward
ISNI:       0000 0001 3412 6291
Awarding Body: SOAS University of London
Current Institution: SOAS, University of London
Date of Award: 1977
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Traditions of the Saptarsi Group underwent a number of changes in the period between the Vedic Samhitas and the early Puranas. The change in designation of the constellation Ursa Major from Rksas to Rsis is an indication of the Indianisation of essentially Indo-European ideas: while the tradition of the Saptarsis as Pranas is indicative of the early speculative identity of macrocosm and microcosn within the Saptarsi traditions. (Chapter l). Two main lists of the Saptarsi group nay be discerned: one of which appears primarily in the Vedic texts, and the other in the Epic and Puranic texts. (Chapters 1-2). The formulation of the second main list is developed from lists of six Prajapatis and Mind-born Sons of Brahma: and in turn gives rise to lists of eight, nine and ten Mind-born Sons of Brahma. (Chapter 2). The change in identities between the Rsis of the two main lists is traceable in some measure to the influence over the Saptarsi traditions of Brahmin families in regions to the south of the Vindhyas. (Chapter 3). The Puranic tradition of listing 14 Saptarsi groups in different Manvantaras presupposes an earlier tradition of the appearance of Saptarsi groups in different Yugas of a Kalpa. (Chapter 4) The tradition of the Saptarsis as stars develops from ideas of their nature as embodiments of Fire: while the astronomical theory of the Saptarsi Yuga demonstrates two versions, differing in the number of Naksatras in each version. (Chapter 5). Both the second main list of the Saptarsi group and the second version of the Sautarsi Yuga (Chapters 2-3 and 5) demonstrate the degree to which the Epic and Puranic traditions of the Saptarsi group were promulgated and influenced by Brahmin families of the Western Deccan, particularly under the Satavahana and Vakataka dynasties during the early centuries of the Christian era.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral