The experience of the divine in India merges the three components of sight, performance and sound. This book is about the power and importance of “seeing” in the Hindu religious tradition. In the Hindu view, not only must the gods keep their eyes open, but so must we, in order to make contact with them, to reap their blessings and to know their secrets. When Hindus go to temple, their eyes meet the powerful, eternal gaze of the eyes of God. It is called Darsan, “Seeing” the divine image and it is the single most common and significant element of Hindu worship. This book explores what ‘darsan’ means. This is also a book about the divine image in the Hindu tradition. What do Hindus see in the images of the gods? What is meant by these multi-armed gods, with their various weapons, emblems and animals? How are these images made and con-secreted ? How are they treated in a ritual context? In exploring the nature of the divine image, this book not only considers the images of the gods, but also the Hindu temple and the Hindu place of pilgrimage.
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