The Presence of Siva
S. Kramrisch


One of the three great gods of Hinduism, Siva is a living god. The most sacred and most ancient book of India, The Rg Veda, evokes his presence in its hymns; Vedic myths, rituals, and even astronomy testify to his existence from the dawn of time. In a lively meditation on Siva--based on original Sanskrit texts, many translated here for the first time--Stella Kramrisch ponders the metaphysics, ontology, and myths of Siva from the Vedas and the Puranas.

Who is Siva? Who is this god whose being comprises and transcends everything? From the dawn of creation, the Wild God, the Great Yogi, the sum of all opposites, has been guardian of the absolute. By retelling and interweaving the many myths that keep Siva alive in India today, Kramrisch reveals the paradoxes in Siva's nature and thus in the nature of consciousness itself.

First published in 1981.

Stella Kramrisch is Curator of Indian Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Professor of Indian Art at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. She is the author of The Hindu Temple (Calcutta), the standard work on Indian sacred architecture.