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The Origins of Evil In Hindu Mythology
The Origins of Evil In Hindu Mythology
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From the Jacket: The problem of evil, in particular the question of theodicy, has long been overlooked or misunderstood by Indologists, who have maintained that there is no problem of evil in Indian thought, or that it was "solved" by the doctrine of transmigration and Karma. Writers on Indian philosophy have touched upon the problem but no one has treated the extensive mythology of evil in Vedic and Puranic texts, which offer the full range of Indian approaches to the problem. The intense emotional weight of the question of evil drove Hindus to generate literally hundreds of diverse and often contradictory alternative answers, persupposing but quickly transcending the logical yet unsatisfying " answer" offered by the doctrine of Karma. The very bulk of these texts indicates the importance of the subject in Indian thought, and the failure to take into consideration some of the rather idiosyncratic Indian attitudes to this most basic problem has led to widespread misunderstanding of Indian religious thought in general.

Dr. O'Flaherty marshals more than a thousand myths from the earliest levels of Indian thought through contemproary tribal traditions, grouping and analysing them according to the "villain" in each plot - occasionally abstractions such as time, fate, or necessity, but more often anthropomorphic figures of gods, demons, or (rarely) men. Many of these myths have previously escaped the notice of Indologists: many have never been translated before; all are newly translated by the author and illuminated by mutual comparison - one myth explaining another - and through a hermeneutical approach which draws upon textual exegesis and a study of the ritual context of Indian religion. The Hindu's reluctance to blame demons or men for the origin of evil leads to a preponderance of myths in which demons are virtuous, while the gods - through inadequacy, malevolence, or (in later, devotional theology ) a cynical benevolence-remove their own evil and thrust it upon mankind. A final attempt to resolve the conflict between good and evil within the individual is analysed in the light of psychoanalytical concepts of ambivalence, weaning ("the breast that feeds itself"), and splitting and integration.

About the Author:

Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty has taught Indian religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Asceticism and Sexuality in the Mythology of Siva, Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook Translated from the Sanskrit, and other works.

Contents:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I. INTRODUCTION: THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
1. The nature of theodicy 
2. The problem of evil in India   
3. The Indian Concept of   evil   
4. The confrontation of evil in Hindu Mythology   
5. Notes on method   
6. The questions and the answers

II. TIME, FATE, AND THE FALL OF MAN
1. The "solution" of karma   
2. The problem of the beginning of time   
3. Free will and the fall   
4. The Indian Myth of the fall   
5. The natural origin of evil   
6. Women and the origin of evil   
7. Hunger and sin   
8. The chain of evil and of civilization   
9. The end of the kali age

III. THE NECESSITY OF EVIL
1. God willingly creates evil   
2. God creates evil against his will

IV. GODS, DEMONS, AND MEN
1. The consanguinity of Gods and demons   
2. The ambiguous virtue of demons   
3. The fall of the demons   
4. Evil created by demons   
5. The three stages of alignment of Gods, demons, and men   
6. The first stage: Vedic sacrifice (Gods and men vs. demons)   
7. The second stage: post-Vedic antiascetric orthodoxy (Gods vs. demons and men)
8. The jealousy of the Gods

V. THE PARADOX OF THE GOOD DEMON: THE CLASH BETWEEN RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE ETHICS
1.  Svadharma and eternal dharma    
2.  The Vedas of the demons   
3.  Indra against Tvastr   
4.  Indra against Visvarupa  and Vrtra, the demon priests   
5.  Indra against the treacherous nephews of Tvastr   
6.  Indra against Agni and Soma   
7.  Kaca, the son of Brhaspati, against the daughter of Sukra   
8.  Indra against Sanda and Marka, the sons of Sukra   
9.  Indra against Sukra   
10. Indra against Virocana   
11. Indra against Brhaspati   
12. Brhaspati against Sukra   
13. The demon devotee: the bhakti revolution   
14. The virtuous king: the perils of Prahlada   
15. The ambivalences of the demon priest

VI. THE PARADOX OF THE EVIL GOD: THE TRANSFER OF SIN
1. Evil arises on earth from parts of the body of God   
2. The transfer of evil   
3. The expiation of Indra's Brahminicide   
4. The transfer of Indra's Brahminicide   
5. The transfer of Siva's dangerous Energy   
6. The transfer of the evil of the Gods   
7. Sin and pollution   
8. The beast and the snare

