Criminal Gods and Demon Devotees
Essays on the Guardians of Popular Hinduism
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The Hindu sacred order is guarded by the very gods who violate it and the demons who oppose it. This book is a who's who of such transgressive figures, both familiar and unfamiliar, showing their place within the Hindu order that they violate. It is also a reflection of the serious scholarly debate over the nature and composition of this Hindu order.
The chapters range from pan-Hindu deities such as Bhairava and Virabhadra to guardian gods of specific regions and lineages and of different goddess cults. Chapters cover violent themes in SAaivite hagiography, the position of Brahmans in relation to cultic carnivorism, guardian heroes in folk epic, the deified dead, the royal mythology of a "criminal caste," and a wide-ranging overview of transgressive sacrality.
Alf Hiltebeitel is a Professor in the Department of Religion at George Washington University. He is the author of The Ritual of Battle: Krishna in the Mahabharata and The Cult of Draupadi.