Folklore, or, in short, the traditional beliefs of a people, is the bedrock on which the superstructure of their culture and civilization stand. Lost in the oblivion of dead time, the origins of a people's beliefs lie hidden in mystery, but their influence is supreme, their enchantment everlasting. A systematic study of a folklore forms the clue to the inner life of its people and leads one to an appreciation and understanding of their ideas, religious and secular, intellectual and artistic.
The book on hand on The Popular Religion and Folklore of Northern India by W. Crooke, originally published in 1894, is one of the first attempt to bring together information, then available, about our great and mighty religion as current in its original home in Northern India. The author who was in the Bengal Civil Service has brought to bear upon it a diligence and conscientiousness, the qualities which had marked the British ruling class to which he belongs. All the valuable information which he collected in the course of his official business, he has put together in this book, sifting the grain from the chaff and with an emphasis on facts rather theorizing on them. He has also, for comparison and support, drawn upon other contemporary works. Wherever they lend themselves, he has shown parallels in other folklores, particularly the European. Our worship of things natural, of trees, serpents and animals of the sainted and malevolent dead, of heroes, our belief in evil eyes, ghosts and demons, our practice of Black Art, Totemism and Fetishism, all - these have received detailed study at the author's hands. The book appeals at both the levels of the scholar and the layman, illuminating the one and entertaining the other. It takes us nearer to the basis on which Hinduism has been founded.
The Godlings of Nature
The Heroic and Village Godlings
The Godlings of Disease
The Worship of the Sainted Dead
Worship of the Malevolent Dead
The Evil Eye and the Scaring of Ghosts
Tree and Serpent Worship
Totemism and Fetishism
The Black Art
Some Rural Festivals and Ceremonies
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