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There is no single basic version of a Hindu epic; each is told and retold with a number of minor and major variations over the years... Hindu epics are living organisms that change constantly. - Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty The Hindu religion is quite possibly the oldest religion. It is also the most diverse - we don't even know just how many Hindu gods there are. And its extensive epic verses include the Ramayana and the Mahabharata - the latter being the longest known epic in history (it's seven times longer than The Iliad and The Odyssey combined). From elephant-headed Ganesha to fierce, blue goddess Kali and through fascinating, less widely known deities, Hindu Myths is an excellent introduction to understanding the varying tales of creation in Hinduism, the major deities, the major texts and the principal concerns of the mythology. In Hindu epics, everything is impermanent including matter, love and peace. Magic and miracles thrive, gods are defeated and fear for their existence, triggering wars or debates. Death threatens and re-threatens life, while life finds a way to creatively re-emerge thus conquering death. Eros persistently prevails over chaos. Illustrated with 130 colour and black-&-white photographs, artworks and maps, Hindu Myths is an exciting, engaging and highly informative exploration of a fascinating and highly influential world that will appeal to anyone interested in Hinduism, mythology or history.
HINDUISM / MYTHOLOGYThe Hindu spiritual landscape is populated by multidimensional characters whose embodiment of both positive and negative aspects finds no parallel within the good versus evil mythology of the Western world. From the goddess Kali to the mysterious elephant-headed Ganesha, Indian Mythology explores the rich tapestry of these characters within ninety-nine classic myths, revealing the essence of the Hindu worldview and demonstrating how these ancient stories can inform a contemporary generation. Devdutt Pattanaik examines the meaning behind the metaphors of the classic myths in symbolic art and in a multifaceted tradition of ritual practices. Fifty artistic renderings of important mythological figures (from seventeenth-century temple carvings to twentieth-century calendar art) illustrate the complex polytheistic Hindu tradition and show how central these figures are to the Hindu conception of the world. Vishnu and Shiva, Gauri and Kali, Krishna and Rama embody the inherent tension between two poles--positive and negative, light and dark, preservative and destructive, world affirming and world rejecting. These opposing energies are valued equally in the cyclical Hindu worldview--a long view that recognizes their natural balance over time. The author also compares and contrasts Indian mythology with the stories of the Bible, ancient Egypt, Greece, Scandinavia, and Mesopotamia, offering Western readers a way to decode the symbolism of the rich Hindu tradition--an enduring mythic tradition that has empowered millions of human beings for centuries. A medical doctor by training, DEVDUTT PATTANAIK moved away from clinical practice to nurture his passion for mythology. His booksinclude The Goddess in India and introductions to Shiva, Vishnu, and Devi. He lives in Mumbai, India, where he works as a health communicator and writes and lectures on Hindu narratives, art, rituals, and philosophy.
Nobel Prize-winner Octavio Paz offers a dazzling mind journey to the sources of poetry. Poet, diplomat, writer, philosopher, hailed as an "intellectual literary one-man band" by the New York Times Book Review, Nobel Prize-winner Octavio Paz was a key figure in the Latin American Literary Renaissance and in world literature. In this entrancing work, part prose-poem and part rumination on the origins of language and the antic, erotic, sacred nature of poetry, Paz takes inspiration from Hanuman, the red-faced monkey chief and ninth grammarian of Hindu mythology. On a journey to the temple city of Galta in India-which Paz finds partially ruined in a leaf-filled countryside surrounded by forbidding hills-Hanuman's mythical encounters serve as the springboard for the poet's speculations on all manners of things, from movement and fixity to meaning and identity, the reality behind language, and the nature of nature. Images of the holy city, complete with the marauding monkeys for which it is known, constantly obtrude on his musings. Perhaps the most poetic of Paz's prose works, The Monkey Grammarian is visual: every page is rich in images, of palaces and temples, pilgrims and sadhus, and the monkey god himself. Paz's probing, crystalline prose makes this an unforgettable voyage of the mind.
