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Myths and Gods of India, The

Product no.: 0-89281-354-7
This study of Hindu mythology explores the significance of the most prominent Hindu deities as they are envisioned by the Hindus themselves.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Referred to by its adherents as the "eternal religion," Hinduism recognizes for each age and each country a new form of revelation--and for each person, according to his or her stage of development, a different path of realization. This message of tolerance and adaptability, the very heart of Hindu polytheism, resounds clearly throughout Alain Danielou's work.

Photographic plates by Raymond Burnier further illustrate the many facets of Hindu teaching and trace the significance of the Gods of the Vedas, as well as Vishnu, Shiva, Brahma, Kali, Shakti, and other deities.

"The physical aspects of this book and its arrangements are beyond reproach. The style is lucid; the lack of polemic is particularly attractive. The total result is a volume that is a pleasure to behold and an invigorating experience to read."     ~American Anthropologist

"...sheds light on more than just Hindu philosophy and practices, but also on how the Western 'Orientalphiles' have been clearly selective in what they put forward as their vision of India."     ~Institute of Hermetic Studies


"It is considerably more difficult, within a monotheist creed, for an individual to establish the hierarchy of his attitudes to divinity at different stages of his development; and it is almost impossible for him not to mix planes and methods, for relative truth is different at each stage and yet its thorough understanding is critical if a particular stage is to be outgrown.

Since he cannot clearly see side by side, illustrated in different symbols, in different cults or philosophies - and in the attitude of their followers - the different stages of his own development, past as well as future, any attempt at looking beyond the limits of his creed makes the monotheist lose his balance. It is because of this precarious equilibrium that, in monotheistic creeds, we find so little room between proselytizing and irreligion, so little place for tolerance, so little respect for modes of thought, or worship, or behavior different from the norm. The monotheist, as a rule, confuses the religious and the moral planes, conventional practices with self-development. He mixes up faith with proselytism, mystical emotion with spiritual progress.

The man who finds himself at a stage of development different from that for which a given monistic system was devised has hardly any alternative but to abandon it, which often means, if he has no contact with other religious forms, abandoning religion and spiritual search altogether or devising some system of his own unlikely to lead him toward modes of thought and understanding of which he has not already an idea."


Alain Daniélou was an intimate of Stravinsky, Cocteau, and Nabokov in his early years, then spent twenty years in India studying music and philosophy with eminent scholars of the Hindu tradition. He is the author of more than thirty books on the religion, history, and arts of India and the Mediterranean, including While the Gods Play, Gods of Love and Ecstasy, Yoga: Mastering the Secrets of Matter and the Universe, and The Complete Kama Sutra.

Daniélou was the founder and director of the International Institute for Comparative Musicology in Berlin, and was a Chevalier de la Legion d’Honneur, Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres, and Officier du Mérite National.

Author Danielou, Alain
Book Type Trade Paperback
Page Count 441 pp.
Publisher Inner Traditions International 1991
Series Princeton/Bollingen Paperbacks
Browse these categories as well: Hinduism: Gurus and Advaita Vedanta, Gods, Goddesses and Archetypes, Vedas, Sutras and Gitas

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