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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

The volume III of the Groningen edition of the Skandapurāṇa contains the text of the entire myth cycle of Kauśikī. Layer A is embedded into the myths of Śiva and Pārvatī from Pārvatī's previous births as Svarṇākṣī and Satī to the birth of Skanda, which is the main story of the Skandapurāṇa. Pārvatī is the Mother of the world, paired with Śiva, the Father of the world; she represents a Brahmanical ideal of the woman as a chaste wife and affectionate mother. From her dark slough was born Kauśikī-Vindhyavāsinī, a dark-skinned virgin and royal warrior, who is second in rank. The Goddesses who emerged from Kauśikī's body, animal- and bird-headed, terrifying Goddesses called 'the Mothers', are lowest. The transmission leading to S1 is very sloppy and that leading to S2 and S3/S4 is less careless, but has a tendency to standardize the text with regard to grammar, metre and vocabulary.

Keywords: Kauśikī; Pārvatī; Śiva; Skandapurāṇa; Vindhyavāsinī

10.1163/9789004269057_002
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