Devata. The Hindu Gods


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ISBN : 8170209250


Author : A Reculsive of Vindhyachala


Pages : 274 pp


Year of Publishing : 1999


Binding : Hardbound




The worship of deities or devatas, seen as powerful beings who can respond to supplication with both worldly boons and help in achieving salvation, is central to most Hindu traditions. Devatas in great profusion populate the Hindu world; some are figures of subcontinental renown whose attributes and deeds are celebrated in well known texts; other are regional or local figures. The religious ideas of these deities developed from the primitive beliefs of pre-Aryan age to the veneration of numerous deities, embodying the forces of Nature, in the period of the Vedas. Although great credit is due to European scholars for what they have done for Sanskrit learning, yet their works generally suffer from the disadvantage that was pointed out by Schopenhauer more than half a century ago. He said, “…the translations of Sanskrit works by European scholars, with very few exceptions, are as yet very imperfect. I cannot resist a certain suspicion that our Sanskrit scholars do not understand their (Hindu) texts much better than the higher class of schoolboys their Greek. Of course, as they are not boys, but men of knowledge and understanding, they put together, out of what they do understand, something like that the general meaning may have been, but much probably creeps in ex ingenio.”

But the above observation of the distinguished European philosopher can hardly apply to the author of the present work. He is a veteran scholar and has devoted more than half a century of his long and eventful life, not only to the study of Sanskrit literature and philosophy in general, but also of comparative philosophy and comparative mythology. It is said that no mythology in the world has so many points of interest and such intrinsic value as that of Hindus. But to understand it is, by no means, an easy task. The present work we hope, furnishes the key to the modern Hinduism, for, the writer has brought to bear on its preparation his great learning of the Vedas, the Puranas and the Tantras as well as his careful observation of the customs and manners of the Hindus. The present work not only contains interesting information regarding gods and goddesses of the Hindu pantheon, but also an important chapter on some of the useful plants mentioned in the Hindu sashtras.

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