Saturday, September 10, 2011

A tome on Vishnu

Here is a book that traces the growth of Vishnu within the Hindu pantheon.

The book bears the title of an exhibition that was opened in North America and coordinated by the First Center for the Visual Arts drawing from at least 45 collections in the U.S. Going by the book, this seems to have been a superb exhibition and the text and the photos of the exhibits do full justice to what seems to be a mammoth and ambitious undertaking.

The various images of the exhibits are intermingled across three important and well-written themes that governed the layout of the objects.

Part 1: The image of Vishnu, his attributes, his consorts, his female form, Garuda and legends associated with him.

Part 2: Deals with his avatars and the various images of Vishnu.

Part 3: Deals with the worship of Vishnu.

In all parts the text is lucid, yet packed with information. Joan Cummins, in her introduction, offers an excellent analysis of the Hindu religion and presents the uniqueness of the religion with a variety of choice for the spiritually inclined and the plethora of sub cultures the religion contains. She believes this is because of its age and because, it is a religion that has no single prophet/founder and has therefore grown in a cumulative process so that, “two people might find themselves praying next to each other in a Vishnu temple, repeating the same words and looking at the same sculpted icon, while holding radically different visions of the god and completely divergent spiritual objectives.”

Full report here Hindu

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