A comprehensive manual for living a spiritual life, based on a verse-by-verse commentary on India's timeless scripture - from the author of its best-selling translation. (The ebook The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living 9781586381455 includes all three volumes in this series.) The Bhagavad Gita is set on the battlefield of an apocalyptic war between good and evil. Faced with a dire moral dilemma, the warrior prince Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Easwaran points out that Arjuna's crisis is acutely modern. The Gita's battlefield is the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage. Arjuna represents each of us, and Sri Krishna is the Lord, instructing us in eighteen chapters of lofty wisdom as we face the social, environmental, and global challenges that threaten our world today. Easwaran is a spiritual teacher and author of deep insight and warmth. His verse-by-verse commentary interprets the Gita's teachings for modern readers, explaining the Sanskrit concepts and philosophy and applying them with practicality, wisdom, and humor to every aspect of our work, our relationships, and our lives. With everyday anecdotes, stories, and examples, he shows that the changes we long to see in the world start with the transformation of our own consciousness. The practical exercises recommended by Easwaran to achieve transformation are part of a spiritual program he developed for his own life. They are accessible to people from all backgrounds and cultures. Urging us to adopt a higher image of the human being, he assures us that peace and unity are within reach. Each volume of this series covers six chapters of the Gita. Each may be read on its own, but all three volumes together form an in-depth, verse-by-verse explanation of this ancient scripture and its relevance today. Each volume includes instructions in Easwaran's universal eight-point program of passage meditation. Volume 1: The first six chapters of the Gita explore the concept of the innermost Self and source of wisdom in each of us. Easwaran explains how we can begin to transform ourselves, even as householders engaged in busy lives. Volume 2: The chapters in this volume go beyond the individual Self and investigate the Supreme Reality that underlies all creation. Here, Easwaran delves into the unity of life, and builds a bridge across the seeming divide between scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom. Volume 3: The final six chapters put forth an urgent appeal for us to begin to see that all of us are one - to make the connection between the Self within and the Reality underlying all creation. Global in scope, the emphasis is on what we can do to make a difference to heal our environment and establish peace in the world. Easwaran's commentary is for all students of the Gita, whatever their background, and for anyone who is trying to find a path to wisdom, love, and kindness in themselves and our troubled world. Written as an authoritative, accessible guide to a much-loved scripture, it is a handbook for finding peace and clarity within. This second edition incorporates revisions made across all three volumes following the author's final instructions.
Beginning with the foundational visions of the Vedas, Dr Fowler examines each traditions vision of reality in a systematic way that focuses on how it understands the self, the highest reality, causality, knowledge, and liberation. Because the six major Hindu philosophical traditions Mimamsa, Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisesika, and Vedanta complement each other in important ways as well as compete with each other in some ways, this systematic comparison of the fundamental topics of each tradition enables us to see the beautiful tapestry of the Hindu way of life that these traditions have created. This book offers the reader who wishes to understand the philosophical basis of Hinduism a clear and comprehensive introduction. It also provides a solid foundation for the reader who wishes to go on to advanced and detailed studies of any of the Hindu philosophical traditions. From the Foreword by John M. Koller, author of The Indian Way and Asian Philosophies
The Chaitanya Vaishnava tradition is famous for its depth of devotion to Krishna, the blue-hued Deity. Chaitanya Vaishnavas are known for having refined the practice and aesthetics of devotion into a sophisticated science. This imposing devotional edifice was constructed upon a solid foundation of philosophical argument and understanding. In this book, Ravi Gupta sheds new light on the contribution of Chaitanya Vaishnavism to the realm of Indian philosophy. He explores the hermeneutical tools employed, the historical resources harnessed, the structure of the arguments made, and the relative success of the endeavor. For most schools of Vaishnavism, the supporting foundation consists of the philosophical resources provided by Vedanta. The Chaitanya tradition is remarkable in its ability to engage in Vedantic discourse and at the same time practice an ecstatic form of devotion to Krishna. The prime architect of this balance was the scholar-devotee Jiva Gosvami (ca. 1517 - 1608). This book analyses Jiva Gosvami's writing concerning the philosophy of the Vedanta tradition. It concludes that Jiva's writing crosses 'disciplinary boundaries', for he brought into dialogue four powerful streams of classical Hinduism: the various systems of Vedanta, the ecstatic bhakti movements, the Puranic commentarial tradition, and the aesthetic rasa theory of Sanskrit poetics. With training in and commitments to all of these traditions, Jiva Gosvami produced a distinctly Chaitanya Vaishnava system of theology.
Describing one of the most important practices of hathayoga (khecarimudra), the Khecarividya of Adinatha is presented here to an English-speaking readership for the first time. The author, James Mallinson, draws on thirty Sanskrit works, as well as original fieldwork amongst yogins in India who use the practice, to demonstrate how earlier tantric yogic techniques developed and mutated into the practices of hathayoga. Accompanied by an introduction and an extensively annotated translation, the work sheds light on the development of hathayoga and its practices.
