Synopses & Reviews
The monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have severely limited the portrayal of the divine as feminine. But in Hinduism "God" very often means "Goddess." This extraordinary collection explores twelve different Hindu goddesses, all of whom are in some way related to Devi, the Great Goddess. They range from the liquid goddess-energy of the River Ganges to the possessing, entrancing heat of Bhagavati and Seranvali. They are local, like Vindhyavasini, and global, like Kali; ancient, like Saranyu, and modern, like "Mother India." The collection combines analysis of texts with intensive fieldwork, allowing the reader to see how goddesses are worshiped in everyday life. In these compelling essays, the divine feminine in Hinduism is revealed as never beforefascinating, contradictory, powerful.
"Demonstrating the range and complexity of feminine imagery in Hindu tradition, Devi
offers to scholars and beginners alike a fascinating and useful anthology."Elaine Pagels, author Gnostic Gospels
"Thought-provoking and new, yet containing a few classics as well, Devi is a most valuable addition to studies of Indiasociety, religion, culture, and art."Vidya Dehejia, Smithsonian Institution
"A wonderfully informative group of essays about the main goddess figures of India. These sometimes dominate the male and sometimes stand alone, and they range from the fertile river Ganga to the awesome Kali, who is transforming herself in the West."Ninian Smart, University of California, Santa Barbara
Includes bibliographical references (p.329-340) and index.
About the Author
John S. Hawley is Professor of Religion at Barnard College and Director of the the National Resource Center for South Asia at Columbia University. Donna M. Wulff is Professor of Religion at Brown University. Together they edited The Divine Consort: Radha and the Goddesses of India (1986).
Table of Contents
Thomas B. Coburn, Devi: The Great Goddess
Cynthia Ann Humes, Vindhyavasini: Local Goddess yet Great Goddess
David R. Kinsley, Kali: Blood and Death Out of Place
Vasudha Narayanan, Sri: Giver of Fortune, Bestower of Grace
Donna M. Wulff, Radha: Consort and Conqueror of Krishna
Diana L. Eck, Ganga: The Goddess Ganges in Hindu Sacred Geography
Wendy Doniger, Saranyu/Samjña: The Sun and the Shadow
Kathleen M. Erndl, Seranvali: The Mother Who Possesses
Sarah Caldwell, Bhagavati: Ball of Fire
Lindsey Harlan, Sati: The Story of Godavari
Lise McKean, Bharat Mata: Mother India and Her Militant, Matriots