The book ‘Rudra – The Idea of Shiva’ by Nilima Chitgopekar tries to understand Lord Shiva through the eyes of Lord Vishnu, Mata Sati, Daksha, Goddess Parvati and Lord Ganesha. An authority on Shaivism, Nilima Chitgopekar delves deep into the classical texts dealing with Shiva and picks up vital information and narrates it through the eyes of Hindu gods associated with Lord Shiva.
The views of the different gods in Hindu pantheon about Shiva are presented as first-person accounts. The accounts of the various gods are aided by the author’s scholarly notes and comments.
Na punyam na papam, Na saukhyam na duhkham
Na mantro na tirtham, Na vedam na yajna
Aham bhojanam naiva bhojyam na bhokta
Chidananda rupah Shivoham Shivo’ham
Beyond sin and virtue, beyond joy and sorrow, beyond scripture, ritual and pilgrimage, and beyond familiar experience. This is Shiva, in essence.
Once feared as the capricious and terrifying Rudra, Shiva, the most ‘un-Brahmanic’ of gods, has traditionally been shunned by orthodox Vedic religion. Although the Shiva we recognize today retains much of his original contrarian nature, he is firmly ensconced in popular imagination as the awe-inspiring Mahadeva, supreme lord of the universe.
In a unique attempt to explore the varied planes of thought and belief that Shiva has represented over millennia, Nilima Chitgopekar imaginatively recreates the defining moments of the great god’s life through the eyes of his most intimate mythological companions. Vishnu, Sati, Daksha, Parvati and Ganesha take turns to praise, criticize, explain, complain, sermonize and rationalize – and through the prism of what they choose to reveal of the Shiva they know, there emerges the vision of a god who assimilates in his person the most extreme contradictions. For Shiva is as reclusive as he is accessible, as loved as he is feared, and as fallible as he is divine.
As the author traces the diverse threads of history, philosophy, anthropology and faith that have coalesced to create this intriguing deity, she uncovers the deeper truth about Shiva’s unmatched appeal – a credo of simple devotion to a unified godhead, one that reflects the eclecticism and humanity that form the very core of Hindu thought.
Published by : Penguin Books
Author : Nilima Chitgopekar
Published : October 2007
Price : Rs 250.00