From the Jacket:
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 sinster Kali; from the warrior Durga to the auspicious Shri Lakshmi; from the erotic Radhu 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 wordly 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.
About the Author:
Dr. Madhu Bazaz Wangu was born in Kashmir. She received her Graduate degree in Art History at the M.S. University of Baroda, India and her Ph.D. in Religious Studies at the University of Pittsburgh, USA. She was a Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Harvard University (1989 - 1991) and Research Associate at the University of Pittsburgh (1995 - 2000).
For the last fifteen years Dr. Wangu has taught South Asian Religions and Art History at various American Universities. She has delivered lectures on the meanings of symbols and myths in Hindu and Buddhist art and religion. She has written extensively illustrated books for young adults on Hinduism (1991) and Buddhism (1993) published by Facts On File Inc. Her book A Goddess is Born, about the social, political and cultural meanings of the Kashmiri goddess Khir Bhavani is forthcoming.
Dr. Wangu is currently working on two books: Learning to Look and Feel: An Approach to the Visual Arts of India, which focuses on how to interpret and understand images of Indian art; and Kamala's Final Ascend, her first novel. She lives in Pennsylvania, USA with her husband. They have two daughters.
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