The book deals with three mythical account from the Mahabharata namely: (i) Garuda and the Nagas and the wager between Vinata and Kadru; (ii) Kaca, Sukra and Devayani; and (iii) The 'Churning of the Ocean'. It presents a detailed study of these accounts and proposes that they have deeper ethnosocial implications. The conflict between the Nagas and Garuda, together with the wager between Vinata and Kadru, form a tale of two phratries of the bigger Naga clan, and their seeming conflict is an instance of complementary rivalry, characteristic of early societies. The account of Kaca, Sukra and Devayani is based, mainly, on the ritual and belief regarding initiation, involving a pattern of 'swallowing and disgorging, which is indicative of symbolic death and rejuvenation. The 'Churning of the Ocean' is a myth of Creation.
The author has traced these mythical accounts from the early Vedic through the later literature, which are subjected to comparison with tribal and sculptural evidence, both form India and outside.
About the Author
Prof. Sadashiv Ambadas Dange, very well known in India and outside India well known in India and outside India for his contribution to the study of Indology, particularly Sanskrit, and is considered to be an authority on the meaning of Hindu myths and rituals. His numerous books include - Pastoral Symbolism from the Rgveda (University of Poona, 1970), Vedic Concept of 'Field' and the Divine Fructification (University of Bombay, 1971) Sexual Symbolism from the Vedic Ritual (Ajanta Publication, Delhi 1979), Encyclopaedia of Puranic Beliefs and Practices, Vols. I-V, (Navrang, New Delhi, 1986-90), the latest being Towards Understanding Hindu Myths (Aryan Books International, New Dehi,1996).
Prof. Dange had been R.G. Bhandarkar Professor and Head, Dept. of Sanskrit at the University of Bombay (Mumbai) and twice President of the Vedic Section at the sessions of the all India Oriental Conference (1980 & 1985). He was consultant editor for the Encyclopaedia of Human Ideas on Ultimate Reality and Meaning and Editor for the Indian Section Meaning, Toronto (Canada) for more than a decade.
The honours conferred on him include - Silver Medal from the Asiatic Society of Bombay (1983), 'Special Honour' by the Uttar Pradesh Sanskrit Academy (1989), Felicitation by the State Govt. of Maharashtra (1990) and the Certificate of Honour from the President of India, to mention a few.
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