About the Book :
This volume presents new perspectives from the Humanities and Social Sciences on some of the most important and enduring "individuals" and "ideas" in pre-modern India. It is hoped that they will prove of interest and some value to the general reader, as well as to the scholar, and will encourage them to pursue these topics further with the aid of notes, references, and bibliographies. The power of ideas and significance of those who give expression to them is neither overlooked nor minimized by good students of history. However, different kinds of ideas and individuals seem to emerge to the fore in different cultural traditions. These differ as do their preferences. One has to study each culture within its own context in order to appreciate and understand it fully. The present volume is devoted to such a study of traditional India. It includes ten contributions by as many scholars. It treats of "individuals" such as Visvamitra, Bhrgu, the Buddha, Carvaka, the only female Jina Malli of the Jainas, Bidpai, Caitanya, Swami Dayananda, Mahatma Gandhi, and Swami Bhaktivedanta, to mention only the main figures. "Ideas" such as dissent, the miraculous, being superhuman, chastity, sati, spirit possession, ahimsa, asceticism, and bhakti are of perennial interest to those interested in India and its diverse cultural historical experiences.