"Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty . . . weaves a brilliant analysis of the complex role of dreams and dreaming in Indian religion, philosophy, literature, and art. . . . In her creative hands, enchanting Indian myths and stories illuminate and are illuminated by authors as different as Aeschylus, Plato, Freud, Jung, Kurl Gödel, Thomas Kuhn, Borges, Picasso, Sir Ernst Gombrich, and many others. This richly suggestive book challenges many of our fundamental assumptions about ourselves and our world."—Mark C. Taylor, New York Times Book Review
"Dazzling analysis. . . . The book is firm and convincing once you appreciate its central point, which is that in traditional Hindu thought the dream isn't an accident or byway of experience, but rather the locus of epistemology. In its willful confusion of categories, its teasing readiness to blur the line between the imagined and the real, the dream actually embodies the whole problem of knowledge. . . . [O'Flaherty] wants to make your mental flesh creep, and she succeeds."—Mark Caldwell, Village Voice
Other People's Myths celebrates the universal art of storytelling, and the rich diversity of stories that people live by. Drawing on Biblical parables, Greek myths, Hindu epics, and the modern mythologies of Woody Allen and soap operas, Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty encourages us to feel anew the force of myth and tradition in our lives, and in the lives of other cultures. She shows how the stories of mythology—whether of Greek gods, Chinese sages, or Polish rabbis—enable all cultures to define themselves. She raises critical questions about the way we interpret mythical stories, especially the way different cultures make use of central texts and traditions. And she offers a sophisticated way of looking at the roles myths play in all cultures.
"A wider range than usual of Sanskrit texts: not only interesting Vedic, epic, and mythological texts but also a good sampling of ritual and ethical texts. . . . There are also extracts from texts usually neglected, such as medical treatises, works on practical politics, and guides to love and marriage. . . . Readings from the vernacular Hindi, Bengali, and Tamil traditions [serve to] enrich the collection and demonstrate how Hinduism flourished not just in Sanskrit but also in its many mother tongues."—Francis X. Clooney, Journal of Asian Studies
"An important, provocative and original work, of great interest to Indian scholars, historians of religions, psychologists and historians of ideas, but accessible also to the cultivated reader. Even if one does not always agree with the author's interpretation, one cannot but admire her vast and precise learning, her splendid translations and exegesis of so many, and so different, Sanskrit texts, and her uninhibited, brilliant, and witty prose."—Mircea Eliade, University of Chicago
"This is . . . a book which is as rich in detail as the carvings of the great Hindu temples. It shares with them a delight in the interplay of myth and mundane experience, and above all an empathy with the Hindu preoccupation with the meaning of human existence in all its complexity."—G. M. Carstairs, Times Literary Supplement