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Three chief categories of seekers have been kept in view in selecting passages for this compilation: those who wish to obtain a greater life-mastery; those who, while pursuing the common goals of life, also aim at something beyond the ordinary life and seek to grow towards a higher or spiritual state of being; and those for whom spiritual growth is the primary purpose and occupation of life......
For more than 1500 years, from the Indian subcontinent to the
islands of the Indonesian archipelago, the temple has embodied and
symbolized the Hindu worldview at its deepest level and inspired
the greatest architectural and artistic achievements in Hindu Asia.
In "The Hindu Temple," considered the standard introduction to the
subject, George Michell explains the cultural, religious, and
architectural significance of the temple. He illustrates his points
with a profusion of photographs, building plans, and drawings of
architectural details, making the book a useful guide for travelers
to Asia as well as an illuminating text for students of
architecture, religion, and Asian civilizations.
The Kanwar is India's largest annual religious pilgrimage. Millions of participants gather sacred water from the Ganga and carry it across hundreds of miles to dispense as offerings in Siva shrines. These devotees-called bhola, gullible or fools, and seen as miscreants by many Indians-are mostly young, destitute men, who have been left behind in the globalizing economy. But for these young men, the ordeal of the pilgrimage is no foolish pursuit, but a means to master their anxieties and attest their good faith in unfavorable social conditions. Vikash Singh walked with the pilgrims of the Kanwar procession, and with this book, he highlights how the procession offers a social space where participants can prove their talents, resolve, and moral worth. Working across social theory, phenomenology, Indian metaphysics, and psychoanalysis, Singh shows that the pilgrimage provides a place in which participants can simultaneously recreate and prepare for the poor, informal economy and inevitable social uncertainties. In identifying with Siva, who is both Master of the World and yet a pathetic drunkard, participants demonstrate their own sovereignty and desirability despite their stigmatized status. Uprising of the Fools shows how religion today is not a retreat into tradition, but an alternative forum for recognition and resistance within a rampant global neoliberalism.
Part of the ancient Hindu epic The Mahabharata, The Bhagavad Gita is one of the enduring religious texts of the world The Bhagavad Gita is an early poem that recounts the conversation between Arjuna the warrior and his charioteer Krishna, a manifestation of God. In the moments before a great battle, Krishna sets out the important lessons Arjuna must learn to understand his own role in the war he is about to fight. Krishna reveals to Arjuna his true cosmic form and counsels the warrior to act according to his sacred obligations. Ranging from instructions on yoga to moral discussion, the Gita has served for centuries as an everyday, practical guide to living well. Translated with an introduction by Laurie L. Patton
How You Can Talk With God explains how we can all experience God's presence directly in our lives. A favorite of spiritual seekers around the world, it shows us how to pray with greater intimacy -- to create a deep and fulfilling personal relationship with the Divine. This is a book to keep by the bedside, discovering with each reading new gems of inspiration and wisdom.
This book offers a fascinating journey of a deeply charged and vibrant life, which is profound, mystical and divine. It is the life of Sadhu Vaswani (1879-1966). This book provides rare glimpses of his inner journey, his soulful experiences, his spiritual intoxication and his ultimate self-realisation. Great was his spiritual power; profound was his intellectual prowess; rich, his knowledge, wisdom and insight into life and the deeper values of life. When he entered a room, all hearts were hushed. When he opened his mouth to speak in his melodious, flute-like voice, his listeners were enthralled. And no wonder! For his words were not the words of an ordinary mortal. They were charged with the power of Gods message -- the message of Life, Light and Love! An intellectual stalwart, he founded a path breaking movement in education, gave a clarion call for youth renaissance and silently worked for woman empowerment. His life also brings alive the intellectual and spiritual ethos of Bengal, the turmoil of the freedom movement and his association with Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindranath Tagore and other leaders of his time. It also highlights the secular Sufism of Sind and its gift of peaceful coexistence. But his true sphere was the realm of the atman, the spirit. Living in the midst of humanity, he lived as one apart, for he lived in the world of the atman. An ineffable, intangible spiritual luminosity with an inextinguishable radiance shone around him. Embellished by lyrics and real life incidents, the book makes an engrossing reading for laymen as well as spiritual aspirants.
