Sacred Animals of India

Sacred Animals of India


Animals in India are worshipped in myriad ways: as deities, like the elephant (god Ganesha) and the monkey (god Hanuman); as avatars, like Vishnu's fish, tortoise and boar forms; and as vahanas, or vehicles, of major deities-the swan, bull, lion and tiger. While some animals, like the snake, are worshipped out of fear, some birds, such as the crow, are associated with the abode of the dead, or the souls of ancestors, and the cow's sanctity perhaps derives from its economic value. There are also hero-animals, such as the vanaras, and the totemic symbols of tribes later assimilated into Vedic Hinduism.

Sacred Animals of India draws on India's ancient religions-Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism-to explore the customs and practices that led to the worship and protection of animals. This book is also a necessary reminder of the role animals play in earth's biodiversity.

'A good read'-Mail Today

'Treats the complex subject with the confidence that is born out of meticulous and thorough research and strong convictions'-Book Review Literary Trust

'Each and every animal, however insignificant in other eyes, attracts the attention of a devout Hindu'-Dawn


304 Pages | ISBN13 9780143423201
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Nanditha Krishna
Nanditha Krishna
A historian, environmentalist and writer based in Chennai, Nanditha Krishna has a PhD in ancient Indian culture from the University of Bombay. She has been a professor and research guide for the PhD programme of C.P.R. Institute of Indological Research, affiliated to the University of Madras. She was the honorary director of the C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation from 1981 and was elected president in 2013. She is the founder-director of its constituents, including C.P.R. Institute of Indological Research, C.P.R. Environmental Education Centre, C.P. Art Centre and Kanchi Museum of Folk Art. She is the author of several books, including Sacred Plants of India, Sacred Animals of India, Hinduism and Nature, Book of Demons and Book of Vishnu (Penguin India); Madras Then, Chennai Now, Balaji Venkateshwara, Ganesha, Painted Manuscripts of the Sarasvati Mahal Library; and The Arts and Crafts of Tamilnadu and The Art and Iconography of Vishnu-Narayana, among many others, besides numerous research papers and newspaper articles.
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