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Other People's Stories: Haribhadra and the Decapitation of Brahmā

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This paper explores the relevance of Jain sources for an understanding of the development of Śaiva myths. It proposes that Haribhadra's Dhūrtākhyāna offers the earliest version of the popular story of Śiva decapitating Brahmā. Comparing the version in the Dhūrtākhyāna with those in two early Śaiva sources, the early Skanda Purāna and the Brahmayāmalatantra, the paper seeks to understand the role of Visnu in the story and the development of the myth as a sectarian Śaiva story.


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