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Myths and Legends of the Hindus and Buddhists

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy (Author) Sister Nivedita (Author)
Synopsis Philosophy, ritual, and mythology are the three pillars of all ancient religions. But in India in particular, mythology has been an extremely important medium for teaching abstract spiritual truths, and it has had a profound influence not only on the religious traditions of the country but also on Indian society. To Western-educated readers, the numerous concepts, characters, and ideals presented in Indian mythology often seem bewildering at first glance. Yet, once readers start peering into these myths through an introductory volume such as this, they soon discover that they cannot help but be immersed in them. Moreover, they also find that a study of these stories can be one of the most rewarding experiences of their life. The stories themselves are among the most beautiful in the world, while the characters and the ideals they represent are some of the loftiest, most noble, and most enchanting the world has ever seen. Rarely does one find in the mythology of the world such a wonderful combination of these qualities. To Indians, however, the characters in these myths are not just superhuman beings of some hoary past. Rather, they are paradigms. They are exemplars of eternal ideals. The lives of these characters are meant to be reflected on and emulated for the development of one’s personality. This is why these religions and myths are still living today. Even now Rama, Krishna, Arjuna, Yudhishthira, Vasistha, Vidura, Sita, Savitri, Nala, Lakshmana, Bharata, Hanuman, and Buddha serve as paradigms for the ideal ruler, hero, householder, hermit, devotee, wife, husband, brother, servant, monk, and so on. Myths and Legends of the Hindus and Buddhists include stories from both of the great epics of India-the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. And through these stories we are introduced to two great Avataras of the Hindu tradition-Rama and Krishna. In addition, this volume includes some delightful and charming tales of gods, goddesses, and Avataras from the Puranas and other works. Though the stories are diverse, one common message runs through them all: No mater how hopeless things may seem, eventually righteousness prevails over unrighteousness, virtue defeats vice. This volume contains the most popular myths, retold in a manner guaranteed to enchant young and old alike. In addition, 32 colour illustrations by noted artists such as Nanda Lal Bose, Abanindro Nath Tagore and others have been reproduced from the original edition.
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About the author

Ananda K. Coomaraswamy

Ananda Kentish Coomaraswamy, the greatest among the Indian art-historians, was born in Colombo on August 22, 1877. After graduating from the University of London he became the director of the Mineralogical Survey of Ceylon. Between 1906 and 1917, when he joined as the Curator of Indian Art in the Boston Museum he was busy lecturing on Indian art and formed societies for the study of Indian art. In 1938, he became the chairman of National Committee for India’s Freedom. His contributions on Indian philosophy, religion, art and iconography, painting and literature are of the greatest importance as were his contributions on music, science and Islamic art. He died on September 9, 1947.

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Bibliographic information

Title Myths and Legends of the Hindus and Buddhists
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2001
Edition Reprint
Publisher Advaita Ashrama
Language: English
isbn 8175051973
length ix+401p., Plates; Illustrations; 22 cm.