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"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.
Beautifully illustrated with over 100 colour and sepia photos and illustrations, the present book includes a concise and sensitive biography of Anandamayi Ma with important selections from her oral teachings. Anandamayi Ma (1896-1982) was one of the great Hindu saints of the 20th century. She was born in present-day Bangladesh. As a person of remarkable piety, sanctity and wisdom, she came to the notice of both simple people and famous figures of India. During her long life, Anandamayi Ma traveled a great deal and assisted in the building or establishment of numerous ashrams and places of worship. Although born into a family that worshiped Vishnu, she became a devotee of Shiva. Her beatific presence and words of wisdom won her many followers and spread her renown. Many of Anandamayi Ma's sayings were written down and recorded in books. Through her teachings and the example of her life, Anandamayi Ma has inspired millions of individuals of diverse faiths and circumstances - from Prime Ministers, artists and industrialists to shopkeepers, beggars and monks including Mahatma Gandhi, Indira Gandhi, Jawarharlal Nehru, former Prime Minister of Canada, Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Queen Mother of Greece and the former President of India, Ragendra Prasad. Without a doubt, Anandamayi Ma is one of the most beloved 20th century saints within her native India, and across the globe.
'Manu was seated, when the great seers came up to him: "Please, Lord, tell us the Laws of all the social classes, as well as of those born in between..."' The Law Code of Manu is the most authoritative and the best-known legal text of ancient India. Famous for two thousand years it still generates controversy, with Manu's verses being cited in support of the oppression of women and members of the lower castes. A seminal Hindu text, the Law Code is important for its classic description of so many social institutions that have come to be identified with Indian society. It deals with the relationships between social and ethnic groups, between men and women, the organization of the state and the judicial system, reincarnation, the workings of karma, and all aspects of the law. Patrick Olivelle's lucid translation is the first to be based on his critically edited text, and it incorporates the most recent scholarship on ancient Indian history, law, society, and religion. ABOUT THE SERIES: For over 100 years Oxford World's Classics has made available the widest range of literature from around the globe. Each affordable volume reflects Oxford's commitment to scholarship, providing the most accurate text plus a wealth of other valuable features, including expert introductions by leading authorities, helpful notes to clarify the text, up-to-date bibliographies for further study, and much more.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali is widely regarded as the most authoritative text on yoga. It comprises a collection of 196 Indian sutras ("threads" - as sutra translates from Sanskrit) written 1,700 years ago. These threads or aphorisms were compiled by the Indian sage Patanjali and offer guidelines for living a meaningful and purposeful life.The book is organized into four parts and provides descriptions of the eight limbs of yoga, such as pranayama and asana. The translated text is presented alongside a clear and insightful commentary by Swami Vivekananda, which makes them more accessible to the modern reader and yoga practitioner. His message of universal brotherhood and self-awakening remains relevant today, especially in the current backdrop of widespread political turmoil around the world.
Through shrewd marketing and publicity, Hindu spiritual leaders can play powerful roles in contemporary India as businessmen and government officials. Focusing on the organizations and activities of Hindu ascetics and gurus, the author explores the complex interrelations among religion, the political economy of India and global capitalism. McKean traces the ideological and organizational antecedents to the Hindu nationalist movement. The Indian state's increasing patronage of Hindu institutions makes competition increases its support. Using materials from guru's publications, the press and extensive field research, McKean examines how participation by upper-caste ruling class groups in the Divine Life Society and other Hindu organizations further legitimates their own authority. With a selection of photographs and advertisements showing icons of spirituality used to sell commodities from textiles to cement to comic books, the work illustrates the pervasive presence of Hindu imagery in India's burgeoning market economy. It shows how gurus popularize Hindu nationalism through imagery such as the goddess, Mother India, and her martyred sons and daughters.
