Sarasvatī: Riverine Goddess of Knowledge

From the Manuscript-carrying Vīṇā-player to the Weapon-wielding Defender of the Dharma


This is a fascinating depiction of the transformation of the Indian riverine goddess from the manuscript-carrying vīṇā-player to the Buddhist weapon-wielding defender of the Dharma.
Drawing on Sanskrit and Chinese textual sources, as well as Hindu, Jain, and Buddhist art historical representations, this book traces the conceptual and iconographic development of the riverine goddess of knowledge Sarasvatī from some time after 1750 B.C.E. to the seventh century C.E. Through the study of Chinese translations of no longer extant Sanskrit versions of the Buddhist Sutra of Golden Light the author sheds light on Sarasvatī's interactions with other Indian goddess cults and their impact on one another.
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EUR €143.00USD $190.00

Biographical Note

Catherine Ludvik, Ph.D. (2001) in South and East Asian Religions, University of Toronto, is a JSPS Research Fellow affiliated with Kobe University. Her publications include Re-contextualizing the Praises of a Goddess: From the Harivamsa to Yijing’s Chinese Translation of the Sutra of Golden Light (2006) and Hanuman in the Ramayana of Valmiki and the Ramacaritamanasa of Tulasi Dasa (1994).

Review Quotes

"..a significant and valuable contribution.(...) Scholars concerned with the portrayal of Sarasvatī or any other goddess in specific Indic textual traditions will find the volume an invaluable tool for searching out comparisons or broader historical and cultural contexts." - Elizabeth M. Rohlman, University of Calgary, Journal of Asian Studies, 70/3 (2011).


All those interested in the history of religion, Indian religion, goddess studies, the metamorphoses of Indian deities in East Asia, as well as the translation of Buddhist texts into Chinese.


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