Hindu Classical Dictionary – John Dowson (1928)


Hindu Classical Dictionary – John Dowson (1928)


Title: A Classical Dictionary of Hindu Mythology and Religion, Geography, History and Literature

Author: John Dowson

Publisher: Kegan Paul, Trench, Truber & Co., 1928. Sixth edition.

Condition: Hardcover, former library book with minimal library markings, only an ex-libris plate to endpaper and faint stamps to title page, last page, and fore-edge. Inscription to ffep, front hinge slightly cracked. Slight soiling to fore-edge. Text clean, binding tight. 411pp, app 8″ by 5″.

An invaluable glossary of most terms a reader might encounter when reading either classical Sanskrit or Vedic literature, arranged in alphabetical order. Most of the words and terms here have to do with mythology or religion, and include famous characters in Indian mythology, such as from the Mahabharata, Puranas, etc.

A definition and explanation is given for each word, term or character, making it an immensely useful reference work for those engaged in exploring Hindu mythology (who would inevitably realise how difficult it is to keep track of everything). Some descriptions are longer than others, such as of certain sages or important personalities, to whom a few pages might be dedicated.

Some examples of short definitions and descriptions include:

Su-Meru. The mountain Meru, actual or personified.

Kuru-Kshetra. ‘The field of the Kurus’. A plain near Delhi where a great battle between the Kauravas and Pandavas was fought. It lies south-east of Thanesar, not far from Panipat, the scene of many battles in later days.

Gandiva. The bow of Arjuna, said to have been given by Soma to Varuna, by Varuna to Agni, and by Agni to Arjuna.

Rama-Giri. ‘The hill of Rama.’ It stands a short distance north of Nagpur.