Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in by June McDaniel

By June McDaniel

In supplying plant life, Feeding Skulls, June McDaniel offers an exhaustive, accessibly written review of Bengali goddess worship or Shakti. McDaniel identifies 3 significant different types of goddess worship, and examines every one via its myths, folklore, songs, rituals, sacred texts, and practitioners. She lines those strands via Bengali tradition and explores how they're interwoven with one another in addition to with different kinds of Hinduism and other kinds of faith. McDaniel additionally discusses how Shakti practices were reinterpreted within the West, the place goddess worship has received the values of sexual freedom and mental therapeutic, yet misplaced its emphases on devotion and asceticism. She takes the reader contained in the lives of training Shaktas, together with non secular pros, hymn singers, philosophers, visionaries, authorities, or even a businessman, and gives bright descriptions in their rituals, practices, and day-by-day lives. Drawing on years of fieldwork and wide study, McDaniel paints a wealthy, expansive portrait of this interesting non secular culture.

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A Restatement of Religion: Swami Vivekananda and the Making by Jyotirmaya Sharma

By Jyotirmaya Sharma

In this 3rd installment of his entire background of “India’s faith” and reappraisal of Hindu identification, Professor Jyotirmaya Sharma deals a fascinating portrait of Swami Vivekananda and his courting together with his guru, the mythical Ramakrishna. Sharma’s paintings makes a speciality of Vivekananda’s reinterpretation and formula of various Indian religious and mystical traditions and practices as “Hinduism” and the way it served to create, distort, and justify a countrywide self-image. the writer examines questions of caste and the primacy of the West in Vivekananda’s imaginative and prescient, in addition to the systematic marginalization of exchange religions and heterodox ideals. In doing so, Professor Sharma offers readers with an incisive entryway into nineteenth- and twentieth-century Indian historical past and the increase of Hindutva, the Hindu nationalist movement.

Sharma’s illuminating narrative is a wonderful reexamination of 1 of India’s such a lot debatable spiritual figures and a desirable examine of the symbiosis of Indian background, faith, politics, and nationwide identity. It is an important tale for someone attracted to the evolution of 1 of the world’s nice religions and its function in shaping modern India.

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