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Himalayan Pantheon: A Guide to the Gods and Goddesses of Nepal
Himalayan Pantheon: A Guide to the Gods and Goddesses of Nepal
Description

Introduction

Visitors to Nepal, particularly Westerners, may find the large pantheon of gods and goddesses worshipped in this tiny Himalayan country by Hindus, Buddhists and animists bewildering. Therefore, we have attempted this small book as a guide to the predominant religious iconography in the Himalayan kingdom. It is by no means exhaustive, nor is it an attempt to explicate the whys and wherefores of religious belief. Some people may be put off by what they consider to be the vast number of "idols" and bloody sacrifices, while others may be seduced by exoticism of it all. Without making any cultural value judgements, the present work humbly attempts to identify and explain the chief deities worshipped in Nepal.

Although Nepal is nominally a Hindu kingdom, those coming from India may also find the iconography quite different from Nepal's southern neighbor. Nepal, being the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism, and due to its lingering influence is home to a unique syncretic religious culture that combines many aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism. Hence, there are a number of syncretic Hindu-Buddhist deities described in this book which is divided into five chapters:

1. Hindu gods,
2. Hindu goddesses,
3. Buddhist gods
4. Buddhist goddesses
5. Hybrid deities.


Since Nepal is marketed as an "exotic" tourist destination where the exotic appeal seems to draw more on its proximity to Tibet than its cultural roots with Hindu India, it is erroneously presumed by some that Buddhism is the predominant religion of Nepal. According to the Nepal Encyclopedia, less than six percent of the population of Nepal is Buddhist and these followers belong mainly to the Sherpa, Tamang and Newar communities. However, this low figure is contested by those who question the vested interests of keeping the Hindu Kingdom predominantly Hindu.

Like humans, the gods and goddesses of the Himalaya have their own individual personalities. They can be paternal or fierce, compassionate or wrathful, depending on their moods. Nepal's broad pantheon encompasses a wide range of deities who can be found anywhere and everywhere. Not only in shrines, temples, homes, factories and offices, but in trees and fields. All must be propitiated. To ignore them, it is believed, is to risk the deity's displeasure, and enduing diseases, misfortune and even death.

Thus, a typical day for many Nepalese would begin with some worship or token puja(may be just offering of incense or a flower) to the household altar or religious icon, then perhaps a visit to a neighborhood temple- a ritual usually performed by womenfolk. The first god to be propitiated is usually Ganesh, as he is said to intercede on behalf of other gods and removes all obstacles on the path. Saturday, the weekly holiday in Nepal, is therefore the day most people visit the temples and shrines.

Back Of Book

Visitors to Nepal, particularly Westerners, may find the large pantheon of gods and goddesses worshipped in this tiny Himalayan country by Hindus, Buddhists and animists bewildering. This small book is a pocket guide to the predominant religious iconography in the Himalayan kingdom and the temples and festivals associated with them. Some people may be put off by what they consider to be the vast number of "idols" and bloody sacrifice, while others may be seduced by the exoticism of it all. Without making any cultural value judgements, the present work attempts to identify and explain the chief deities worshipped in Nepal.

* Who is the prepubescent "living goddess" and why is she worshipped?
* Who are the phallic deities worshipped for fertility?
* Which are the horrific deities offered animal sacrifices?
* Who is the goddess that bestows good luck? The goddess that bestows knowledge, whose symbol is the six - pointed star?
* What is a Bodhisattva?

These are some of the topics covered in this little book. Although Nepal is nominally a Hindu kingdom, those coming from India may also find Nepal's religious iconography quite different from its southern neighbor.
 

CONTENTS

  Introduction vii
  Chapters  
1. HINDU GODS 1
           Lord Shiva 1
           Ganesh and Kumar 4
           Lord Vishnu 7
           Indra 11
           Bhimsen 13
2. HINDU GODDESSES 15
           Laxmi 15
           Saraswati 16
           Shakti or Devi 17
           Kumari 20
3. BUDDHIST DETTIES 24
           Buddha 24
           Adibuddha 25
           Vajradhara 26
           Five Dhyani Buddhas 26
           Amoghpash Lokesvara 27
           Bodhisattvas 28
            Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara 29
           Rato Machchendranath 29
           Manjushri 31
           Vajrapani 32
           Padmapani 32
4. BUDDHIST GODDESSES 33
           Tara 33
           Sri Devi or Lhamo 35
           Prajnaparamita 35
           Vasundhara 36
           Harati or Ajima 36
5. HYBRID HINDU/BUDDHIST AND TANTRIK DEITIES 37
           Mahakala 38
           Yama 39
           Hayagriva 39

