Dialogue between characters is an important feature of South Asian religious literature: entire narratives are often presented as a dialogue between two or more individuals, or the narrative or discourse is presented as a series of embedded conversations from different times and places. Including some of the most established scholars of South Asian religious texts, this book examines the use of dialogue in early South Asian texts with an interdisciplinary approach that crosses traditional boundaries between religious traditions. The contributors shed new light on the cultural ideas and practices within religious traditions, as well as presenting an understanding of a range of dynamics - from hostile and competitive to engaged and collaborative. This book is the first to explore the literary dimensions of dialogue in South Asian religious sources, helping to reframe the study of other literary traditions around the world.
’From the early hymns of the Rig Veda and the debates and discussions of the Upaniá¹£adic sage YÄjÃ±avalkya, to the discourses of the Buddha, MahÄvÄ«ra, and Kriá¹£á¹‡a, dialogue has been the central medium by which ancient authors spoke to their listeners and readers. Yet, little scholarly work has focused on this genre. Dialogue in Early South Asian Religions, therefore, is a welcome and significant contribution to the study of ancient Indian texts produced as dialogues. Covering a broad range of texts and presenting theoretically sophisticated engagements with them, this volume should be a 'must read' for those working in Indian religion and literature.’ Patrick Olivelle, University of Texas, USA