Manas. Studies into Asia and Africa.

Electronic Journal of the Centre for Eastern Languages and Cultures
Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”

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Manas 2 (2015), 2.

Published on 12.12.2015

ISSN: 2367-6256

Yankov, Nikolay. “You don’t really die” – rationalization of violence in the Vedic sacrifice. – In: Manas: Senses and Sensitivity, Vol. 2, 2, 2015.

2015 / Volume 2 / Issue number 2 : Senses and Sensitivity

“You don’t really die” – rationalization of violence in the Vedic sacrifice

Nikolay Yankov


One of the fundamental questions, excruciating the sacrificing cultures was the paradox that a man must kill in order to live. Most of the traditional societies in the past found solution to this dilemma as they made up convenient means of legitimizing violence upon the sacred victim. Usually this same function was done by the myths, whose equivalent is the ritual. The Vedic culture also demonstrates certain discomfort towards the sacrificial tradition. In the texts this sensitivity on the topic of ritual violence is clearly visible and even creates the feeling that there was a serious contradiction in the sacred literature. In the current work I examine the methods, with which the Vedic savants dealt with this paradox which is de facto an invariant of a bigger existential conflict, lying in the heart of sacrifice – the aspiration of man to execute his ideal by self-sacrificing to the All-Maker (the way he had sacrificed himself) and the natural necessity to stay alive.

The main text of the article is in Bulgarian