Understanding Indian Myths: Myths Understood

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Barbara L. Talcroft
Brahma, Vishnu, Shiva, Rama and Sita—ancient Indian myths of the gods explained creation, life and death, marriage and sex. In this profusely illustrated volume of the "Myths Understood" series, a color map of India shows that Hinduism is now the predominant religion, with pockets of Sikhism, Buddhism, and Islam. Many myths originated in India's ancient epics: as long ago as 1500 BCE, the Vedic civilization's pantheon included Brahma, the creator, Vishnu, the preserver, and Shiva, the destroyer; Lakshmi was the goddess of prosperity, while elephant-headed Ganesh brought good luck and wisdom. Buddhism originated in India with Siddhartha Gautama, called Buddha; a wheel of eight spokes represents his path to enlightenment. Other worshippers were Jains, sharing with Hindus and Buddhists a belief in reincarnation and the importance of karma (cause and effect) in one's next life; both believe in non-violence (practiced by Mahatma Gandhi) and demonstrated by the prohibition of killing sacred cattle. Author Hynson relates numerous myths, such as the tale of how Ganesh got his elephant head and of Prince Prahlad, rescued from a witch's fire by Vishnu (celebrated as a spring festival where people throw colored paint powders at each other). Photographs show other present-day Indian festivals: Diwali, when Hindus light candles, settle their debts, and offer gifts to Lakshmi, or the rite of bathing in the sacred Ganges River that washes away sins. Illustrations show readers antique paintings of the gods, whose images are often seen today in carvings and statues, while ancient India's legacy persists in films (Avatar was influenced by Indian myths), dance, and music—often fused with Western styles—created by composers like Ravi Shankar. A time chart and a list of books and websites will be helpful. Reviewer: Barbara L. Talcroft
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780778745297
  • Publisher: Crabtree Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 9/15/2012
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 13 Years
  • Product dimensions: 7.70 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.30 (d)

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