This article details the contribution of Atharvan and astrological śānti (appeasement) rituals in the formation of the Purānic rājyābhiseka (royal consecration), described most elaborately in the Visnudharmottarapurāna. It argues that the form of this ceremony derives from consecratory forms originating in late-Vedic Atharvan ritual manuals (Śāantikalpa and Pariśistas), and further developed in the Brhatsamhitā, rather than from earlier śrauta-era consecrations such as the rājasūya. “Vedic”/“Hindu” distinctions, which have been employed in earlier analyses of this rite, may lack the precision for capturing this historical development. The article also highlights the contribution of late-Vedic and astrological theories of ritual to medieval conceptions of kingship.
This article assesses the merits of Dana Logan’s Awkward Rituals as a notable anthropological intervention in the study of American religions, one that opens significant converse with Asian ritual traditions, as mediated by colonial history. It suggests that the book presents a genealogically measured theoretical advance to the tradition of ritual studies.