This book is the earliest pioneering effort at tracing the historical origins of such major religious systems as Vaisnavism and Saivism, which, with the passage of time, came to dominate the Indian religious scene. In contradistinction to atheistic religions, such as Buddhism and Jainism, there ran a counter movement of religious theism which, as it were, would culminate in the establishment of Bhagavata cult, on the one hand, and, on the other, would terminate in development various Saivite sects. In order to show as to how Bhagavatism gave rise to a full-fledged theistic theology of Vaisnavism, Bhandarkar thoroughly examines the Narayaniya section of the Mahabharata. Likewise does he deal with the development Saivite thought. Even though the book was written at a time when Mohenjo-daro excavations had not been carried out, yet Bhandarkar has thoroughly examined the traces of Saivism in the Vedic hymns, which ultimately would find its full expression in the Svetasvatara Upanisad. Upon locating the sources of Vaisnavism and Saivism within the Vedic literature, Bhandarkar thereby moves on in studying the sects, and their theologies which both the Vaisnavites and Saivites gave rise to. In addition to Vaisnavism and Saivism, Bhandarkar also has made a thorough study of such minor sects as the Saktas, Ganapatyas, and Sauras. The book contains a wealth of information, and the study of it will be an enriching experience to those who are desirous of delving deep in the ancient culture and religious of India.
About the Author:
Ramakrishna Gopal Bhandarkar (1837-1925), the orientalist and social reformer, educated at Ratnagiri and Elphinstone College, Bombay; Acting Professor of Sanskrit and Oriental Languages in Elphinstone Collage; Assistant Professor many years till 1881; Professor of Sanskrit at Deccan Collage, Pune, 1883-92; Fellow of Bombay University form 1866; Syndicate, 1873-81; Vice-Chancellor, 1893-95; retired in 1893; Hon. LL.D., 1904; Hon. Phil., Dr. Gottingen University: has Contributed largely to the journals and transactions of learned societies on philological and antiquarian subject and edited the text of Malati-Madhava and Early History of the Deccan.
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