The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination (SUNY series in Hindu Studies)

December 5, 2020
The Artful Universe: An Introduction to the Vedic Religious Imagination (SUNY series in Hindu Studies)

Provides an accessible introduction to the Vedic religiousworld by focusing on the role of divine and human imagination insacred texts."The Artful Universe provides a gentle tour throughformative passages from the Rgveda and Upanisads that explicate thecreative ritual/philosophical process. I particularly enjoyed thepassages selected by the author, and his competent translation ofthem. He has captured and summarized the philosophical intent ofthe Vedic hymns, and thematized key concepts." -- ChristopherKey Chapple, Loyola Marymount University"This is a very important contribution to our understanding ofearly Indian religious imagination and to the field of religiousstudies broadly construed. Basically, the book develops an angle ofinterpretation that tracks on what the Vedic poets wereconstructing in the way of a universe in which imagination,language, and nature intersected one another. Using philologicaland literary-critical approaches to Vedic texts, Mahony sortsthrough a great many of the one thousand and eight hymns of theRgveda in an effort to reconstruct and present the unfolding of aworld view which sees the cosmos as an elaborate, interconnected,and paradoxical artistic reality." -- Paul B. Courtright, EmoryUniversityThe Artful Universe introduces the Vedic religion, arich and densely textured tradition that has influenced thereligious sensibilities of India for 3500 years or more. Engaginglywritten and based on traditional as well as modern Vedicscholarship, the book introduces Vedic ideas regarding the natureof divinity, the structure of the sacred universe, the process ofrevelation, the function of ritual as hallowed activity, and therealizations lying behind the practice of meditation. As a way tolink these diverse aspects of Vedic religion, Mahony identifies andhighlights the important role of the divine and human imaginationin the formation, revelation, and reformation of a meaningfulworld."I found Mahony's translations of the Vedas to be stunning. Hehas treated the text carefully, even reverentially. After readingthese texts anew, some of which I had read many times before inmechanical translations, I was able to viscerally understand howand why the Vedas are revelatory, shining, holy." -- JoannePunzo Waghorne, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill