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Often thought of as the Bible of India, "The Bhagavad Gita" is the most important sacred text of Hinduism, and the third most important among world scriptures, after the Bible and the Qur'an. It tells the story of the moral struggles of the warrior Arjuna, who, before the start of a great battle between good and evil, discusses the big questions of life and death with his charioteer who is (unbeknownst to Arjuna) the Hindu god Krishna in disguise. This masterful translation of a classic text includes the following key features: fresh, easy-to-read translation in free verse form; beautiful edition - elegant jacket, interior design, and ribbon marker; short introduction, allowing the reader to jump right into the text; annotations at the foot of the page to explain foreign concepts or terms; extensive concluding essay for deeper understanding of the text; and, glossary of religious terms and Sanskrit words.
This is an authoritative, uncompromising, altogether real guide to spiritual practice. Rohini Ralby spent eight years as head of security, appointments secretary, and personal assistant to the great Swami Muktananda, and in their many hours alone together, this world-renowned guru taught her, one on one, the essence of spiritual practice. In Walking Home with Baba, an expert guide to spiritual practice, Rohini draws on that experience and her subsequent study and work as a spiritual director to convey, in clear and concise terms, what spiritual practice truly is: walking home, and retracing our way back to God -- to Absolute Truth, Absolute Consciousness, and Absolute Bliss. Walking Home with Baba combines intimate stories about Ms Ralby's own experiences with Muktananda and others with chapters explaining the actual work of spiritual practice. She provides tools that she has developed for freeing ourselves from misery. One chapter is perhaps the most masterfully clear and concise companion to the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali available today. Readers will learn not only about Ms Ralby's experience of travelling the path and being the close disciple of a great Guru; they will gain practical guidance in walking that path themselves.
In Integrative Spirituality, Patrick J. Mahaffey elucidates spirituality as a developmental process that is enhanced by integrating the teachings and practices of multiple religious traditions, Jungian depth psychology, and contemplative yoga. In the postmodern world of religious pluralism, Mahaffey compellingly argues that each of us must fashion a unique path to wholeness which integrates aspects of life and of the self that have become disconnected and disowned. Integrative Spirituality uniquely conjoins four components: exemplary religious pluralists from three traditions, individuation, the forms of contemplative Hindu yoga that have been successfully transmitted to the West, and a presentation of two models for integrating psychological growth and spiritual awakening. The book presents pioneering practitioners in each field who exemplify how we may fashion our own approach to integrating both spiritual awakening and psychological development and delineates an array of spiritual practices that integrate the somatic, psychological, interpersonal, and spiritual aspects of life. Ultimately, Mahaffey contends that integrative spirituality is a mode of being that fully embraces the divinity inherent in each of us and in the world. Integrative Spirituality will be essential reading for academics and students of Jungian and post-Jungian studies, transpersonal and Jungian psychology, and religious studies and contemplative education. It will also be of interest to analytical and depth psychologists in practice and in training, and to anyone seeking a greater understanding of spirituality, psychological growth, religious traditions, individuation, and contemplative yoga.
Covering the earliest Sanskrit rulebooks through to the codification of 'Hindu law' in modern times, this interdisciplinary volume examines the interactions between Hinduism and the law. The authors present the major transformations to India's legal system in both the colonial and post colonial periods and their relation to recent changes in Hinduism. Thematic studies show how law and Hinduism relate and interact in areas such as ritual, logic, politics, and literature, offering a broad coverage of South Asia's contributions to religion and law at the intersection of society, politics and culture. In doing so, the authors build on previous treatments of Hindu law as a purely text-based tradition, and in the process, provide a fascinating account of an often neglected social and political history.
"Mystical Prayers of Poetic Beauty" - In the tradition of the great lyric mystics of all religions, Paramahansa Yogananda's "Whispers from Eternity" offers a window on the devotional experience of ecstasy. Sharing prayers and affirmations directly inspired by his high state of God-communion, this beloved spiritual master helps modern seekers achieve their own mystical relationship with the Divine. Now with a contemporary new look, these universal prayers and prose poems offer daily inspiration for seekers of all faiths. A uniquely devotional offering in the spirit of Yogananda's best-selling "Metaphysical Meditations," this popular collection will inspire a new legion of readers seeking a nonsectarian, experiential relationship with God.
The Hindu World is the most complete, authoritative and
up-to-date one-volume guide to Hindu faith and culture available
today. Written by the world's leading scholars on Hinduism, its
twenty-four chapters explore the history, philosophy and practice
of one of the world's great religious traditions.
