Overview for Sacred Animals of India
Sacred Animals of India draws on the ancient religious traditions of India—Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism—to explore the customs and practices that engendered the veneration of animals in India. Animals are worshipped in India as deities, as, for instance, the elephant-god Ganesha and the monkey-god Hanuman, or as the fish, tortoise and boar—forms or avatars that Vishnu is believed to have taken on earth. Some species, such as the swan, bull, lion and tiger, regarded as vahanas—vehicles of deities— developed sanctity by association. Others, such as the snake, are worshipped out of fear. Birds such as the crow are regarded as the abode of the dead, or the souls of ancestors, while the cow's sanctity may derive from its economic value. There are also hero-animals, such as the vanaras, and animals that were totemic symbols of tribes that were assimilated in Vedic Hinduism. This book also examines the traditions that gave animals in India protection, and is a reminder of the role of animal species in the earth’s biodiversity.
Nanditha Krishna (Author)
Dr. Nanditha Krishna obtained her Ph.D. from the Department of Ancient Indian Culture, University of Bombay, specializing in Hindu iconography and ethno-archaeology. She has been researching, writing and lecturing extensively on Indian art, culture and society, as well as the environment which is her passion. She has authored The Art and Iconography of Vishnu “ Narayana (D.B. Taraporevala & Sons, Bombay), The Arts and Crafts of Tamilnadu (Mapin Publications, Ahmedabad), Manuscript Paintings of the Sarasvati Mahal Library (Arasvati Mahal Library, Tanjore), Madras Chennai (C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, Chennai), co-authored Ganesha with her mother Shakunthala Jagannathan (Vakils, Feffer & Simons Ltd.), edited Shakti and Kanchi (both C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation), and written books for children on the environment. Dr. Nanditha Krishna is the Director of the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation at Chennai (Madras) and of its constituents, the C.P. Art Centre, C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Institute of Indological Research, Saraswathi Kendra Centre for Children and C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre.