Tipi indiani dell’eroe metaforico: dalle trasformazioni dei nāga alla trasfigurazione e morte di Mahisa, con un raffronto di àmbito celtico.
Pelissero, Alberto (2002) Tipi indiani dell’eroe metaforico: dalle trasformazioni dei nāga alla trasfigurazione e morte di Mahisa, con un raffronto di àmbito celtico. Annali dell’Università degli studi di Napoli “L’Orientale”. Rivista del Dipartimento di Studi Asiatici e del Dipartimento di Studi e Ricerche su Africa e Paesi Arabi, 2002 (62). pp. 79-114. ISSN 0393-3180
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The paper examines various typologies of the Indian metamorphic hero, starting with the avatāra-s of Visnu and going on with some fading hints of this mythical character in the smṛti literature, in the Bhagavadgītā, in the mythology of Indra. A better chance is offered by the cycle of the nāga-s. The metamorphic nature of these beings is scattered here and there in Buddhist and Brahmanical literature. The case of Uttanka in the Mahābhārata, the tale about a Buddihist nāga in the vinayapiṭaka and an episode from the Pañcatantra are taken into consideration. From the nagā-s we pass to examine a metaphoric typology related to Hanumat in the Rāmāyana, then the Bengalic story of a “magic pursuit”. The story of Māṇikcandra, Mayanātī ahd Gopīcandra finds an interesting parallel in the Celtic story of Tegid Voel, Cerridwen and Afagddu. The Vedic and brahmanical roots of the modern Bengalic story are individuated in the Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad and the duet-duel between Prajāpati and Vāc. The best avatāra of an Indian metaphoric hero is however to be found in the figure of Mahisa. Six different paurāṇika versions of his metamorphosis are translated and commented upon. Finally the most recent interpretations about Mahiṣa are resumed, from hiltebeitel (1978) to Coburn (1984) to Parpola (1992) and to Berkson 1995). A personal interpretation of the importance of the metamorphosis within the general process of the Mahiṣa’s apotheosis is presented as a conclusion.
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