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The "Bhagavad Gita," perhaps the most famous of all Indian scriptures, is universally regarded as one of the world's spiritual and literary masterpieces. Richard Davis tells the story of this venerable and enduring book, from its origins in ancient India to its reception today as a spiritual classic that has been translated into more than seventy-five languages. The "Gita" opens on the eve of a mighty battle, when the warrior Arjuna is overwhelmed by despair and refuses to fight. He turns to his charioteer, Krishna, who counsels him on why he must. In the dialogue that follows, Arjuna comes to realize that the true battle is for his own soul.
Davis highlights the place of this legendary dialogue in classical Indian culture, and then examines how it has lived on in diverse settings and contexts. He looks at the medieval devotional traditions surrounding the divine character of Krishna and traces how the "Gita" traveled from India to the West, where it found admirers in such figures as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, J. Robert Oppenheimer, and Aldous Huxley. Davis explores how Indian nationalists like Mahatma Gandhi and Swami Vivekananda used the "Gita" in their fight against colonial rule, and how contemporary interpreters reanimate and perform this classical work for audiences today.
An essential biography of a timeless masterpiece, this book is an ideal introduction to the "Gita" and its insights into the struggle for self-mastery that we all must wage.
The Bhagavad Gita is the best known of all the Indian scriptures, and Eknath Easwaran's best-selling translation is reliable, readable, and profound. Easwaran's 55-page introduction places the Bhagavad Gita in its historical setting, and brings out the universality and timelessness of its teachings. Chapter introductions clarify key concepts, and notes and a glossary explain Sanskrit terms. Easwaran grew up in the Hindu tradition in India, and learned Sanskrit from a young age. He was a professor of English literature before coming to the West on a Fulbright scholarship. A gifted teacher, he is recognized as an authority on the Indian classics and world mysticism. The Bhagavad Gita opens, dramatically, on a battlefield, as the warrior Arjuna turns in anguish to his spiritual guide, Sri Krishna, for answers to the fundamental questions of life. Yet, as Easwaran points out, the Gita is not what it seems - it's not a dialogue between two mythical figures at the dawn of Indian history. "The battlefield is a perfect backdrop, but the Gita's subject is the war within, the struggle for self-mastery that every human being must wage if he or she is to emerge from life victorious." Arjuna's struggle in the Bhagavad Gita is acutely modern. He has lost his way on the battlefield of life and turns to find the path again by asking direct, uncompromising questions of 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. Easwaran shows the Gita's relevance to us today as we strive, like Arjuna, to do what is right. "No one in modern times is more qualified - no, make that 'as qualified' - to translate the epochal Classics of Indian Spirituality than Eknath Easwaran. And the reason is clear. It is impossible to get to the heart of those classics unless you live them, and he did live them. My admiration of the man and his works is boundless." - Huston Smith, author of The World's Religions.
Covering all the major Hindu practices, festivals, beliefs, gods, sacred sites, languages, and religious texts, this is the most comprehensive Hinduism dictionary of its kind. It contains 2,800 entries on everything from Tantra to temples, from bhakti to Divali, as well as biographical entries for key thinkers, teachers, and scholars. All entries are clear, concise, up to date, and fully cross-referenced. With its coverage spanning 3,500 years of Hinduism - from the religion's conception to Hinduism in the 21st century - this brand new A-Z also acknowledges the historical interplay between Hindu traditions and others, for example, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and Islamic. Detailed appendices include maps, pronunciation guide, a chronology, principal sources and further reading, and useful websites. This dictionary is an invaluable first port of call for students and teachers of Hinduism, theology, Asian studies, or philosophy, as well as the related disciplines of history, sociology, and anthropology. It is also an ideal source of reference for all practicing Hindus and for anyone with an interest in Indian religions and culture.
Whenever the subject of communities and communal living comes uo, a variety of doubts and suspicions is usually aroused. The possible brainwashing of impressionable young people is frequently mentioned. Although the idea itself is centuries old, it has yet to be accepted as an approved method of living, even in this so-called New Age. Of the many hundreds that have been started, very few have proven successful. The fact that Ananda has done so remarkably well against terrifying odds, and that at every time of crisis help always seems to come in some extraordinary way, invites attention. During his lifetime, which ended in 1952, Yogananda called for the founding of spiritual communities dedicated to world brotherhood and to "simple living and high thinking." Ananda is the first response to this directive. Its remarkable history, and its present expanding horizons, are the subject of this work.
Introducing Hinduism, 2nd Edition is the ideal sourcebook for those seeking a comprehensive overview of the Hindu tradition. This second edition includes substantial treatments of Tantra, South India, and women, as well as expanded discussions of yoga, Vedanta and contemporary configurations of Hinduism in the West. Its lively presentation features: case studies, photographs, and scenarios that invite the reader into the lived world of Hinduism; introductory summaries, key points, discussion questions, and recommended reading lists at the end of each chapter; narrative summaries of the great epics and other renowned Hindu myths and lucid explanations of complex Indian philosophical teachings, including Sankhya and Kashmir Saivism; and a glossary, timeline, and pronunciation guide for an enhanced learning experience. This volume is an invaluable resource for students in need of an introduction to the key tenets and diverse practice of Hinduism, past and present.
