Children's Literature - Uma Krishnaswami
This title is part of the "World Religions" series. Other titles in the series include Islam, Judaism, and Protestantism. Beginning with early Vedic traditions, this book proceeds to discuss successive sacred texts such as the Puranas and the Upanishads. A chapter is devoted to the epic literature of the Mahabharata and Ramayana, and one to the Bhakti movement, a period marked by deeply felt personal worship and by a great swell of literary, musical, and poetic creativity. The chapter about the goddess and her role in Hindu worship includes stories of peaceful and fierce representations and a description of the Navaratri festival dedicated to the goddess Durga. The chapter about tantric forms of worship discusses these esoteric and little-known practices. The Hindu Renaissance is handled in relation to the fall of the subcontinent to foreign invaders and its ultimate assimilation into the British Empire. The final chapter examines Hinduism in the United States, from the 1920 visit of Paramhansa Yogananda to present day observances among South Asian immigrants, as well as among those Westerners who have adapted Hindu traditions to their personal spiritual practices. The chapter about Hinduism in America is particularly timely and takes into consideration the existing plurality of views and practices. Sidebars address tangentially related subjects such as religions that grew out of reactions to Hindu traditions, or efforts to reform ritualistic practice, and details of ceremonial worship. Note a spelling error, with "Hari" used instead of "Hare" Krishna, in the name of that sect. The book is illustrated with full color photographs, including both pictures ofcontemporary Hindu observances and traditional art. Extensive back matter includes a time line, a glossary, additional reading, films and documentaries, web sites, chapter source notes, and an index.
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up
These titles are visually attractive, with color photos and clear print. However, the content leaves much to be desired. The authors emphasize history and doctrine to the exclusion of practical, everyday religion. There is little to nothing on rites of passage, places and types of worship, and feasts and festivals, while statistics and other concrete data are noticeably absent. The books also lack maps, a serious deficiency given the importance of cities, regions, and countries in the historical chapters. Many key terms are missing from the glossaries; difficult, undefined vocabulary is used throughout; and the indexes are incomplete. Overall, the volumes are vague and unbalanced. Matthew Gordon's Islam and Madhu Bazaz Wangu's Buddhism and Hinduism (all Facts On File, 2006) are far more thorough, useful, and relevant. Charles Clark's Islam , Patricia D. Netzley's Buddhism , and Thomas Streissguth's Hinduism (all Gale, 2002) are also acceptable.
Ann W. MooreCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.