the essentials of hinduism
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Many want to know what Hinduism is. Many are astonished to hear that Hinduism has no particular creed. Indeed, Hinduism is hard to define. Hinduism is a system which comprises within its fold an infinite variety of thoughts. In this book published by Advaita Ashrama, a Publication centre of Ramakrishna Math, an attempt has been made to give a bird's-eye view of Hinduism with extracts from the speeches and writings of Swami Vivekananda who may be said to be the best exponent of Hinduism in modern India. The excerpts have been culled from the author's Complete Works.
In Hindu Dharma: Introduction to Scriptures and Theology briefly the essentials of the scriptures of the Hindu Dharma such as the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Smriti Shāstras like the Purānas, the Tantras, the epics (Rāmāyana and Mahābhārata) and the Bhagavad Gitā have been described and discussed. Also, the concepts of Brahman and Ātman, the goal of Hindu life (Purushārthas) and other doctrines like 'Varnāshrama', 'Samskāras' of the Dharma have been briefly discussed. Further what 'Pujā'(worship) is and how it is performed is described. Finally, a few well-known prayer (Mantras hymns) are provided.The objective has been to describe the difficult ideas of the Hindu Dharma in a simple way so readers will get a broad idea about the contents of the various scriptures and the theology and philosophy of the Hindu Dharma.
There are very few brief and comprehensive expositions of the universal tenets of Hinduism available today, this book “The Primer of Hinduism” is to be welcomed as ably fulfilling the need in this respect. Both the modern Hindu who is brought up in an un-Hindu environment, and the followers of other faiths who want an authentic exposition of Hinduism is a short compass, would find this to be the book most helpful to satisfy their need. While the author calls the book a Primer, it is much more than that. It touches briefly on all the fundamental doctrines of Hindu religion and philosophy, and can very well form the basis of a detailed exposition of it suited to the needs of students at different levels of understanding.
The third edition of this well-regarded introduction to Hinduism adds new material on the religion’s origins, on its relations with rival traditions, and on Hindu science.