An in-depth photographic study of the ascetic holy men of India - Includes more than 100 striking color photographs of Sadhus, their extreme austerities, and their holy festivals, including the Kumbha Mela - Examines the practices and beliefs of Sadhus from several different sects - Traces the historical and mythological roots of the Sadhus and shows how they have fundamentally shaped Hinduism since remote antiquity Spiritual adventurers, philosophical monks, naked ascetics, or religious transvestites, the Sadhus of India form a vital and unbroken link between the birth of yoga millennia ago and its present-day expression. Numbering in the millions, these mystic holy men are worshipped by the Hindus as representatives of the gods, yet they remain largely unknown in the West because they often live in far-off places, hidden from everyday life. In this full-color study of Sadhus more than 20 years in the making, photographer Dolf Hartsuiker illustrates the Sadhus' world of ancient magical rituals, religious symbols, and ascetic practices. In his photographic quest across India, the author visited many holy places, attended religious festivals including the Kumbha Mela, and encountered and photographed thousands of Sadhus, befriending several as he was drawn into their inner circle. Sharing more than 100 striking color photographs from his travels, he reveals the Sadhus' utmost devotion to their spiritual path through meditation practices, yoga exercises, penance, and austerities--sometimes taken to the extreme of prolonged self-imposed silence, bodily mortification, such as holding an arm above the head for years, or even ritual suicide--as well as their profound involvement with the mundane world as healers and teachers or magicians and sorcerers. It is a path of knowledge and devotion, renunciation and realization, sexual energy and spiritual power, divine intoxication and mystical union. The author examines the different beliefs and behaviors of each Sadhu sect, including the "sky-clad" Naga Babas, and traces their historical and mythological roots to show how they have fundamentally shaped Hinduism since antiquity. Revealing the powerful "otherworldliness" of the Sadhus, the author also exposes the mystical beauty that emanates from those who have chosen the path of asceticism in pursuit of knowledge of the Absolute and liberation from all earthly bonds.
The seventh and final book of the monumental R?m?ya?a of V?lm?ki, the Uttarak???a, brings the epic saga to a close with an account of the dramatic events of King R?ma's millennia-long reign. It opens with a colorful history of the demonic race of the r?k?asas and the violent career of R?ma's villainous foe R?va?a, and later recounts R?ma's grateful discharge of his allies in the great war at Lank? as well as his romantic reunion with his wife S?t?. But dark clouds gather as R?ma, confronted by scandal over S?t?'s time in captivity under the lustful R?va?a, makes the agonizing decision to banish his beloved wife, now pregnant. As R?ma continues as king, marvelous tales and events unfurl, illustrating the benefits of righteous rule and the perils that await monarchs who fail to address the needs of their subjects. The Uttarak???a has long served as a point of social and religious controversy largely for its accounts of the banishment of S?t?, as well as of R?ma's killing of a low-caste ascetic. The translators' introduction provides a full discussion of these issues and the complex reception history of the Uttarak???a. This translation of the critical edition also includes exhaustive notes and a comprehensive bibliography.
The essential guide to one of the world's most diverse and fascinating faiths, with a Foreword by Amartya Sen K. M. Sen discusses the evolution of Hinduism's central systems of belief and codes of conduct, as well as popular cults and sects such as Bhakti, Tantrika and the mystics of North India, and describes the varying incarnations of its supreme deity, Krishna and Rama among them. He recounts its history from the Indus Valley civilization c.2500 BC and the Vedic age nature gods to its relationship with Buddhism and Jainism and the impact of western culture. And he describes the day-to-day practice of Hinduism - customs, festivals and rituals; the caste system; and its philosophies and exponents. The author's grandson Professor Amartya Sen brings his work right up to date, examining the role of Hinduism in the world today.
The way people encounter ideas of Hinduism online is often shaped by global discourses of religion, pervasive Orientalism and (post)colonial scholarship. This book addresses a gap in the scholarly debate around defining Hinduism by demonstrating the role of online discourses in generating and projecting images of Hindu religion and culture. This study surveys a wide range of propaganda, websites and social media in which definitions of Hinduism are debated. In particular, it focuses on the role of Hindu nationalism in the presentation and management of Hinduism in the electronic public sphere. Hindu nationalist parties and individuals are highly invested in discussions and presentations of Hinduism online, and actively shape discourses through a variety of strategies. Analysing Hindu nationalist propaganda, cyber activist movements and social media presence, as well as exploring methodological strategies that are useful to the field of religion and media in general, the book concludes by showing how these discourses function in the wider Hindu diaspora. Building on religion and media research by highlighting mechanical and hermeneutic issues of the Internet and how it affects how we encounter Hinduism online, this book will be of significant interest to scholars of religious studies, Hindu studies and digital media.
