Conceiving the Goddess
Conceiving the Goddess is a sequel to The Iconic Female: Goddesses of India, Nepal and Tibet (2008), an exploration of goddess cults in South Asia, and it embodies further researches on South Asian goddesses in various disciplines. The theme running through all the contributions, with their multiple approaches and points of view, is the concept of appropriation, a notion prominent in recent scholarship. In the present case of goddess worship, appropriation can be recognised when one religious group adopts a religious belief or practice not formerly its own. What is the motivation behind these actions? Are such actions attempts to dominate, or to resist the domination of others, or to adapt to changing social circumstances, or simply to enrich the religious experience of a group's members? Conceiving the Goddess seeks the answers to such questions in a variety of settings - a Jain goddess lurking in a Brahminical temple, a village goddess who turned into the patroness of the powerful Peshwa lords, the millennia-long story of the goddess Ekveera who was adopted by a fishing community, the mythology of Parvati, consort of the great god Siva, the fraught relationship between the humble Camar caste and the river goddess Ganga, the changing political roles of Durga in the annual celebrations of her cult, the mutual appropriation of disciple and goddess in the tantric exercises of Kashmiri Saivism, and the alarming self-decapitation of the fierce goddess Chinnamasta. Jayant Bapat holds doctorates in Organic Chemistry and Indology and is a research fellow at the Monash Asia Institute. His research interests include Hinduism, Goddess cults, Fisher community of Mumbai and Jainism and has published widely in these areas. He is co-editor of The Iconic Female: Goddesses of India, Nepal and Tibet (Monash University Press, 2008) and The Indian Disapora: 150 Years of Hindus and Sikhs in Australia (D.K. Printword, 2015). For his work in education and for the Indian community, Jayant was awarded the Order of Australia Medal (OAM) in 2011. Ian Mabbett has taught Asian history at Monash University, Melbourne, Australia, since 1965, where he remains an adjunct research fellow. He has also taught and carried out research at Princeton and at universities in Singapore and Nagoya. His main interests are in ancient Indian history, Buddhist history and philosophy, and the comparative study of Asian religions. Ian is the co-author of The Sociology of Early Buddhism with Greg Bailey (2003) and editor of Pracyaprajnapradipa: Professor Dr. Samaresh Bandyopadhyay Felicitation Volume on Early Indian History and Culture (2012).
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