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Home » Books » Religion » Buddhism » General

The Dance of Siva

Religion, Art and Poetry in South India (Cambridge Studies in Religious Traditions)

By David Smith

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Format: Hardback, 316 pages
Other Information: 30 b/w illus.
Published In: United Kingdom, 26 July 1996
This is a full account of Siva's Dance of Bliss, which has become a popular symbol in the West for Hinduism and Eastern Mysticism. Siva is one of the two main gods of Hinduism, and his worshippers comprise half of all Hindus. Siva's Dance of Bliss is based on a remarkable Sanskrit poem written by Umapati Sivacarya, Saiva theologian and temple priest in Cidambaram, South India, in the fourteenth century. Starting with the bronze image of Nataraja, King of Dancers, thereafter the Cidambaram temple, its myth and its priests are viewed in the light of the poem. Umapati's Saiva theology is discussed in relation to his life and also in relation to Vedanta and yoga. The iconography and mythology of the Goddess and of other forms of Siva provide necessary perspective. Art from Cidambaram and neighbouring sites illuminates the text.

Table of Contents

List of illustrations; Acknowledgements; Introduction; 1. The Nataraja bronze; 2. The Cidambaram myth; 3. Temple, priests and ritual; 4. The Hall of Consciousness, the Heart of the Universe; 5. Saiva Siddhanta and Vedanta; 6. The Goddess; 7. Bhiksatana; 8. Bhairava the Terrible and other forms of Siva; 9. Saints, dancing girls, ganas and Apasmara; 10. Last words; Notes; Bibliography; Index and glossary.


'... a complete and comprehensive account of the hallowed Chidambaram temple ... a veritable store-house of information ... The amount of solid research that has gone into this volume is amazing.' Journal of the Institute of Asian Studies

EAN: 9780521482349
ISBN: 0521482348
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Dimensions: 22.86 x 15.24 x 2.24 centimetres (0.64 kg)
Age Range: 15+ years
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