One of the three Great Gods of Hinduism, Siva is a living god. The most sacred and most ancient book of India, the Rg Veda, evokes his presence in its hymns. Vedic myths, ritual, and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time. In a lively meditation of Siva-based on original Sanskrit texts, many heretofore not translated-Stella Kramrisch ponders the metaphysics, ontology, and myths of Siva from the Vedas to the Puranas.
Who is Siva? the author asks. Who is this god whose being comprises and transcends everything? None of the pairs of opposites, nor the sum of his uncounted names, defines him. From the down of creation, the Wild God, whose ancient name is Rudra, is Consciousness. He is the Great Yogi, the guardian of the absolute. His actions are the themes of the myths in which his nature unfolds.
By retelling and interweaving the many myths that continue to convey Siva's presence as a living god in India today, Professor Kramrisch unfolds the paradoxes in Siva's nature and thus in the nature of consciousness itself. The magnificent sculptures at Elephanta, illustrated at the end of the book, capture in another medium the presence of the god.
The author, who is well-known for her researches in Indian Temple Architecture. Art and Sculpture, applies herself to a thorough exploration of the rise and development of the concept of Siva right from the Vedic-even pre-Vedic-origins." - M.P. Pandit, Triveni, Vol.59, No.1, January-March 1990
An extremely perceptive, well-organised, authentic study of Siva who is shown to be more than a god of popular conception. - M.P. Pandit, The Vedanta Kesari, Vol.76, Sept. 1989
The present study is an inspired and inspiring meditation in poetic prose on the eternal presence of Siva on the Indian scene right from the pre-Vedic ages. She traces the high role he has played, in different forms and in different settings, in the evolution of the indian Mind." - M.P. Pandit, The Mountain Path, Vol.27, No.3, Dec. 1990-Jan. 1991
All this makes the book a very useful work for archaeologists, sculptors, painters, historians, Shaivites, devotees, mystics, tantriks, sociologists, theologians and the general readers.-Dr. R.L. Varshney, The Vedic Path, Vol. Li, No.4 1989
Yet it must be admitted that the author has done full justice to the matter and brought out the full philosophical significance regarding almost all the myths connected with Lord Siva. - M.M. Pathak, Journal of the Oriental Institute, Vol.xxxviii, No.3-4, March-June 1988
This is an outstanding comprehensive and most beneficial work of the famous writer Stella Kramrisch. - Dr. Gopinath Mohapatra, Review Projector, Vol.10, No.1-3
About the Author(s)
STELLA KRAMRISCH was professor at the University of Pennsylvania and Curator of Indian Arts at the Philadelphia Museum of Arts. She was also previously Professor of History of Indian Art at the University of Calcutta. Her books on Indian Art are now considered classics.