Journal of Indian Philosophy 40 (1):1-23 (2012)

In this paper, I argue that, by comparing certain passages from the early Buddhist sūtras and the Mahābhārata , we can find evidence of a late- to post-Vedic “Brahmanical synthesis,” centered on the conception of Brahmā as both supreme Creator God and ultimate goal for transcending saṃsāra , that for the most part did not become a part of the Brahmanical synthesis or syntheses that came to constitute classical Hinduism. By comparing the Buddhist response to this early conception of Brahmā with the way in which Brahmā is treated in certain sectarian portions of the Mahābhārata , I then argue further that the Buddhist critique of Brahmā as supreme deity was in part conceded by the Brahmanical tradition, and sectarian accounts of supreme godhead sought to reconcile pravṛtti and nivṛtti values more subtly than the crude juxtaposition offered by the earlier Brahmanical synthesis offered by Brahmā. The result was that Brahmā was relegated to an inferior position as a fully saṃsāric demiurge, a narrative found first in certain parts of the Mahābhārata and then continued throughout most of the Purāṇas.
Keywords Brahmā  Buddhism   Mahābhārata   bhakti  Brahmanism
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DOI 10.1007/s10781-011-9146-8
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References found in this work BETA

A History of India.Ludo Rocher, Hermann Kulke & Dietmar Rothermund - 2003 - Journal of the American Oriental Society 123 (1):261.
A Visit to Brahmā the Heron.Richard Gombrich - 2001 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 29 (1/2):95-108.

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