Sacrifice (yajña) was of central importance in the Vedas, a vast corpus of religious texts orally composed, compiled, preserved and transmitted across generations by families of male poets-cum-priests/ritualists in north-western and northern parts of the Indian subcontinent. Of particular significance to the study of sacrificial rituals is a genre of later Vedic texts, the Brāhmaṇas that describe and comment on the sacrificial rituals in exhaustive detail. Speculation on procreation and creation are abundant in these ritualistic texts and are hinged on the idea that sacrifice was a perfect means of bringing about ‘paradigmatic’ cosmic creation and human procreation. At the same time, while stressing a metaphysical notion of ritual as a means of creation and procreation, these texts serve to subtly convey the complex social reality of stratified gender roles and relations in the later Vedic period (circa 1000-500 bce) heavily mediated by the priestly perception. This essay explores the use of certain motifs on procreation in the Brāhmaṇas and thereby demonstrates how the notion of hierarchical and unequal gender relations is embedded in them.
Cite this article:
Dipankar Das. The Idea of Procreation in the Vedic Brāhmaṇas : A Study in Gender Relations. Research J. Humanities and Social Sciences. 8(2): April- June, 2017, 123-130. doi: 10.5958/2321-5828.2017.00018.3