‘R. C. Dhere’s Lajjāgaurī is a classic work of scholarship on Hindu goddesses. Exploring the meaning of the Lajjāgaurī image, Dhere engages in an extensive discussion of sexual imagery and fertility cults in India. He also makes Lajjāgaurī a springboard for elucidating the cults of other important goddesses such as Renukā, Yellammā, Aditi, and a variety of folk goddesses, as well as the male deities Jotibā and Subrahmaṇya. Long beloved by Marathi readers, the book appears here in English for the first time. By making it more widely accessible, Jayant Bapat has performed a great service to Indologists throughout India and the world.’ Anne Feldhaus, Foundation Professor of Religious Studies, Arizona State University, USA
Lajjāgaurī is perhaps one of India’s oldest goddesses, with images of her found in South Asia dating back to the Indus Civilisation c. 3000 to 1500 B.C.E. Her devotees can be traced back even earlier, to the Ukraine c. 10,000 B.C.E. In India, new finds continue to expand the geographical spread of Lajjāgaurī’s devotees, most recently to Odiśā. Ḍhere’s work on Lajjāgaurī – a study of the meanings of the visual representations of the Goddess – is based on a tireless pursuit of her image throughout western India. In contrast to the other thousands of Indian goddesses whose images are superabundant, Lajjāgaurī has become more reclusive as other deities have risen. This work by the towering Marāṭhī cultural specialist Dr Rāmacandra Cintāmaṇ Ḍhere is a unique and important study, painstakingly and lovingly translated into English by Dr Jayant Bāpaṭ.
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...