Mapping the Pāśupata Landscape

Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India


In Mapping the Pāśupata Landscape: Narrative, Place, and the Śaiva Imaginary in Early Medieval North India, Elizabeth A. Cecil explores the sacred geography of the earliest community of Śiva devotees called the Pāśupatas. This book brings the narrative cartography of the Skandapurāṇa into conversation with physical landscapes, inscriptions, monuments, and icons in order to examine the ways in which Pāśupatas were emplaced in regional landscapes and to emphasize the use of material culture as media through which notions of belonging and identity were expressed. By exploring the ties between the formation of early Pāśupata communities and the locales in which they were embedded, this study reflects critically upon the ways in which community building was coincident with place-making in Early Medieval India.
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Elizabeth A. Cecil, Ph.D. (2016), is Assistant Professor of Religion at Florida State University. Her scholarship explores the history of Hindu religions in South and Southeast Asia through the study of text, image, monument, and landscape.
'Elizabeth Cecil’s investigation into the emergence of a Pāśupata landscape between the 6th and 10th centuries CE is an important contribution to early Śaiva studies for multiple reasons. Historically, the Pāśupatas are considered one of the earliest and most influential groups of Śiva worshipers, active across much of the North-Indian landscape. Cecil comprehensively writes their history with an at once broad and granular approach drawn from several disciplines – philological, art historical, theoretical, economic, sociological, and historical.' - Benjamin J. Fleming New York University, South Asian Studies, 37,1 (2021).
'In this thoroughly documented book, Elizabeth Cecil marshals textual, architectural,epigraphic, and art-historical evidence to aid in the recovery of the fascinating history of the spread of Śaivism in northern India from the sixth to the tenth centuries.(...) we are offered here a fascinating window into the history of the development of this vital tradition in its myriad forms, in a study that opens the way for further discovery and debate, and, with and through this volume, new precision in the recovery of the social history of Śaivism—and Pāśupata Śaivism—in South Asia.' - John Nemec, University of Virginia, Indo-Iranian Journal 65 (2022).
List of Figures

Introduction: Mapping a Religious Landscape

1 A Geographic Imaginary: the Skandapurāṇa, Lakulīśa and the Localization of Tradition

2 At the Crossroads: Śaiva Religious Networks in Uparamāla

3 The Salt Lakes: Pāśupatas and Śaiva Centers in Jambumārga

4 The Sahya Mountain: Śiva Religion in the Port Polity of the North Konkan

5 Seeking the ‘Lord with a Club’: Encountering Lakulīśa in the Pāśupata Landscape

Coda: Temple, Community, and Heritage-Making
All interested in the history of Hinduism, and particularly the worship of the god Śiva, in premodern India; scholars of early medieval history and society in South Asia, and those interested in the study of text and material culture.
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