Jeaneane Fowler provides a text and detailed commentary on this important Hindu scripture, which is a dialogue between Arjuna the man and Krishna the God. Major Hindu concepts are examined in depth, and the background to the Gita is presented in a comprehensive introduction. Yoga is the key feature of the Gita but it has its own interpretation of what that yoga should be: thus, yoga features not only in each of the pathways of knowledge, desireless action and devotion, but in the way in which the divine is understood. The chapters of the Bhagavad Gita therefore describe Arjunas despondency followed by The Yoga of Sankhya, Action, Knowledge, Renunciation, Meditation, Knowledge and Realization, the Imperishable Brahman, Royal Knowledge and Royal Mystery, Manifestation, the Vision of the Universal Form, Devotion, the Differentiation of the Kshetra and Kshetrajna, the Differentiation of the Three Gunas, the Supreme Purusha, the Differentiation of the Divine and the Demonic, the Differentiation of the Threefold Shraddha and, finally, The Yoga of Liberation and Renunciation. The book also contains detailed notes to the Gita chapters, a Further Reading section, a combined Glossary and Index of Sanskrit Terms, and an Index of English words. The cover of the book is replete with symbolism. Krishna is always represented as blue in colour, hence the colour of the hands in the cover design. The chariot of Krishna and Arjuna is to be seen in the motif at the base, while the triple motif symbolizes the triple paths of the Gita action without desire for results, knowledge and devotion. There are also three strands that make up all phenomena light and radiance, energy, and inertia, as well as three aspects of the divine in the Gita the totally transcendent Absolute, the manifest deity that is also the essence of all things, and the personal God to whom devotion can be given. The main image of Krishna is superimposed on the roots of the ashvattha tree that features in chapter 15: its branches reach down into the earth and its roots ascend upwards and it represents phenomenal existence.
RELIGION / HINDUISM Shakti is synonymous with the Devi, the Divine Mother or divine power that manifests, sustains, and transforms the universe. She is the womb of all creatures, and it is through her that the One becomes the many. Our first and primary relationship to the world is through the mother, the source of love, security, and nourishment. Extending this relationship to worship of a cosmic being as mother was a natural step found not only in the Shakti cult of Hinduism but also in ancient Greek, Egyptian, and Babylonian cultures. Shakti presents more than 30 goddess incarnations of the Divine Mother that represent both the beneficial and malefic aspects of the Shakti force. From Lakshmi, Parvati, and Saraswati to Durga, Chandika, and Kali--each of the different functions of the female goddesses in the Hindu pantheon is revealed, accompanied by traditional Sanskrit hymns, classic verses by Sri Auribindo, and discussions of tantric philosophy. The author draws from the Devi Bhagavatham, which describes all the stories of Shakti, and the Devi Mahatmyam, the most powerful scriptural text that glorifies Shakti in her form as Durga. Using these texts she shows that through the power and grace of the Divine Mother we may be released from the darkness of ignorance and taken to the abode of knowledge, immortality, and bliss--the source from which we have come. MATAJI DEVI VANAMALI has written six books on the gods of the Hindu pantheon, including The Play of God and The Song of Rama, as well as translating the Bhagavad Gita. She is the founder and president of Vanamali Gita Yogashram, dedicated to sharing the wisdom of Sanatana Dharma and charitable service to children. She lives at theVanamali ashram at Rishikesh in northern India.
As David White explains in the Introduction to "Tantra in Practice, " Tantra is an Asian body of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy that grounds the universe, in creative and liberating ways. The subsequent chapters reflect the wide geographical and temporal scope of Tantra by examining thirty-six texts from China, India, Japan, Nepal, and Tibet, ranging from the seventh century to the present day, and representing the full range of Tantric experience--Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and even Islamic. Each text has been chosen and translated, often for the first time, by an international expert in the field who also provides detailed background material. Students of Asian religions and general readers alike will find the book rich and informative.
The book includes plays, transcribed interviews, poetry, parodies, inscriptions, instructional texts, scriptures, philosophical conjectures, dreams, and astronomical speculations, each text illustrating one of the diverse traditions and practices of Tantra. Thus, the nineteenth-century Indian Buddhist "Garland of Gems, " a series of songs, warns against the illusion of appearance by referring to bees, yogurt, and the fire of Malaya Mountain; while fourteenth-century Chinese Buddhist manuscripts detail how to prosper through the Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper by burning incense, making offerings to scriptures, and chanting incantations. In a transcribed conversation, a modern Hindu priest in Bengal candidly explains how he serves the black Goddess Kali and feeds temple skulls lentils, wine, or rice; a seventeenth-century Nepalese Hindu praise-poem hammered into the golden doors to the temple of the Goddess Taleju lists a king's faults and begs her forgiveness and grace. An introduction accompanies each text, identifying its period and genre, discussing the history and influence of the work, and identifying points of particular interest or difficulty.
The first book to bring together texts from the entire range of Tantric phenomena, "Tantra in Practice" continues the Princeton Readings in Religions series. The breadth of work included, geographic areas spanned, and expert scholarship highlighting each piece serve to expand our understanding of what it means to practice Tantra.
