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The Cow’s Body as the Source Domain of Philosophical Metaphors in the Ṛgveda: The Case of ‘Udder’ (ūdhar)

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Chapter Summary

The Ṛgveda is a collection of poetical hymns composed in the earliest form of Sanskrit between ca the 15th and 13th centuries B. C. Its composers, the half-nomadic branch of tribes speaking Indo-European languages, gradually settled the Panjab plateau during the second millennium B. C. This chapter shows how the authors of the Ṛgveda used the concepts coming from their everyday life experience to conceive abstract cosmogonic and cosmological concepts. The author uses as the example the concept of cow's udder. The general thesis is that Indian philosophy begins with deeply-embodied concepts that form the fundamental conceptual basis for its later sublime and complex metaphysical theories. The source meanings of linguistic expressions refer to everyday life experience but the expressions are used in such a way that they become detached from the experience and can be used in a general and abstract way.

Keywords: Ṛgveda; cosmological concepts; cow's udder; linguistic expressions; poetical hymns



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