God Inside Out: 'Siva's Game of Dice / Edition 1

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This book offers a new exploration of the mythology of the Hindu god Siva, who spends his time playing dice with his wife, to whom he habitually loses. The result of the game is our world, which turns the god inside-out and changes his internal composition. Hindus maintain that Siva is perpetually absorbed in this game, which is recreated in innumerable stories, poems, paintings, and sculptural carvings. This notion of the god at play, argue Handelman and Shulman, is one of the most central and expressive veins in the metaphysics elaborated through the centuries, in many idioms and modes, around the god.
The book comprises three interlocking essays; the first presents the dice-game proper, in the light of the texts and visual depictions the authors have collected. The second and third chapters take up two mythic "sequels" to the game. Based on their analysis of these sequels, the authors argue that notions of "asceticism" so frequently associated with Siva, with Yoga, and with Hindu religion are, in fact, foreign to Hinduism's inherent logic as reflected in Siva's game of dice. They suggest an alternative reading of this set of practices and ideas, providing startling new insights into Hindu mythology and the major poetic texts from the classical Sanskrit tradition.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is a wonderful and instructive book and a must read for anyone with a serious interest in Indian religion."—Religious Studies Review
From the Publisher

"This is a wonderful and instructive book and a must read for anyone with a serious interest in Indian religion."--Religious Studies Review

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195108453
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 6/28/1997
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 5.56 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Table of Contents

I When Siva Plays
1 Bhrngin's Scream 3
2 The Elephanta Panels 7
3 On Losing: Kedarakhanda 34-35 17
4 Minor Victories 25
4 How to Play 32
6 The Boundary between Not-Play and Play 37
7 Metaphysics of the Fluid Indic Cosmos 45
8 Generating the Expected: The Rajasuya Dice Game and the Modeling of the Cosmos 61
9 Generating the Unexpected: The Mahabharata Dice Game 68
10 The Elimination of the Androgyne Outcome 74
11 Excursus: When Visnu Plays Dice 93
12 Unfettered, the Trickster Who Plays with God 96
13 One More Game 106
II The Andhaka Outcome
1 Withered Clown 113
2 Mistress of Play 116
3 Birth, Body, Transformation 122
4 Andhaka at Ellora 131
5 Andhaka of Arcot 145
6 Adi and Viraka: Becoming a Rock 155
III Melting and Marrying
1 Color and Heat 159
2 On Redness 164
3 The Self Disguised 167
4 Spaces and Gaps 176
IV Conclusion
1 Fullness 185
2 Hunger 189
3 Signs 193
4 Selves 198
References 203
Index 213
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