South Asian Goddesses and the Natural Environment
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South Asian Goddesses and the Natural Environment

Marika Vicziany, Jayant Bhalchandra Bapat

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  1. 260 pages
  2. English
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eBook - PDF

South Asian Goddesses and the Natural Environment

Marika Vicziany, Jayant Bhalchandra Bapat

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About This Book

South Asian Goddesses and the Natural Environment is a multidisciplinary collection of 11 essays ranging from the pre-Vedic to the modern era and incorporating research on Hindu, Buddhist and tribal cultures. The authors ask whether the worship of goddesses, strongly linked to fertility rituals, might have mitigated the ecological decline of South Asia in the pre-British and post-colonial eras.

The manifold powers of the Devi, whether nurturing or destructive, could be constructed as companions to the unstoppable forces of Nature. This binary paradigm, however, is misleading. For millions of South Asian people, the Devi is Nature and Nature is She. Amongst scholars, the connections between the South Asian Goddesses and the natural environment have been debated and contested for centuries. This collection of essays, the last of a trilogy on the Devi or iconic female by Australian scholars and their collaborators, interrogates the paradoxes of worshipping the feminine divine and yet ignoring the natural environment that validates Her existence. Historical and cultural sources, many of them in Sanskrit, point to the Devi -Nature complex but in ignoring the role of human agency, appear to exonerate society from taking responsibility for the ecological devastation manifested throughout the South Asian region. The Devi is omnipotent but in the role of the nurturing Mother she will not intervene if we remain passive. South Asian deities teach us to respect the environment, a necessary but insufficient condition for compelling us to behave in a manner that respects the wonders of the universe.

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