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Dance of Shiva
Fourteen Indian Essays

By Ananda Coomaraswamy
January 2009
Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers
Distributed by Coronet Books
ISBN: 9788121501538
224 pages, Illustrated
$32.50 Paper Original

The collection of essays by Ananda Coomaraswamy on Indian art and culture and other themes, published under the title The Dance of Shiva reflect the many-sided genius of this great savant. The fourteen essays in this collection critically deal with aspects of Indian ethos, art and aesthetics, philosophy, music and Indian women besides essays on Indian and Western and ancient and contemporary themes.

Coomaraswamy's discussion on these wide-ranging themes with his mastery of the original source material bear the stamp of his understanding and thorough analysis. In the essay 'What has India contributed', Coomaraswamy has discussed the application of Brahmanical religious philosophy to the problems of sociology. In his words: 'the essential contribution of India is her Indianness.' He aptly sums up the fundamental quality of Indian music when he says that Indian music is essentially impersonal and a purely melodic art with elaborate grace.

His essays 'Indian images with many arms' is an answer to the critics of Indian art wherein he has tried to show that what appears bizarre to an Occidental mind is because of lack of familiarity with Indian art traditions and not a sincere attempt to evaluate the works of art on own merits. His thoughts on diverse theme like 'Intellectual fraternity', Cosmopolitan view of Nietzsche', 'Young India' and 'Individuality, autonomy and function' show his awareness to contemporary situation and ideas.

The present collection of essays epitomizes Coomaraswamy's greatness and should prove to be of sustained interest and permanent value to all interested in understanding of Indian art and ethos.



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