Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)




Paul Younger


David Kinsley




A chunk of time during which the Mahābhārata was compiled (4 B.C. to 4 A.D.) saw many changes in the Indian vision of what-Is. A vastness of these changes is awesome enough to predicate a kind of dizzying confusion -- a vertigo of understanding.

This study attempts to understand some of these vision-changes without the usual nauseating side effects. The Nārāyaṇīya section of the Śāntiparvan provides this study with firm ground from which to perceive the hugeness of change. By comparing the strand of religious vision revealed in the Nārāyaṇīya with strands of visions gone before, and strands of visions later seen, a feeling for the changing colours of the weave within the fabric of the larger Indian religious vision may be obtained. This feeling speaks of differences in myth and ritual between the various strands, and these differences point to greater shifts in meaning which this study attempts to link to a shift in the Indian understanding of world and World. Thus by centering on what seems to be a stationary point, and then by setting it in swirling context, this study allows a perception of the bubblings in Worldview of the Indian tradition, circa the compilation period of the Mahābhārata, to arise.

McMaster University Library

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