The present book throws new light, with the help of literary and archaeological data, on the gradual development of concept of Rudra-Siva in his animal, phallic and human forms, since the days of the Harappa Civilization. The approach is mainly historical and the survey is confined to Ancient India. The author has shown how Siva, in his different forms, has so many counterparts in other religions of the world. The book examines how Siva, the composite Aryan-non-Aryan Divinity, was not only admitted but was ultimately crowned with an exalted position in the Brahmanical Pantheon; how the bull once identified with the deity, was relegated to the position of a vahana; how phallism was related to Saivism and also how Siva, in his different forms, was represented in early Indian Art and the Art of Further India. The wide range and depth of the author's research fills a vital gap in the subject and his treatment of the entire subject is unique. This methodical study on Siva also contains an exhaustive bibliography.
About the Author
Mahadev Chakravarti (b. 1942) graduated in History (Hons.) from Vidyasagar College, Calcutta, did his M.A. (Double) and Ph.D. from the University of Calcutta. Originally a scholar of Modern History, he did his monumental work on Rudra-Siva in Ancient India after years of research under the supervision of pioneer indologist Prof. D.C. Sircar to whom the book is dedicated by the author. Dr. Chakravarti started his career as an Assistant Professor of History, Ramkrishna Mahavidyalaya, Kailashahar, Tripura. He is now the Mahatma Gandhi Professor of History, Tripura University. His present specialization is on Tribal History of North East India. He has contributed hundreds of research papers in scholarly journals and national and international seminars. He has edited the monumental four volumes of Administration Report of Tripura State (1902-1942), co-authored The Lushais of Tripura in the Past and Present, The Autonomous District Council and The Tribal Problems: A Perspective, co-edited Forestry Development in North-East India and Rajamala (Tripurar Itibritta) in Bengali.
The present work is an attempt to throw light, with the help of literary and archaeological data, on the gradual development of the concept of Rudra Siva in his theriomorphic, anthropomorphic and phallic forms since the days of the Harappa civilization. The approach to the subject is mainly historical.
In the first chapter, an attempt has been made to congregate the flakes of ideas about Rudra as found in the Vedic literature, then to identify the Vedic Rudra with a host of pre- and post Vedic deities and finally to show how this composite Aryan-non- Aryan divinity was not only admitted but was ultimately crowned with an exalted position in the Brãhmanical pantheon.
The second chapter deals with the theriomorphic representation of Siva as bull. It has been shown how Siva in this form has so many counterparts in the other religions of the world. Stress has been laid on the fact that in course of time the bull, though once identical with the deity, was relegated to the position of the mount of Siva.
In the third chapter, there is the interesting story of the phallic cult which has to be regarded as a part of the general evolution of the religious thoughts of man in various parts of the world. A part of the discussion refers to the relation between Saivism and Phallicism and the different representations of the phallic god in early Indian literature.
In the final chapter, I have discussed the different anthropomorphic images of Siva since the Harappa civilization. Owing to paucity of sculptural specimens, numismatic and glyptic data have been particularly examined to determine the human and phallic forms of Siva in early Indian art. The last two sections in this chapter on art are: ‘Siva and the Liñga in Further India’, and ‘Siva’s Bull in Art’.
The present work is the outcome of years of research under the supervision of Professor D. C. Sircar who introduced me to the world of traditional scholarship in letter and spirit which made it possible for me to go through the original Sanskrit texts. The original title of the work was Rudra-Siva in Ancient India —His Theriomorphic, Anthropomorphic and Phallic Forms and it was submitted as a thesis for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, Calcutta University in 1976. The eminent scholars of Ancient Indian History, Professor B. Mukherjee of Calcutta University, Professor T. V. Mahalingam of Madras University, Professor B. P. Sinha of Patna University were kind enough to go through the manuscript and all of them offered many valuable suggestions, inspiring comments and urged its early publication. As per the suggestion of the Editor of M/s Motilal Banarsidass, I have also consulted all the available publications which have come out after my thesis was written and referred to the same at relevant places in the present book.
I express my unfeigned gratitude and thanks to all those from whom I have taken the photos for illustration and to the authors and publishers of the books which I have consulted in the present work. I offer my thanks to the Indian Council of Historical Research and to M/s Motilal Banarsidass for the publication of this book. My friends and colleagues, particularly Dr. Biswapati Roy, have put me under a debt of gratitude by their words of encouragement. No word is enough to express my gratitude to my wife, Smt. Tapati Chakravarti, Assistant Professor of Economics.
I shall feel amply rewarded if the present work stimulates any thinking along the lines of my approach.
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