VII. THE CORRUPTION OF DEMONS AND MEN: THE FALSE AVATAR
1. The corruption of demons by the Gods   
2. Indra corrupts the son of Raji   
3. Siva corrupts the demons of the Triple City   
4. Visnu as Buddha corrupts the demons  
5. Siva corrupts Divodasa   
6. Demons and mortal Buddhists of the kali age   
7. The positive Aspects of the Buddha avatar

VIII. THE BIRTH OF DEATH
1. The evil of death   
2. The conquest of death   
3. The victory of death   
4. The office of death: Siva (Sthanu) opposes Brahma   
5. The svadharma of death   
6. The death of death: Siva opposes Yama   
7. The devotee's conquest of death: Yayatri opposes Indra   
8. The tribal Mythology of the origin of death

IX. CROWDS IN HEAVEN
1. The danger of crowds in heaven   
2. The destruction of shrines on earth   
3. The earth overburdened by sinners   
4. The destruction of the human race and the shrine of Dvaraka 

X. GOD IS A HERETIC
1. Daksa and the curse of heresy   
2. Siva as outcaste and heretic: the Kapalika   
3. The problem of imitation   
4. Gautama and the seven sages in the great drought   
5. Siva cursed in the pine forest: the "heresy" of linga-worship   
6. The curse of Bhrgu   
7. Siva enlightens the pine forest sages 

XI. THE SPLIT CHILD: GOOD AND EVIL WITHIN MAN
1. The Myth of Vena and Prthu   
2. The symbolism of cows and milk   
3. The stallion and the mare   
4. The good and evil mother   
5. The androgynous parent   
6. The split child   
7. The breast that feeds itself   
8. The splitting of Gandhi   
9. Splitting and integration

XII. CONCLUSION: THE MANY PATHS OF THEODICY
1. The one and the many   
2. The varieties of Hindu experience 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX

The Origins of Evil In Hindu Mythology

Item Code:
NAB021
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
1988
ISBN:
8120803868
Language:
English
Size:
8.9" x 5.9"
Pages:
411
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$41.10
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From the Jacket: The problem of evil, in particular the question of theodicy, has long been overlooked or misunderstood by Indologists, who have maintained that there is no problem of evil in Indian thought, or that it was "solved" by the doctrine of transmigration and Karma. Writers on Indian philosophy have touched upon the problem but no one has treated the extensive mythology of evil in Vedic and Puranic texts, which offer the full range of Indian approaches to the problem. The intense emotional weight of the question of evil drove Hindus to generate literally hundreds of diverse and often contradictory alternative answers, persupposing but quickly transcending the logical yet unsatisfying " answer" offered by the doctrine of Karma. The very bulk of these texts indicates the importance of the subject in Indian thought, and the failure to take into consideration some of the rather idiosyncratic Indian attitudes to this most basic problem has led to widespread misunderstanding of Indian religious thought in general.

Dr. O'Flaherty marshals more than a thousand myths from the earliest levels of Indian thought through contemproary tribal traditions, grouping and analysing them according to the "villain" in each plot - occasionally abstractions such as time, fate, or necessity, but more often anthropomorphic figures of gods, demons, or (rarely) men. Many of these myths have previously escaped the notice of Indologists: many have never been translated before; all are newly translated by the author and illuminated by mutual comparison - one myth explaining another - and through a hermeneutical approach which draws upon textual exegesis and a study of the ritual context of Indian religion. The Hindu's reluctance to blame demons or men for the origin of evil leads to a preponderance of myths in which demons are virtuous, while the gods - through inadequacy, malevolence, or (in later, devotional theology ) a cynical benevolence-remove their own evil and thrust it upon mankind. A final attempt to resolve the conflict between good and evil within the individual is analysed in the light of psychoanalytical concepts of ambivalence, weaning ("the breast that feeds itself"), and splitting and integration.

About the Author:

Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty has taught Indian religion at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Asceticism and Sexuality in the Mythology of Siva, Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook Translated from the Sanskrit, and other works.