The Hindu World offers new insights into all aspects of Hindu life, ranging from the devotional texts of the Vedas and Ramayana to current perspectives on dharma and kama, temple architecture, sacred food, ritual, caste, cosmic philosophy, history and modernization. This is an ideal reference for students and scholars of Hinduism.
For those who wonder what relation actual Tantric practices bear to
the "Tantric sex" currently being marketed so successfully in the
West, David Gordon White has a simple answer: there is none.
Sweeping away centuries of misunderstandings and
misrepresentations, White returns to original texts, images, and
ritual practices to reconstruct the history of South Asian Tantra
from the medieval period to the present day.
A verse-by-verse examination of the guide to self-transformation
presented in the Bhagavad Gita
The 19th century was a pioneering age for vernacular texts in India. Vernacular writings became popular for making the 'first' interventions of their kind, written by Indians for Indians, and establishing new genres such as the novel. The Subhedar's Son, an award-winning Marathi novel, was written in 1895 and published by the Bombay Tract and Book Society. The novel comprises overlapping personal and political trajectories.The author, The Rev. Dinkar Shankar Sawarkar, inscribed multiple viewpoints into his narrative, including that of his own father, the Shankar Nana (1819-1884), a Brahmin who was one of the early converts of the Church Missionary Society in Western India and served the CMS and the Anglican Church in various capacities for many years. Apart from Shankar Nana's conversion-story, Sawarkar provides readers with a blueprint of what a Brahminical journey towards Christian conversion encompassed, while describing his personal background of having lived a Christian life as a product of both Brahminism and Christianity. He in effect attempts to deconstruct Brahmanism through Christianity and as a Christian he claims Brahmin roots, with the aim of combatting the stigma of Christian conversion. Contextualized by the history of Maharashtra's early missions and the specificities of individual conversions, the novel allows modern researchers to appreciate the particularity of regional and vernacular Indian Christianity. This culturally-specific Christianity spurred the production of Christian vernacular print culture, associating 'being Marathi' with broader and more universal frameworks of Christianity. But this new genre also produced nativist forms of Christian devotion and piety. Deepra Dandekar introduces this annotated translation of The Subhedar's Son, with: an examination of the Church Missionary Society's socio- political context; a biography of Shankar Nana gleaned from archival sources; a brief summary of Sawarkar's biography; and an analysis of the multiple political opinions framing the book. An appendix contains a transcription of Shankar Nana's Christian witness.
In order to give a broader and more technical understanding of the philosophy underlying the Bhagavad-Gita, T Row, a distinguished Indian scholar, explores 'the nature of the cosmos, the nature of man, and the goal towards which all evolutionary progress is tending'. Presented from both a Brahmanical and theosophic viewpoint, "Notes" covers such topics as cosmic evolution, consciousness, the Logos, yoga, avataras, initiation, immortality, and the usage of many Sanskrit terms.
Worshipped by millions of Hindus worldwide, Shiva ("the auspicious one") is the god of love, righteousness, forgiveness, longevity, protection, health, and prosperity. He is said to bring good fortune, grace, and compassion. Shiva is depicted as clothed in ashes, with the crescent moon crowning his head, the holy river Ganges flowing from his matted hair, a third eye on his forehead, a serpent around his neck, and a tiger skin around his waist. As Nataraja, or "Lord of the Dance", he controls the forces of creation, preservation, and destruction. Award-winning author, Demi, presents the life and teaching of this central god within the Hindu pantheon, replete with stunning illustrations that faithfully reflect the ancient traditions of Hindu painting and iconography. Also included is an appendix of Hindu prayers to the god Shiva and notes on his representation as "Lord of the Dance".
This RSS is perhaps the most controversial organisation in contemporary India. This book explores the mission, method and motive of the RSS and suggests that the ideological core of the RSS - Hindu Rashtra - is political and not cultural. It argues that K B Hedgewar the founder of the RSS, had a clear political mission, while M S Golwalkar, his successor, despite his saintly appearance and overt distaste for 'politics', sharpened and amplified its ideology Nevertheless, deep down the RSS remained political. This book goes on to delineate how Balasaheb Deoras, the third chief, who did not have much of a fancy for 'culture', plunged into Indian politics on the organisational and ideological foundation created by his predecessors. Deoras seriously pursued the homogenising agenda of the RSS to integrate different sections like the Dalits, tribals and women into the fold of the Hindu Rashtra. Rajendra Singh, the successor of Deoras, consolidated the political mission by getting control over the State and reaching out to civil society more effectively. K.S. Sudarshan, the present chief, while attempting to retain a tight control over State power, simultaneously reinforces Hindutva. The author concludes by arguing that the RSS - from Hedgewar to Sudarshan - continues its tryst with politics to convert India into a Hindu Rashtra. Highly readable and of contemporary relevance, this book would be of immense interest to political scientists, political sociologists and all those interested in present-day India.
