“Human beings have always been mythmakers.” So begins best-selling writer Karen Armstrong’s concise yet compelling investigation into myth: what it is, how it has evolved, and why we still so desperately need it. She takes us from the Paleolithic period and the myths of the hunters right up to the “Great Western Transformation” of the last five hundred years and the discrediting of myth by science. The history of myth is the history of humanity, our stories and beliefs, our curiosity and attempts to understand the world, which link us to our ancestors and each other. Heralding a major series of retellings of international myths by authors from around the world, Armstrong’s characteristically insightful and eloquent book serves as a brilliant and thought-provoking introduction to myth in the broadest sense—and explains why if we dismiss it, we do so at our peril.
The Rise of Wisdom Moon was composed during the mid-eleventh century by Krishna mishra, an otherwise unknown poet in the service of the Chandella dynasty, whose cultural and religious capital was Khajuraho. The early popularity of Krishna mishra’s work led to its frequent translation into the vernaculars of both North and South India, and even Persian as well. Famed as providing the enduring model of the allegorical play for all subsequent Sanskrit literature, The Rise of Wisdom Moon offers a satirical account of the conquest of the holy city of Benares by Nescience, of the war of liberation waged by the forces of Intuition, and of the freedom of the Inner Man that then follows the rise of Wisdom. But at the outset, when Nescience still has the upper hand, with minions like Lord Lust, such developments seem unlikely.
When Go·várdhana composed his "Seven Hundred Elegant Verses" in Sanskrit in the twelfth century CE, the title suggested that this was a response to the 700 verses in the more demotic Prakrit language traditionally attributed to King Hala, composed almost a thousand years earlier. Both sets of poems were composed in the arya metre. Besides being the name of a metre, in Sanskrit arya means a noble or elegant lady, and Go·várdhana wished to reflect and appeal to a sophisticated culture. These poems each consist of a single stanza, almost as condensed and allusive as a Japanese haiku. They cover the gamut of human life and emotion, though the favorite topic is love in all its aspects.Co-published by New York University Press and the JJC FoundationFor more on this title and other titles in the Clay Sanskrit series, please visit http://www.claysanskritlibrary.org
Jayadeva’s Gitagovínda is a lyrical account of the illicit springtime love affair of Krishna and Radha, a god and goddess manifesting on earth as a cowherd and milkmaid for the sake of relishing the sweet miseries and rapturous delights of erotic love. The narrative framing their bucolic songs was composed under royal patronage in northeastern India in the twelfth century. It was to be performed for connoisseurs of poetry and the erotic arts, for aesthetes and voluptuaries who, while sensually engaged, were at the same time devoted to Krishna as Lord of the Universe. The text at once celebrates the vicissitudes of carnal love and the transports of religious devotion, merging and reconciling those realms of emotion and experience. Erotic and religious sensibilities serve, and are served by, the pleasures of poetry. In the centuries following its composition, the courtly text became a vastly popular inspirational hymnal. Jayadeva's songs continue to be sung throughout India in fervent devotional adoration of Krishna.
In this second volume of the Garland of Past Lives , Aryashura applies his elegant literary skill toward composing fourteen further stories that depict the Buddha’s quest for enlightenment in his former lives. Here the perfection of forbearance becomes the dominant theme, as the future Buddha suffers mutilations from the wicked and sacrifices himself for those he seeks to save. Friendship, too, takes on central significance, with greed leading to treachery and enemies transformed into friends through the transformative effect of the future Buddha’s miraculous virtue. The setting for many such moral feats is the forest. Portrayed as home for the future Buddha in his lives as an animal or ascetic, the peaceful harmony of this idyllic realm is often violently interrupted by intrusions from human society. Only the future Buddha can resolve the ensuing conflict, influencing even kings, in the stories but also throughout Asian history, to express wonder and devotion at the startling demonstrations of virtue they encounter.
The Garland of Past Lives is a collection of thirty four stories depicting the miraculous deeds performed by the Buddha in his previous rebirths. Composed in the fourth century C.E. by the Buddhist monk Aryashura, the text’s accomplished artistry led Indian aesthetic theorists to praise its elegant mixture of verse and prose. The twenty stories in this first volume deal primarily with the virtues of giving and morality. Ascetics sacrifice their lives for hungry tigers, kings open their veins for demons to drink their blood, helmsmen steer their crew through perilous seas, and quail chicks quench forest fires by proclaiming words of truth. The experience is intended to arouse astonishment in the audience, inspiring devotion, through the future Buddha’s transcendence of conventional norms in his quest to acquire enlightenment and save the world from suffering. The importance of such stories of past lives in traditional Buddhist culture, throughout Asia and up to today, cannot be overestimated.
King Harsha, who reigned over the kingdom of Kanauj from 606 to 647 CE, composed two Sanskrit plays about the mythical figures of King Udayana, his queen, Vásava·datta, and two of his co-wives. The plays abound in mistaken identities, both political and erotic. The characters masquerade as one another and, occasionally, as themselves, and each play refers simultaneously to itself and to the other.Co-published by New York University Press and the JJC FoundationFor more on this title and other titles in the Clay Sanskrit series, please visit http://www.claysanskritlibrary.org
Plato's best-known work, The Republic was written around 380 BC. Largely a Socratic dialogue concerning justice, the order and character of the just city-state and the just man, it serves as the forerunner for such other classics of political thought as Cicero's De Republica, St. Augustine's City of God, and Thomas More's Utopia. Among the ideas put forth are the eternal conflict between the world of the senses (the cave) and the world of ideas (the world outside the cave), and the philosopher's role as mediator between the two. Also: Kallipolis, a hypothetical city-state ruled by a philosopher king, and the theory of forms, the immortality of the soul, and the role of the philosopher and poetry in society.
В этом томе представлены работы С. Я. Сендеровича по фольклору. 2-ое исправленное и дополненное издание монографии «Морфологии загадки» посвящено народной загадке из устных традиций, одному из древнейших, быстро исчезающих жанров культуры. Загадка отличается краткостью, эксцентричностью и поэтической интенсивностью. Исследование посвящено реконструкции из дошедшего до нас материала основополагающих особенностей жанра и формулирует результаты в форме своего рода «генетического кода». Подвергаются испытанию общепринятые в среде фольклористов представления и формируется свежий взгляд на строй и жизнь загадки в их взаимосвязи. Загадка предстает как исключительно своеобразная и сложная фигура речи и необходимый институт в жизни древнейшего и традиционного общества. В том включено расследование особенностей и генезиса русской былины – в конфликте с существующими теориями. Включено и совместное с В. В. Ляпуновым исследование структуры и функций плана выражения русской пословицы.