"Towards a Text-History of the Atharvashiras-Upanishad"
(Presented at the XI World Sanskrit Conference, Torino, 3-8 April, 2000)
In undertaking a critical edition of this "minor" upanishad (along with others printed by the Adyar Library in a volume called Shaiva Upanishads), the author hopes to situate the text in a specific religious and historical context by answering the following questions: (1) What is the nature and significance of the work's "Vedic" identity? On which Vedic sources does it primarily rely (Taittiriya [esp. via the Shatarudriya and the Shvetashvatara]; Atharvan)? How does it move beyond the theology of the Shvetashvatara? (2) What should we make of its claim to teaching the Pashupata vrata? Can it be called a Pashupata scripture? (3) How do its language and doctrine compare with those of the Shaiva schools? Are there signs of influence from other quarters? The presentation will offer some reflections on these questions, and will summarize the results of a collation drawing on over 150 manuscripts, mostly copied in India in 1998. The ultimate aim is to apply Alexis Sanderson's model of "history through textual criticism" in order to locate the Atharvashiras (and others of these long-neglected apocryphal upanishads) in a historical setting (as Christian Bouy has done for the "Yoga Upanishads"), and thus to clarify the development of the Brahmanical cult of Rudra Pashupati.
For more detail, see:
"Writing the History of an Upanishad," Dak: The Newsletter of the American Institute of Indian Studies 3, Spring 2000, pp. 9-12.
[Go to Lubin's Research]