Religions of India in Practice / Edition 1

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Overview

The inaugural volume of Princeton Readings in Religions brings together the work of thirty scholars of the religions of India in a new anthology designed to reshape the ways in which the religious traditions of India are understood. The book contains translations of forty-five works, most of which have never before been available in a Western language. Many of these highlight types of discourse (especially ritual manuals, folktales, and oral narratives) and voices (vernacular, esoteric, domestic, and female) that have not been sufficiently represented in previous anthologies and standard accounts of Indian religions.

The selections are drawn from ancient texts, medieval manuscripts, modern pamphlets, and contemporary fieldwork in rural and urban India. They represent every region in South Asia and include Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Sikh, and Muslim materials. Some are written texts reflecting elite concerns, while others are transcriptions of oral narratives told by nonliterate peasants. Some texts are addressed to a public and pan-Indian audience, others to a limited coterie of initiates in an esoteric sect, and still others are intended for a few women gathered in the courtyard for a household ceremony. The editor has reinforced this diversity by arranging the selections within several overarching themes and categories of discourse (hymns, rituals, narratives, and religious interactions), and encourages us to make our own connections.

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Editorial Reviews

The Journal of Asian Studies
The very nature of this anthology suggests that the contemporary student be taught to learn in the context of uncertain borders, of conflicting and of ambiguous worlds. . . . The Religions of India in Practice should be in the hands of every teacher-scholar of religions in India and then in the hands of their students.
The Journal of Indo-European Studies
A volume in the valuable series of Princeton Readings in Religion.... [A] most useful set of penetrating studies ... their writers are among the most prominent scholars in the field.
From the Publisher
"The very nature of this anthology suggests that the contemporary student be taught to learn in the context of uncertain borders, of conflicting and of ambiguous worlds. . . . The Religions of India in Practice should be in the hands of every teacher-scholar of religions in India and then in the hands of their students."—The Journal of Asian Studies

"A volume in the valuable series of Princeton Readings in Religion.... [A] most useful set of penetrating studies ... their writers are among the most prominent scholars in the field."—The Journal of Indo-European Studies

The Journal of Asian Studies
The very nature of this anthology suggests that the contemporary student be taught to learn in the context of uncertain borders, of conflicting and of ambiguous worlds. . . . The Religions of India in Practice should be in the hands of every teacher-scholar of religions in India and then in the hands of their students.
The Journal of Indo-European Studies
A volume in the valuable series of Princeton Readings in Religion.... [A] most useful set of penetrating studies ... their writers are among the most prominent scholars in the field.
Library Journal
This volume, which inaugurates a series of anthologies on religion, is unique in its focus on vernacular sources rather than classical Vedic lineage texts. Representing Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, Muslim, Sufi, and Sikh religious expressions, the categories include household rites, folklore, omens, alchemical and oracular practices, temple dedications, hagiographical odes, mantras, and pujas. Editor Davis (religion, Yale) provides the historical introduction to Indian religion, while each of the 30 contributors gives a preamble to his or her chosen text. Suggestions for further reading follow each selection. The volume is arranged thematically, not by religion, and most of the works have never before been translated. Overarching themes suggest a unity that the editor leaves readers to syncretize. Many of the selections convey the rapture of devotion, celebrating sacred love toward guru, saint, or God. The complex array of doctrines and contesting ideologies is like the murmur of a mighty river providing fascinating reading for both scholar and general reader.Dara Eklund, Los Angeles P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691043241
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 4/3/1995
  • Series: Princeton Readings in Religions Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 648
  • Product dimensions: 6.11 (w) x 9.27 (h) x 1.46 (d)

Table of Contents

Princeton Readings in Religions
Note on Transliteration
Contents by Traditions
Contributors
Introduction 3
1 Bengali Songs to Kali 55
2 Kabir 77
3 Poems of Tukaram 92
4 The Litany of Names of Manjusri 104
5 Sikh Hymns to the Divine Name 126
6 Devotional Hymns from the Sanskrit 133
7 Tamil Game Songs to Siva 145
8 In Praise of Muhammad: Sindhi and Urdu Poems 159
9 Baul Songs 187
10 Tamil Songs to God as Child 209
11 The Power of Mantra: A Story of the Five Protectors 227
12 Royal Temple Dedications 235
13 How to Partake in the Love of Krsna 244
14 Women's Songs for Auspicious Occasions 269
15 The Ocean of Mercury: An Eleventh-Century Alchemical Text 281
16 Predicting the Future with Dogs 288
17 How To Worship at Siva's Temple 304
18 The Order for Khalsa Initiation 321
19 The Rite of Veneration of Jina Images 326
20 The Vaisnava Sahajiya Traditions of Medieval Bengal 333
21 The Goddess Sasthi Protects Children 352
22 Women's Celebration of Muhammad's Birth 367
23 The Rescue of Two Drunkards 375
24 Encountering the Smallpox Goddess: The Auspicious Song of Sitala 389
25 The Wonders of Sri Mastnath 399
26 Jain Stories Inspiring Renunciation 412
27 A Holy Woman of Calcutta 418
28 Jain Stories of Miraculous Power 426
29 Mother Ten's Stories 434
30 The Life of Guru Nanak 449
31 The Autobiography of a Female Renouncer 462
32 The Prince with Six Fingers 473
33 How a Girl Became a Sacred Plant 487
34 Lives of Sufi Saints 495
35 Conversations of Sufi Saints 513
36 Teachings of Two Punjabi Sufi Poets 518
37 Ascetic Withdrawal or Social Engagement 533
38 The Bodhisattva Vajrapani's Subjugation of Siva 547
39 India as a Sacred Islamic Land 556
40 The Exemplary Devotion of the "Servant of Hari" 564
41 Satya Pir: Muslim Holy Man and Hindu God 578
42 Jain Questions and Answers: Who Is God and How Is He Worshiped? 598
43 Esoteric Knowledge and the Tradition of the Preceptors 609
44 The Rebuilding of a Hindu Temple 627
45 The Origin of Linga Worship 637
Index 649
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