Dr. Arora's present book is indeed a most welcome addition to the growing field of comparative mythological studies. The work is a very thorough investigation into some of the major themes and motifs in Indian mythology in a much wider and comparative perspective. He has carefully selected them from Indian, Greek, West-Asian, and other sources. The result obtained by him provides an amazing story of interaction between various cultural traditions through space and time. This is a painstaking work of research and a substantial contribution not only to the History of Indian Civilization but also to that of the ancient world. Dr. Arora has approached his question with an open mind with result that his findings do not betray pre-suppositions and prejudices one often finds in such studies. Printed Pages: 268.
Comparative mythology is, indeed, a very absorbing and exciting subject. But it is also a tricky subject. Any investigation pertaining to this discipline involves some obvious risks. For instance, on the one hand, one is often tempted to read much in apparent-and even superficial-similarities of ideas in the mythologies of different cultures and then to fit in those ideas into a pre-conceived ideological framework; and, on The other hand, there is the tendency towards puritanical isolationism which rejects any suggestion of borrowing or external influence. I would like to congratulate Dr. Arora, the author of this interesting monograph, on having taken care to see that in avoiding Scylla he has not fallen into Chary bdis. He has tried to strike a commendable balance between various ramifications of the two extreme positions. Verily, judicious restraint may generally be said to be the keynote of his entire writing.
Dr. Arora has wisely chosen for comparative study only a few important topics in Indian mythology, such as the creation of the world, the four ages, the great flood, births and deaths of mythical personalities, metamorphoses, and supernatural maidens. And one hardly fails to notice that Le has assiduously brought an impressive array of literature, primary and secondary, to bear upon his treatment of these topics. But what has struck me most agreeably in this book is that Dr. Arora has not indulged in any unwarranted theorisation. He has left the facts so meticulously brought forth by him to speak for themselves—of course throwing out, off and on, intelligent suggestions which would certainly serve as helpful signposts.
Altogether we have here a valuable source-book in the field of Hindu mythology, and I welcome it as holding out sure promise of greater things to come.
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