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A god transforms into a nymph and enchants another god.A king becomes pregnant.A prince discovers on his wedding night that he is not a man.Another king has children who call him both father and mother. A hero turns into a eunuch and wears female apparel. A princess has to turn into a man before she can avenge her humiliation. Widows of a king make love to conceive his child. Friends of the same sex end up marrying each other after one of them metamorphoses into a woman. These are some of the tales from Hindu lore that this unique book examines. The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore is a compilation of traditional Hindu stories with a common thread: sexual transformation and gender metamorphosis. In addition to the thought-provoking stories in The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore, you'll also find: an examination of the universality of queer narratives with examples from Greek lore and Irish folklore a comparison of the Hindu paradigm to the biblical paradigm a look at how Hindu society and Hindu scripture responds to queer sexuality a discussion of the Hijras, popularly believed to be the "third gender" in India--their probable origin, and how they fit into Hindu society With the telling of each of these tales, you will also learn how the author came upon each of them and how they relate to the context of dominant Hindu attitudes toward sex, gender, pleasure, fertility, and celibacy.
The Bhagavad Gita, "The Song of the Lord," is probably the best known of all the Indian scriptures, and Easwaran's clear, accessible translation is the best-selling edition. The Gita opens dramatically, with prince Arjuna collapsing in anguish on the brink of a war that he doesn't want to fight. Arjuna has lost his way on the battlefield of life, and turns to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, the Lord himself. Krishna replies in 700 verses of sublime instruction on living and dying, loving and working, and the nature of the soul. This book includes an extensive and very readable introduction, which places the Gita in its historical setting, explains the key concepts, and brings out the universality of its teachings. Individual chapter introductions prepare the reader for the main themes, and notes, a Sanskrit glossary, and an index are included. Although the battlefield is a perfect backdrop, for Easwaran the Gita's subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage. Arjuna's dilemma is acutely modern, and the Gita's message remains as relevant for us now as it was for ancient India.
"A god transforms into a nymph and enchants another god.A king becomes pregnant.A prince discovers on his wedding night that he is not a man."Another king has children who call him both father and mother. A hero turns into a eunuch and wears female apparel. A princess has to turn into a man before she can avenge her humiliation. Widows of a king make love to conceive his child. Friends of the same sex end up marrying each other after one of them metamorphoses into a woman. These are some of the tales from Hindu lore that this unique book examines. The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore is a compilation of traditional Hindu stories with a common thread: sexual transformation and gender metamorphosis. In addition to the thought-provoking stories in The Man Who Was a Woman and Other Queer Tales from Hindu Lore, you'll also find: an examination of the universality of queer narratives with examples from Greek lore and Irish folklore a comparison of the Hindu paradigm to the biblical paradigm a look at how Hindu society and Hindu scripture responds to queer sexuality a discussion of the Hijras, popularly believed to be the "third gender" in India--their probable origin, and how they fit into Hindu societyWith the telling of each of these tales, you will also learn how the author came upon each of them and how they relate to the context of dominant Hindu attitudes toward sex, gender, pleasure, fertility, and celibacy.
The present work, though non-technical in nature, is comprehensive, and apart from dealing with the Tantric terms and concepts pertaining to various forms of religious system, also contains entries on extra-religious contents of Tantrism such as chemical and medical sciences, philosophical speculations especially on metaphysics and epistemology, yoga and physical exercises. Tantric deities are also dealt with -- the hundreds of gods and goddesses who have no independent and real existence apart from the mind of the worshipper and the manner of worship. Tantric texts, with brief details of their contents and publication, are recorded. All the important entries contain textual references which will prove useful to scholars and researchers. The volume also contains a large and updated bibliography and a comprehensive introduction.