Sample Pages





Himalayan Pantheon: A Guide to the Gods and Goddesses of Nepal

Item Code:
IDJ088
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
1988
Publisher:
ISBN:
8173031258
Size:
8.1" X 5.2"
Pages:
39 (Black & White illus: 24)
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 80 gms
Price:
$10.00
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$8.00   Shipping Free
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Introduction

Visitors to Nepal, particularly Westerners, may find the large pantheon of gods and goddesses worshipped in this tiny Himalayan country by Hindus, Buddhists and animists bewildering. Therefore, we have attempted this small book as a guide to the predominant religious iconography in the Himalayan kingdom. It is by no means exhaustive, nor is it an attempt to explicate the whys and wherefores of religious belief. Some people may be put off by what they consider to be the vast number of "idols" and bloody sacrifices, while others may be seduced by exoticism of it all. Without making any cultural value judgements, the present work humbly attempts to identify and explain the chief deities worshipped in Nepal.

Although Nepal is nominally a Hindu kingdom, those coming from India may also find the iconography quite different from Nepal's southern neighbor. Nepal, being the birthplace of the founder of Buddhism, and due to its lingering influence is home to a unique syncretic religious culture that combines many aspects of Hinduism and Buddhism. Hence, there are a number of syncretic Hindu-Buddhist deities described in this book which is divided into five chapters:

1. Hindu gods,
2. Hindu goddesses,
3. Buddhist gods
4. Buddhist goddesses
5. Hybrid deities.


Since Nepal is marketed as an "exotic" tourist destination where the exotic appeal seems to draw more on its proximity to Tibet than its cultural roots with Hindu India, it is erroneously presumed by some that Buddhism is the predominant religion of Nepal. According to the Nepal Encyclopedia, less than six percent of the population of Nepal is Buddhist and these followers belong mainly to the Sherpa, Tamang and Newar communities. However, this low figure is contested by those who question the vested interests of keeping the Hindu Kingdom predominantly Hindu.

Like humans, the gods and goddesses of the Himalaya have their own individual personalities. They can be paternal or fierce, compassionate or wrathful, depending on their moods. Nepal's broad pantheon encompasses a wide range of deities who can be found anywhere and everywhere. Not only in shrines, temples, homes, factories and offices, but in trees and fields. All must be propitiated. To ignore them, it is believed, is to risk the deity's displeasure, and enduing diseases, misfortune and even death.

Thus, a typical day for many Nepalese would begin with some worship or token puja(may be just offering of incense or a flower) to the household altar or religious icon, then perhaps a visit to a neighborhood temple- a ritual usually performed by womenfolk. The first god to be propitiated is usually Ganesh, as he is said to intercede on behalf of other gods and removes all obstacles on the path. Saturday, the weekly holiday in Nepal, is therefore the day most people visit the temples and shrines.

Back Of Book

Visitors to Nepal, particularly Westerners, may find the large pantheon of gods and goddesses worshipped in this tiny Himalayan country by Hindus, Buddhists and animists bewildering. This small book is a pocket guide to the predominant religious iconography in the Himalayan kingdom and the temples and festivals associated with them. Some people may be put off by what they consider to be the vast number of "idols" and bloody sacrifice, while others may be seduced by the exoticism of it all. Without making any cultural value judgements, the present work attempts to identify and explain the chief deities worshipped in Nepal.

* Who is the prepubescent "living goddess" and why is she worshipped?
* Who are the phallic deities worshipped for fertility?
* Which are the horrific deities offered animal sacrifices?
* Who is the goddess that bestows good luck? The goddess that bestows knowledge, whose symbol is the six - pointed star?
* What is a Bodhisattva?

These are some of the topics covered in this little book. Although Nepal is nominally a Hindu kingdom, those coming from India may also find Nepal's religious iconography quite different from its southern neighbor.
 

CONTENTS

  Introduction vii
  Chapters  
1. HINDU GODS 1
           Lord Shiva 1
           Ganesh and Kumar 4
           Lord Vishnu 7
           Indra 11
           Bhimsen 13
2. HINDU GODDESSES 15
           Laxmi 15
           Saraswati 16
           Shakti or Devi 17
           Kumari 20
3. BUDDHIST DETTIES 24
           Buddha 24
           Adibuddha 25
           Vajradhara 26
           Five Dhyani Buddhas 26
           Amoghpash Lokesvara 27
           Bodhisattvas 28
            Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara 29
           Rato Machchendranath 29
           Manjushri 31
           Vajrapani 32
           Padmapani 32
4. BUDDHIST GODDESSES 33
           Tara 33
           Sri Devi or Lhamo 35
           Prajnaparamita 35
           Vasundhara 36
           Harati or Ajima 36
5. HYBRID HINDU/BUDDHIST AND TANTRIK DEITIES 37
           Mahakala 38
           Yama 39
           Hayagriva 39

Sample Pages





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