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Hindu Iconography A Short Treatise

Hindu Iconography A Short Treatise
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Item Code: IDD008
Author: Swami Harshananda
Publisher: Ramakrishna Math
Edition: 2001
Pages: 48
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 5.5" x 4.2"
weight of the book: 28 gms

From the Book

Hinduism is not idolatry even through it approves the worship of duly consecrated image as a part of devotional exercises and as an aid to inner contemplation. Not only that, these consecrated images are worshipped as God since God's presence is there even as electricity is in a bulb that is connected to the source of electrical energy. If bread (or wafers) and wine duly consecrated in a church-service are eaten by the devout Christians to feel a sense of participation in the great sacrifice of Jesus Christ for the good of the world, why not accord a similar privilege to the offering made before a duly consecrated image in a temple by a qualified priest with appropriate mantras?

This small booklet has been written not only to give the correct view of Hinduism on the worship of image but also an elementary idea of the science of sculpturing the images.

The success of this humble attempt is left to the judgement of the discerning readers.


Whether it is the fear of the unknown, or the mystery of death, especially of one's parents and ancestors, or, an admiration for the great heroes who had sacrificed their lives for a cause dear to their heart, worshipping some sort of symbols and icons in their honour, is an established fact in the history of human civilisation. Devastating diseases or the furies of nature too might have contributed to the concept of some controlling forces being deified and appeased. Such 'gods' could have been represented originally by heaps of stones or pillars or even some crude figures.

Thus might have originated the science of iconography, called 'Murtisilpa- sastra' in Hinduism.




  To The Reader 3
  Key to Transliteration and Pronunciation 5
1 Introduction 9
2 Vedic Gods 10
  Vedic Literature on Image Worship 11
3 Evolution of Icons 13
4 Literature on Iconography 14
5 Images for Worship-Public and Private 15
6 Materials for Making the Images 16
7 Dhruvabera Image 17
8 Vahanas or Mounts 19
9 Sculpturing of the Images- The Talamana System 21
10 Kiritas, Mudras and Ayudhas 29
11 Idolatry and Image-Worship 34
12 Other Related Rites 36
13 Four Styles of Hindu Iconography 38
14 Conclusion 39
  Select Bibliography 41
  Appendix 42


Sample Page

Of Related Interest:

The Development of Hindu Iconography

Elements Of Hindu Iconography

The Rgvedic Deities and Their Iconic Forms

Gallery of Hindu Sculptures

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