Publisher: Calcutta : Thacker, Spink ; Bombay : Thacker ; London : W. Thacker
Category: Gods, Hindu
Hindu mythology can easily become a bewildering subject. There are a vast number of gods, demigods and supernatural beings (some writers refer to as many as 330 million deities). More than this, the beliefs concerning them, their roles in religious practice, and their manifestations in different texts vary according to time, place, and tradition throughout India's vast territory and long history. For anyone interested in the subject, or for anyone approaching an epic such as the Mahabharata, a good guide is needed, and none has equaled Hindu Mythology, Vedic and Puranic by W.J. Wilkins for completeness and clarity.
This work deals at length with various theories about relgion prevalent at the time when Megasthenes visited India very interesting and scholarly views have been put forth regarding investigations of Megasthenes their reliability and the reliability of his reporters.
The present book is the result of ten years work on the subject of historical development of Indian mythology and its connection with parallel historical development of Indian mythology and its connection with parallel mythologies elsewhere, on which no satisfactory work exists in English. In the first part the Vedic-Brahmanical and epic-puranic components of Siva, Varuna, Yama, Nirrti, Agni, Kala, the mother goddess, Karttikeya, Ganapati, Kama and Pusan are treated. Part II studies the rise of Visnu. The component gods-the Vedic solar gods Savitr, Surya, Vivasvat, Mitra, Aryaman, Bhaga, Amsa, Daksa, Martanda, Indra, and Visnu together with the epic-Puranic incarnations of Visnu (with their Vedic precursors) are analysed. With Brahman (Part III) the picture is different. In the Vedic-Brahmanical gods-Brhaspati, Brahmanaspati, Prajapati, Pitamaha and Brahman-we do not get a very tangible figure, far less that of a sectarian god. These merge into the Brahman, Prajapati or Pitamaha of the epic-Puranic literature, but fail to answer to the definition of a sectarian god, so that no cult grows around the resultant image. In Part IV the general characteristics of the Puranic pantheon are analysed. Here, on the one hand, there are innumerable regional, functional divinities, tutelary gods and goddesses, village-or disease-gods, and also gods for different occasions in life, while on the other hand there is the lofty Triad, which thanks to the predominance of philosophy, is frequently stated to be three facets of the same supreme being.
Unlike many other ancient mythologies, Hinduism thrives in the modern world. One billion followers and countless others have been captivated by its symbolic representations of love, karma, and reincarnation. Handbook of Hindu Mythology offers an informative introduction to this dauntingly complex mythology of multifaceted deities, lengthy heroic tales, and arcane philosophies-all with a 3,000-year history of reinterpretations and adaptations. Williams offers a number of pathways by which to approach Hinduism's ever-changing gods and goddesses (e.g., Brahmï¿½, Vishnu, Siva), spiritual verses (such as the vedas), secular epics (including the Rï¿½mï¿½yana and the Mahï¿½bhï¿½rata), myths within myths, devotional and esoteric traditions, psychic and yogic disciplines, and magical practices. With this handbook, readers can explore the history of Hindu mythology, follow a detailed timeline of key episodes and historical events, and look up specific elements of historical or contemporary Hinduism in a beautifully illustrated reference work. It is the ideal introduction to the origins of Hinduism, the culture that shaped it from antiquity to the present, and the age-old stories, ideas, and traditions that speak to the human condition as eloquently today as ever. Including annotated bibliographies, a glossary of cultural and mythological terms, and numerous illustrations, here is a gold mine of information on Hindu mythology.
The Hindu pantheon comprises such a multitude of gods and goddesses that even the most devout can find it difficult to remember their names and characteristics. This self-contained volume presents a comprehensive picture of the gods and goddesses commonly worshiped in India; their origins, and their related myths and legends. It covers the deities from both the Vedic and Puranic literature, as well as demons, sacred birds, and other lore, all accompanied by excellent illustrations from traditional sources.
The Most Recognized Dog In Indian Myth Is The Dog In The Mahabharata That Accompanied The Pandavas Not Actually A Dog But Dharma In Disguise. There Are, However, Several More References To Dogs In The Classical Texts. Mentioned For The First Time In The Rg Veda, The Eponymous Sarama Is The Dog Of The Gods And The Ancestor Of All Dogs. In Sarama And Her Children, The Evolution Of The Indian Attitude Towards Dogs Is Traced Through The Vedas, Epics, Puranas, Dharmashastras And Niti Shastras. The Widespread Assumption Is That Dogs Have Always Been Looked Down Upon In Hinduism And A Legacy Of That Attitude Persists Even Now. Tracing The Indian Attitude Towards Dogs In A Chronological Fashion, Beginning With The Pre-Vedic Indus Valley Civilization, Bibek Debroy Discovers That The Truth Is More Complicated. Dogs Had A Utilitarian Role In Pre-Vedic And Vedic Times. There Were Herd Dogs, Watchdogs And Hunting Dogs, And Dogs Were Used As Beasts Of Burden. But By The Time Of The Mahabharata, Negative Associations Had Begun To Creep In. Debroy Argues Convincingly That The Change In The Status Of The Dog In India Has To Do With The Progressive Decline Of The Traditional Vedic Gods Indra, Yama And Rudra (Who Were Associated With Dogs), And The Accompanying Elevation Of Vishnu, Associated With An Increase In Brahmana Influence. Debroy Demonstrates That Outside The Mainstream Caste Hindu Influence, As Reflected In Doctrines Associated With Shiva And In Buddhist Jataka Tales, Dogs Did Not Become Outcasts Or Outcastes. Drawing References From High And Low Literature, Folk Tales And Temple Art, Sarama And Her Children Dispels Some Myths And Ensures That The Indian Dog Also Has Its Day.
These Tales Of Hindu Gods And Demons Express In Vivid Symbols The Metaphysical Insights Of Ancient Indian Priests And Poets. This Selection And Translation Of Seventy-Five Seminal Myths Spans The Wide Range Of Classical Indian Sources, From The Serpent-Slaying Indra Of The Vedas (C. 1200 Bc) To The Medieval Pantheon&Mdash;The Phallic And Ascetic Siva, The Maternal And Bloodthirsty Goddess, The Mischievous Child Krishna, The Other Avatars Of Vishnu, And The Many Minor Gods, Demons, Rivers And Animals Sacred To Hinduism. The Traditional Themes Of Life And Death Are Set Forth And Interwoven With Many Complex Variations Which Give A Kaleidoscopic Picture Of The Development Of Almost Three Thousand Years Of Indian Mythology. &Nbsp;