‘An important, provocative and original work, of great interest to Indian scholars, historians of religions, psychologists and historians of ideas, but accessible also to the cultivated reader. Even if one does not always agree with the author’s interpretation, one cannot but admire her vast and precise learning, her splendid translations and exegesis of so many, and so different, Sanskrit texts, and her uninhibited, brilliant, and witty prose.’—Mircea Eliade, famed historian of religions, and author of The Sacred and the Profane and Bengal Nights
‘This [book] is as rich in detail as the carvings of the great Hindu temples. It shares with them a delight in the interplay of myth and mundane experience, and above all an empathy with the Hindu preoccupation with the meaning of human existence in all its complexity.’—Times Literary Supplement
‘[This] exploration of Indian myth and ritual is a source of continual stimulation and delight. The scope of the book is grand… Like a goddess with ten arms, Doniger casts her illuminating shafts over an expanse of more than 3000 years.’—American Anthropologist
From the union of the retas, or seed, of ‘mother earth’ and ‘father sky’ mentioned in the Rig Veda, to the burning of Kama, the god of desire, by Shiva; from the slaying of a lustful demon by the Goddess, to the fusion—and also blurring—of male and female powers in the image of the Ardhanarishvara, this book is a splendid and multi-layered exploration—as delightful as it is challenging—of gender and sexual identities in Hindu, Buddhist and Tantric mythologies.