Living Mantra is an anthropology of mantra-experience among Hindu-tantric practitioners. In ancient Indian doctrine and legends, mantras perceived by rishis (seers) invoke deities and have transformative powers. Adopting a methodology that combines scholarship and practice, Mani Rao discovers a continuing tradition of visionaries (rishis/seers) and revelations in south India's Andhra-Telangana. Both deeply researched and replete with fascinating narratives, the book reformulates the poetics of mantra-practice as it probes practical questions. Can one know if a vision is real or imagined? Is vision visual? Are deity-visions mediated by culture? If mantras are effective, what is the role of devotion? Are mantras language? Living Mantra interrogates not only theoretical questions, but also those a practitioner would ask: how does one choose a deity, for example, or what might bind one to a guru? Rao breaks fresh ground in redirecting attention to the moments that precede systematization and canon-formation, showing how authoritative sources are formed.
Historically, Kashmir was one of the most dynamic and influential centers of Sanskrit learning and literary production in South Asia. In Poetry as Prayer in the Sanskrit Hymns of Kashmir, Hamsa Stainton investigates the close connection between poetry and prayer in South Asia by studying the history of Sanskrit hymns of praise (stotras) in Kashmir. The book provides a broad introduction to the history and general features of the stotra genre, and it charts the course of these literary hymns in Kashmir from the eighth century to the present. In particular, it offers the first major study in any European language of the Stutikusumanjali, an important work of religious literature dedicated to the god Siva and one of the only extant witnesses to the trajectory of Sanskrit literary culture in fourteenth-century Kashmir. The book also contributes to the study of Saivism by examining the ways in which Saiva poets have integrated the traditions of Sanskrit literature and poetics, theology (especially non-dualism), and Saiva worship and devotion. It substantiates the diverse configurations of Saiva bhakti expressed and explored in these literary hymns and the challenges they present for standard interpretations of Hindu bhakti. More broadly, this study of stotras from Kashmir offers new perspectives on the history and vitality of prayer in South Asia and its complex relationships to poetry and poetics.
Vedic Astrology, also called Jyotish, is the traditional astrology of India and its profound spiritual culture. It possesses a precise predictive value as well as a deep interpretation of the movement of life, unfolding the secrets of karma and destiny. Astrology of the Seers, first published in 1990, is regarded as one of the classic modern books on Vedic astrology, covering all the main aspects of its philosophy, background and practice. The present edition has been thoroughly revised and updated.
This book shows you how to access the wisdom of the Nakshatras in your personal life and for society. Through it the modern reader can understand the energies of their stars and learn how to utilize these to bring their lives into harmony with the great forces of the universe. This book is must reading not only for any students of astrology but for anyone interested in self-development or spiritual growth.
Part of the ancient Hindu epic The Mahabharata, The Bhagavad Gita is one of the enduring religious texts of the world The Bhagavad Gita is an early poem that recounts the conversation between Arjuna the warrior and his charioteer Krishna, a manifestation of God. In the moments before a great battle, Krishna sets out the important lessons Arjuna must learn to understand his own role in the war he is about to fight. Krishna reveals to Arjuna his true cosmic form and counsels the warrior to act according to his sacred obligations. Ranging from instructions on yoga to moral discussion, the Gita has served for centuries as an everyday, practical guide to living well. Translated with an introduction by Laurie L. Patton
Hinduism is one of the world's oldest and greatest religious traditions. In captivating prose, Shashi Tharoor untangles its origins, its key philosophical concepts and texts. He explores everyday Hindu beliefs and practices, from worship to pilgrimage to caste, and touchingly reflects on his personal beliefs and relationship with the religion. Not one to shy from controversy, Tharoor is unsparing in his criticism of 'Hindutva', an extremist, nationalist Hinduism endorsed by India's current government. He argues urgently and persuasively that it is precisely because of Hinduism's rich diversity that India has survived and thrived as a plural, secular nation. If narrow fundamentalism wins out, Indian democracy itself is in peril.
