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The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition

The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition


Item Code: IDE440

by Tracy Pintchman

Hardcover (Edition: 1997)

Sri Satguru Publishers
ISBN 81-7030-521-7

Language: English
Size: 8.8" X 5.8"
Pages: 300
Price: $30.50   Shipping Free
Viewed times since 2nd Sep, 2010


From the Jacket:

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

About The Author:

Tracy Pintchman is Assistant Professor in the Department of Theology at Loyola University of Chacago.

Excerpts from Reviews:

I like very much the way in which Pintchman carefully establishes the interrelationship between sakt maya, and prakrti, concept that might not at first appear to be closely connected. This book nicely reveals their organic integration, an integration that Hindu culture itself recognized and elaborated only gradually over the centuries. She avoids reading later Sakta or Tantric theological back in the earlier literature, yet she convincingly demonstrate how the later ideas are firmly rooted in the ancient traditions. Thus the book provides the reader with a sense both of the continuities involved in the development of the Great Goddess concept, as well as the major transformations of tradition that such a development entailed.

-C. Mackenzie Brown

There are two complementary, arresting features of this book. one is the broad sweep of the author's inquiry into the history of three concepts that are fundamental to the Great Goddess. She follows a thread of continuity that has never been so crisply delineated. The result is kind of a conceptual adventure story told in flashbacks we know what the mature conception is, as it is now common knowledge. Where it came from makes for very interesting reading. The Second striking feature is the provocative, suggestive linking of this history to contemporary issues regarding gender and women.

-Thomas B. Coburn

The author provides a through discussion of the main concepts relating to the feminine principle in the intellectual, literary traditions of Hinduism. She shows that goddess worship is not a marginal expression but is central to even the most orthodox elements of Hinduism. She also brings together much far-flung scholarship from India, Europe, and the United States without duplicating any of it.

-Kathleen M. Erndl


Acknowledgements xi
Introduction 1
Setting the Stage 1
Textual Issues 7
Summary of the Book 16
The Feminine Principle in the Vedas
Cosmogony, Cosmology, and Goddess in the Vedas 19
Samhita 22
The Waters 22
Earth 30
Aditi 32
Viraj 34
Vac (and Saraswati) 37
Saci/Indrani 41
Brahmanas 43
The Waters 43
Earth/Aditi/Viraj 46
Vac/Saraswati 47
Indrani 52
Upanishads 54
The Water 54
Earth 56
Vac 56
Prakrti, Maya,
and Sakt: The Feminine Principle in Philosophical Discourse
Prakrti 62
The Term  Prakrti in Early Vedic, Grammatical, and Ritual Context 62
 Prakrti As a Material Principle 64
 Prakrti in Vedic and Proto-Samkhya Context 65
The Marriage of Vedic and Proto-Samkhya Materials in the Mahabharta 72
 Prakrti in Classical Samkhya 84
Maya 87
Maya in Vedic and Early Post-Vedic Contexts 88
Maya in Advaita Vedanta 90
Sakti 97
Vedic Roots 98
Sakti in Philosophical Literature 101
Sakti in Grammatical Literature 105
Sakti in Tantric Literature 108
The Feminine Principle in Puranic Cosmogony and Cosmology
Introduction to the Goddess Materials in the Epics and Puranas 117
The Devi-Mahatmya 119
Cosmogony and Goddesses in the Puranas 122
Primary Creation (Sarga): Basic Cosmogony 128
Samkhya-Type Accounts of Cosmogony 128
Reconciliation of Competing Philosophical Systems in Accounts of Primary Creation 131
Secondary Creation (Pratisarga) 137
Creation on the Worlds 137
Creation of Perogeny 139
The Explicit Introduction of the Feminine Element in Creation: Prakrti/Sakti at the Consort of God 144
References outside of Accounts of Cosmogony 144
Integration of the Feminine Principle in Accounts of Cosmogony: Sarga and Pratisarga 145
Vaisnava Purana and Vaisnava Sections of Cross-Sectarian Puranas 146
Saiva Purana and Saiva Sections of Cross-Sectarian Puranas 170
Sakta Purana 178

Concluding Remarks 

Resume 185
Contextual Issues 186
Thematic Issues 186
Historical Issues 190
Interpretive Issues 191
Further Implications of the Study: Historical and Socio-Political Implications Further Implications of the Study: Cultural Implications 192
The Relationship Between Goddesses and Women 194
The Ambiguous Goddess 198
   Sakti/Maya 198
   Prakrti/Maya 199
The Ambiguous Female: From Divine to Human 201
   Women and Creation of the Social Order 208
   Women and Maintenance of the Social Order 211
Notes 215
Bibliography 249
Index 275

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