A comprehensive manual for living a spiritual life, based on a verse-by-verse commentary on India's timeless scripture - from the author of its best-selling translation. (The ebook The Bhagavad Gita for Daily Living 9781586381455 includes all three volumes in this series.) The Bhagavad Gita is set on the battlefield of an apocalyptic war between good and evil. Faced with a dire moral dilemma, the warrior prince Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Easwaran points out that Arjuna's crisis is acutely modern. The Gita's battlefield is the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage. Arjuna represents each of us, and Sri Krishna is the Lord, instructing us in eighteen chapters of lofty wisdom as we face the social, environmental, and global challenges that threaten our world today. Easwaran is a spiritual teacher and author of deep insight and warmth. His verse-by-verse commentary interprets the Gita's teachings for modern readers, explaining the Sanskrit concepts and philosophy and applying them with practicality, wisdom, and humor to every aspect of our work, our relationships, and our lives. With everyday anecdotes, stories, and examples, he shows that the changes we long to see in the world start with the transformation of our own consciousness. The practical exercises recommended by Easwaran to achieve transformation are part of a spiritual program he developed for his own life. They are accessible to people from all backgrounds and cultures. Urging us to adopt a higher image of the human being, he assures us that peace and unity are within reach. Each volume of this series covers six chapters of the Gita. Each may be read on its own, but all three volumes together form an in-depth, verse-by-verse explanation of this ancient scripture and its relevance today. Each volume includes instructions in Easwaran's eight-point program of passage meditation. Volume 1: The first six chapters of the Gita explore the concept of the innermost Self and source of wisdom in each of us. Easwaran explains how we can begin to transform ourselves, even as householders engaged in busy lives. Volume 2: The chapters in this volume go beyond the individual Self and investigate the Supreme Reality that underlies all creation. Here, Easwaran delves into the unity of life, and builds a bridge across the seeming divide between scientific knowledge and spiritual wisdom. Volume 3: The final six chapters put forth an urgent appeal for us to begin to see that all of us are one - to make the connection between the Self within and the Reality underlying all creation. Global in scope, the emphasis is on what we can do to make a difference to heal our environment and establish peace in the world. Easwaran's commentary is for all students of the Gita, whatever their background, and for anyone who is trying to find a path to wisdom, love, and kindness in themselves and our troubled world. Written as an authoritative, accessible guide to a much-loved scripture, it is a handbook for finding peace and clarity within. This second edition incorporates revisions made across all three volumes following the author's final instructions.
EASTERN PHILOSOPHY / HINDUISM"An intimate portrait of Shiva, that most complex of Hindu Gods. Reading this book is like finding an oasis in the desert of monotheism." Claudia Mueller-Ebeling, Ph.D., and Christian Ratsch, Ph.D., coauthors of Shamanism and Tantra in the Himalayas and Witchcraft Medicine "Discusses the roots and the manifestations of Shiva, the original mystic, and his relevance to modern life in both the East and the West. This book will amuse, shock, and, most important, provoke readers to think about their own cherished conceptions of the world." John R. Baker, professor of anthropology and translator of The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants, Marijuana Medicine, and Plants of Love "An encyclopedic and highly inspiring account of Shiva." Franz-Theo Gottwald, Ph.D., philosopher and Indologist To his devotees Shiva is the entire universe and the core of all beings. Hindu myth shows him appearing at the beginning of creation as a giant pillar of fire from which this world sprang forth. Yet he is also the most approachable of gods, for he is the lover of lovers and the devotee of his devotees. Ethnologist Wolf-Dieter Storl was first captivated by Shiva when he was in India as a visiting scholar at Benares Hindu University. In Shiva: The Wild God of Power and Ecstasy he reveals the mythical world of Shiva as a study in contrasts: As the lord of dance Shiva looses himself in ecstatic abandon; with his consort Parvati he can make love for 10,000 years. Both men and women worship him for his ability to unite and balance masculine and feminine energies. But as the ascetic Shankar he sits in deep meditation, shunning women, and none dare disturb him lest he open his third eyeand immolate the entire universe. Lord of intoxicants and poisons, Shiva is the keeper of secret occult knowledge and powers, for which he is worshipped by yogis and demons alike. Shiva dances both the joy of being and the dance of doom--but in every aspect he breaks through the false ego to reveal the true self lying within. This, Storl demonstrates through numerous stories and myths, is Shiva's true power. In addition, Storl explores the relationship of this multidimensional god to contemporary culture, Tantra, and the dualistic religions of the West. WOLF-DIETER STORL, Ph.D., is a cultural anthropologist and ethnobotanist who has taught at Kent State University as well as in Vienna, Berne, and Benares. He is coauthor of Witchcraft Medicine and has written a number of books on indigenous culture and ethnobotany. He lives in Allgau, Germany.
