An invaluable encyclopedia of Hinduism Hinduism is one of the world’s oldest religions; an amalgam of diverse beliefs and schools, it originates in the Vedas and is rooted in Indian culture. Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide illuminates complex philosophical concepts through lucid definitions, a historical perspective and incisive analyses. It examines various aspects of Hinduism, covering festivals and rituals, gods and goddesses, philosophers, memorials, aesthetics, and sacred plants and animals. The author also explores pivotal ideas, including moksha, karma, dharma and samsara, and details the diverse commentaries on the Bhagavad Gita and other important texts. Citing extensively from the regional languages, the book describes Hinduism’s innumerable myths and legends, and looks at the many versions of texts including the Ramayana and Mahabharata, placing each entry in its historical context and tracing its evolution to the present. • Outlines all eighteen major Puranas, the 108 Upanishads, and a selection of Vaishnava, Sahiva and Tantric texts • Provides quotations from rare original texts • A product of years of research, with a wide range of entries
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Hinduism is currently followed by one-fifth of humankind. Far from a monolithic theistic tradition, the religion comprises thousands of gods, a complex caste system, and hundreds of languages and dialects. Such internal plurality inspires vastly ranging rites and practices amongst Hinduism's hundreds of millions of adherents. It is therefore not surprising that scholars have been hesitant to define universal Hindu beliefs and practices. In this book, Axel Michaels breaks this trend. He examines the traditions, beliefs, and rituals Hindus hold in common through the lens of what he deems its identificatory habitus, a cohesive force that binds Hindu religions together and fortifies them against foreign influences. Thus, in his analysis, Michaels not only locates Hinduism's profoundly differentiating qualities, but also provides the framework for an analysis of its social and religious coherence. Michaels blends his insightful arguments and probing questions with introductions to major historical epochs, ample textual sources as well as detailed analyses of major life-cycle rituals, the caste system, forms of spiritualism, devotionalism, ritualism, and heroism. Along the way he points out that Hinduism has endured and repeatedly resisted the missionary zeal and universalist claims of Christians, Muslims, and Buddhists. He also contrasts traditional Hinduism with the religions of the West, where the self is preferred to the not-self, and where freedom in the world is more important than liberation from the world. Engaging and accessible, this book will appeal to laypersons and scholars alike as the most comprehensive introduction to Hinduism yet published. Not only is Hinduism refreshingly new in its methodological approach, but it also presents a broad range of meticulous scholarship in a clear, readable style, integrating Indology, religious studies, philosophy, anthropological theory and fieldwork, and sweeping analyses of Hindu texts. -- "Choice"
With a history of over three and a half millennia, and over 800 million adherents, Hinduism is one of the world's largest and most diverse religious traditions. This book presents the Hindu religious tradition's major events, individuals, texts, sects, and concepts in the context of its historical development through various periods. In addition, sacred Hindu pilgrimage sites, the rituals performed as religious practices, the manifestations of Hindu religious sensibilities in biography, art, the caste system of social organization, mythology, and the theories of salvation developed through the history of Hinduism are also presented. A pronunciation guide to Sanskrit and Tamil, and a chronology of the history of Hinduism are included.
Describes the origins, principal teachings, scriptures, important figures, historical events, and holidays of Hinduism.
Hinduism is practised by nearly eighty per cent of India's population, and by some seventy million people outside India. In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott offers a succinct and authoritative overview of this major religion, and analyses the challenges facing it in the twenty-first century. She discusses key preoccupations of Hinduism such as the centrality of the Veda as religious texts, the role of Brahmins, gurus, and storytellers in the transmission of divine truths, and the cultural and moral importance of epics such as the Ramayana. In this second edition Knott considers the impact of changes in technology and the flourishing of social media on Hinduism, and looks at the presence of Hinduism in popular culture, considering pieces such as Sita Sings the Blues. She also analyses recent developments in India, and the impact issues such as Hindu nationalism and the politicization of Hinduism have on Hindus worldwide. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
Presents a study of Hinduism that examines the history and foundations of this religion, worship practices, cultural expression, holidays, what it is like to grow up Hindu, and the religion's place in the world today.
In this magisterial volume of essays, Wendy Doniger enhances our understanding of the ancient and complex religion to which she has devoted herself for half a century. This series of interconnected essays and lectures surveys the most critically important and hotly contested issues in Hinduism over 3,500 years, from the ancient time of the Vedas to the present day. The essays contemplate the nature of Hinduism; Hindu concepts of divinity; attitudes concerning gender, control, and desire; the question of reality and illusion; and the impermanent and the eternal in the two great Sanskrit epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Among the questions Doniger considers are: Are Hindus monotheists or polytheists? How can atheists be Hindu, and how can unrepentant Hindu sinners find salvation? Why have Hindus devoted so much attention to the psychology of addiction? What does the significance of dogs and cows tell us about Hinduism? How have Hindu concepts of death, rebirth, and karma changed over the course of history? How and why does a pluralistic faith, remarkable for its intellectual tolerance, foster religious intolerance? Doniger concludes with four concise autobiographical essays in which she reflects on her lifetime of scholarship, Hindu criticism of her work, and the influence of Hinduism on her own philosophy of life. On Hinduism is the culmination of over forty years of scholarship from a renowned expert on one of the world's great faiths.