Indian Mythology: Tales, Symbols, and Rituals from the Heart of the Subcontinent

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9780892818709: Indian Mythology: Tales, Symbols, and Rituals from the Heart of the Subcontinent
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An exploration of 99 classic myths of India from an entirely non-Western paradigm that provides a fresh understanding of the Hindu spiritual landscape

· Compares and contrasts Indian mythology with the stories of the Bible, ancient Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia, and Mesopotamia

· Looks at the evolution of Indian narratives and their interpretations over the millennia

· Demonstrates how the mythology, rituals, and art of ancient India are still vibrant today and inform the contemporary generation

From the blood-letting Kali to the mysterious Ganesha, the Hindu spiritual landscape is populated by characters that find no parallel in the Western spiritual world. Indian Mythology explores the rich tapestry of these characters within 99 classic myths, showing that the mythological world of India can be best understood when we move away from a Western, monotheistic mindset and into the polytheistic world of Hindu traditions.

Featuring 48 artistic renderings of important mythological figures from across India, the author unlocks the mysteries of the narratives, rituals, and artwork of ancient India to reveal the tension between world-affirming and world-rejecting ideas, between conformism and contradiction, between Shiva and Vishnu, Krishna and Rama, Gauri and Kali. This groundbreaking book opens the door to the unknown and exotic, providing a glimpse into the rich mythic tradition that has empowered millions of human beings for centuries.

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From the Author:

A medical doctor by training, Devdutt Pattanaik moved away from clinical practice to nurture his passion for mythology. His books include The Goddess in India and introductions to Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi. He lives in Mumbai, India, where he works as a health communicator and writes and lectures on Hindu narratives, art, rituals, and philosophy.

From the Back Cover:

HINDUISM / MYTHOLOGY

The Hindu spiritual landscape is populated by multidimensional characters whose embodiment of both positive and negative aspects finds no parallel within the good versus evil mythology of the Western world. From the goddess Kali to the mysterious elephant-headed Ganesha, Indian Mythology explores the rich tapestry of these characters within ninety-nine classic myths, revealing the essence of the Hindu worldview and demonstrating how these ancient stories can inform a contemporary generation.

Devdutt Pattanaik examines the meaning behind the metaphors of the classic myths in symbolic art and in a multifaceted tradition of ritual practices. Fifty artistic renderings of important mythological figures (from seventeenth-century temple carvings to twentieth-century calendar art) illustrate the complex polytheistic Hindu tradition and show how central these figures are to the Hindu conception of the world. Vishnu and Shiva, Gauri and Kali, Krishna and Rama embody the inherent tension between two poles--positive and negative, light and dark, preservative and destructive, world affirming and world rejecting. These opposing energies are valued equally in the cyclical Hindu worldview--a long view that recognizes their natural balance over time. The author also compares and contrasts Indian mythology with the stories of the Bible, ancient Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia, and Mesopotamia, offering Western readers a way to decode the symbolism of the rich Hindu tradition--an enduring mythic tradition that has empowered millions of human beings for centuries.

A medical doctor by training, DEVDUTT PATTANAIK moved away from clinical practice to nurture his passion for mythology. His books include The Goddess in India and introductions to Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi. He lives in Mumbai, India, where he works as a health communicator and writes and lectures on Hindu narratives, art, rituals, and philosophy.

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