Florinda De Simini

The Magic of The Books
Manuscripts in Apotropaic and Divinatory Rites According to Purāṇas

  • Datum: Mo., 16. Dezember 2013, 16:00 c.t.
  • Ort: Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens, Seminarraum 1
  • Organisation: Helmut Krasser


This lecture will examine the use of manuscripts as apotropaic or divinatory tools within specific rituals attested in Sanskrit Purāṇic literature. One significant instance of such practices is the integration of the rituals for book donation through the ‘appeasement’ (śānti) or ‘great appeasement’ (mahāśānti) rites. This is attested for the first time in the Śivadharmottara, and later also in the Devīpurāṇa and the Agnipurāṇa. In the examples provided by these texts, the worship and recitation of particular books during the performance of a śānti rite were believed to appease and enrich the entire kingdom. Thus the words of these books perform a function that in śānti rituals is usually attributed to the Vedic mantras (śāntigaṇas). Other instances that will be examined are those of the divinatory practices involving the use of manuscripts, like the peculiar cases of upaśrutis described in the Padmapurāṇa.


Florinda De Simini was born in Naples, where she studied Classics (BA) and Indology (MA), graduating in 2008 at Naples Eastern University. After finishing a PhD in Indic and Tibetan Studies at the University of Turin (2013), she completed a short Post-Doc program as a J. Gonda fellow at the International Institute for Asian Studies (Leiden). She is currently a Post-Doc fellow at the University of Hamburg and adjunct professor for History of Medieval India at Naples Eastern University. Her main research areas are Dharmaśāstras, Purāṇic literature and Indian manuscript culture.