n Nidan : International Journal for Indian Studies - Nine Nights of the Goddess: The Navarātri Festival of South Asia, Caleb Simmons, Moumita Sen, & Hillary Rodrigues (Eds.) - book review

Volume 3 Number 2
  • ISSN : 1016-5320


The anthology titled Nine Nights of the Goddess: The Navarātri Festival of South Asia is an anthropological-sociological, that is partly social-scientific and partly theological, analysis. The fifteen densely and expertly written accounts of this popular pan-Indian as well as Nepalese ritual of the Great Goddess [Devī], the anthropomorphic representation of the cosmic energy, the redoubtable Śakti under such popular names as Cāmuṇḍā, Kālī, or Durgā (see more nomenclature of this deity in ch. 2, pp. 54-55), provide a comprehensive rendition of the mythological lurid lore of the nine nights of battle between a warrior devī representing all that is beneficent, munificent, and magnificent and a powerful shape-shifting titan [asura] in the guise of a gigantic buffalo [mahiṣa], who had been terrorizing the gods after having conquered their habitation, Svargaloka [Heaven] and taken over the rights and rules of the incumbent Devarāja (Divine King) Indra.

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