Short bio

Dominik A. Haas received his MA in South Asian Studies from the University of Vienna in 2018. He has been a research fellow at the Institute since 2020 as the recipient of an ÖAW DOC Fellowship. His research interests focus on the development of Vedic culture and religion, together with its reception and representation in later Hindu traditions. As a Sanskritist and Vedist, he applies philological and historical methods in his research on texts, whereby he relies heavily on the procedures and resources of the Digital Humanities. As a co-founder of the Initiative for Fair Open Access Publishing in South Asian Studies, Haas is also involved in promoting innovative forms of scholarly communication, and fair working conditions in the academic and publishing sector.

For his dissertation (Gāyatrī: Mantra and Mother of the Vedas), being supervised by Dr. Marion Rastelli, he is doing research on the little-known history of the Gāyatrī mantra and its deification. The three-thousand-year-old Gāyatrī mantra is sometimes called the “most important mantra of Hinduism.” In the course of time it has even been considered a goddess itself. The aim of Haas’s project is (1) to investigate how the mantra gained prominence as a religious text, (2) how it was deified and (3) developed into an independent deity, and (4) how these processes interacted with and influenced each other.

In his MA thesis on the Kaṭha Upaniṣad (2018), Haas showed how the creators of this text attempted to tie their innovative views about the self and salvation to Vedic ritual. With the help of text-linguistic methods, he studied the adaptive reuse of text passages in the Upaniṣad, as well as their cohesion and coherence. In addition to a new annotated translation of the text, the study also provided new insights into the beginnings of yoga and its connection to the Agnicayana ritual.




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