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With its complex nature and many forms and practices, Hinduism is one of the world's most elusive religions for outsiders to understand. In Essential Hinduism, expert Steven Rosen aims to make the facets of this faith clear. Essential Hinduism explores this rich tradition through its history, literature, arts, and people. This straightforward overview focuses primarily on monotheistic Vaishnavism, the most common form of Hinduism. Beginning with chapters about the foundations of Hinduism, Steven Rosen clearly lays out the religion's otherwise complicated history. Providing Hindu terms alongside English translations, he illuminates the basics of the faith for readers unacquainted with its varieties and tenets and examines commonly held misconceptions. Chapters about practices, including festivals, teachings, chanting, eating habits, and more, bring Hinduism to life in vivid detail.
Hinduism, the world's oldest "living" religion, is also the third-largest faith, boasting one billion adherents. Rosen (Introduction to the World's Major Religions) is the ideal author to unravel the mystery of this diverse and complex faith. As editor of the Journal of Vaishnava Studies, he is especially qualified in his highlighting of Vaishnavism, the most popular form of Hinduism, throughout. The book is made up of 13 chapters and is divided into two conceptual parts: "The Basis," which focuses on Hinduism's history and holy texts, and "The Practice," which discusses philosophical ideas and specific practices such as vegetarianism, meditation, and worship. Hindu terms appear alongside English translations. There is a solid bibliography and notes, but a glossary would have been helpful. What's more, illustrations or photographs would have enhanced the text's richness. The content, however, is of a high caliber. This book will appeal to scholars as well as general readers. Recommended for both academic and public libraries.
—C. Brian Smith Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Chapter 1 Introduction Chapter 2 The Antecedents: Everything Comes from Something Chapter 3 Hinduism: The One and the Many Chapter 4 Dharma and the Hindu Social System Chapter 5 What Are the Vedas? Chapter 6 Epic Hinduism Chapter 7 The Bhagavad-Gita and the Life of Lord Krishna Chapter 8 The Puranas and the Bagavata Chapter 9 Vaishnavism and the Practice of Hinduism Chapter 10 Underlying Metaphysics Chapter 11 The Yoga of Eating Chapter 12 Idols, Deities, Worship, and Temples Chapter 13 Festivals and Holidays Chapter 14 Sonic Theology Chapter 15 Conclusion
Posted October 5, 2010
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