Heroic Shāktism:The cult of Durgā in ancient Indian kingship

Sarkar, Bihani (2017) Heroic Shāktism:The cult of Durgā in ancient Indian kingship. The British Academy Postdoctoral Monographs . British Academy, London. ISBN 9780197266106

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This book is the first expansive historical treatment of the cult of Durgā and the role it played in shaping ideas and rituals of heroism in India between the 3rd and the 12th centuries CE. Within the story of ancient Indian kingship, two critical transitions overlapped with the rise of heroic Śāktism: the decline of the war-god Skanda-Mahāsena as a military symbol, and the concomitant rise of the early Indian kingdom. As the rhetoric of kingship once strongly linked to the older war god shifted to the cultural narratives of the goddess, her political imagery broadened in its cultural resonance. And indigenous territorial deities became associated with Durgā as smaller states unified into a broader conception of civilization. By assessing the available epigraphic, literary and scriptural sources in Sanskrit, and anthropological studies on politics and ritual, Bihani Sarkar demonstrates that the association between Indian kingship and the cult's belief-systems was an ancient one based on efforts to augment worldly power.

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28 Oct 2022 09:05
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22 Sep 2023 01:11