A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press's Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more. In Hindu Pluralism, Elaine M. Fisher complicates the traditional scholarly narrative of the unification of Hinduism. By calling into question the colonial categories implicit in the term "sectarianism," Fisher's work excavates the pluralistic textures of precolonial Hinduism in the centuries prior to British intervention. Drawing on previously unpublished sources in Sanskrit, Tamil, and Telugu, Fisher argues that the performance of plural religious identities in public space in Indian early modernity paved the way for the emergence of a distinctively non-Western form of religious pluralism. This work provides a critical resource for understanding how Hinduism developed in the early modern period, a crucial era that set the tenor for religion's role in public life in India through the present day.
The rise, fall, and modern resurgence of an enigmatic book revered by yoga enthusiasts around the world Consisting of fewer than two hundred verses written in an obscure if not impenetrable language and style, Patanjali's Yoga Sutra is extolled by the yoga establishment as a perennial classic and guide to yoga practice-except it isn't. Virtually forgotten in India for hundreds of years and maligned when it was first discovered in the West, the Yoga Sutra has been elevated to its present iconic status only in the course of the past forty years. David Gordon White retraces the strange and circuitous journey of this confounding work from its ancient origins to today, bringing to life the improbable cast of characters whose interpretations and misappropriations of the Yoga Sutra led to its revered place in contemporary popular culture.
Faced with unrelenting stresses from daily news, relationships, health, and financial conditions, and unsatisfied with the temporary and side-effect-riddled relief that pharmaceuticals provide, millions are finding measures of peace and positive energy through mindful breathing practices. In this book, Stanislav Grof, Neil Douglas-Klotz, Sonia Gilbert, Sheldon Kramer, Ilse Middendorf, Michael Sky, Puran Bair, and other well-known experts and international workshop leaders take up a wide range of Western, Eastern, and Middle Eastern breathing practices, describing the historical development of these techniques and philosophies, and providing examples of modern practices, stories of healing, and specific exercises for application.
In India, statues of Ganesh are placed at the inner gates of many
temples, symbolizing his role as keeper of sacred spaces. Here,
pilgrims and passersby pay homage and seek his blessings. It is
this symbolic presence at the entrance of our most holy places that
makes Ganesh such a vital figure in our lives.
The role of the visual is essential to Hindu tradition and culture, but many attempts to understand India's divine images have been laden with misperceptions. "Darsan, " a Sanskrit word that means "seeing," is an aid to our vision, a book of ideas to help us read, think, and look at Hindu images with appreciation and imagination.
This book identifies that the term 'radicalisation' has often been used pejoratively when talking about security. The contemporary radicalisation discourse unfurls against tensions and negotiations between the nations in terms of counter-terrorism and national security needs. A major dilemma at the heart of this discourse is the fundamental gap between radicalisation as a cause of 'terrorism' and the actual acts signified by the term 'radicalisation'. This study shows that radicalisation does not appear to be a necessary condition for terrorism. A discussion on South Asian Islam and Hinduism reveals a complex set of relations among the religious and the politics of identity. Hence, being a Muslim or a Hindu is just one attribute in the complex menu of identities available to most South Asians. The comparative analysis on the issue of radicalisation has proved to be particularly revealing and instructive. Problems and failures of three predominant statist models of radicalisation, introduced by the governments of the US, the UK and the EU, have been analysed to understand the embedded dilemmas in the West. In reality, these models indicate that radicalisation is neither a predictable nor a mechanical process. Finally, this study also shows that it would be far too simplistic to say that radicalisation is caused by the absence of democracy. Published in association with Regional Centre for Strategic Studies, Colombo.
