Heroines and Heroes:
Stories of Courage, Conflict, and Reconciliation


The traditions of India possess an unparalleled access to stories of honest, mortal challenge and courage in the characters of the heroine and the hero. While the feminine and masculine codes share much in common on the subject of greatness and the human endeavor, it is in India that we uncover the most complete and compelling canon of the heroine. What makes heroines and heroes different from their divine counterparts is their relationship to mortality, the consequences of a karmic world, and the necessity to engage life in ways that contend with real limitations and boundaries. And yet in stories of Damayanti, Shakuntala, Draupadi, and others we find women faced with what appear to be insuperable barriers and circumstances empowered by their own efforts to bring true greatness to the world. Of course, these heroines appear with heroes, all of whom are equally flawed and persevering to make something more from situations that cannot be wholly controlled or comprehended. We will tell these stories, bring our hearts and minds to bear, and begin the process that invites us to see ourselves in every character, for better and for worse. No familiarity or experience is required to learn, enjoy, and revel in these amazing tales that ask us what it means to be human and what “greatness” might be when we are faced with real possibilities.

We find women faced with what appear to be insuperable barriers and circumstances empowered by their own efforts to bring true greatness to the world.
About Teacher




Dr. Douglas Brooks

Douglas Brooks

Dr. Douglas Brooks is among the world’s leading scholars of Hindu Tantrism and the esoteric traditions of the Goddess. He is also a scholar of south Asian languages and the comparative study of religions. Currently, Dr. Brooks is Professor of Religion and Chair of Asian Studies at the University of Rochester, NY.

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