Man from the very beginning of his evolution has been wonder struck at the mystery of creation Seeing the mother as the concrete creator, he has bestowed both respect and awe for the female principle. It is no surprise then that when man began to entertain even rudiments of religion, statues of Mother Goddess crudely carved stone Venuses of the Upper Paleolithic times-were his first religious symbols in anthropomorphic form. Since then the worship of Mother Goddess has become universal in all communities down the ages. India was no exception, and a miniature terracotta figure of a Mother Goddess found at Oriup in Bhagalpur district in Bihar may be one of the earliest such figures of Mother Goddess belonging to Neolithic-chalcolithic period in Eastern India. In the Harappa culture also. the worship of the Mother Goddess was very prominent and in the Vedic pantheon female goddesses are quite numerous and important Dr. Shrivastava in his book has tried to trace the history of the cult from both archaeological and literary sources. It is a difficult task in view of the enormity of the sources and the variety of the ideas pertaining to the cult through the passage of time. Dr. Shrivastava showing the quality of nira-ks-ira-vivechana has largely succeeded in unravelling the tangled webs and in presenting a readable account.
The present work, "Mother Goddess in Ancient Indian Art and Literature", embodies in the main my Ph.D. Thesis approved by the Patna University. In this work, a sincere effort has been made to present a complete historical survey of the development of Mother Goddess worship in Ancient India. And. in doing so both the literary and the archaeological sources have. as far as practicable, been thoroughly utilized.
In the preparation of this work I have benefited much by many scholarly works. It would, therefore, be unfair not to record my deep sense of gratitude to the scholars whose works I have thoroughly utilized. I would be failing in my duty if I do not record my profound regards and indebtedness to my reverend Gurudeva, Dr. B.P. Sinha, MA, Ph.D (Lond), University Professor & Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History & Archaeology, Patna University, Patna, under whose scholarly shade this work was prepared. As a supervisor we was always ready to discuss problems connected with my research work. I am ever grateful him for this and the encouragement, besides, valuable guidance I received from him. I am further grateful to him for the favour shown to me by contributing a "Foreword" to this work of mine. I am very much thankful to my colleagues, Dr. B. Sahai, M.A., Ph.D., Reader and Dr. S.N. Sahay, M.A., Ph.D., Lecturer for their valuable suggestions which I received from them while preparing the final manuscript for the press. My thanks are also due to Dr. (Smt.) S.M. Devi, M.A.. Ph.D., Lecturer in the Department from whom I always received encouragement and valuable suggestions. To my friend Sri L.A. Narain, Deputy keeper, Pre-History Section, National Museum. New Delhi. I am very much grateful as he shoulders the entire responsibility of looking after the publication of this work while going through the press This has saved much of time and labour. My thanks are also due to Sri P.N. Sahay, M.A., who was Librarian in the Department (now Librarian in the Indian Council of Historical Research, New Delhi) for the facilities he provided in the Departmental Library and to Sri P.K. Bose, Photographer who helped me in the preparation of the plates.
To my alma mater I am very much grateful for the financial assistance which 1 received from it during the period of research.
In the end my thanks are also due to Sri Agam Prasad, Proprietor, Messrs. Agam Kala Prakashan, Delhi, for the keen interest he took in the preparation of this work in a very short span of time.
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