In 1752, the Bengali poet Bharatchandra Ray completed a long narrative poem dedicated to the glory of Annada, the consort of Shiva and the divinity who, as her name proclaims, "bestows the bounty of rice." A poet well-versed in Sanskrit, Persian, and Hindi-all of which enrich his work-Bharatchandra took up the literary performance genre mangalkavya and thoroughly transformed it, addressing the aesthetic tastes of the court rather than those of the traditional village audience. He added depth and sensitivity to well-known legends, along with allusions to his own experiences of poverty, and more than a dash of mischievous wit. The second volume recounts the clandestine love affair of Princess Vidya and Prince Sundar, and how Bhavananda, ancestor of the poet's patron, stopped a rebellion and became a king. This translation, the first in English, features the original text in the Bangla script. Lively and entertaining, In Praise of Annada was regarded as a major achievement in its own time and is now counted one of the treasures of Bengali literature.
Tales for the Dying explores the centrality of death and dying in the narrative of the Bhagavata-Purana, India's great text of devotional theism, canonized as an integral part of the Vaisnava bhakti tradition. The text grapples with death through an imaginative meditation, one that works through the presence and power of narrative. The story of the Bhagavata-Purana is spoken to a king who is about to die, and it enables him to come to terms with his own passing. The work does not isolate dying as an issue; it treats it on many levels.
This book discusses how images of dying in the Bhagavata-Purana relate to issues of language and love in the religious imagination of India. Drawing on insights from studies in myth, literary semiotics, and depth psychology, as well as from Indian commentarial and aesthetic traditions, the author examines the power of myth and narrative (storytelling or hari katha) and shows how a detailed awareness of the Puranic imagination may lead to a revisioning of some long-held presuppositions around Indian religious altitudes toward dying. By casting Vaisnava bhakti traditions and Puranic narrative in a fresh light, the mythic imagination of the Puranas takes its place on the stage of contemporary discourse on comparative mythology and literature.
There are many holy cities in India, but Mumbai is not usually considered one of them. More popular images of the city capture the world's collective imagination--as a Bollywood fantasia or a slumland dystopia. Yet for many, if not most, people who live in the city, the neighborhood streets are indeed shared with local gods and guardian spirits. In The Neighborhood of Gods, William Elison examines the link between territory and divinity in India's most self-consciously modern city. In this densely settled environment, space is scarce, and anxiety about housing is pervasive. Consecrating space--first with impromptu displays and then, eventually, with full-blown temples and official recognition--is one way of staking a claim. But how can a marginalized community make its gods visible, and therefore powerful, in the eyes of others? The Neighborhood of Gods explores this question, bringing an ethnographic lens to a range of visual and spatial practices: from the shrine construction that encroaches on downtown streets, to the "tribal art" practices of an indigenous group facing displacement, to the work of image production at two Bollywood film studios. A pioneering ethnography, this book offers a creative intervention in debates on postcolonial citizenship, urban geography, and visuality in the religions of India.
Worshipped by millions of Hindus worldwide, Shiva ("the auspicious one") is the god of love, righteousness, forgiveness, longevity, protection, health, and prosperity. He is said to bring good fortune, grace, and compassion. Shiva is depicted as clothed in ashes, with the crescent moon crowning his head, the holy river Ganges flowing from his matted hair, a third eye on his forehead, a serpent around his neck, and a tiger skin around his waist. As Nataraja, or "Lord of the Dance", he controls the forces of creation, preservation, and destruction. Award-winning author, Demi, presents the life and teaching of this central god within the Hindu pantheon, replete with stunning illustrations that faithfully reflect the ancient traditions of Hindu painting and iconography. Also included is an appendix of Hindu prayers to the god Shiva and notes on his representation as "Lord of the Dance".
The marriage of Bhagavad Gita's profound wisdom and India's premier artists culminates in The Gita Deck: Wisdom from the Bhagavad Gita. Sixty-eight jewel-like verses of spiritual understanding adorn beautiful art cards depicting India's rich spiritual heritage. Each card showcases a verse from the Gita under headings including Individuality, True Leaders, Winds of Desire, Maintaining Balance, Determination, Eternal Soul, and Fall from Grace. The cards are unique and inspirational-a contemporary gateway for accessing the guidance and wisdom of the Gita. A portable, easily referenced box set.