Beginning in the fifth century A.D., various Indian mystics began to innovate a body of techniques with which to render themselves immortal. These people called themselves Siddhas, a term formerly reserved for a class of demigods, revered by Hindus and Buddhists alike, who were known to inhabit mountaintops or the atmospheric regions. Over the following five to eight hundred years, three types of Hindu Siddha orders emerged, each with its own specialized body of practice. These were the Siddha Kaula, whose adherents sought bodily immortality through erotico-mystical practices; the Rasa Siddhas, medieval India's alchemists, who sought to transmute their flesh-and-blood bodies into immortal bodies through the ingestion of the mineral equivalents of the sexual fluids of the god Siva and his consort, the Goddess; and the Nath Siddhas, whose practice of hatha yoga projected the sexual and laboratory practices of the Siddha Kaula and Rasa Siddhas upon the internal grid of the subtle body. For India's medieval Siddhas, these three conjoined types of practice led directly to bodily immortality, supernatural powers, and self-divinization; in a word, to the exalted status of the semidivine Siddhas of the older popular cults. In The Alchemical Body, David Gordon White excavates and centers within its broader Indian context this lost tradition of the medieval Siddhas. Working from a body of previously unexplored alchemical sources, he demonstrates for the first time that the medieval disciplines of Hindu alchemy and hatha yoga were practiced by one and the same people, and that they can only be understood when viewed together. Human sexual fluids and the structures of the subtle body aremicrocosmic equivalents of the substances and apparatus manipulated by the alchemist in his laboratory. With these insights, White opens the way to a new and more comprehensive understanding of the entire sweep of medieval Indian mysticism, within the broader context of south Asian Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Islam. This book is an essential reference for anyone interested in Indian yoga, alchemy, and the medieval beginnings of science.
Goddess worship has long been a significant aspect of Hinduism. In this book David Kinsley, author of "The Sword and the Flute--Kali & Krsna: Dark Visions of the Terrible and the Sublime in Hindu Mythology," sorts out the rich yet often chaotic history of Hindu goddess worship.
A sweeping, interdisciplinary history of the world's third-largest river, a potent symbol across South Asia and the Hindu diaspora Originating in the Himalayas and flowing into the Bay of Bengal, the Ganges is India's most important and sacred river. In this unprecedented work, historian Sudipta Sen tells the story of the Ganges, from the communities that arose on its banks to the merchants that navigated its waters, and the way it came to occupy center stage in the history and culture of the subcontinent. Sen begins his chronicle in prehistoric India, tracing the river's first settlers, its myths of origin in the Hindu tradition, and its significance during the ascendancy of popular Buddhism. In the following centuries, Indian empires, Central Asian regimes, European merchants, the British Empire, and the Indian nation-state all shaped the identity and ecology of the river. Weaving together geography, environmental politics, and religious history, Sen offers in this lavishly illustrated volume a remarkable portrait of one of the world's largest and most densely populated river basins.
The true story of a successful Hindu priest whose world was changed by an unexpected encounter with the love of Jesus Christ.
Are the richness and diversity of rituals and celebrations in South Asia unique? Can we speak of a homo ritualis when it comes to India or Hinduism? Are Indians or Hindus more involved in rituals than other people? If so, what makes them special? Homo Ritualis is the first book to present a Hindu theory of rituals. Based on extensive textual studies and field-work in Nepal and India, Axel Michaels argues that ritual is a distinctive way of acting, which, as in the theater, can be distinguished from other forms of action. The book analyzes ritual in these cultural-specific and religious contexts, taking into account how indigenous terms and theories affect and contribute to current ritual theory. It describes and investigates various forms of Hindu rituals and festivals, such as life-cycle rituals, the Vedic sacrifice, vows processions, and the worship of deities (puja). It also examines conceptual components of (Hindu) rituals such as framing, formality, modality, and theories of meaning.
