The Origins of Evil in Hindu Mythology
This work deals at length with various theories about relgion prevalent at the time when Megasthenes visited India very interesting and scholarly views have been put forth regarding investigations of Megasthenes their reliability and the reliability of his reporters.
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worst book in which author does not understand the vastness of Hinduism and its real message which 1 billion Hindus adhere to. Instead it completely demonizes entire Hinduism with few misunderstood references. If this is what Hinduism teaches than how over 1 billion Hindus are non violent, scholarly, intelligent and caring compassionate people. How this religion has produced some of the best leaders in the world. Buddha, Mahavir, vinova Bhave and Gandhi/ The logic and deep understanding of the references is lacking in this book. Wendy is a right wing Christian conspiracy, and hate monger I believe.
I have read this book with great interest and consider it to be a valuable scholarly work but I regret the author’s lack of interest in history and archaeology. I first heard about her twenty years back from Prof. Sukumari Bhattacharji who told me that Prof. Donigher had referred to her book “The Indian Theogony” as full of undigested stuff. About six years back Prof. Bhattacharji told me that one of Prof. Donigher’s students came to meet her and admitted that the remark should be forgotten as a youthful prank and that Prof. Donigher frequently consulted the book. Prof. Bhattacharji always praised Prof. Donigher’s knowledge of the Puranas and her work on Shiva and I must admit I have also gained much from her psychoanalytic perspective.
I have written something about the links of Shiva and the ‘Egyptian’ god Min and the Indian goddess Minakshi which is close to the spirit of Prof. Bhattacharji’s work. Prof. T. McEvilley also puts Shiva in a similar frame but Wendy Donigher disappoints badly.
More shocking is her superficial treatment of the numerous names. When I bought her book on Manu years back I was disgusted by her lack of depth. Take the example of the term ‘demon’ in this book. She explains it in some places as ‘Rakshasas’ but never mentions the term Danava which is shocking. She knows that there were good demons and freely writes about Vishnu beguiling the demons to become Buddhists (p. 101). Lamentably she understands Buddhism only from the platter of historians such as Romila Thapar for whom the Buddhists were Nepalis to start with. But a little circumspection shows that Gotama, who is named as Buddho-Dana by Al-beruni could have been one of the good danavas. I imagine Prof. Thapar would prefer to brush aside Al-beruni’s data as rubbish but it has to be noted that Gotama’s father and all his uncles had Dana-names. Gotama belonged to the same clan as Daniel the Jew. To use one word ‘demon’ for both the Rakshasas and the Danavas is a reckless blunder.
I have recently written in a paper in the Mithras Reader III that the Yadus were the ancestors of Abraham. I cannot understand how, being a Jew herself, she writes about the holocaust of the Yadus and yet misses the close resemblance of Judaic philosophy and culture with that of the Yadus.
I have also written in my website http://www.ranajitpal.com and papers in the journal Scholia (vol. 15) and Mithras Reader III that Sudda-Yauda-Saramana of the Persepolis tablets was Gotama’s father who can be clearly seen to be a Yadu or a Jew.
Sudda-Yauda-Saramana is also called Sudda-Yauda-Damana which is closer to Prof. Donigher’s ‘demons’. The Damanavadi Sangha of Panini was a Sangha of Buddhist Demons.
Dr. Ranajit Pal
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