“Devi: The Goddesses of India” edited by John Stratton Hawley & Donna Marie Wulff

Hindus, by and large, are accustomed to a plethora of Gods and Goddesses. From childhood on they have seen their parents and the elders in their houses worship a myriad of gods and goddesses. Every child will remember a shrine, big or small, ornate or simple, which housed the gods and goddesses to which the family prayed. The Gods and Goddesses which featured in the prayers often depended upon which part of the country one lived in. In the North of India, it was commonly Vaishno Devi, just as it was Durga in the East of India and Saraswati , the Goddess of Learning in the South of India. Perhaps Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth was a common factor all over the country. I too had my own notions about the Goddesses of India. Continue reading ““Devi: The Goddesses of India” edited by John Stratton Hawley & Donna Marie Wulff”

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“The Life of Hinduism” Edited by John Stratton Hawley & Vasudha Narayanan

Perhaps as you grow older, you become more interested in religion and spiritualism. This could be one reason why these days I have been reading books I would never have sought out even 10 years ago. One on this list is, ” The Life of Hinduism” edited by John Stratton Hawley, Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Religion at Bernard College, and Vasudha Narayanan, Professor at the University of Florida. This was first published by the University of California Press in 2006. The version I read is the one published exclusively  for South Asia by the Aleph Book Company in 2017.  Continue reading ““The Life of Hinduism” Edited by John Stratton Hawley & Vasudha Narayanan”

“My Hanuman Chalisa” by Devdutt Pattanaik

“Jo yeh padhe/Hanuman Chalisa/Hoye siddhi/sakhi Gaureesa” these lines are known to almost every Hindu. If they have not actually read them, they would have heard them recited by their elders, their parents and their grandparents. The lines written in Awadhi by Tusidas over 400 years ago mean, “Whoever reads/these forty verses of Hanuman/Will achieve whatever he desires/a claim to which Gauri’s lord (Shiva) is witness.” Awadhi is a dialect of Hindi that was commonly spoken in the areas of the Gangetic plains which include the holy cities of Awadh or Ayodhya and Kashi or Varanasi.  Continue reading ““My Hanuman Chalisa” by Devdutt Pattanaik”