The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition

The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition

The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition

The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition

Synopsis

This book explores the rise of the Great Goddess by focusing on the development of saakti (creative energy), maya (objective illusion), and prakr(materiality) from Vedic times to the late Puranic period, clarifying how these principles became central to her theology.

Excerpt

Scholars studying the religions of India have long been intrigued by the important roles that goddesses and goddess worship play in diverse strands of the Hindu tradition. Although the centrality of female divinities and their worship in India is asserted most vigorously in Tantric and non- Brahmanical Śākta traditions, which reject the claims of Brahmanical authority, the various formulations of goddesses and conceptions pertaining to goddesses in Brahmanical Hinduism are nevertheless of particular interest due to the hegemony of Brahmanical discourse and its pan- Indian appeal.

For the last 2500 years, the Indian subcontinent has been peppered with numerous religious and spiritual tendencies, movements, and groups that have often upheld competing beliefs and practices. Divergences among these groups have been dictated by social, political, historical, and geographical factors as well as ideological differences. The diversity of religious life on the subcontinent has led many scholars to reject the notion that there is any real entity that can be referred to generally as "Hinduism" or the "Hindu Tradition." Rather, scholars argue, what exists is essentially a loosely constructed web of disparate religious, social, and . . .

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