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Hindu Gods And Heroes Studies in the History of the Religion of India   By: (1871-1960)

Book cover

First Page:

The Wisdom of the East Series

EDITED BY

L. CRANMER BYNG

Dr. S. A. KAPADIA

WISDOM OF THE EAST

HINDU GODS AND

HEROES

STUDIES IN THE HISTORY OF THE RELIGION OF INDIA

BY

LIONEL D. BARNETT, M.A., LITT

PREFACE

The following pages are taken from the Forlong Bequest lectures which I delivered in March last at the School of Oriental Studies. Owing to exigencies of space, much of what I then said has been omitted here, especially with regard to the worship of Siva; but enough remains to make clear my general view, which is that the religion of the Aryans of India was essentially a worship of spirits sometimes spirits of real persons, sometimes imaginary spirits and that, although in early days it provisionally found room for personifications of natural forces, it could not digest them into Great Gods, and therefore they have either disappeared or, if surviving, remain as mere Struldbrugs. Thus I am a heretic in relation to both the Solar Theory and the Vegetation Theory, as everyone must be who takes the trouble to study Hindu nature without prejudice.

L. D. B.

May 29, 1922.

CONTENTS

I. THE VEDIC AGE:

Popular Religion, p. 9 Rig veda and priestly religion, p. 11 Dyaus Zeus, p. 14 Ushas, p. 18 Surya, p. 19 Savita, p. 19 Mitra and Varuna, p. 19 Agni, p. 22 Soma, p. 23 Indra, p. 25 The Asvins, p. 35 Vishnu, p. 37 Rudra Siva, p. 42 Summary, p. 42.

II. THE AGE OF THE BRAHMANAS:

Growth of Brahman influence in expanding Aryan society, p. 45 System of priestly doctrine: theory of Sacrifice and mechanical control of nature thereby, p. 48 Its antinomianism: partly corrected by the growing cult of Rudra Siva, p. 53 The Upanishads: their relation to the Brahmanas, p. 59 Brahma the Absolute, p. 60 Karma Samsara, p. 63 Results: Saiva Theism, p. 65 Krishna: early history and legends, p. 66 Teachings, p. 68.

III. THE EPICS, AND LATER:

I. The Great War and the Pandavas, p. 70 Vishnu Krishna, p. 74 Narayana, p. 76 Bhagavad gita and Narayaniya, p. 77 Growth of church of Vishnu Krishna, p. 79 Worship of Pandavas, p. 92 New erotic and romantic Krishnaism, p. 94.

II. Rama: legend of Rama and constitution of Ramayana, p. 98.

III. Some later Preachers, p. 103 Religions of Vishnu Krishna and Siva in Southern India, p. 103 Samkara Acharya, p. 105 Ramanuja, p. 107 Nimbarka, Madhva, Vallabha, p. 108 J├▒anadeva, p. 109 Nama deva, p. 109 Tukaram, p. 109 Ramananda, p. 110 Tulsi Das, p. 110 Kabir, p. 110 Nanak, p. 110 Chaitanya, p. 110.

IV. Brahma and the Trimurti, p. 111 Dattatreya, p. 114.

V. Two Modern Instances, p. 116.

CONCLUSION.

EDITORIAL NOTE

The object of the Editors of this series is a very definite one. They desire above all things that, in their humble way, these books shall be the ambassadors of goodwill and understanding between East and West the old world of Thought and the new of Action. In this endeavour, and in their own sphere, they are but followers of the highest example in the land. They are confident that a deeper knowledge of the great ideals and lofty philosophy of Oriental thought may help to a revival of that true spirit of Charity which neither despises nor fears the nations of another creed and colour.

L. CRANMER BYNG.

S. A. KAPADIA.

NORTHBROOK SOCIETY,

21 CROMWELL ROAD,

KENSINGTON, S. W.

HINDU GODS AND HEROES

CHAPTER I

THE VEDIC AGE

Let us imagine we are in a village of an Aryan tribe in the Eastern Panjab something more than thirty centuries ago. It is made up of a few large huts, round which cluster smaller ones, all of them rudely built, mostly of bamboo; in the other larger ones dwell the heads of families, while the smaller ones shelter their kinsfolk and followers, for this is a patriarchal world, and the housefather gives the law to his household... Continue reading book >>




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