Rules and Regulations of Brahmanical Asceticism is the critical edition and translation of a twelfth-century Sanskrit text written by Yadava Prakasa, whose life and activities are of historical interest because, according to tradition, he was the teacher of the great Vaisnava theologian Ramanuja. This text is the oldest and most comprehensive example of medieval Sanskrit literature devoted to examining the duties of ascetics.
Yadava Prakasa is the only one who explicitly examines the thorny question of whether asceticism is a legitimate way of life for Brahmins. His topics include the people qualified to become ascetics; the rite for becoming an ascetic; the clothes the belongings of an ascetic; techniques of meditation; daily routines such as bathing, diving worship, and begging; proper conduct and etiquette; the manner of wandering; residence during the rains; expiatory penances; and the funeral. In his introduction, Patrick Olivelle examines the place of Yadava’s text within the literary and institutional history of Brahmanical asceticism. He discusses the origins of asceticism in India; its incorporation into the Brahmanical mainstream; and its variations within Hindu sects, as well as in Buddhist and Jain traditions.
About the Author:
Patrick Olivelle served as the Chair of the Department of Asian Studies at the University of Texas at Austin from 1994 to 2007, where he is Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions.
Olivelle's current research focuses on the ancient Indian legal tradition of Dharmaśāstra. He has edited and translated the four early Dharmasūtras. He has also prepared a critical edition of the Law Code of Manu (Mānava Dharmaśāstra). A new translation based on the critically edited text was published in Spring 2004 in the Oxford World's Classics series and the critical edition was published in 2005.
In the mid-1990's Olivelle worked on the late Vedic literature, producing an award-winning translation of the early Upaniṣads, as well as a scholar's edition of them. His early work was focused on the ascetic and monastic traditions of India. He published several editions, translations, and studies of ascetic texts and institutions. His award-winning book on the āśrama system was published in 1993.