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The story of Savitri in the Mahabharata: a lineal interpretation

Brodbeck, Simon Pearse ORCID: 2013. The story of Savitri in the Mahabharata: a lineal interpretation. Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 23 (4) , pp. 527-549. 10.1017/S1356186313000424

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This paper presents a new interpretation of the story of Savitri as presented in the Mahabharata. Savitri is viewed as an intended putrika, or lineal daughter, for her father, and the death of her husband and the misfortunes of her father-in-law are explained as corollaries of this circumstance; but at the last minute Savitri switches her allegiance to her husband and his line, becoming a pativrata rather than a putrika. Following a prompt in the Mahabharata text, the paper concludes with an exploration, on the Savitri model, of Draupadi’s relationship to the Pandava line. The death of the Draupadeyas and the resuscitation of Parikshit are viewed in terms of a symbolic switch from the putrika to the pativrata mode of operation.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
P Language and Literature > PI Oriental languages and literatures
Additional Information: Online publication date: 11 September 2013. Pdf uploaded in accordance with publisher's policy at (accessed 25/02/2014).
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISSN: 1356-1863
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Last Modified: 25 Oct 2022 07:59

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