This book presents collated and selected subject-wise teachings of Shri Sai Baba. In this collection of 21 articles published in "Shri Sai Leela" - the official periodical of Shri Sai Baba Sansthan, the author presents the teachings of Baba on subjects like Wealth, food, theory of Karma, Maya, Good conduct, Non-violence, Pleasures of senses, Astrology etc.,
Hindu and Greek mythologies teem with stories of women and men who
are doubled, who double themselves, who are seduced by gods
doubling as mortals, whose bodies are split or divided. In
"Splitting the Difference, " the renowned scholar of mythology
Wendy Doniger recounts and compares a vast range of these tales
from ancient Greece and India, with occasional recourse to more
recent "double features" from "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" to
"One Religion Too Many" is a Hindu pilgrim s progress through the world s religious traditions. An eminent scholar of comparative religion, Arvind Sharma provides a first-hand account of how he came to be a party to the dialogue of religions first with his own religion, then with the comparative study of religion, and finally with the religious universalism he has come to espouse because of this heritage. Starting with an account of the Hinduism of his family in Varanasi, India, Sharma then heads west, finding himself dumbfounded by the Christian Eucharist, wondering if there is a Hinjew Connection, grappling with Zen in Massachusetts, and pressed into service to teach about Islam. Sharma writes with a light touch, but even when his encounters and perceptions are amusing, they are always insightful and thought-provoking. Western readers, in particular, will enjoy seeing their own traditions through the eyes of an Easterner who has come to know them well. Sharma s ultimate perspective on religious universalism is a welcoming vision for the globalizing world of the twenty-first century.
The monotheistic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have severely limited the portrayal of the divine as feminine. But in Hinduism "God" very often means "Goddess". This extraordinary collection explores twelve different Hindu goddesses, all of whom are in some way related to Devi, the Great Goddess. They range from the liquid goddess - energy of the River Ganges to the possessing, entrancing heat of Bhagavati and Seranvali. They are local, like Vindhyavasini, and global, like Kali; ancient, like Saranyu, and modern, like "Mother India". The collection combines analysis of texts with intensive fieldwork, allowing the reader to see how goddesses are worshiped in everyday life. In these compelling essays, the divine feminine in Hinduism is revealed as never before - fascinating, contradictory, powerful.
The Bhagavad Gita, literally "The Song of God," is one of the most important spiritual and religious texts of the world, and is to Hindus what the Torah is to Jews, the Bible to Christians, and the Quran to Moslems. With text, translation, and Sri Aurobindo's commentary, this is probably the finest translation and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita that we have seen.
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.
In late 20th-century India, Christian-Hindu dialogue was forever transformed following the opening of Shantivanam, the first Christian ashram in the country. Mario I. Aguilar brings together the histories of the five pioneers of Christian-Hindu dialogue and their involvement with the ashram, to explore what they learnt and taught about communion between the two religions, and the wide ranging consequences of their work. The author expertly threads together the lives and friendships between these men, while uncovering the Hindu texts they used and were influenced by, and considers how far some of them became, in their personal practice, Hindu. Ultimately, this book demonstrates the impact of this history on contemporary dialogue between Christians and Hindus, and how both faiths can continue to learn and grow together.
This book studies the phenomenon of altruistic suicide which was a form of political protest. The authors investigate the self-immolation of German pastor Oskar Brusewitz and compare it with other politically motivated suicides. They portray both life and pastoral activity of Brusewitz and analyse the motives of his suicide. Furthermore, they evaluate the judgement of this tragic event by confreres in faith and other witnesses. Besides the thorough analysis of Oskar Brusewitz's case, the book inspects the genesis of self-immolation and locates it in the tradition of Buddhism and Hinduism. It depicts cases of self-immolations in Vietnam, the USA, India, Tibet, China, Iran, and particularly in Middle-Eastern Europe (Czechoslovakia, Poland and Lithuania). The analysis also covers cases of self-immolations that occurred during the Arab Spring (2011-2012) and in Bulgaria in 2013.
The Bhagavata Purana is one of the most important, central and popular scriptures of Hinduism. A medieval Sanskrit text, its influence as a religious book has been comparable only to that of the great Hindu epics, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. Ithamar Theodor here offers the first analysis for twenty years of the Bhagavata Purana (often called the Fifth Veda ) and its different layers of meaning. He addresses its lyrical meditations on the activities of Krishna (avatar of Lord Vishnu), the central place it affords to the doctrine of bhakti (religious devotion) and its treatment of older Vedic traditions of knowledge. At the same time he places this subtle, poetical book within the context of the wider Hindu scriptures and the other Puranas, including the similar but less grand and significant Vishnu Purana. The author argues that the Bhagavata Purana is a unique work which represents the meeting place of two great orthodox Hindu traditions, the Vedic-Upanishadic and the Aesthetic. As such, it is one of India s greatest theological treatises. This book illuminates its character and continuing significance."
