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Indian Gods and Goddesses - Hindu, Jain and Buddhist Goddesses (Vol.3)

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Item Code: UAR577
Author: Shantilal Nagar
Publisher: B.R Publishing Corporation
Language: English
Edition: 2022
ISBN: 9788176464970
Pages: 280 (Throughout B/W Illustration)
Other Details 11.00 X 8.90 inch
Weight 1 kg

Book Description

About the Book

Though the adoration of the female principle in the country is as old as the Harappan culture or even earlier and the traces of the same are also visible in the Vedic literature, but the period that followed continued to hold her in high esteem, which culminated into the definite concept in the kena upanisad in which she established her superiority among the gods because it was she who knew what the Brahman was and all other gods were ignorant of the same. Soon she started appearing in the Indian plastic art as well. During the kusana period, the images of the goddess started appearing in the form of Mahisasuramardini (terracotta), Sri, Gajalaksmi, Simhavahini Durga, Ekanamsa, Sasthi, Bhadra, Vasudhara besides several other forms of Matrikas. During the Gupta period she become more popular and her following become more widespread. In the meantime the goddesses of the family of Siva also became popular and as Shakti of each and every god was conceived and several other goddesses emerged on the Indian religious scene. The goddesses like Kali, Mahakali, Bhadrakali, Navagurga, Matrikas, river goddesses and Causatha Yoginis could be mentioned in this connection. These goddesses were enshrined in the temples or other small shrines in the temples and several stories concerning them were developed in the religious literature. These goddesses were also patronised in other contemporary religions like Jainism and Buddhism, which have their own importance. The present work deals with the genesis and evolution of the Hindu, Buddhist and Jaina goddesses, and will interest the readers.

About the Author

Shantilal Nagar, a graduate of the Punjab University, served in the curatorial capacity in the Central Asian Antiquities Museum, New Delhi, the Archaeological Museum, Nalanda, and Archaeological Section of the Indian Museum, Calcutta for a number of years. He has to his credit the scientific documentation of over fifty thousand antiquities, in these museums, representing the rich cultural heritage of the country and comprising of sculptures, bronzes, terracottas, beads, seals and sealing ancient Indian numismatics, wood work, miniatures and paintings, textiles and Pearce collection of gems, ranging from the earliest times to the late medieval period. He was awarded, in 1987, a fellowship, for his monograph on the Temples of Himachal Pradesh, by the Indian council of Historical Research, New Delhi. He has authored more than fifty books.


India has been a land of religion and several deities both male and female had been in adoration here from the time immemorial. Indeed this adoration did not remain consistent and the deities had been changing from time to time disowning some of them and re-inducting some others in their places. The process has been ever growing and in fact the most important aspect of the ancient Indian religious thought had been the adoration of female deities. These goddesses had been quite numerous, though in the early religious horizon of the country starting from the prehistoric period, only a few of them could be visualised, but in the Harappan culture their prominence grew, The Mother Goddess had been quite popular out of them all. The Vedic age was conspicuous with the presence of the Vedic gods but the goddesses like Usas, Vak, Sarasvati, Ratri, Aranyani and others were nevertheless adored in the Vedic hymns.

The post-Vedic period and during the epic period the goddesses were adored no doubt, but their number was few and far between and they did not enjoy the dominant roles. It was, however, in the Kena Upanisad that the superiority of the female principle was established. This legend begins with another of these cosmic crisis when the gods in battle with demons were unable to win by the power of Brahman. However, the gods had not upto that time been aware of Brahman; they had supposed that they had gained the victory themselves, through their own strength. Brahman, we read in the texts, "Won a victory for the gods". The gods exalted in that victory of Brahman and thought. "Ours, indeed, is the Victory! ours is the Glory!" Then Brahman understood their pride and appeared before them, but they did not know, "What Brahman was? What sort of sceptre (yakşam) can this thing be?" They said to Agni (the fire god and the highest priest initiate among them); "O almost omniscient one, find out what this thing is?" Obeying the command Agni rushed towards it. Brahman enquired, "Who are you?" He replied, "I am the famous Agni, the almost omniscient one". Brahman said, "What are your powers? The god replied, "I can burn one and all on earth". Brahman put down a straw and said to Agni, "You burn it". Agni came with all the force but was unable to burn it. He therefore returned with gods and reported his inability to know about the reality of Brahman.

The gods then said to Vayu-"O wind-god, you go and find out about the sceptre". He went there and the Brahman asked him, "Who are you?" The famous wind god said, "I am the famous Vayu and I can carry everything off". Brahman put a straw before him and said, "Carry it off. But Vayu applying all the force at his command was unable to move it. He then returned to the gods and said, "I have not been able to find out the reality".

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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