Author: Sister Nivedita
Ananda K Coomaraswamy/
Publisher: Advaita Ashram
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8175051973
Philosophy, ritual, and mythology are the three pillars of all ancient religions. But in India in particular, mythology has been an extremely important medium for teaching abstract spiritual truths, and it has had a profound influence not only on the religious traditions of the country but also on Indian society. To Western-educated readers, the numerous concepts, characters, and ideals presented in Indian mythology often seem bewildering at first glance. Yet, once readers start peering into these myths through an introductory volume such as this, they soon discover that they cannot help but be immersed in them. Moreover, they also find that a study of these stories can be one of the most rewarding experiences of their life.
The stories themselves are among the most beautiful in the world, while the characters and the ideals they represent are some of the loftiest, most noble, and most enchanting the world has ever seen. Rarely does one find in the mythology of the world such a wonderful combination of these qualities. To Indians, however, the characters in these myths are not just superhuman beings of some hoary past. Rather, they are paradigms. They are exemplars of eternal ideals. The lives of these characters are meant to be reflected on and emulated for the development of one’s personality. This is why these religions and myths are still living today. Even now Rama, Krishna, Arjuna, Yudhishthira, Vasishtha, Vidura, Sita, Savitri, Nala, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman, and Buddha serve as paradigms for the ideal ruler, hero, householder, hermit, devotee, wife, husband, brother, servant, monk, and so on.
Myths and Legends of the Hindus and Buddhists includes stories from both of the great epics of India-the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. And through these stories we are introduced to two great Avataras of the Hindu tradition-Rama and Krishna. In addition, this volume includes some delightful and charming tales of gods, goddesses, and Avataras from the Puranas and other works. Though the stories are diverse, one common message runs through them all: No matter how hopeless things may seem, eventually righteousness prevails over unrighteousness, virtue defeats vice. This volume contains the most popular myths, retold in a manner guaranteed to enchant young and old alike. In addition, 32 colour illustrations by noted artists such as Nanda Lal Bose, Abanindro Nath Tagore and others have been reproduced from the original edition.
Mythology is an integral part of religion. It is as necessary for religion and national culture as the skin and the skeleton that preserve a fruit with its juice and its taste. For is no less essential than substance. We cannot squeeze religion and hope to bottle and keep the essence by itself. It would neither be very useful nor last very log. Mythology and holy figures are necessary for any great culture to rest on its stable spiritual foundation and function as a life-giving inspiration and guide.
Mythology of the Indo-Aryan Races
Other Stories from the Puranas, Epics and Vedas
Glossary and Index