Synopses & Reviews
This book explores the diversity of Hindu goddesses and the variety of ways in which they are worshiped. Although they undoubtedly have ancient origins, Hindu goddesses and their worship is still very much a part of the fabric of religious engagement in India today, and this work offers an introduction to a complex and often baffling field of study. Part I, Beliefs, Providing a series of encounters with a range of Hindu goddesses, starting with the idea of Goddess as a philosophical concept, this work moves on to topics that include textual evidence for belief structures, goddess mythology, and the importance of the Goddess in Tantrism. This study then leads the reader through the tangled web of goddess worship, pausing along the way to examine the contrast between temple and local worship, the splendor of festivals, and the importance of pilgrimage to those places in India where goddesses are considered to reside. Details on the contemporary developments in goddess worship, such as the appearance of new deities who supply the needs of worshipers in the 21st century is also included.
“This rich overview of goddesses role in Hinduism addresses goddesses as manifestations of Shakti, the elite philosophical position most often discussed in treatises on Hinduism, and from a popular perspective, as individuated beings, which is the ‘religion as lived perspective of the majority. . . . Highly recommended.” —Choice
This book is an introduction to the variety and complexity of Hindu goddess worship, the beliefs that inform it, and the richness of practices with which it is involved. It examines the philosophical perspectives and the parochialism of contemporary Hinduism and discusses the textual sources of goddess worship.
About the Author
Lynn Foulston is Programme Leader of Religious Studies and Philosophy at the University of Wales, Newport. Her research interests include Jainism, Hindu goddesses and Indian cinema. Her first book, At the Feet of the Goddess: The divine feminine in local Hinduism, was based on fieldwork in Orissa and Tamilnadu. Stuart Abbott is a Visiting Lecturer at University of Wales, Newport and an Associate Lecturer at Cardiff University. His research interests include Tantrism and Kashmiri Saivism.