Forest Setting in Hindu Epics Princes, Sages, Demons

Author: Parkhill, Thomas
This study of the forest, the people who pass through it and their activities there, gives a new perspective on Hindu epic narrative. The central thesis is that the tripartite process of transformation, first observed in rites of passage, operates in the forest-related sections of the Mahabharata and Ramayana, with the middle phase centering in the forest. The forest acts as a threshold across which the epic heroes and heroines pass as they move from one life-stage to another, or as is more often the case, from one state of existence to another.


". . . Parkhill applies to the narrative the analysis of ritual derived from A. Van Gennep and V. Turner. In so doing, he sees the forest as representative of the liminal phase in the process. Their time in the forest is seen as maturing the characters spiritually and preparing them for their roles as rulers. In addition, he analyzes the Nala and Damayanti tale. . . . a useful study of the Indic literature." - Religious Studies Review