‘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 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 tireless pursuits 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.
Dr Jayant Bāpaṭ has spent many years translating Lajjāgaurī, an important and unique study of the disembodied Indian goddess by the outstanding Marāṭhī cultural specialist Ramcandra Cintāmaṇ Ḍhere, whose work on Lajjagauri is based on tireless pursuits of her image throughout western India.
About the Translator
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.