Edited by Harvey P. Alper

Subjects: Religion
Series: SUNY series in Religious Studies
Paperback : 9780887065996, 343 pages, August 1988

Table of contents

Harvey P. Alper

1. Mantra kavisasta: Speech as Performative in the Rgveda
Ellison Banks Findly

2. Vedic Mantras
Frits Staal

3. The Mantra in Vedic and Tantric Ritual
Wade T. Wheelock

4. Mantra in Ayurveda: A Study of the Use if Magico-Religious Speech in Ancient Indian Medicine
Kenneth G. Zysk

5. Are Mantras Speech Acts? The Mimamsa Point of View
John Taber

6. The Meaning and Power of Mantras in Bhartrhari's Vakyapadiya
Harold Coward

7. Mantras in the Sivapurana
Ludo Rocher

8. The Use of Mantra in Yogic Meditation: The Testimony of the Pasupata
Gerhard Oberhammer

9. The Pancaratra Attitude to Mantra
Sanjukta Gupta

10. The Cosmos as Siva's Language-Game: "Mantra" According to Ksemaraja's Sivasutravimarsini
Harvey P. Alper

CONCLUSION: Mantras - What Are They?
Andre Padoux





This book explicates the origin, nature, function, and significance of mantras within the bounds of the Hindu tradition. It explores the use of mantras in the Vedic age, in Saivism and Vaisnavism, in Tantra, and in Ayurvedic medicine.

Harvey P. Alper was Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Southern Methodist University from 1974 to 1987. As a Sanskritist, his primary interest was the religious traditions of South Asia. Her served as editor of the SUNY series on Saiva Traditions of Kashmir. Professor Alper died suddenly on April 4, 1987 after completing the editorial work on the present volume.


"This is the single best effort to date on the whole issue of mantra. " —Paul R. Courtright, University of North Carolina at Greensboro

"I know of nothing in its field that approaches this collection in scope and quality. Superior both in objectivity and in command of Sanskrit, its contributors represent the new grade of excellence in Asian studies produced in half a century of academic maturation in America. In this continent, no better selection could have been made. " —Norvin J. Hein, Yale University