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Art and Religion of the Bhairavas: Illumined by Two Rare Sanskrit Texts Sarva-Siddhanta-Viveka and Jnana-Siddhi

R Nagaswamy (Author)
Synopsis A pathbreaking new approach to the study of Indian Art and religion, this work bases its analysis on two rare Sanskrit texts, Sarva-siddhanta-viveka, (Critical understanding of all religious systems) and Jnana-siddhi (achievement of knowledge), through which the meaning and identification of some of the immortal sculptures of India like Elephanta Trimurti are discussed. After introducing as many as thirty various schools of Saivism and "Sakta-Vama tantras", the date and authorship of the Sanskrit texts detailed. The Jnana-siddhi is an unknown Sakta-tantra while the other text is a eleventh cent one giving extraordinary insight into various Saiva systems. No other text so far known gives such detailed information on Bhairava, Kapalika, Kalamukha, Soma, and other schools of Saivam as this one. Both the texts are given in original. The Svacchanda Bhairava tantra is cited extensively that gives a clear picture of Vama-Sakta ideology and Bhairava school of thought. It is seen that Madhya Pradesh (central India) and other regions including Kashmir leaned very heavily on Bhairava worship and so their temples and sculptures are studied from that angle. The study also reinterprets and corrects many doubtful identifications of Tantric and other sculptures displayed in great museums of the world like USA, UK, Germany, France and other western countries, and also in Indian museums. All the revisions are based on texts and inscriptions. The art and history of the ancient city of Ujjaini, which seemed to have played a leading role in Bhairava Saivism is lucidly explained.
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About the author

R Nagaswamy

Dr. R. Nagaswamy, is the author of many books in English and Tamil including Master pieces of South Indian Bronzes, Siva Bhakti etc.  He has also edited several books including Foundations of Indian Art (Proceedings of the Chidambaram Seminar on Art and Religion).  He has organized several District, State, National and International Conferences like the International conference on Mahabharata-Madras, 2003.  Dr. R. Nagaswamyu has delivered lectures in almost all leading Universities of the world spread over France, Germany, Denmark, USSR, Sweden, UK, Canada and USA (including at Harvard, Pennsylvania, Cornell, Berkeley, Los Angeles, Austin, South Carolina and Other places).  He has toured in Thailand and Combodia and made an extensive study of South East Asian Art, Monuments, Religion and Inscriptions.  He directed Sound and Light programme at the 17th cent.  Nayak Palace at Madurai and was the first to undertake Underwater Archaeological exploration off the coast of Pumpuhar in Tamilnadu.  Appeared as an expert witness in the London High Court on behalf of Government of India, in the famous London Nataraja Case.  He is the recipient of several public honours including the title Kalaimamani conferred by the Government of Tamil Nadu for his signal contribution to Tamil art and literature.  He is the Founder Trustee of the Chidambaram Natyanjali Trust.  Justice Ian Kennedy, Judge, London High Court, mentioned in his judgement (1988) that 'Dr. R. Nagaswamy, I am satisfied, is an unequalled expert in his subject'.

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Bibliographic information

Title Art and Religion of the Bhairavas: Illumined by Two Rare Sanskrit Texts Sarva-Siddhanta-Viveka and Jnana-Siddhi
Author R Nagaswamy
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2006
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
length x+272p., 131 Col & b/w Plates; Bibliography; Index; 29cm.