The Mirror in Vedic India: Its Ancient Use and Its Present Relevance in Dating Texts

  • Asko Parpola University of Helsinki
Keywords: mirror Veda dating Upaniṣads Gṛhyasūtras Persia

Abstract

The major first part of the paper collects as exhaustively as possible all references to 'mirror' occurring in Vedic literature (c. 1200-300 BCE), and presents them with sufficient context in Sanskrit and English in order to show how and why the mirror was used in Vedic rituals and Vedic culture in general, and what meaning was ascribed to it. The second part of the paper discusses a fact of major significance that emerges from this recording: in the extensive older Vedic literature of the Saṃhitās, Brāhmaṇas and Śrautasūtras (excepting the late Kātyāyana-Śrautasūtra) there is no reference to the mirror at all. Therefore it seems likely that the mirror was not known in Vedic India until it was introduced to South Asia from the Persian Empire at the end of the sixth century BCE. The later Vedic literature, starting possibly with the Āraṇyakas, but definitely with the early Upaniṣads, postdates 500 BCE. So far we have lacked a similar firm date for Vedic literature.

Section
Articles
Published
Mar 1, 2019
How to Cite
Parpola, A. (2019). The Mirror in Vedic India: Its Ancient Use and Its Present Relevance in Dating Texts. Studia Orientalia Electronica, 7, 1-29. https://doi.org/10.23993/store.76275