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The Lajjāgaurī and Anandanāyakī:

A New Light on the Nature and Worship of the Ᾱdi-Mātā, the Primordial Mother

By Ramcandra Cintāmaṇ Ḍhere
Translated by Jayant Bhalchandra Bāpaṭ


Lajjāgaurī is perhaps one of India's oldest goddesses with images of her in South Asia dating back to the Indus Civilisation c. 3,000 to 1,500 BC. Her devotees can be traced back even earlier to the Ukraine c. 10,000 BCE. In India, new finds continue to expand the geographical spread of Lajjagauri's devotees, most recently to Odiśā. Ḍhere's work on Lajjagauri is based on a tireless pursuit of her image throughout western India. In contrast to the other thousands of Indian goddesses whose images are super abundant, Lajjāgaurī has become more reclusive as other deities have risen. This work by the towering Marāṭhī cultural specialist Ramcandra Cintāmaṇ Ḍhere is a unique and important study, painstakingly and lovingly translated here by Dr Jayant Bāpaṭ.

About the Author

Jayant Bapat holds doctorates in Organic Chemistry and Indology and is an adjunct research fellow at the Monash Asia Institute at Monash University. His research interests include Hinduism, Goddess cults, the Fisher community of Mumbai, and Jainism, and he has published widely in these areas. He is co-editor of The Iconic Female: Goddesses of India, Nepal and Tibet (Monash University Press, 2008) with Ian Mabbett, and The Indian Diaspora: Hindus and Sikhs in Australia (DK Printworld, 2015). For his work in education and for the Indian community, Jayant was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2011.

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