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Popular Hinduism is shaped, above all, by worship of a multitude of powerful divine beings--a superabundance indicated by the proverbial total of 330 million gods and goddesses. The fluid relationship between these beings and humans is a central theme of this rich and accessible study of popular Hinduism in the context of the society of contemporary India. Lucidly organized and skillfully written, "The Camphor Flame" brings clarity to an immensely complicated subject. C. J. Fuller combines ethnographic case studies with comparative anthropological analysis and draws on textual and historical scholarship as well. The book's new afterword brings the study up-to-date by examining the relationship between popular Hinduism and contemporary Hindu nationalism.
This book provides the first full-scale English-language study of Pradyumna, the son of the Hindu god Krsna. Often represented as a young man in mid-adolescence, Pradyumna is both a handsome double of his demon-slaying father and the rebirth of Kamadeva, the God of Love. Sanskrit epic, puranic, and kavya narratives of the 300-1300 CE period celebrate Pradyumna's sexual potency, mastery of illusory subterfuges, and military prowess in supporting the work of his avatara father. These materials reflect the values of an evolving Brahminical and Vaisnava tradition that was deeply invested in the imperatives of family, patrilines, the violent but necessary defense of the social and cosmic order, and the celebration of beauty and desire as a means to the divine. Pradyumna's evolving narratives, almost completely absent from existing studies of Hindu mythology, provide a point of access to the development of Krsna bhakti and Vaisnava theism more broadly. Conversely, Jain sources cast Pradyumna as an exemplary figure through whom a pointed rejection of these values can be articulated, even while sharing certain of their elementary premises. Pradyumna: Lover, Magician, and Scion of the Avatara assembles these narratives, presents key Sanskrit materials in translation and summary form, and articulates the social, gender, and religious values encoded in them. Most importantly, the study argues that Pradyumna's signature two-handed maneuver-the audacious appropriation of a feminine partner, enabled by the emasculating destruction of her demonic male protector-communicates a persistent fantasy of male power expressed in the language of a mutually implicating sex and violence.
With the Hindu nationalist BJP now replacing the Congress as the only national political force, the communalization of the Indian polity has qualitatively advanced since the earlier edition of this book in 1997. This edition has been substantially reworked and updated with several new chapters added. Hindutva's rise necessitates a more critical take on mainstream secular claims, ironically reinforced by liberal-left sections discovering special virtues in India's 'distinctive' secularism. The careful evaluation of the ongoing debate on 'Indian fascism' has resonances for the broader debate about how best to assess the dangers of the far right's rise in other liberal democracies. A study follows of how Hindutva forces are pursuing their project of establishing a Hindu Rashtra and how to thwart them through a wider transformative struggle targeting capitalism itself.
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.
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.
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.
'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.
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.
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