This book is based on the teachings of Bhagavad Gita, one of the most widely read books in the world. In today's busy life, we hardly get any time to meditate deeper into the meaning and purpose of life. We tend to take certain things for granted such as our status, wealth, educational achievements, etc. and also presume that they will be given to us in our next birth. But scriptures do not endorse this view. All our possessions, or the lack of them, are the result of our karma in the previous births. We rewrite our destiny everyday for our future births. Hence, we should decide our actions in accordance with the teachings of the scriptures and not allow our materialistic aspirations to distort our understanding and conduct in this world. Also one should not wait till the old age to start reading the scriptures. The right age to read scriptures is as early as one gets the consciousness so as to minimise the loss of deep, illuminating thoughts which an insightful reading of the Bhagavad Gita entails and hence, engage in righteous actions. The divine wisdom of Lord Krishna, encapsulated in the Bhagavad Gita, is addressed to each and every individual to help solve perplexing problems and progress towards a brighter future.
Are the richness and diversity of rituals and celebrations in South Asia unique? Can we speak of a homo ritualis when it comes to India or Hinduism? Are Indians or Hindus more involved in rituals than other people? If so, what makes them special? Homo Ritualis is the first book to present a Hindu theory of rituals. Based on extensive textual studies and field-work in Nepal and India, Axel Michaels argues that ritual is a distinctive way of acting, which, as in the theater, can be distinguished from other forms of action. The book analyzes ritual in these cultural-specific and religious contexts, taking into account how indigenous terms and theories affect and contribute to current ritual theory. It describes and investigates various forms of Hindu rituals and festivals, such as life-cycle rituals, the Vedic sacrifice, vows processions, and the worship of deities (puja). It also examines conceptual components of (Hindu) rituals such as framing, formality, modality, and theories of meaning.
Kalighat is said to be the oldest and most potent Hindu pilgrimage site in the city of Kolkata (formerly Calcutta). It is home to the dark goddess Kali in her ferocious form and attracts thousands of worshipers a day, many sacrificing goats at her feet. In The Making of a Modern Temple and a Hindu City, Deonnie Moodie examines the ways middle-class authors, judges, and activists have worked to modernize Kalighat over the past long century. Rather than being rejected or becoming obsolete with the arrival of British colonialism and its accompanying iconoclastic Protestant ideals, the temple became a medium through which middle-class Hindus could produce and publicize their modernity, as well as the modernity of their city and nation. That trend continued and even strengthened in the wake of India's economic liberalization in the 1990s. Kalighat is a superb example of the ways Hindus work to modernize India while also Indianizing modernity through Hinduism's material forms. Moodie explores both middle-class efforts to modernize Kalighat and the lower class's resistance to those efforts. Conflict between class groups throws into high relief the various roles the temple plays in peoples' lives, and explains why the modernizers have struggled to bring their plans to fruition. The Making of a Modern Temple and a Hindu City is the first scholarly work to juxtapose and analyze processes of historiographical, institutional, and physical modernization of a Hindu temple.
Rabindranath R Maharaj was descended from a long line of Brahmin priests and trained as a Yogi. He meditated for many hours each day, but gradually disillusionment set in. In DEATH OF A GURU he describes vividly and honestly Hindu life and customs, tracing his difficult search for meaning and his struggle to choose between Hinduism and Christ. At a time when Eastern mysticism and religion fascinate many in the West, Maharaj offers fresh and important insights from the perspective of his own experience. DEATH OF A GURU has long been an excellent seller on HCB's backlist. It is the best-known Hindu to Christianity conversion story and has been used widely for evangelistic purposes. This edition carries an exciting new cover.
The Upanisads are among the most sacred foundational scriptures in the Hindu religion. Composed from 800 BCE onwards and making up part of the larger Vedic corpus, they offer the reader "knowledge lessons" on life, death, and immortality. While they are essential to understanding Hinduism and Asian religions more generally, their complexities make them almost impenetrable to anyone but serious scholars of Sanskrit and ancient Indian culture. This book is divided into five parts: Composition, authorship, and transmission of the Upanisads; The historical, cultural, and religious background of the Upanisads; Religion and philosophy in the Upanisads; The classical Upanisads; The later Upanisads. The chapters cover critical issues such as the origins of the Upanisads, authorship, and redaction, as well as exploring the broad religious and philosophical themes within the texts. The guide analyzes each of the Upanisads separately, unpacking their contextual relevance and explaining difficult terms and concepts. The Upanisads: A Complete Guide is a unique and valuable reference source for undergraduate religious studies, history, and philosophy students and researchers who want to learn more about these foundational sacred texts and the religious lessons in the Hindu tradition.
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