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Wendy Doniger

Data di nascita: 20. Novembre 1940
Altri nomi: Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty

Wendy Doniger è un'indologa e accademica statunitense, celebre studiosa dell'induismo.

È attiva nel campo degli studi religiosi sin dal 1973.

In possesso di due dottorati, conseguiti alle università di Harvard e di Oxford, la Doniger insegna Storia delle religioni all'Università di Chicago dal 1978. È anche membro dello staff editoriale dell'Enciclopedia Britannica.


„The future Buddha was once born as a rabbit, who vowed that he would give his own flesh to any beggar who came to him, in order to protect the beggar from having to break the moral law by taking animal life. To test him, Indra, the Hindu king of the gods, took the form of a Brahmin and came to him; the rabbit offered to throw himself into a fire and roast himself so that the Brahmin could eat him. Indra conjured up a magical fire; when the rabbit—who first shook himself three times so that any insects that might be on his body would escape death—threw himself into the fire, it turned icy cold. Indra then revealed his identity as Indra, and so that everyone would know of the rabbit’s virtue, he painted the sign of a rabbit on the orb of the moon.“ The Hindus: An Alternative History

„(“I got around a lot” [bahu aham caranti] has the same double meaning in Sanskrit as it has in English—to move from one place to another and from one sexual partner to another—as well as a third, purely Indian meaning that is also relevant here: to wander as a mendicant.)“ The Hindus: An Alternative History


„The Greek historian Herodotus, writing in the fifth century BCE, said that the Indians were the most populous country on earth (5.3).“ The Hindus: An Alternative History

„The swan is also a liminal bird, able to live in two worlds, land and water, or matter and spirit.“ Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities

„Renouncers tended to encourage a virulent loathing and fear of women, while worldly Hindus celebrated women in their sculptures, their poetry, and, sometimes, real life.“ The Hindus: An Alternative History

„Nonviolence became a cultural ideal for Hindus precisely because it holds out the last hope of a cure, all the more desirable since unattainable, for a civilization that has, like most, always suffered from chronic and terminal violence. Non-violence is an ideal propped up against the cultural reality of violence. Classical Hindu India was violent in ways both shared with all cultures and unique to its particular time and place, in its politics (war being the raison d’être of every king); in its religious practices (animal sacrifice, ascetic self-torture, fire walking, swinging from hooks in the flesh of the back, and so forth); in its criminal law (impaling on stakes and the amputation of limbs being prescribed punishments for relatively minor offenses); in its hells (cunningly and sadistically contrived to make the punishment fit the crime); and, perhaps at the very heart of it all, in its climate, with its unendurable heat and unpredictable monsoons. Hindu sages dreamed of nonviolence as people who live all their lives in the desert dream of oases.“ The Hindus: An Alternative History

„As long as it was just a matter of graft and the lust for power, the British treated the people they robbed as human beings. It was religion that made them treat them like devils“ The Hindus: An Alternative History

„Jainas have always taken vegetarianism to the greatest extremes, taking pains to avoid injuring even tiny insects, and this too heavily influenced Hindus. The breakaway groups not only abhorred sacrifice but also rejected the Veda as revelation and disregarded Brahminical teachings and Brahminical claims to divine authority,32 three more crucial points that distinguished them from Hindus, even from those Hindus who were beginning to take up some of the new doctrines and practices.“ The Hindus: An Alternative History


„Women were forbidden to study the most ancient sacred text, the Veda“ The Hindus: An Alternative History

„The dog who doesn’t bark is about a silence that speaks; it is a good metaphor for the Pariah voice, the dog’s voice, that we can sometimes hear only when it does not speak.“ The Hindus: An Alternative History

„the bee perishes because his lust for the lotus stupefies him and makes him stick to her even in death.“ Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities

„bees in Indian love poetry are said to form the bowstring of the god of lust“ Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities


„Its hatred is directed not only against Hindus of the more diverse traditions—the ones that the British, and Rammohan Roy, taught the Hindus to despise—but also, ironically, against the very monotheisms (Islam and Christianity) that nurtured the Hindu insistence that Hinduism is monotheistic.“ On Hinduism

„In 1864 a geologist named that supercontinent Lemuria, because he used the theory to account for the fact that living lemurs were found, in the nineteenth century, only in Madagascar and the surrounding islands, and fossil lemurs were found from Pakistan to Malaya, but no lemurs, living or dead, were found in Africa or the Middle East (areas that would never have been connected to Lemuria as Madagascar and Pakistan presumably once were).“ The Hindus: An Alternative History

„The qualities that make the soul cling to rebirth or to illusion are vividly encompassed by a Korean word, won, which has a cluster of meanings, including resentment, ingratitude, regret for lost opportunities, and a knot in the stomach; this state of the soul results from being poorly treated or unappreciated while living or from any of the many situations covered by the rubric “to die screaming.“ Dreams, Illusion, and Other Realities

„As the Hindu gods are ‘immortal’ only in a very particular sense – for they are born, and they die – they experience most of the great human dilemmas and often seem to differ from mortals only in a few trivial details (gods do not sweat or blink, for example) and from demons even less. Yet they are regarded by the Hindus as a class of beings by definition totally different from any other; they are symbols in a way that no human being, however ‘archetypal’ his life story, can ever be. They are actors playing parts that are real only for us; they are the masks behind which we see our own faces.“ Hindu Myths

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