The Devi Gita

The Song of the Goddess: A Translation, Annotation, and Commentary

By C. Mackenzie Brown

Subjects: India And South Asian Studies
Paperback : 9780791439401, 404 pages, September 1998
Hardcover : 9780791439395, 404 pages, September 1998

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Table of contents

Preface

Introduction

A Note on the Translation

Navasloki Devi Gita: The Essential Devi Gita in Nine Verses

Chapter 1
The Appearance of the Great Goddess Before the Mountain King Himalaya and the Gods

Chapter 2
The Goddess as the Supreme Cause of Creation

Chapter 3
The Goddess Reveals Her Cosmic Body (The Viraj)

Chapter 4
Instruction in the Yoga of Knowledge

Chapter 5
Instruction in the Eight-limbed/Kundalini Yoga

Chapter 6
The Goal of the Yogas: Knowledge of Brahman

Chapter 7
Instruction in the Yoga of Devotion

Chapter 8
Further Instruction in the Yoga of Devotion: The Sacred Sites, Rites, and Festivals of the Goddess

Chapter 9
Vedic and Internal Forms of Goddess Worship

Chapter 10
The Tantric Form of Goddess Worship and the Disappearance of the Great Goddess

Afterword

Appendix: Verse Index of the Epithets and Names of the Goddess

Sanskrit Text

Bibliography

Index

This translation and commentary on an important Hindu text on the Great Goddess envisions a universe created and protected by a compassionate female deity.

Description

This book provides a translation, with introduction, commentary, and annotation, of the medieval Hindu Sanskrit text the Devi Gita (Song of the Goddess). It is an important but not well-known text from the rich SAakta (Goddess) tradition of India. The Devi Gita was composed about the fifteenth century C.E., in partial imitation of the famous Bhagavad Gita (Song of the Lord), composed some fifteen centuries earlier.

Around the sixth century C.E., following the rise of several male deities to prominence, a new theistic movement began in which the supreme being was envisioned as female, known as the Great Goddess (Maha-Devi). Appearing first as a violent and blood-loving deity, this Goddess gradually evolved into a more benign figure, a compassionate World-Mother and bestower of salvific wisdom. It is in this beneficent mode that the Goddess appears in the Devi Gita.

This work makes available an up-to-date translation of the Devi Gita, along with a historical and theological analysis of the text. The book is divided into sections of verses, and each section is followed by a comment explaining key terms, concepts, ritual procedures, and mythic themes. The comments also offer comparisons with related schools of thought, indicate parallel texts and textual sources of verses in the Devi Gita, and briefly elucidate the historical and religious background, supplementing the remarks of the introduction.

C. Mackenzie Brown is Professor of Religion at Trinity University. His previous books include The Triumph of the Goddess: The Canonical Models and Theological Visions of the Devi-Bhagavata Purana, also published by SUNY Press, and God as Mother: A Feminine Theology in India; An Historical and Theological Study of the Brahmavaivarta Purana.