Shiva to Shankara- Giving Form to the Formless

by Devdutt Pattanaik


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We live in times where people have extreme views. On the one hand, there are scholars who describe Shiva’s linga literally as a phallus and see all metaphoric meaning as embarrassed apology of the uneducated. On the other hand, we have puritanical Hindus who want to strip the Shiva linga of all sexual meaning and sanitize Shiva’s lore. In both cases, a symbol is being reduced to a sign.In Shiva to Shankara, Devdutt Pattanaik, India’s leading mythologist, seeks to bridge the gap. As he explores the layers of meanings embedded in Shiva’s linga, we discover why and how the Goddess transforms Shiva, the hermit, into Shankara, the householder.

We live in times where people have extreme views. On the one hand, there are scholars who describe Shiva’s linga literally as a phallus and see all metaphoric meaning as embarrassed apology of the uneducated. On the other hand, we have puritanical Hindus who want to strip the Shiva linga of all sexual meaning and sanitize Shiva’s lore. In both cases, a symbol is being reduced to a sign.In Shiva to Shankara, Devdutt Pattanaik, India’s leading mythologist, seeks to bridge the gap. As he explores the layers of meanings embedded in Shiva’s linga, we discover why and how the Goddess transforms Shiva, the hermit, into Shankara, the householder.We live in times where people have extreme views. On the one hand, there are scholars who describe Shiva’s linga literally as a phallus and see all metaphoric meaning as embarrassed apology of the uneducated. On the other hand, we have puritanical Hindus who want to strip the Shiva linga of all sexual meaning and sanitize Shiva’s lore. In both cases, a symbol is being reduced to a sign.In Shiva to Shankara, Devdutt Pattanaik, India’s leading mythologist, seeks to bridge the gap. As he explores the layers of meanings embedded in Shiva’s linga, we discover why and how the Goddess transforms Shiva, the hermit, into Shankara, the householder.
145
Harper Element
English
Spirituality, Genre

About The Author

Devdutt Pattanaik is a medical doctor by education, a leadership consultant by profession and a mythologist by passion. He has written and lectured extensively on the nature of stories, symbols and rituals and their relevance in modern times. He is the author of over thirty books, which include 7 Secrets of Hindu Calendar Art (Westland), Myth=Mithya: A Handbook of Hindu Mythology (Penguin), Book of Ram (Penguin) and Jaya: An Illustrated Retelling of the Mahabharata (Penguin).


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