God Inside Out: Śiva's Game of Dice

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Oxford University Press, 1997 - Education - 219 pages
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This book offers a new exploration of the mythology of the Hindu god Siva, who spends his time playing dice with his wife, to whom he habitually loses. The result of the game is our world, which turns the god inside-out and changes his internal composition. Hindus maintain that Siva is perpetually absorbed in this game, which is recreated in innumerable stories, poems, paintings, and sculptural carvings. This notion of the god at play, argue Handelman and Shulman, is one of the most central and expressive veins in the metaphysics elaborated through the centuries, in many idioms and modes, around the god.
The book comprises three interlocking essays; the first presents the dice-game proper, in the light of the texts and visual depictions the authors have collected. The second and third chapters take up two mythic "sequels" to the game. Based on their analysis of these sequels, the authors argue that notions of "asceticism" so frequently associated with Siva, with Yoga, and with Hindu religion are, in fact, foreign to Hinduism's inherent logic as reflected in Siva's game of dice. They suggest an alternative reading of this set of practices and ideas, providing startling new insights into Hindu mythology and the major poetic texts from the classical Sanskrit tradition.
  

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Contents

When Siva Plays 1 Bhrngins Scream
3
The Elephanta Panels
7
Kedarakhanda 3435
17
Minor Victories
25
How to Play
32
The Boundary between NotPlay and Play
37
Metaphysics of the Fluid Indie Cosmos
45
The Rajasuya Dice Game and the Modeling of the Cosmos
61
One More Game
106
The Andhaka Outcome 1 Withered Clown
113
Mistress of Play
116
Birth Body Transformation
122
Andhaka at Ellora
131
Andhaka of Arcot
145
Becoming a Rock
155
Melting and Marrying
159

The Mahabharata Dice Game
68
The Elimination of the Androgyne Outcome
74
When Visnu Plays Dice
93
Unfettered the Trickster Who Plays with God
96
Spaces and Gaps
176
Hunger
189
References
203
Copyright

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About the author (1997)

David Shulman is at Hebrew University.

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