This is an authoritative, uncompromising, altogether real guide to spiritual practice. Rohini Ralby spent eight years as head of security, appointments secretary, and personal assistant to the great Swami Muktananda, and in their many hours alone together, this world-renowned guru taught her, one on one, the essence of spiritual practice. In Walking Home with Baba, an expert guide to spiritual practice, Rohini draws on that experience and her subsequent study and work as a spiritual director to convey, in clear and concise terms, what spiritual practice truly is: walking home, and retracing our way back to God -- to Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness, and Absolute Bliss. Walking Home with Baba combines intimate stories about Ms Ralby's own experiences with Muktananda and others with chapters explaining the actual work of spiritual practice. She provides tools that she has developed for freeing ourselves from misery. One chapter is perhaps the most masterfully clear and concise companion to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali available today. Readers will learn not only about Ms Ralby's experience of travelling the path and being the close disciple of a great Guru; they will gain practical guidance in walking that path themselves.
Forming the final part of the Sanskrit Mahabharata, the Harivamsha's main business is to supply narrative details about the great god Vishnu's avatar Krishna Vasudeva, who has been a comparatively minor character in the previous parts of the Mahabharata, despite having taken centre stage in the Bhagavad Gita. Krishna is born in Mathura (some 85 miles south of present-day Delhi). As an infant he is smuggled out of Mathura for his own safety. He and his brother Baladeva grow up among cowherds in the forest, where between them they perform many miraculous deeds and kill many dangerous demons, before returning to Mathura where they kill the evil King Kamsa and his cronies. Thereafter, Krishna is the hero and unofficial leader of his people the Yadava-Vrishnis. When Mathura is besieged by enemies, Krishna leads his people to abandon the town and migrate west, founding the dazzling new city of Dvaraka by the sea. Krishna then repeatedly travels away from that base repeatedly to perform heroic deeds benefitting those in need - including his own people, his more immediate family, and the gods. After narrating the stories of Krishna, the Harivamsha ends by finishing the story of Janamejaya with which the Mahabharata began. The Harivamsha is a powerhouse of Hindu mythology and a classic of world literature. It begins by contextualising Vishnu's appearance as Krishna in several ways, in the process presenting a variety of cosmogonical, cosmological, genealogical, mythological, theological, and karmalogical materials. It then narrates Krishna's birth and adventures in detail. Presenting a wide variety of exciting stories in a poetic register that makes extensive use of natural imagery, the Harivamsha is a neglected literary gem and an ideal starting-point for readers new to Indian literature.
The spiritual classic, the Devimahatmya, is a central text for worshippers of the Hindu Goddess Devi. Written about 16 centuries ago, it addresses the perennial questions of the nature of the universe, humankind, and divinity. This is the first translation of the Devimahatmya to combine sound scholarship, the language skills of a native English speaker, and an insider's perspective based on 35 years of spiritual practice within the Hindu tradition.
Keshab Chandra Sen (1838-84) was one of the most powerful and controversial figures in nineteenth-century Bengal. A religious leader and social reformer, his universalist interpretation of Hinduism found mass appeal in India, and generated considerable interest in Britain. His ideas on British imperial rule, religion and spirituality, global history, universalism and modernity were all influential, and his visit to England made him a celebrity. Many Britons regarded him as a prophet of world-historical significance. Keshab was the subject of extreme adulation and vehement criticism. Accounts tell of large crowds prostrating themselves before him, believing him to be an avatar. Yet he died with relatively few followers, his reputation in both India and Britain largely ruined. As a representative of India, Keshab became emblematic of broad concerns regarding Hinduism and Christianity, science and faith, India and the British Empire. This innovative study explores the transnational historical forces that shaped Keshab's life and work. It offers an alternative religious history of empire, characterised by intercultural dialogue and religious syncretism. A fascinating and often tragic portrait of Keshab's experience of the imperial world, and the ways in which he carried meaning for his contemporaries.
