Author: Margaret Stutley
Publisher: Munshiram Manoharlal
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8121510058
Based on many years of research, the present volume draws on author's study of religious cults and folklore to provide an introduction to the ancient magic and folklore of India, whose main source is the Atharvaveda, compiled about 1400 BC and containing more earlier lore.
The book demonstrates that there are many parallels between Indian and European folklore, since both Europeans and the north-western Indian peoples are of Caucasian origin. The wearing of lucky charms, talismans and amulets is common to both, as well as the belief in lucky and unlucky days, birds and animals, the fear of the curses and the of the evil eye - still common in Africa, the Mediterranean countries and the East.
Another common element is the fear of demonic possession, which has increased so much in the West that in 1972 the Bishop of Exeter set up a commission to devise the ritual for the exorcising of evil spirits from people and haunted places.
Margaret Stutely points out that magical elements exist in every religion since it is their presence that makes a system of beliefs into a religion. Thus magic and cult are essentially the same, all rites basing basically magical. She also shows in all societies different stages of belief exist side by side, and range from nanve magico-religious beliefs to the most advanced spiritual and philosophical views.