March 28, 2005
The Myths and Gods of India: The Classic Work on Hindu Polytheism
By Alain Daniélou
Publisher: Inner Traditions International (December 1991)
Pages: 441 - Price: $35.00
Review by Lee Prosser - firstname.lastname@example.org
A magnificent collection of information, in-depth writing and photographs make this a highly recommended nonfiction research book. There is a section on ghosts, including an analysis of Bhutesvara who is the Lord of Ghosts. The divinities of the Sphere of Space are explained.
The major gods and goddesses are revealed through well-written text and photographs. There is reference to the way of the dead and Yama. Yama is the lord of death.
What will intrigue many readers of this fine book is the detailing and explanation of mantras. Such mantras with pronunciation include the "pacifying of misfortune," "calming of anger," among many others. These mantras are also known as thought forms.
For those interested in the magick and lore of magick diagrams, chapter 29, "The Yantras," will give much food for thought, and use. These drawings are complete for applications to personal needs. The Ganapati Yantra, which reveals the true identity of microcosm and macrocosm, is one of the drawings given in the book.
The book is divided into parts. Part One is Philosophy, and includes chapters on theory of polytheism, nature of the ultimate, and the cosmic being. Part Two is The Gods of the Vedas, and includes chapters on the cosmic sacrifice, the thirty-three gods, the spheres and their deities, the divinities of the sphere of space, the Adityas, Gods and Antigods, among others. Part Three explains the Trinity and discusses Vishu, the Avatars, Shiva, the linga, the yoni, the worship of the linga, different forms of the linga, and Brahma.
Part Four explains the Divine Power as the Goddess, focusing upon the attributes of Sakti. Part Five has as its focus the secondary gods including minor gods and genii, and other deities such as Maya who is known as the Architect of the Antigods. Part Five details the representation and worship of deities.
The photographic plates give a sense of time, place, and appearance of the gods and goddesses. Each plate is revealing in its intimate appearance.
This book is a classic work on Hindu polytheism. It is a remarkable work that should belong in the home library and the Public Library. Clearly written and clearly explained, the material makes for intriguing reading. This is the perfect introduction and analysis of Hindu polytheism.
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