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Goddesses in Ancient India

Goddesses in Ancient India

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Dr. Agrawala's present work largely represents his Ph.D. thesis (approved by the Banaras Hindu University) in a revised up-to-date form. He has brought out a most comprehensive and thorough analysis of the material on the worship of goddesses in the Proto-historic and Vedic periods of India. A vast amount of archaeological evidence is carefully sifted and analysed by him in a truer cultic perspective as throwing new light on the role of mother-goddesses in the protohistoric cultures ranging from small agricultural communities of Baluchistan foot-hills to the highly developed Harappan. Dr. Agrawala has also identified and discussed in a systematic manner varied motifs and concepts of fertility cultus in the Rgveda and later Vedic texts which were subsequently formulated into definite images, personifications and attributes. He has marhsalled in a fully objective treatment all those references in the Vedic literature that go now to reveal numerous fresh aspects of this hitherto unexplored subject. One is able indeed to see through the present work how the Rgvedic goddesses, mostly abstractions, later on assumed mythical definitions in the pantheon and how the folk culture of India exercised its far-reaching influences on higher priestly religion not only by contributing its own share of goddesses but also through their more concrete identification with the already existing ones in myths and cult rituals.

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