The Temple in Sanskrit Legal Literature

Speaker: Professor Patrick Olivelle
Date: October 21, 2007
Time: 09:30

Session 12 of the 2007 Shivdasani Conference.

This paper will examine the relationship between temples and the ideologies and practices underlying the mainstream of the Brahmanical tradition and the ascetical institutions of ancient India. The “Hindu” temple is a relatively new institution rising in the early centuries of the common era. Brahmanical ritual both in its public and domestic expressions had existed without temples for over a millennium. Ascetic institutions both within and outside the Brahmanical tradition developed in a temple-less religious landscape, and their ideologies were anti-ritual focused on wandering and mental cultivation.

With the development of temple culture within “Hindu” traditions, accommodations and conflicts between the emergent religious culture and the older traditions were bound to occur. Focusing on the textual tradition, this paper will examine some of these conflicts and accommodations.