In collaboration with Heike Bill Published in association with Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. Sri Govinddevji, a family deity of Ambers Kachavaha dynasty, now dwells in Jaipur, along with his consort Radha. His first appearance, however, he made in Vrindaban where he came to reside in the great temple built for him by Raja Mansingh and consecrated in 1590. Govinddevji was a symbol of Mansinghs power and became a focus of political interaction of the Mughal Emperor and the Kachavahas and, hence, an object of imperial and royal patronage. In the end of the seventeenth century, Govinddevji and Radha, accompanied by Vrindabans tutelary goddess, Vrndadevi, were taken to the Amber territory to protect them from damage by the hands of iconoclasts. This was in the latter part of Emperor Aurangzebs rule when, with the crisis of the Empire, regional Hindu kingdoms became increasingly self-assertive. Thus, that move from Vrindaban to Amber, the patrimonial land of the Kachavahas, also marked the, Kachavaha rulers assertion of regional power and identity. Govinddevji and his consort eventually came to reside in the palatial temple in the precincts of the City Palace of Maharaja Savai Jaisinghs new capital, Jaipur. The rise of the deity to the status of a symbol of regional power also meant the rise of Gaudiya Vaishnavism and the deitys custodians to power in the Kachavaha territory. The documents published in this book span more than three and a half centuries. In their own style which is that of fiscal and other official papers, they tell of the fortunes of Govinddevji. Apart from their importance as testimonies of religious policy, they also permit insight into the administrative and diplomatic usage of the Kachavaha chancery, an aspect which the author has attempted to highlight.
Inside the Yoga Sutras presents a clear, up-to-date perspective on the classic text of Yoga theory and practice: the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. This comprehensive sourcebook includes: commentary for each sutra, extensive cross referencing, a study gu
A free ebook version of this title is available through Luminos, University of California Press's Open Access publishing program. Visit www.luminosoa.org to learn more. In Mountain, Water, Rock, God, Luke Whitmore situates the disastrous flooding that fell on the Hindu Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath in 2013 within a broader religious and ecological context. Whitmore explores the longer story of this powerful realm of the Hindu god Shiva through a holistic theoretical perspective that integrates phenomenological and systems-based approaches to the study of religion, pilgrimage, place, and ecology. He argues that close attention to places of religious significance offers a model for thinking through connections between ritual, narrative, climate destabilization, tourism, development, and disaster, and he shows how these critical components of human life in the twenty-first century intersect in the human experience of place.
The West has drawn upon Hinduism on a wide scale, from hatha yoga and meditation techniques, to popular culture in music and fashion, yet studies to date have only looked tangentially at the contribution of Hinduism to the counter-culture of the 1960s. Hinduism and the 1960s looks at the youth culture of the 1960s and early 1970s, and the way in which it was influenced by Hinduism and Indian culture. It examines the origins of the 1960s counter-culture in the Beat movement of the 1950s, and their interest in eastern religion, notably Zen. When the Beatles visited India to study transcendental meditation, there was a rapid expansion in interest in Hinduism. Young people were already heading east on the so-called 'Hippie Trail', looking for spiritual enlightenment and an escape from the material lifestyle of the west. Paul Oliver examines the lifestyle which they adopted, from living in ashrams to experimenting with drugs, sexual liberation, ayurvedic medicine and yoga. Ultimately, Hinduism and the 1960s analyses the interaction between Hinduism and the west, and the way in which each affected the other.Finally, the book discusses the ways in which contemporary western society has learned from the ancient religion of Hinduism, and incorporated such teachings as yoga, meditation and a natural holistic lifestyle, into daily life. Each chapter contains a chapter summary and further reading guidance, and a glossary is included at the end of the book, making this ideal reading for courses on Hinduism, Indian religions, and religion and popular cultur
Some postcolonial theorists argue that the idea of a single system of belief known as "Hinduism" is a creation of nineteenth-century British imperialists. Andrew J. Nicholson introduces another perspective: although a unified Hindu identity is not as ancient as some Hindus claim, it has its roots in innovations within South Asian philosophy from the fourteenth to seventeenth centuries. During this time, thinkers treated the philosophies of Vedanta, Samkhya, and Yoga, along with the worshippers of Visnu, Siva, and Sakti, as belonging to a single system of belief and practice. Instead of seeing such groups as separate and contradictory, they re-envisioned them as separate rivers leading to the ocean of Brahman, the ultimate reality. Drawing on the writings of philosophers from late medieval and early modern traditions, including Vijnanabhiksu, Madhava, and Madhusudana Sarasvati, Nicholson shows how influential thinkers portrayed Vedanta philosophy as the ultimate unifier of diverse belief systems. This project paved the way for the work of later Hindu reformers, such as Vivekananda, Radhakrishnan, and Gandhi, whose teachings promoted the notion that all world religions belong to a single spiritual unity. In his study, Nicholson also critiques the way in which Eurocentric concepts--like monism and dualism, idealism and realism, theism and atheism, and orthodoxy and heterodoxy--have come to dominate modern discourses on Indian philosophy.
Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad offers illuminating new perspectives on contemporary phenomenological theories of body and subjectivity, based on studies of classical Indian texts that deal with bodily subjectivity. Examining four texts from different genres - a medical handbook, epic dialogue, a manual of Buddhist practice, and erotic poetry - he argues for a 'phenomenological ecology' of bodily subjectivity in health, gender, contemplation, and lovemaking. An ecology is a continuous and dynamic system of interrelationships between elements, in which the salience accorded to some type of relationship clarifies how the elements it relates are to be identified. The paradigm of ecological phenomenology obviates the need to choose between apparently incompatible perspectives of the human. The delineation of body is arrived at by working back phenomenologically from the world of experience, with the acknowledgement that the point of arrival - a conception of what counts as bodiliness - is dependent upon the exact motivation for attending to experience, the areas of experience attended to, and the expressive tools available to the phenomenologist. Ecological phenomenology is pluralistic, yet integrates the ways experience is attended to and studied, permitting apparently inconsistent intuitions about bodiliness to be explored in novel ways. Rather than seeing particular framings of our experience as in tension with each other, we should see each such framing as playing its own role according to the local descriptive and analytic concern of a text.
What role do pre-modern religious traditions play in the formation of modern secular identities? In Unforgetting Chaitanya, Varuni Bhatia examines late-nineteenth-century transformations of Vaishnavism-a vibrant and multifaceted religious tradition emanating from the Krishna devotee Chaitnaya (1486-1533)-in Bengal. Drawing on an extensive body of hitherto unexamined archival material, Bhatia finds that both Vaishnava modernizers and secular voices among the educated middle-class invoked Chaitanya, portraying him simultaneously as a local hero, a Hindu reformer, and as God almighty. She argues that these claims should be understood in relation to efforts to recover a "pure" Bengali culture and history at a time of rising anti-colonial sentiment. In the late nineteenth century, debates around questions of authenticity appeared prominently in the Bengali public sphere. These debates went on for years, even decades, causing unbridgeable rifts in personal friendships and tarnishing reputations of established scholars. Underlying them was the question of "true" Bengali Vaishnavism and its role in the long-term constitution of Bengali culture and society. Who was an authentic Vaishnava? Many authors excluded those groups and communities whose practices they found unacceptable according to their definition of Vaishnava authenticity. At stake in these discourses, argues Bhatia, was the nature and composition of an indigenously-derived modernity inscribed through what she calls the politics of authenticity. It allowed an influential section of Hindu Bengalis to excavate their own explicitly Hindu past in order to find a people's history, a religious reformer, a casteless Hindu sect, the richest examples of Bengali literature, and a sophisticated expression of monotheistic religion.
"At last, she arrives at the fatal end of the plank . . . and, with
her hands crossed over her chest, falls straight downward,
suspended for a moment in the air before being devoured by the
burning pit that awaits her. . . ." This grisly 1829 account by
Pierre Dubois demonstrates the usual European response to the Hindu
custom of satis sacrificing themselves on the funeral pyres of
their husbands--horror and revulsion. Yet to those of the Hindu
faith, not least the satis themselves, this act signals the sati's
sacredness and spiritual power.
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