Dharma is central to all the major religious traditions which originated on the Indian subcontinent. Such is its importance that these traditions cannot adequately be understood apart from it. Often translated as "ethics," "religion," "law," or "social order," dharma possesses elements of each of these but is not confined to any single category familiar to Western thought. Neither is it the straightforward equivalent of what many in the West might usually consider to be "a philosophy". This much-needed analysis of the history and heritage of dharma shows that it is instead a multi-faceted religious force, or paradigm, that has defined and that continues to shape the different cultures and civilizations of South Asia in a whole multitude of forms, organizing many aspects of life. Experts in the fields of Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh studies here bring fresh insights to dharma in terms both of its distinctiveness and its commonality as these are expressed across, and between, the several religions of the subcontinent. Exploring ethics, practice, history and social and gender issues, the contributors engage critically with some prevalent and often problematic interpretations of dharma, and point to new ways of appreciating these traditions in a manner that is appropriate to and thoroughly consistent with their varied internal debates, practices and self-representations.
Formalized by the tenth century, the expansive Bhagavata Purana resists easy categorization. While the narrative holds together as a coherent literary work, its language and expression compete with the best of Sanskrit poetry. The text's theological message focuses on devotion to Krishna or Vishnu, and its philosophical outlook is grounded in the classical traditions of Vedanta and Samkhya. No other Purana has inspired so much commentary, imitation, and derivation. The work has grown in vibrancy through centuries of performance, interpretation, worship, and debate and has guided the actions and meditations of elite intellectuals and everyday worshippers alike. This annotated translation and detailed analysis shows how one text can have such enduring appeal. Key selections from the Bhagavata Purana are faithfully translated, while all remaining sections of the Purana are concisely summarized, providing the reader with a continuous and comprehensive narrative. Detailed endnotes explain unfamiliar concepts and several essays elucidate the rich philosophical and religious debates found in the Sanskrit commentaries. Together with the multidisciplinary readings contained in the companion volume The Bhagavata Purana: Sacred Text and Living Tradition (Columbia, 2013), this book makes a central Hindu masterpiece more accessible to English-speaking audiences and more meaningful to scholars of Hindu literature, philosophy, and religion.
The Epic of Ram presents a new translation of the Ramcaritmanas of Tulsidas (1543-1623). Written in Avadhi, a literary dialect of classical Hindi, the poem has become the most beloved retelling of the ancient Ramayana story across northern India. A devotional work revered and recited by millions of Hindus today, it is also a magisterial compendium of philosophy and lore and a literary masterpiece. Volume 5 encompasses the story's three middle episodes-Ram's meetings with forest sages, his battles with demons, the kidnapping of his wife, his alliance with a race of marvelous monkeys-and climaxes with the god Hanuman's heroic journey to the island city of Lanka to locate and comfort Sita. This new translation into free verse conveys the passion and momentum of the inspired poet and storyteller. It is accompanied by the most widely accepted edition of the Avadhi text, presented in the Devanagari script.
Vedic Astrology, also called Jyotish, is the traditional astrology of India and its profound spiritual culture. It possesses a precise predictive value as well as a deep interpretation of the movement of life, unfolding the secrets of karma and destiny. Astrology of the Seers, first published in 1990, is regarded as one of the classic modern books on Vedic astrology, covering all the main aspects of its philosophy, background and practice. The present edition has been thoroughly revised and updated.
This is an intriguing biographical account of the 16th century avatar and propagator of the Bhakti Yoga devotional tradition and his principal associates. Chaitanya's doctrine of divine love created a renaissance of spiritual conception that continues to vibrate its timeless teachings to the present day. This biography brings the reader through the lives and deeds of his closest confidants -- each of whom are considered saints in their own right. It includes a fold-out biographical map detailing the personalities appearing in Gaura Lila and Krishna Lila, for the first time available for an English audience. Foreword by Swami B.P. Puri.
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