Cradle Tales Of Hindusim

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Item Code: NAE426
Author: Nvedita
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9788185301938
Pages: 329 (10 B/W Illustrations)
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 7.0 inch X 5.0 inch
Weight 230 gm
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About the Author

Sister Nivedeta, known as Margaret Elizabeth Noble, in earlier life, was born in Ireland in 1867. After finishing her education she settled down in England in the teaching profession. During this period, she happened to meet Swami Vivekananda at a London home. Greatly attracted by his teachings, she accepted him as her Master and followed him to India for dedicating herself to the uplift of Indian women.

In the early part of twentieth century, many of the national leaders of India derived inspiration from her fiery spirit. The Nivedita Girls' School, founded by her in Calcutta, stands as a monument to her efforts. She passed away at Darjeeling in 1911.

In this book, the sister has retold traditional Indian mursery-tales in her inimitable style.


In the following stories, it may be worth while to point out, we have a collection of genuine India nursery-tales. The only discretion which I have permitted to myself has been that sometimes, in choosing between two versions, I have preferred the story received by word of mouth to that found in the books. Each one, and every incident of each, as here told, has one or other of these forms of authenticity.

To take them one by one, the Cycle of Snake Tales is found in the first volume of the Mahabharata. The story of Shiva is inserted as a necessary foreword to those of Sati and Urna, The tales of Sati is gathered from the Bhagavata Purana, and that of the Princess Uma from the Ramayana, and from Kalidasa's poem of Kumar-Sambboua, "The Birth of the War-Lord". Savitri, the Indian Alcestis comes from that mine of jewels, the Mahabharat as does also the incomparable story of Nala and Damayanti. In the Krishna Cycle, the first several numbers are from the Puranas-works which correspond to our apocryphal Gospels-and th last three from the Mahabharata. The tales classe as those of the Devotees, are, of course, from variot sources, those of Dhruva and Prahlada being popular versions of stories found in the Vishn Purana, while Gopala and his Brother the Cow her is, I imagine, like the Judgment-Seat of Vikrama ditya, merely a village tale. Shibi Rana, Bharata, and the two last stories in the collection, are from the Mahabharata. Of the four tales classed together under the group-name "Cycle of the Ramayana", it seems unnecessary to point out that they are intended to form a brief epitome of that great poem, which has for hundreds of years been the most important influence in shaping the characters and personalities of Hindu women. The Mahabharata may be regarded as the Indian national saga, but the Ramayana is rather the epic of Indian womanhood. Sita, to the Indian consciousness, is its central figure.

These two great works form together the outstanding educational agencies of Indian life. All over the country, in every province, especially during the winter season, audiences of Hindus and Moham-medans gather round the Brahmin story-teller at nightfall, and listen to his rendering of the ancient tales. The Mohammedans of Bengal have their own version of the Mahabharata. And in the life of every child amongst the Hindu higher castes, there comes a time when, evening after evening, hour after hour, his grandmother pours into his ears these memories of old. There are simple forms of village-drama, also, by whose means, in some provinces, every man grows up with a full and authoritative knowledge of the Mahabharata.

Many great historical problems, which there has as yet been ria attempt to solve, arise in connection with some of these stories. None of these .is more interesting than that presented by the personality of Krishna. In the cycle of ten numbers here given under his name, many readers will feel a hiatus between the seventh and eighth. Now about the year 300 B.C. the Greek writer Megasthenes, reporting on India to Seleukos Nikator of Syria and Babylon, states that "Herakles is worshipped at Mathura and Clisobothra (Krishnaputra?)." It would be childish to suppose from this that the worship of the Greek Herakles had been directly and mechanically transmitted to India, and established there in two different cities. We have to remember that ancient countries were less defined, and more united than modern. Central and Western Asia at the period in question were one culture-region, of which Greece was little more than a frontier province, a remote extremity. The question is merely whether the worship of Herakles in Greece and Phoenicia, and of a Herakles (presumably known as Krishna) in India, does not point to some distant Central Asian progenitor, common to the two-a mythic half-man, half-god, strong, righteous, and full of heroic mercy, who leaves his impress even on early conceptions of Shiva, amongst Hindu peoples, to be transmitted in divergent forms, in long-echoing memories, to one and another of the Aryan peoples. If so, is the Krishna of the Return to Mathura, of the Snake Kaliya, of the Mountain and the Demons, the Indian version of this Central Asian Herakles?

We have thus to decide whether the Krishna' of the Puranic stories here given, and the Krishna Partha Sarathi of the Mahabharata, are two, or one. On the answer to this depends a great deal of history. If they are two, is Krishna Partha Sarathi new at the time of the last recension of the Mahabharata, or is he some ancient hero of the Aryan peoples, with whom Krishna-Herakles is then fused, to become the popular vehicle of Vedic ideas? In the hands of highly-trained Indian scholars-competent as no foreigner could be to apply the tests of language and of theological evolution-it is my belief that these inquiries might receive reliable solutions. I doubt that alien opinions could ever be much more than interesting speculations. But, in any case, the point of importance to our present purpose is that the story of his life, as here set forth, is that told to this day by the people amongst themselves.

My special thanks are due for the help afforded me in the preparation of this volume to the Hindu lady, Jogin-Mother (Yogin-Ma)-a kind neighbour, whose deep and intimate knowledge of the sacred literature is only equalled by her unfailing readiness to help a younger student-and to the Swami Saradananda of the Ramakrishna Math, Belur. The frontispiece, of "The Indian Story-teller at Nightfall," and the Thunderbolt of Durga on the cover, are the work of the distinguished Indian artist, Mr. Abanindra Nath Tagore.

The Cycle Of Snake Tales
The Wondrous tale of the curse that lay upon the snake-folk:and first of
The serpent tralm, below the earth3
The story of the doom of parikshit9
The sacrifice of janamejava17
The Story Of Shiva, The Great God27
The Cycle Of Indian Wifehood
Sati, the perfect wife33
The tale of uma Haimavati42
Savitri the Indian Algestis51
Nala and Damayanti64
The Cycle Of The Ramayana
The city of Ayodhya95
The Capture of sita108
The conquest of Lanka115
The Ordeal of sita129
The Cycle Of Krishna
The Birth of Krishna,the Indian Christchild141
The Divine childhood149
Krishna in the brahma156
The Dilemma of brahma161
Conquets of the Mountain166
The lifting of the mountain173
The return to mathura176
krishna partha sarathi: charioteer arjuna187
The Lament of Gandhari202
The Doom of the vrishnis210
Tales Of The Devotees
The lord krishna and the broken pot221
The story of Prahlada222
The story of dhruva: A Myth of the pole star223
The story of Prahlada229
Gopala and the cowherd238
The Cycle Of Great Kings
The story of shibi rana: or, the eagle and the dove249
The judgement of vikramaditya258
Pritjvi Rai: Last of the hindu knights( The Indian romio and Juliet)268
A Cycle From The Mahabharata
The story of bhishma and the great war281
The ascent of Yudhishthira into heaven306
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