This book is a study and interpretation of Banaras from the standpoint of one who is close enough to the Hindu tradition to see its religious significance and close enough to Western religious and academic traditions to know the problems of understanding that Banaras and the hindu tradition it represents might pose. The author reveals the spiritual and historical resonance of this holy place. Eck describes the rites of its temples, the busy life of its riverfront, and the exuberance of its festivals. She narrates how people travel from all over India to Banaras for the privilege of dying a good death here, for they believe that on the banks of the River Ganges where 'the atmosphere of devotion is improbable in its strength', it is possible to be released from this earthly round forever.
About the Author:
DIANA L. ECK is Associate Professor of Hindu Religion in the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard University, where she also works with the undergraduate honours program in the Comparative Study of Religion, and is affiliated with the Centre for the Study of World Religions.REVIEWS: "A luminous work, as befits this City of Light. I know of few books that capture the soul of a sacred city to the degree that this one does." HUSTON SMITH"This book is attractively printed and illustrated with photographs and nineteenth century views...an admirable and lucid work." ANDREW TOPSFIELD