Siva is one of the most important gods in the Brahmanical pantheon. But there is no individual work dealing with his various aspects as found in both earlier and later works. Siva has all divine qualities, but possesses, at the same time, all traits, good or bad, of human beings. In him man and god have become one.
In the present book which was submitted earlier as a doctoral thesis in 1969 and subsequently accepted for the degree of the Doctor of Philosophy, Calcutta University, I have studied Siva in hi, various aspects and have tried to show him as he is represented in medieval Indian literature. Though I have not been able to present everything in detail, yet no other single work, so far published, probably deals with so many aspects of the god.
I have consulted the important sources, and made a comparative study of the evidence of earlier and later works. The majority of the works consulted by me are in Bengali and Hindi, but literary works of other languages have also been taken into account, as and when necessary. The evidence of epigraphy, iconography and philosophy has been considered.
I have usually quoted passages from early and medieval works in support of my arguments, especially in footnotes, and in most of the cases, they have been translated into English.
I have discussed the subject in three Chapters, the first of which begins with an introduction dealing with the evolution of the god. The character of the god has been divided into two broad divisions, and the major characteristics have been discussed in Chapter II, while the minor specialties of the god are dealt with in the following Chapter. At the end, I have drawn the conclusion that, in the medieval Indian works, there is the amalgamation of human behaviours with divine manners in Siva thus establishing the truth that God enchained is man and man unchained is God.
For my success in writing out this book, I have to express my sincere gratitude and thanks to Dr. D. C. Sircar, M.A., Ph.D., F.A.S., F.R.A.S., F.R.N.S., Ex-Carmichael Professor and Head of the Department of Ancient Indian History & Culture, Calcutta University under whom I worked for my doctoral degree. I can never be sufficiently grateful for the patience and thoroughness with which he went through the entire thesis and for his many valuable suggestions. Without his able guidance and ungrudging help, it would not have been possible for me to complete the work. I also thank Shri A, K. Bhattacharyya, M.A., P.R.S., F.M.A., Director, Indian Museum, Calcutta, who allowed me to use photographs of some interesting objects in the Indian Museum Collection. I am thankful to Shri Shankar Bhattacharyya, Proprietor, Punthi Pustak, Calcutta, who kindly took an interest in the work and offered to publish it. Last, but far from the least, I have to thank Shri Gauri Shankar Chatterji, who ably typed out the pages of the mss. within a short time and Shri Santosh Bhattacharyya, Proprietor, Sri Ramkrishna Printing Works, Calcutta, for his promptness in printing the book and in accomodating me in all matters of printing difficulties.
A work of this kind is obviously based on the researches of scholars of Indology including literature, both Indian and foreign. For the merit of the book I am indebted to them all and for the errors, I myself shoulder the responsibility.
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