A Divine Soul who came to the earth as a Human Being, lived as a Karmyogi, spoke as a Prophet, taught like Jesus, served as Buddha, and left this world as Sai Baba - The God of Millions! He had said, "When I will no more be in the body, my bones will speak to you from the Mahasamadhi, whenever you call me with love and faith". Sai Baba still keeps His promise. You will hear Him speak to you within; you will find Him always beside you, extending His hand to you for your help; and believe me, you will never find yourself alone at times of crises. Sai Baba is a God who is practically yours - always - if you have faith in Him.
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.
Yoga, karma, meditation, guru--these terms, once obscure, are now a part of the American lexicon. Combining Hinduism with Western concepts and values, a new hybrid form of religion has developed in the United States over the past century. In Transcendent in America, Lola Williamson traces the history of various Hindu-inspired movements in America, and argues that together they constitute a discrete category of religious practice, a distinct and identifiable form of new religion.
Williamson provides an overview of the emergence of these movements through examining exchanges between Indian Hindus and American intellectuals such as Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and illuminates how Protestant traditions of inner experience paved the way for Hindu-style movements' acceptance in the West.
Williamson focuses on three movements--Self-Realization Fellowship, Transcendental Meditation, and Siddha Yoga--as representative of the larger of phenomenon of Hindu-inspired meditation movements. She provides a window into the beliefs and practices of followers of these movements by offering concrete examples from their words and experiences that shed light on their world view, lifestyle, and relationship with their gurus. Drawing on scholarly research, numerous interviews, and decades of personal experience with Hindu-style practices, Williamson makes a convincing case that Hindu-inspired meditation movements are distinct from both immigrant Hinduism and other forms of Asian-influenced or "New Age" groups.
The esoteric Hindu traditions of Tantrism have profoundly
influenced the development of Indian thought and civilization.
Emerging from elements of yoga and wisdom traditions, shamanism,
alchemy, eroticism, and folklore, Tantrism began to affect
brahmanical Hinduism in the ninth century. Nevertheless, Tantrism
and its key historical figures have been ignored by scholars. This
accessible work introduces the concepts and practices of Hindu
Sakta Tantrism to all those interested in Hinduism and the
comparative study of religion.
The Mahabharata, originally composed some two thousand years ago, tells the story of a royal dynasty, descended from gods, whose feud over their kingdom results in a devastating war. An epic masterpiece of huge sweep and magisterial power, a hundred times more interesting than the Iliad and the Odyssey (Wendy Doniger), it is a timeless work that evokes a world of myth, passion, and warfare while exploring eternal questions of duty, love, and spiritual freedom. A seminal Hindu text that includes the Bhagavad Gita, it is also one of the most important and influential works in the history of world civilization.
This new English retelling, innovatively composed in blank verse rather than prose, covers all eighteen books of the Mahabharata. It masterfully captures the beauty, excitement, and profundity of the original Sanskrit poem as well as its magnificent architecture and extraordinary scope."
This title deals with the Four Paths, Deities, Sacred Places, and Hinduism Today. It is a guide to the philosophy and beliefs of Hinduism, illustrated with over 320 photographs. It explores how Hindu thought and spirituality are expressed though worship, dress, cuisine, philosophy, architecture, story, myth and the performing arts. "This illustrated encyclopedia of Hinduism provides a highly readable and comprehensive introduction to Hinduism. Rasamandala Das presents a lively account." (Professor Gavin Flood, Academic Director of the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies). A magnificent introduction to the world of Hinduism and its vibrant culture, this inspirational book focuses on spiritual practices and those activities that nurture faith, wisdom and communion with the Supreme. It reveals the four main paths of action, knowledge, meditation and devotion, the fascinating array of Hindu deities, and practices that celebrate sacred time and place. The book analyses ways in which Hindus engage with this world through to the present day, and how their spirituality has been expressed and organized. It provides the perfect opportunity for anyone wishing to further explore the compelling faith and culture that is Hinduism.
This is a compact yet authoritative history of Hinduism, from its origins over 4000 years ago to the impact of the belief system across the world today. It highlights key figures in Hinduism, including Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva and, in recent times, Vivekanada, Sahajananda Swami and Bhaktivedanta Swami. It focuses on the major historical events that have shaped Hinduism - the Vedic Period and the North Classical Age, the Mughal Empire and the impact of British Rule. Hindiuism is often called the world's oldest living major religion, and this beautifully illustrated history is an excellent introduction to the subject. It opens with a timeline and an account of how Hinduism has spread over time from India, its country of origin, to become a truly global religion. The central section describes the major holy texts, including the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad-gita or Song of God. It ends with an exploration of Hinduism's profound teachings about the self, the law of karma, and the cycle of birth and death. This is the perfect book for anyone wanting to discover the history at the heart of Hinduism.
