An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism

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This book is a comprehensive study of a modern form of Hinduism that is growing in the place of its birth in the Indian state of Gujarat and among Indian immigrants in East Africa, Great Britain, and the United States. It is the most prominent form of transnational Hinduism because it creates networks that define and preserve ethnic and religious identity in the modern context of rapid mobility and communication. Founded by Swaminarayan (1781-1830), a religious reformer in a time of great social and political change in Gujarat, Swaminarayan Hinduism expounds a path of devotion to Swaminarayan as the final, perfect manifestation of God. Professor Williams provides a detailed introduction to the history, theology, discipline, and ritual of this important form of Hinduism.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This is an extensive study of one of the most popular and fastest growing traditions within Hinduism that in the past two decades has also become one of the most significant forms of Hinduism among the Indian diaspora. Williams provides a history of the early-nineteenth century origins of the movement in Gujarat, and the subsequent development of two major branches...This book belongs on every scholar's shelf and would make an excellent textbook." Religious Studies Review Jan 2002

"This book belongs on every scholar's shelf and would make an excellent textbook." Religious Studies Review Jan 2002

"...Raymond Brady Williams has contributed greatly to an understanding of this dynamic form of Vaishnave bhakti and its distinctive place among contemporary Hindu sects and the south Asian diaspora...William's research is an indispensable foundation for work that looks at the specific engagement of Swaminarayan followers with their beliefs, what they think, what they say, and why they believe what they do." The Journal of Religion

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521654227
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2012
  • Series: Introduction to Religion Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 266
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction; 1. The beginnings of Swaminarayan Hinduism; 2. Growth, administration and schism; 3. The structure of Swaminarayan theology; 4. The sacred world; 5. Dharma: the disciplined life; 6. The sacred thread: transmission of tradition; 7. Transnational growth of Swaminarayan Hinduism.
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