The Sword and the Flute--Kali and Krsna: Dark Visions of the Terrible and the Sublime in Hindu Mythology, With a New Preface / Edition 1

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With a New Preface

Kali and Krsna are two of Hinduism's most popular deities, representing dramatically different truths about the nature of the sacred. The cruel and terrible Kali is thought to be born of wild, aboriginal roots. She is the goddess of thieves and often associated with human blood sacrifice. Krsna, in contrast, is the divine lover and inimitable prankster who plays a bewitching flute to draw all to him. But Kali and Krsna have much more in common than their contrasting personalities suggest. Kinsley shows that Krsna's flute can be interchangeable with Kali's sword, revealing important perceptions of the divine in the Hindu tradition.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

David R. Kinsley is Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition vii
Preface to the Original Edition ix
Introduction 1
Part I. The Flute: Krsna's Carnival of Joy
Chapter I9
Krsna and the "Krsnas" 9
The Divine Child: The Spontaneous and Tumultuous Nature of God 12
Krsna's Sport with Demons: Combat as Play 19
The Embodiment of Beauty and Grace 23
The Call of Krsna's Flute 32
The Divine Lover 41
Chapter II56
Introduction 56
Bhakti: From Lord to Lover 57
Ananda: The Inherent Bliss of the Divine 66
Lila: The Divine Player 73
Part II. The Sword: Kali, Mistress of Death
Chapter III81
Introduction 81
The Prehistory of Kali 86
Kali in the Mahabharata 88
Kali in the Devi-mahatmaya 90
The Early History of Kali in Puranic and Dramatic Literature 93
Kali's Regional Distribution 96
Kali's Association with Siva 101
Kali and the Tantric Hero 109
Kali and Bengali Devotionalism 114
Summary 125
Chapter IV127
Introduction 127
Kali as Mahamaya 133
Kali as Prakrti and Duhkha 137
Kali as Time 139
Confrontation and Acceptance of Death: Kali's Boon 141
Kali's "Taming" 146
The Sword and the Flute: Conclusion 151
Works Cited 161
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