In this multifaceted work, John Carman and Vasudha Narayanan clarify historical developments in South Asian religion and make important contributions to the methodology of textual interpretation and the comparative study of world religions.
With a New Preface Kali and Krsna are two of Hinduism's most popular deities, representing dramatically different truths about the nature of the sacred. The cruel and terrible Kali is thought to be born of wild, aboriginal roots. She is the goddess of thieves and often associated with human blood sacrifice. Krsna, in contrast, is the divine lover and inimitable prankster who plays a bewitching flute to draw all to him. But Kali and Krsna have much more in common than their contrasting personalities suggest. Kinsley shows that Krsna's flute can be interchangeable with Kali's sword, revealing important perceptions of the divine in the Hindu tradition.
This new edition of the Rgveda, the oldest Indian text in archaic Sanskrit, is the first to present the text (in Roman characters) in its original metrical arrangement and in a form that most closely approximates the pronunciation of the time of its composition. Nevertheless, as all the restorations deviating from the received traditional Samhita text are printed in italics, the traditional text can easily be reconstituted without reference to other editions. This had been sought for over a hundred years, yet a systematic restoration of the whole text has never before been attempted. Added is a study of the meters found in the text, their patterns and anomalies, and an appendix with a detailed discussion of each metrically problematic line.
Once known as "Pariahs," Dalits are primarily descendants of unfree agrarian laborers. They belong to India's most subordinated castes, face overwhelming poverty and discrimination, and provoke public anxiety. Drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, this book follows the conception and evolution of the "Pariah Problem" in public consciousness in the 1890s. It shows how high-caste landlords, state officials, and well-intentioned missionaries conceived of Dalit oppression, and effectively foreclosed the emergence of substantive solutions to the "Problem"-with consequences that continue to be felt today. Rupa Viswanath begins with a description of the everyday lives of Dalit laborers in the 1890s and highlights the systematic efforts made by the state and Indian elites to protect Indian slavery from public scrutiny. Protestant missionaries were the first non-Dalits to draw attention to their plight. The missionaries' vision of the Pariahs' suffering as being a result of Hindu religious prejudice, however, obscured the fact that the entire agrarian political-economic system depended on unfree Pariah labor. Both the Indian public and colonial officials came to share a view compatible with missionary explanations, which meant all subsequent welfare efforts directed at Dalits focused on religious and social transformation rather than on structural reform. Methodologically, theoretically, and empirically, this book breaks new ground to demonstrate how events in the early decades of state-sponsored welfare directed at Dalits laid the groundwork for the present day, where the postcolonial state and well-meaning social and religious reformers continue to downplay Dalits' landlessness, violent suppression, and political subordination.
The Mahabharata, an ancient and vast Sanskrit poem, is a remarkable collection of epics, legends, romances, theology, and ethical and metaphysical doctrine. The core of this great work is the epic struggle between five heroic brothers, the Pandavas, and their one hundred contentious cousins for rule of the land. This is the first volume in what will ultimately become a multi volume edition encompassing all eighteen books.
The first exhaustive collection of goddess mythologies from India.
About two hundred kilometers west of the city of Karachi, in the desert of Baluchistan, Pakistan, sits the shrine of the Hindu Goddess Hinglaj. Despite the temple's ancient Hindu and Muslim history, an annual festival at Hinglaj has only been established within the last three decades, in part because of the construction of the Makran Coastal Highway, which connects the distant rural shrine with urban Pakistan. Now, an increasingly confident minority Hindu community has claimed Hinglaj as their main religious center, a site for undisturbed religious performance and expression. In Hinglaj Devi, Jurgen Schaflechner studies literary sources in Hindi, Sanskrit, Sindhi, and Urdu alongside extensive ethnographical research at the shrine, examining the political and cultural influences at work at the temple and tracking the remote desert shrine's rapid ascent to its current status as the most influential Hindu pilgrimage site in Pakistan. Schaflechner introduces the unique character of this place of pilgrimage and shows its modern importance not only for Hindus, but also for Muslims and Sindhi nationalists. Ultimately, this is an investigation of the Pakistani Hindu community's beliefs and practices at their largest place of worship in the Islamic Republic today-a topic of increasing importance to Pakistan's contemporary society.
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