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Voicing Relations in the Self, Tulasi and Other in Spiritual Vedic Hymns: Insights from Linguistics and Vedic Vaishnavism
Bakhtinian, Pronouns, Self, Systemic functional linguistics, Thematic qualitative content, Tulasi, Vedic, Veneration, Voicing
The current exploratory study examines the notion of voice in relation to Tulasi, a herb widely known for its medicinal value but that features as the object of feminine divine worship in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, a sect of Hinduism. Written scripture in the form of commonly used hymns retold in English from the Sanskrit and Bengali in the worship of Tulasi is used as the data. The identification of pronouns and the application of a thematic qualitative content analysis together with the Bakhtinian idea of heteroglossia reveal intersections of voicing relations in singular and multiple relations in three main relationships concerning the Self, Tulasi and Other that correspond to eight voicing categories namely, Veneration, Yearning, Self-Abnegation, Conceding, Forbearance, Injunction, Exegesis and Glorification. Findings from the voicing categories are given a systemic functional linguistic (SFL) interpretation combined with insights from Vedic Vaishnavism theological underpinnings to further enrich the discussion. The study is of significance to linguists and anyone with a theological and philosophical interest in spiritual Vedic texts.
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