Toward a New Model of the Hindu Pantheon

Rita M. Gross

in A Garland of Feminist Reflections

Published by University of California Press

Published in print March 2009 | ISBN: 9780520255852
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520943667 | DOI:
Toward a New Model of the Hindu Pantheon

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This chapter revolves around the author's dissatisfaction with the model of the Hindu pantheon found in most textbooks. The literature on Hinduism presents a model of the Hindu pantheon that is still very much in existence. That model tells us that there are three major Hindu deities, Vishnu, Shiva, and the Goddess, always presented in that order, and almost always with fewer words devoted to the deities further down on the list. This model gives the impression that male deities are more important and more popular than female deities. It also often gives the impression that male deities are normal and understandable, while goddesses are odd and exotic. Hinduism is the only major contemporary world religion in which goddess worship is prominent and normal. In such a religion, it does not seem likely that the female deities would be regarded as an add-on or an afterthought.

Keywords: Hindu pantheon; Hinduism; Hindu deities; female deities; male deities

Chapter.  5335 words. 

Subjects: Buddhism

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