Endorsed by WJEC/Eduqas, the Student Book offers high quality support you can trust. / Written by an experienced teacher and author with an in-depth understanding of teaching, learning and assessment at A Level and AS. / A skills-based approach to learning, covering content of the specification with examination preparation from the start. / Developing skills feature focuses on what to do with the content and the issues that are raised with a progressive range of AO1 examples and AO2 exam-focused activities. / Questions and Answers section provides practice questions with student answers and examiner commentaries. / It provides a range of specific activities that target each of the Assessment Objectives to build skills of knowledge, understanding and evaluation. / Includes a range of features to encourage you to consolidate and reinforce your learning.
A vivid journey back to the time of Krishna, his holy city, and the Mahabharata War Transporting us back five thousand years to the time of Krishnavatara, the age in which Krishna lived, Vanamali leads us on a journey alongside Lord Krishna as he reigns over the ancient port city of Dwaraka and helps the Pandavas through the Mahabharata War. Recounting ecstatic celebrations, Krishna's love for his wives and sons, and events surrounding the epic war, the author stresses Krishna's ability to contain all opposites and stand above duality like a lotus leaf floating on a running stream. Offering potent spiritual lessons throughout her story, she shows how the truly spiritual individual is able to unreservedly accept all dimensions of life and rise above all dualities of existence, war and peace, love and hate, sex and abstinence, action and meditation. She also provides a historical timeline for the Mahabharata War and the sinking of Krishna's city beneath the sea--3126 BCE and 3090 BCE, respectively--and shows how the Mahabharata War occurred under circumstances quite similar to those of the present day, both politically and astrologically. Through her vivid tale and her personal connection with Krishna across many lifetimes, Vanamali shows how the magic and mystery of Krishna's ancient holy city live on through his spiritual teachings.
The Bhagavad Gita, "The Song of the Lord," is probably the best known of all the Indian scriptures, and Easwaran's clear, accessible translation is the best-selling edition. The Gita opens dramatically, with prince Arjuna collapsing in anguish on the brink of a war that he doesn't want to fight. Arjuna has lost his way on the battlefield of life, and turns to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, the Lord himself. Krishna replies in 700 verses of sublime instruction on living and dying, loving and working, and the nature of the soul. This book includes an extensive and very readable introduction, which places the Gita in its historical setting, explains the key concepts, and brings out the universality of its teachings. Individual chapter introductions prepare the reader for the main themes, and notes, a Sanskrit glossary, and an index are included. Although the battlefield is a perfect backdrop, for Easwaran the Gita's subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage. Arjuna's dilemma is acutely modern, and the Gita's message remains as relevant for us now as it was for ancient India.
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.
Wendy Doniger and Martha Nussbaum bring together leading scholars
from a wide array of disciplines to address a crucial question: How
does the world's most populous democracy survive repeated assaults
on its pluralistic values? India's stunning linguistic, cultural,
and religious diversity has been supported since Independence by a
political structure that emphasizes equal rights for all, and
protects liberties of religion and speech. But a decent
Constitution does not implement itself, and challenges to these
core values repeatedly arise---not least in the first decade of the
twenty-first century, when the rise of Hindu Right movements
threatened to destabilize the nation and upend its core values, in
the wake of a notorious pogrom in the state of Gujarat in which
approximately 2000 Muslim civilians were killed.
An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism, third edition, offers a comprehensive study of a contemporary form of Hinduism. Begun as a revival and reform movement in India 200 years ago, it has now become one of the fastest growing and most prominent forms of Hinduism. The Swaminarayan Hindu transnational network of temples and institutions is expanding in India, East Africa, the UK, USA, Australasia, and in other African and Asian cities. The devotion, rituals, and discipline taught by its founder, Sahajanand Swami (1781-1830) and elaborated by current leaders in major festivals, diverse media, and over the Internet, help preserve ethnic and religious identity in many modern cultural and political contexts. Swaminarayan Hinduism, here described through its history, divisions, leaders, theology and practices, provides valuable case studies of contemporary Hinduism, religion, migrants, and transnationalism. This new edition includes up-to-date information about growth, geographic expansion, leadership transitions, and impact of Swaminarayan institutions in India and abroad.
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