Contents:

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT

I. INTRODUCTION: THE PROBLEM OF EVIL
1. The nature of theodicy 
2. The problem of evil in India   
3. The Indian Concept of   evil   
4. The confrontation of evil in Hindu Mythology   
5. Notes on method   
6. The questions and the answers

II. TIME, FATE, AND THE FALL OF MAN
1. The "solution" of karma   
2. The problem of the beginning of time   
3. Free will and the fall   
4. The Indian Myth of the fall   
5. The natural origin of evil   
6. Women and the origin of evil   
7. Hunger and sin   
8. The chain of evil and of civilization   
9. The end of the kali age

III. THE NECESSITY OF EVIL
1. God willingly creates evil   
2. God creates evil against his will

IV. GODS, DEMONS, AND MEN
1. The consanguinity of Gods and demons   
2. The ambiguous virtue of demons   
3. The fall of the demons   
4. Evil created by demons   
5. The three stages of alignment of Gods, demons, and men   
6. The first stage: Vedic sacrifice (Gods and men vs. demons)   
7. The second stage: post-Vedic antiascetric orthodoxy (Gods vs. demons and men)
8. The jealousy of the Gods

V. THE PARADOX OF THE GOOD DEMON: THE CLASH BETWEEN RELATIVE AND ABSOLUTE ETHICS
1.  Svadharma and eternal dharma    
2.  The Vedas of the demons   
3.  Indra against Tvastr   
4.  Indra against Visvarupa  and Vrtra, the demon priests   
5.  Indra against the treacherous nephews of Tvastr   
6.  Indra against Agni and Soma   
7.  Kaca, the son of Brhaspati, against the daughter of Sukra   
8.  Indra against Sanda and Marka, the sons of Sukra   
9.  Indra against Sukra   
10. Indra against Virocana   
11. Indra against Brhaspati   
12. Brhaspati against Sukra   
13. The demon devotee: the bhakti revolution   
14. The virtuous king: the perils of Prahlada   
15. The ambivalences of the demon priest

VI. THE PARADOX OF THE EVIL GOD: THE TRANSFER OF SIN
1. Evil arises on earth from parts of the body of God   
2. The transfer of evil   
3. The expiation of Indra's Brahminicide   
4. The transfer of Indra's Brahminicide   
5. The transfer of Siva's dangerous Energy   
6. The transfer of the evil of the Gods   
7. Sin and pollution   
8. The beast and the snare

VII. THE CORRUPTION OF DEMONS AND MEN: THE FALSE AVATAR
1. The corruption of demons by the Gods   
2. Indra corrupts the son of Raji   
3. Siva corrupts the demons of the Triple City   
4. Visnu as Buddha corrupts the demons  
5. Siva corrupts Divodasa   
6. Demons and mortal Buddhists of the kali age   
7. The positive Aspects of the Buddha avatar

VIII. THE BIRTH OF DEATH
1. The evil of death   
2. The conquest of death   
3. The victory of death   
4. The office of death: Siva (Sthanu) opposes Brahma   
5. The svadharma of death   
6. The death of death: Siva opposes Yama   
7. The devotee's conquest of death: Yayatri opposes Indra   
8. The tribal Mythology of the origin of death

IX. CROWDS IN HEAVEN
1. The danger of crowds in heaven   
2. The destruction of shrines on earth   
3. The earth overburdened by sinners   
4. The destruction of the human race and the shrine of Dvaraka 

X. GOD IS A HERETIC
1. Daksa and the curse of heresy   
2. Siva as outcaste and heretic: the Kapalika   
3. The problem of imitation   
4. Gautama and the seven sages in the great drought   
5. Siva cursed in the pine forest: the "heresy" of linga-worship   
6. The curse of Bhrgu   
7. Siva enlightens the pine forest sages 

XI. THE SPLIT CHILD: GOOD AND EVIL WITHIN MAN
1. The Myth of Vena and Prthu   
2. The symbolism of cows and milk   
3. The stallion and the mare   
4. The good and evil mother   
5. The androgynous parent   
6. The split child   
7. The breast that feeds itself   
8. The splitting of Gandhi   
9. Splitting and integration

XII. CONCLUSION: THE MANY PATHS OF THEODICY
1. The one and the many   
2. The varieties of Hindu experience 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX
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