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The Other Rāma


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Table of Contents

List of Figures

Preface: The Other Rāma

Introduction: God with an Axe

1. The Brahmin Warrior: Paraśurāma in Extremis

2. Matricide I: The Broken Pot

3. Matricide II: The Severed Head

4. Varṇicide I: The Extermination of the Kṣatriyas and Its Aftermath

5. Varṇicide II: Blood and Soil in Malabar and Maharashtra

Conclusion: Introducing Paraśurāma

Works Cited

About the Author

Brian Collins is Drs. Ram and Sushila Gawande Chair in Indian Religion and Philosophy at Ohio University. He is the author of The Head beneath the Altar: Hindu Mythology and the Critique of Sacrifice.


"Collins is admirably meticulous and thorough in his argument, navigating between the macro and micro levels of mythic analysis, balancing broader psychological significance of the stories with gritty political realities. Throughout, he guides the reader with erudite ease, creating prose that is clear, entertaining, and witty while never losing a tone of seriousness and respect for the material at hand. In all, Collins' book represents a great contribution on several levels." — Religion

"…The Other Rāma will also speak meaningfully to those engaged in the study of the Sanskrit epics and Purāṇas (ancient legends and myths), and more broadly to those seeking to apply psychological theory to the study of Hindu mythology … readers who follow the book's layered psycho-synthetic argumentation through to the end will be rewarded with a suitably complex understanding of what drives this dark and elusive character of Hindu mythology." — Reading Religion

"Collins provides a lively and delightfully written study of the Paraśurāma myth, an exploration filtered through psychoanalytical theory. For readers interested in this particular tradition of analysis and other types of comparison, this book will be a welcomed inquiry into the possible meanings of this perennial Indian mythic figure." — Christian Novetzke, author of Religion and Public Memory: A Cultural History of Saint Namdev in India

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