"Encountering Kali "explores one of the most remarkable divinities the world has seen--the Hindu goddess Kali. She is simultaneously understood as a blood-thirsty warrior, a goddess of ritual possession, a Tantric sexual partner, and an all-loving, compassionate Mother. Popular and scholarly interest in her has been on the rise in the West in recent years. Responding to this phenomenon, this volume focuses on the complexities involved in interpreting Kali in both her indigenous South Asian settings and her more recent Western incarnations. Using scriptural history, temple architecture, political violence, feminist and psychoanalytic criticism, autobiographical reflection, and the goddess's recent guises on the Internet, the contributors pose questions relevant to our understanding of Kali, as they illuminate the problems and promises inherent in every act of cross-cultural interpretation.
The present book is a collection of essays written at different points of time and published in reputed journals and books. What blends them together is the use of the primary source material in the form of a vast compendium of Puranic literature (backed by epigraphic, archaeological and anthropological data), which has been utilized to arrive at conclusions pertaining to changes in Indian society and religion during the later half of first millennium AD when the major Puranas were being compiled. The period represents a watershed in Indian history, for it marked a transition from a commercially viable economic order to a closed feudal economy. The social and religious dimensions of the brahmanical system were particularly impacted by such a transition resulting in some innovative forms of restructuring. It has been the purpose behind most of the present articles to reassess and utilize the available Puranic evidence for getting fresh insights into the rationale and precise nature of these changes. The key areas of thrust in these articles are changes in material culture, awareness and mode of dealing with environmental issues, gender based differentiation, recent ritual formations such as Mahadana and Tirthas as well as the utilization of myth as a mode of expressing historical reality.
This volume offers unexpected insights into the history of the Veda, the earliest texts of South Asia, and their underlying oral transmission. In side-by-side facsimiles, Michael Witzel and Qinyuan Wu present the two oldest known Veda manuscripts, the Vajasaneyi Samhita of the White Yajurveda and its contemporaneous sister text, a Vajasaneyi Padapatha, recently found in western Tibet. These two manuscripts have retained an unusual style of representing the pitched accents, and their juxtaposition in this edition invites comparison between the oral Veda transmission of a thousand years ago and the recitation still maintained today. Both manuscripts are important testimonies for the history of the Vedas, their medieval transmission, and their first codification in writing. As such, they are of great interest to historians, Indologists, and scholars studying the interface of oral and written traditions.
A historical and comparative study grounded in close readings of important works, this book explores the dynamics of the theory and practice of yoga in Hindu and Buddhist contexts. Author Stuart Ray Sarbacker explores the fascinating, contrasting perceptions that meditation leads to the attainment of divine, or numinous, power, and to complete escape from worldly existence, or cessation. Sarbacker demonstrates that these two dimensions of spiritual experience have affected the doctrine and cultural significance of yoga from its origins to its contemporary practice. He also integrates sociological and psychological perspectives on religious experience into a larger phenomenological model to address the multifaceted nature of religious experience. Speaking to a broad range of methodological and contextual issues, Samā dhi provides numerous insights into the theory and practice of yoga that are relevant to both scholars of religious studies and practitioners of contemporary yoga and meditation traditions.
Before the passage of the Hindu Widow's Re-marriage Act of 1856, Hindu tradition required a woman to live as a virtual outcast after her husband's death. Widows were expected to shave their heads, discard their jewelry, live in seclusion, and undergo regular acts of penance. Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar was the first Indian intellectual to successfully argue against these strictures. A Sanskrit scholar and passionate social reformer, Vidyasagar was a leading proponent of widow marriage in colonial India, urging his contemporaries to reject a ban that caused countless women to suffer needlessly.
Vidyasagar's brilliant strategy paired a rereading of Hindu scripture with an emotional plea on behalf of the widow, resulting in an organic reimagining of Hindu law and custom. Vidyasagar made his case through the two-part publication "Hindu Widow Marriage," a tour de force of logic, erudition, and humanitarian rhetoric. In this new translation, Brian A. Hatcher makes available in English for the first time the entire text of one of the most important nineteenth-century treatises on Indian social reform.
An expert on Vidyasagar, Hinduism, and colonial Bengal, Hatcher enhances the original treatise with a substantial introduction describing Vidyasagar's multifaceted career, as well as the history of colonial debates on widow marriage. He innovatively interprets the significance of "Hindu Widow Marriage" within modern Indian intellectual history by situating the text in relation to indigenous commentarial practices. Finally, Hatcher increases the accessibility of the text by providing an overview of basic Hindu categories for first-time readers, a glossary of technical vocabulary, and an extensive bibliography.
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