The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology

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University of California Press, 1980 - History - 411 pages
2 Reviews
"While focusing on the central problem of evil, O'Fiaherty illuminates every aspect of Hindu thought."  --Choice   "This is Dr. O'Flaherty's third book on Indian mythology, and the best yet. The range and number of myths handled is dazzling .... Moreover, her fluent and lucid style make reading a pleasure .... a major contribution to the study of religion in general and Hinduism in particular." --Times Literary Supplement   "This scholarly work is a welcome and valuable addition to Hindu studies because it corrects the widespread belief that Hindu thought does not recognize the problem of evil. The author shows conclusively that the mythology of tribal societies and the Puranas deal with this question extensively. She traces certain conceptual attitudes towards evil from the Vedic period to the present day." --Library Journal   "O'Flaherty has accomplished an important double task. She has reoriented our thinking on the Indian experience of evil as it has been given literary expression in the mythological texts of the Sanskrit tradition and to a lesser extent in the Tamil and tribal traditions as well. She has also provided, in this rich and exquisitely crafted book, a new set of vantage points from which to re-read familiar Indian myths and encounter new ones. . . Origins is both a superb piece of scholarship and a lively, witty and engagingly written book."
--South Asia in Review   "The author performs a brilliant feat in her textually exegetical and hermeneutical handling of the numerous and many-faceted myths. The study is highly pertinent and valuable . . . The authorial translations from the Hindu and Pali texts are refreshing ... and her comments are illuminating. Thus the Hindu view of evil comes out as something not simplistic and arbitrary but as an approach which is careful, complex, and richly eclectic. . . . This is a highly readable volume written with verve, sparkle and occasional light touches of decent humor." --Asian Student   "For serious students of mythology, theology and Hinduism, this book is must reading." --Religious Studies Review
 

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The belief of the Hindus was that all Hindu scriptures were holy and sacred and therefore it was sacreligious to produce manuscripts or books. Hindu scriptures remained mnemonic right from the beginning of the birth of Hinduism. During the long periods of Hindu (Guptas and their successive dynasties, southern kingdom of Vijayanagar and Mahrattas) and Muslim rule, Hindu Scriptues such as the Vedas, the Ramayana, the Mhabharata, the Puranas and other devotional songs and prayers were not preserved in manuscripts or printed books However, it was due to the ingenious ideas of William Jones, Colebroke and Wilson that a new face to Hinduism was crafted. British scholars of Asiatic Society ‘constructed’ a new Hinduism by utilizing fake contemporary manuscripts and projecting them as genuine. Wellesley established in 1800 Fort William College, modeled on Oxford or Cambridge, with a staff of professors teaching Arabic, Persian, Urdu and Sanskrit, as well as courses on Muslim and Hindu law, English jurisprudence, and traditional European studies such as the classics.The British scholars of Asiatic society employed Sanskrit-knowing Brahmin priests to recite from memory century old Hindu scriptures Scientists say that memory loss begins at the age of 40. Brahmins recited by including many Christian and contemporary ideals which were popular in Calcutta at that time to make Hinduism modern. Even Indian History was constructed by British scholars from scratch. The Indus Valley civilization was brought to light by John Marshall and the very existence of Emperor Ashoka was revealed to the world by James Prinsep in 1837. According to Thapar, British scholars of Asiatic Society “constructed Hinduism.” Even Kalidas' Sakuntala was edited on the model of Shakespeare and it was this version which was made popular in the West. So it was a new, remodeled and expurgated Hinduism written in chaste English including Christian and contemporary ideas that was presented to the West to get their admiration. All evils in Hinduism such as sati (burning alive of widows), female infanticide, caste apartheid, dowry cruelty based on Hindu scriptures, human sacrifice in temples and so many other cruel acts in society are camouflaged and a false propaganda of highly advanced civilization, culture and philosophy are projected. It is falsely claimed that modern scientific terms in physics, mathematics , knowledge in medicine and surgery are in Hindu literature. But if we ask them to show the particular portion in their literature, they deviate from the main issue. Wendy Doniger has skilfully written to give a realistic outlook of Indian history.  

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This is the crappiest book ever written by someone with zero understanding of Hindu religions and a distinct urge to put Hindu religion in negative light. I am appled at the level of ignorance expressed in literary words. What is waste of time.

Contents

TIME FATE AND THE FALL OF MAN
14
THE NECESSITY OF EVIL
46
GODS DEMONS AND MEN
57
THE BIRTH OF DEATH
212
CROWDS IN HEAVEN
248
GOD IS A HERETIC
272
3 The problem of imitation 286 4 Gautama and the Seven
310
GOOD AND EVIL WITHIN MAN
321
gration
360
THE MANY PATHS OF THEODICY
370
The one and the many 370 2 The varieties of Hindu experience
376
INDEX
397
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About the author (1980)

Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty is a scholar of Sanskrit and Indian textual traditions, her major works include, Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva; Hindu Myths: A Sourcebook; The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology; Women, Androgynes, and Other Mythical Beasts; and The Rig Veda: An Anthology, 108 Hymns Translated from the Sanskrit. She is the Mircea Eliade Distinguished Service Professor of History of Religions at the University of Chicago and was president of the Association for Asian Studies in 1998.

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