Contents: Foreword/Kapila Vatsyayan. Preface. Introduction: Feeling the distant Goddesses once again. 1. Female images in ancient art and scriptures. 2. The paradoxical feminine power. 3. The emergence of the Great Goddess Devi. 4. Glorification of the Goddess. 5. Female divinities and erotic imagery. 6. Goddesses: erotic, maternal and sinister. 7. A Goddess is born. 8. Goddess shrines of the Himalayas. 9. Goddess as poster image. Conclusion: experiencing the Goddesses and empowering the inner self. Glossary. Select bibliography. Index.
"Goddess images are omnipresent within the cultural fabric of India, yet most Indians are unaware of uplifting meanings these images convey. In the book, Images of Indian Goddesses, Dr. Madhu Bazaz Wangu explains the emergence of Indian Goddesses within the changing social, political and cultural environment from the prehistoric to the present times and explains their metaphysical meanings.
Why are Hindu Goddesses paradoxical in nature? Why are they portrayed as erotic and maternal simultaneously? Why do they have multiple arms? Why do some of them have their own vehicle (Vahana) and some do not? Why are such images portrayed on the popular calendar posters? The book answers such questions and helps the reader understand their meanings. The Goddesses discussed range from the devoted Sita to the sinister Kali; from the warrior Durga to the auspicious Shri Lakshmi; from the erotic Radha to the serene Sarasvati and many others.
Dr. Wangu firmly feels that if experienced Hindu Goddesses have a potential for stimulating the onlooker’s innermost self. Experiencing Goddess imagery uplifts this worldly life and ponders the nature of the other-worldly existence. Furthermore, the book argues that the Goddesses are stimulating and empowering models not only for Indian women but for all.
Images of Indian Goddesses helps a common person understand and appreciate the bewildering number of female images expressed in India’s sacred art. The book is not only absorbing and inspiring, it also offers a visual treasury of Goddess art images. Its text is food for the mind and the illustrations are a feast for the eyes." (jacket)