Encountering the Goddess: A Translation of the Devi-Mahatmya and a Study of Its Interpretation by Thomas B. Coburn
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Overview: Coburn provides a fresh and careful translation from the Sanskrit of this fifteen-hundred-year-old text. Drawing on field work and literary evidence, he illuminates the process by which the Devi-Mahatmya has attracted a vast number of commentaries and has become the best known Goddess-text in modern India, deeply embedded in the ritual of Goddess worship (especially in Tantra).
Coburn answers the following questions among others: Is this document “scripture?” How is it that this text mediates the presence of the Goddess? What can we make of contemporary emphasis on oral recitation of the text rather than study of its written form?
One comes away from Coburn s work with a sense of the historical integrity or wholeness of an extremely important religious development centered on a text. The interaction between the text and later philosophical and religious developments such as those found in Advaita Vedanta and Tantra is quite illuminating.
Genre: Non-Fiction, Religion, Spirituality, Hinduism