Roots of Wisdom, Branches of Devotion - Plant Life in South Asian Traditions - Fabrizio Ferrari

Roots of Wisdom, Branches of Devotion - Plant Life in South Asian Traditions - Fabrizio Ferrari

8. Tree-Hugger: The Sāmavedic Rite of Audumbarī

Roots of Wisdom, Branches of Devotion - Plant Life in South Asian Traditions - Fabrizio Ferrari

Finnian M.M. Gerety [+-]
Harvard University, USA
Finnian M.M. Gerety is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Brown University and Research Associate in the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University.

Description

Finnian Gerety analyses the early use of the udumbara tree (Ficus racemosa L.) and its milky, sap-filled wood as a ritual object as well as offering. One rite centered on the udumbara that has received scant attention is the erection of the post of udumbara (audumbaryutthāpana) as described in the Sāmaveda. As his first act in the Soma sacrifice, the udgātar (lead singer) of the Sāmaveda raises the audumbarī, addresses it with mantras and offerings, wraps it with cloth and embraces it. Gerety analyses this rite of tree hugging with special reference to Jaiminīya texts. By advancing the audumbarī rite as the inauguration of the udgātar’s office, the SV texts present an arboreal embodiment of the musical qualities they most prize: swelling,sweetness, nourishment, and vigor. When the singer hugs the trunk, he actualizes this potency in his own performance.

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Citation

Gerety, Finnian. 8. Tree-Hugger: The Sāmavedic Rite of Audumbarī. Roots of Wisdom, Branches of Devotion - Plant Life in South Asian Traditions. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 165-190 Jun 2016. ISBN 9781781791202. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=30835. Date accessed: 09 Aug 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.30835. Jun 2016

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