Journal of Indian Philosophy

, Volume 43, Issue 4–5, pp 559–579 | Cite as

Quotations in Vedic Literature: Is the Changing of a Mantra a Stylistic Device or the Degeneration of a “Beautiful Mind?”

  • Elena Mucciarelli


Many stanzas of the Ṛgvedasaṃhitā are re-used in the liturgical literature, that is, mainly in the Saṃhitās of the Yajurveda and in the Brāhmaṇas. Most of them are quoted precisely and they are apportioned in each different rite; yet, there are quite a few cases in which some variations have been adopted and the material of the sourcetext has been manipulated. As to the cultural development that resulted in such a use of the hymns, one of the most intriguing question is whether it was a mere redactional enterprise, or if a clear intention guided the choices that the creators of the liturgies have taken, and eventually how deep was the consciousness of the brāhmaṇical redactors as for the poetic elements of the material they were dealing with. In order to approach this question, I decided to focus on a specific aspect that this issue entails, namely the different ways with which the Ṛgvedic verses are integrated in the texts. Thus, the present paper aims at analysing various modalities of re-use and at examining their functions. The final part of the article takes into consideration some instances of quotations’ marks.


R̥gveda R̥gveda 10.96 R̥gveda 10.128 Performative function Textual re-use 





Paippalāda Saṃhitā (AV school)




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I wish to thank Elisa Freschi for her valuable comments and suggestions that have significantly improved this article. Whatever kind of mistakes or flaws are still to be found, all go to me.


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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of TübingenTübingenGermany

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