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Saivism encompasses all aspects of religion: a philosophy, a theology, a conception of the universe, a current of devotion, a world of myths, elaborate rituals in organized temples, expressions in plastic arts, in poetry, music and dance. Images of Siva of great variety and impressive beauty are countless all over India. To improve our understanding of such a rich and elevated subject, the sources are the Sanskrit texts of Epics, Puranas and Agamas.
The present book gives a clear presentation of Saivism through a survey and an erudite readinig of this vast literature. The Agamas are the key to the knowledge of temple organization and rituals, the description of which is a unique and original contribution of this work. This very readable and reliable work contains an amazing quantity of information, carefully referenced at every step, and is likely to be of the greatest utility to researchers in history of religion, medieval to modern, as well as to the general reader interested in Saivism.
Table of Contents:
- Preface by Pierre-Sylvain Filliozat
- Foreword. Contribution of the Saiva Agamas to Saivism
- A Survey of the Early History of Saivism
- The Mohenjodaro-Harappa period
- The Rgvedic Period 70
- Rudra in the Atharvaveda
- Rudra in the Yajurveda
- Rudra in the Brahmanas
- Rudra in the Upanisads
- Rudra in the Sutras
- The Decline and Fall of the Vedic Gods. The Rise of the Hindu Trinity of Gods
- The Evolution of Ancient Vedic Religion
- The Epics and the Rise of Brahma, Visnu and Siva
- The Puranas and the Individualization of the Three Gods
- Siva in the Light of Puranic Mythology
- Puranic Names of Siva
- The Linga and the Images of Siva
- Kesavardhamurti or Hariharamurti
- Simhaghnamurti or Sarabhamurti
- Bhairavamurti or Andhakari, Brahmasiraschedakamurti
- Natarajamurti or Nrttamurti
- Forms of Siva Worship and Ritual in the South
- Yantras and Mandalas
- An excursus on the Saiva Rituals as practiced at present
- A note on the important Saiva vratas
- The Ancillary Cults
- A Brief Account of Bibliography.
About the Author:
Pandit N. Ramachandra Bhatt (born in 1920 in Mudbidri, South Kannara) has been one of the main artisans of this progress. His life has been entirely devoted to research. After his Sanskrit studies in the traditional manner in Tirupati, at the Venkateshvara Sanskrit College, in 1939, he entered the team of researchers of the Adyar Library and Research Centre, which Alain Danielou (1907-1994) joined years later. There, he acquired a good knowledge of the bibliography and theories, sometimes quite speculative, of the pioneers of the history of Shaivism.
He worked with Danielou on texts of musicology as well as philosophical and religious texts, Upanisads, Puranas etc. Danielou, during a long stay in India, had elaborated personal views on Indian mythology and religion, which he presented in a book entitled The Myths and Gods of India, Hindu polytheism. N. R. Bhatta could not share the same ideas. He had a deep knowledge of texts and a preference for literality in interpretation. He was too reluctant to speculation to accept Danielou's ideas. In spite of such disagreement, an enduring friendship was established between them.