savia (savia) wrote in kali_durga,

Essential reading suggestions for those interested in Kali and Durga

Namaste - I've just put together a simple essential reading guide, and would welcome any suggestions/additions/comments/etc. from those of you who are familiar with these books, or others not on this list. I also offer it as a guide to those of you looking to learn more about Kali and Durga but not knowing where to begin.

Note: These are books that I'm familiar with, have read, can vouch for. This does not include the countless articles on the subject, though if you have access to journals it's a great place to get current material in more easily digestible chunks. There are many other books that are useful, but are not easy to come by; for instance, I have several books from India, but they are things like Tantras in the original Sanskrit, or out of print studies by Indian scholars. There are also other primary (original) and secondary (commentary) texts that are difficult to parse, or easily misread, if you don't have the scholarly background, etc., so I feel like it would not be practical to include them in a list like this, which is intended for a more general audience.

Questions: Are these categories helpful? Should I include short reviews? A section on Shakta Tantra? On an introduction to Hinduism (or a separate reading list for that)? etc. Any feedback would be helpful!

Kali: The Feminine Force, Ajit Mookerjee
Kali: The Black Goddess of Dakshineswar, Elizabeth Usha Harding

Scholarly Work (Historical/Foundational)
Encountering Kali: In the Margins, at the Center, in the West, Rachel Fell McDermott
The Sword and Flute, David Kinsley
Tantric Visions of the Divine Feminine, David Kinsley
Hindu Goddesses, David Kinsley
The Indian Mother Goddess, N.N. Bhattacharyya
Devi: Goddesses of India, John Stratton Hawley
Offering Flowers, Feeding Skulls: Popular Goddess Worship in West Bengal, June McDaniel
Victory to the Mother: The Hindu Goddess of Northwest India in Myth, Ritual and Symbol, Kathleen Erndl
Is the Goddess a Feminist?: The Politics of South Asian Goddesses, Alf Hiltelbeitel
The Triumph of the Goddess: The Canonical Models and Theological Issues of the Devi Bhagavata Purana, C. Mackenzie Brown
Seeking Mahadevi: Constructing the Identities of the Hindu Great Goddess, Tracy Pinchtman
The Rise of the Goddess in the Hindu Tradition, Tracy Pinchtman (this is very dry, intended for scholars, but with other foundational reading can be very informative)

Devotional/True Life
Kali's Odiyya: A Shaman's True Story of Initiation, Amarananda Bhairavan
Twenty-four Aspects of Mother Kali, Babaji Bob Kindler
Kali Puja, Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Durga Puja for Beginners, Swami Satyananda Saraswati
Cosmic Puja, Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Translated Original Texts
Singing to the Goddess: Poems to Kali and Uma from Bengal, Rachel Fell McDermott
Hymns to the Goddess and Hymns to Kali, Sir John Woodroffe
Encountering the Goddess: A Translation of the Devi Mahatmya and a Study of Its Interpretation, Thomas Coburn
In Praise of the Goddess: The Devi Mahatmya and its Meaning, Devadatta Kali
The Song of the Goddess: The Devi Gita; Spiritual Counsel of the Great Goddess, C. Mackenzie Brown
Srimad Devi Bhagavatam, Swami Vijnanananda*

* Note: This is a very difficult and incredibly voluminous (800+ pp of microscopic print) text, but perhaps one of the most important Shakta texts. The translation has very little commentary, so it tends to be obtuse. Start with other texts and work your way up to this one, after getting a grounding in the tradition.
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