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Epic And Puranic Sarasvatī In Retrospective

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Chapter Summary

In the Mahābhārata and the early Purāṇas, the Sarasvatī-related changes may be summarized under the following categories: geography, religious practice, functions, and depiction. In contrast with the Ṛg Veda description of a powerful flooding river, the Mahābhārata depicts a calmer-flowing Sarasvatī. Her geography is not only made to look like her Vedic descriptions in expanded form, but it is also endowed with a purpose reflecting the central concern of the epic: Dharma. There are countless tīrtha along the banks of the Sarasvatī, which are populated by huge numbers of sages performing sacrifices, and also by pilgrims. In the Mahābhārata, Sarasvatī is depicted in human-like form and disposition, as a frightened and confused woman, and with newly found relations to other gods and mortals.

Keywords: Ṛg Veda; early Purāṇas; Mahābhārata; Sarasvatī



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