Siva: The Erotic Ascetic / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.50
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 88%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (22) from $4.50   
  • New (9) from $20.87   
  • Used (13) from $4.50   


Originally published under the title Asceticism and Eroticism in the Mythology of Siva, this book traces the development of an Indian approach to an enduring human dilemma: the conflict between spiritual aspirations and human desires. The work examines hundreds of related myths and a wide range of Indian texts—Vedic, Puranic, classical, modern, and tribal—centering on the stories of the great ascetic, Siva, and his erotic alter ego, Kama.

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195202502
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1981
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 1,061,098
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 5.31 (h) x 0.85 (d)

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xiii
Guide to Pronunciation xiv
I. Introduction: The Interpretation of Hindu Mythology 1
A. The Challenge of Hindu Mythology 1
B. The Central Paradox of Saiva Mythology 4
1. The Resolution within the Texts 6
2. The Iconic Resolution of the Paradox: The Ithyphallic Yogi 8
C. Problems and Methods 11
1. Various Methods of Mythological Analysis 11
2. Variants and Multiforms 16
D. Motifs of Hindu Mythology 21
1. Chart of Motifs 22
2. Explanation of Motifs 23
3. Interconnections between Motifs 27
4. The Saiva Cycle Analysed by Motifs 30
5. The Value of Motifs and Variants 32
E. The Nature of Mythological Contradiction 33
1. The Equivalence of Opposites 33
2. The Resolution of Mythological Contradictions 35
3. The Failure to Resolve Mythological Contradictions 36
4. The Irrational Solution: Bhakti 38
II. Asceticism and Eroticism in Early Indian Mythology 40
A. The Importance of Chastity and Creative Tapas 40
B. The Seduction of the Ascetic by the Prostitute: Rsyasrnga 42
C. Chastity and the Loss of Chastity: Agastya 52
D. The Erotic Powers of the Ascetic 55
E. The Rejuvenation of the Ascetic: Cyavana 57
F. Sexual Pleasures as the Reward for Asceticism / the False Ascetic 64
G. The Importance of Procreation 68
H. The Prajapati and His Ascetic Sons 70
I. Narada and the Sons of Daksa 74
J. The Two Forms of Immortality 76
K. The Attempt to Reconcile the Householder and Ascetic in Society 78
L. The Forest-Dweller: an Inadequate Compromise 79
III. The Vedic Antecedents of Siva 83
A. Rudra, God of Destruction 83
B. Indra 84
1. Indra as Phallic God of Fertility 85
2. Indra versus the Ascetic 87
C. Agni, the Erotic Fire 90
1. Agni and the Pine Forest Sages 93
2. The Seven Sages and their Wives 98
3. Siva and Parvati as the Parents of Skanda 103
4. The Golden Seed of Fire 107
5. The Birth of Skanda and the Birth of the Maruts 108
IV. Siva and Brahma: Opposition and Identity 111
A. Siva as Sexual Creator 111
B. The Incest of Siva 112
C. Siva Opposes the Incest of Brahma 114
D. Brahma Versus Kama 117
E. Siva Versus Brahma at the Wedding of Sati/Parvati 121
F. The Beheading of Brahma by Siva 123
G. The Beheading of Daksa by Siva 128
H. The Castration of Siva 130
I. The Competition Between Siva and Brahma 136
J. The Complementarity of Brahma and Siva 138
V. Siva and Kama 141
A. The Chastity of Siva--and Its Contradiction 141
B. The Burning of Kama--and Its Reversal 143
C. The Lust of the Chastiser of Kama 145
D. The Victory of Kama Implicit in the Burning of Kama 148
E. The Seduction of Siva by Parvati 151
F. The Revival of Kama by Parvati 155
G. Kama Reborn as a Tree--Rebirth From Fire 158
H. The Revived Kama's Power Over Siva 162
I. The Erotic Appeal of the Chastiser of Kama 164
J. Kama and Agni Transposed 166
K. The Partial Identity of Siva and Kama 169
VI. Siva in the Pine Forest 172
A. Siva, the False Ascetic, Seducer of the Sages' Wives 173
B. Siva, the Passive Ascetic, Unmoved by the Sages' Wives 175
C. The Apparent Lust of the Ascetic Siva 178
1. The Destruction of the Sages' Powers by the Seduction of their Wives 178
2. The Transference of the Sages' Powers to Siva: The Pasupata Cult 182
D. The Sexual Destruction of Demons by Siva 184
1. The Sexual Death of Adi 186
2. The Death and Transfiguration of Andhaka 190
E. The Enlightenment of the Pine Forest Sages 192
1. Siva opposes the Forest-dwellers' kama 193
2. The Temptation of the Devotee by God 196
3. Siva opposes the Forest-dwellers' tapas 199
4. The Balance: Santi and Linga-worship 201
F. Enlightenment by Sexual Impersonation 204
VII. Siva as Ascetic and Householder 210
A. Siva's Failure to Reconcile His Two Roles 210
B. Siva's Trouble with his Parents-in-Law 213
C. The House of the Ascetic Siva 218
D. Parvati's Conflict with the Unconventional, Ascetic Siva 221
E. The Quarrels of Siva and Parvati 224
F. The Adultery of Siva 226
G. The Reconciliation of Siva and Parvati 233
H. The Horrible and the Erotic 236
I. The Transformation of Siva's Ornaments 238
1. Snakes and Nakedness 243
2. The Ashes of Siva 245
3. The Third Eye 247
J. Siva as Ascetic and House Holder: the Reconciliation 251
VIII. The Control and Transformation of Desire 255
A. Sexual Satiety: the Linga in the Yoni 256
B. Yoga and Bhoga 258
C. The Transformation of Desire by Self-Temptation 259
D. The Retention of the Seed 261
1. The Separation of Fertility and Eroticism 262
2. The Unnatural Creation of Siva's Son 267
3. Creation by Blood, Sweat, and Tears 271
4. The Drinking of the Seed 273
E. The Seed as Soma and Poison 277
F. Food and Sex 279
G. The Control of Excess 282
H. The Distribution of Siva's Tejas 283
I. Siva as Fire Under Water 286
J. Siva as the Submarine Mare 289
IX. Cycles of Asceticism and Sexuality 293
A. The Danger of Siva's Excessive Chastity 294
B. The Danger of Siva's Excessive Sexuality 296
C. The Interruption of Sexual Activity 302
D. Quiescence and Energy 310
X. Conclusion: the Pendulum of Extremes 314
Appendix A. Connections Between Episodes in the Saiva Cycle 319
Appendix B. Major Occurrences of the Main Episodes 321
I. Sanskrit Texts 321
A. Siva and Kama 321
B. The birth of Skanda 321
C. The Pine Forest 322
II. Non-Sanskrit Texts 322
Appendix C. Glossary 323
Appendix D. Bibliography 326
I. Abbreviations 326
II. Sanskrit Texts and Translations 326
III. Secondary Sources 330
Appendix E. Bibliographic Notes 341
Appendix F. Index of Motifs 375
Appendix G. Index of Characters 381
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)