Brian Collins

May 4, 2020

The Other Rāma

Matricide and Genocide in the Mythology of Paraśurāma

SUNY Press 2020

Brian Collins' book The Other Rāma Matricide and Genocide in the Mythology of Paraśurāma (SUNY Press, 2020) examines a fascinating, understudied figure appearing in Sanskrit narrative texts: Paraśurāma, i.e., “Rāma with the Axe”. Though he is counted as among the ten avatāras of Viṣṇu, his biography is quite grisly: Paraśurāma is best known for decapitating his own mother and launching a genocidal campaign to annihilate twenty-one generations of the warrior caste. Why do ancient Sanskrit mythmakers elevate such an arguably transgressive and antisocial figure to so exalted a religious status? The Other Rāma explores this question by undertaking analysis of the Paraśurāma myth cycle using the methods of comparative mythology and psychoanalysis.
For information on your host Raj Balkaran’s background, see rajbalkaran.com/scholarship.

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Raj Balkaran

Raj Balkaran is a scholar, educator, consultant, and life coach. For information see rajbalkaran.com.

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