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Hinduism is perhaps the oldest major religion. The comprehensive book explores its rich historical and cultural development, from its Indian roots to its vibrant application in the present, global context. Over 500 photographs, plus a useful introduction, a clear timeline and a full glossary of Indian terms. This accessible book provides the perfect reference for anyone wishing to explore the compelling faith and culture that is Hinduism. Updated 2019.
A Divine Soul who came to the earth as a Human Being, lived as a Karmyogi, spoke as a Prophet, taught like Jesus, served as Buddha, and left this world as Sai Baba - The God of Millions! He had said, "When I will no more be in the body, my bones will speak to you from the Mahasamadhi, whenever you call me with love and faith". Sai Baba still keeps His promise. You will hear Him speak to you within; you will find Him always beside you, extending His hand to you for your help; and believe me, you will never find yourself alone at times of crises. Sai Baba is a God who is practically yours - always - if you have faith in Him.
The Seven Steps to Awakening is the most powerful collection of quotes ever assembled on the subject of how to directly experience the true Self whose nature is Infinite-Eternal-Awareness-Love-Bliss and how to bring the impostor self, its tricks and all suffering to a final end in this lifetime. Most books on the subject of Self-realization are written by those who have only conceptual knowledge and no direct experience of the infinite Self. All seven of the sages quoted in The Seven Steps to Awakening lived in the infinite and their knowledge came from their direct experience of the infinite Self. The quotes in The Seven Steps to Awakening are doorways to liberation and a loving transmission from the Infinite Self to you. When the impostor self attempts to derail you from your journey to Awakening, reading the quotes in The Seven Steps to Awakening can inspire and encourage you to get back on track. Only the most essential and most powerful quotes that have no distractions or detours were selected for The Seven Steps to Awakening. The first collection of quotes describes how to tell the difference between a conceptual journey and a journey to Awakening. The second points out that the world, etc. is a dreamlike illusion. The third reveals why it is necessary to bring the impostor self to its final end. The fourth is about the importance of increasing your desire for liberation. The fifth is for the purpose of encouraging, inspiring and motivating you to actually practice all seven steps. The sixth is about turning your attention inward. The seventh describes the most rapid, direct and effective method that brings the impostor self, its tricks and all suffering to their final end so that you can remain forever in the true Self whose nature is Infinite-Awareness-Love-Bliss.
Yoga, karma, meditation, guru--these terms, once obscure, are now a part of the American lexicon. Combining Hinduism with Western concepts and values, a new hybrid form of religion has developed in the United States over the past century. In Transcendent in America, Lola Williamson traces the history of various Hindu-inspired movements in America, and argues that together they constitute a discrete category of religious practice, a distinct and identifiable form of new religion.
Williamson provides an overview of the emergence of these movements through examining exchanges between Indian Hindus and American intellectuals such as Thomas Jefferson and Ralph Waldo Emerson, and illuminates how Protestant traditions of inner experience paved the way for Hindu-style movements' acceptance in the West.
Williamson focuses on three movements--Self-Realization Fellowship, Transcendental Meditation, and Siddha Yoga--as representative of the larger of phenomenon of Hindu-inspired meditation movements. She provides a window into the beliefs and practices of followers of these movements by offering concrete examples from their words and experiences that shed light on their world view, lifestyle, and relationship with their gurus. Drawing on scholarly research, numerous interviews, and decades of personal experience with Hindu-style practices, Williamson makes a convincing case that Hindu-inspired meditation movements are distinct from both immigrant Hinduism and other forms of Asian-influenced or "New Age" groups.
As David White explains in the Introduction to "Tantra in Practice, " Tantra is an Asian body of beliefs and practices that seeks to channel the divine energy that grounds the universe, in creative and liberating ways. The subsequent chapters reflect the wide geographical and temporal scope of Tantra by examining thirty-six texts from China, India, Japan, Nepal, and Tibet, ranging from the seventh century to the present day, and representing the full range of Tantric experience--Buddhist, Hindu, Jain, and even Islamic. Each text has been chosen and translated, often for the first time, by an international expert in the field who also provides detailed background material. Students of Asian religions and general readers alike will find the book rich and informative.
The book includes plays, transcribed interviews, poetry, parodies, inscriptions, instructional texts, scriptures, philosophical conjectures, dreams, and astronomical speculations, each text illustrating one of the diverse traditions and practices of Tantra. Thus, the nineteenth-century Indian Buddhist "Garland of Gems, " a series of songs, warns against the illusion of appearance by referring to bees, yogurt, and the fire of Malaya Mountain; while fourteenth-century Chinese Buddhist manuscripts detail how to prosper through the Seven Stars of the Northern Dipper by burning incense, making offerings to scriptures, and chanting incantations. In a transcribed conversation, a modern Hindu priest in Bengal candidly explains how he serves the black Goddess Kali and feeds temple skulls lentils, wine, or rice; a seventeenth-century Nepalese Hindu praise-poem hammered into the golden doors to the temple of the Goddess Taleju lists a king's faults and begs her forgiveness and grace. An introduction accompanies each text, identifying its period and genre, discussing the history and influence of the work, and identifying points of particular interest or difficulty.
The first book to bring together texts from the entire range of Tantric phenomena, "Tantra in Practice" continues the Princeton Readings in Religions series. The breadth of work included, geographic areas spanned, and expert scholarship highlighting each piece serve to expand our understanding of what it means to practice Tantra.
A short reading for every day. Spurgeon wrote this selection of readings to encourage believers to enter into the full provision that their relationship to Jesus entitled them to realise, on a daily basis. He explains we have to present the promises of Scripture to God in prayer and faith, anticipating that he will honour what he has said. Beautiful volume in burgundy leather.
This is a compact yet authoritative history of Hinduism, from its origins over 4000 years ago to the impact of the belief system across the world today. It highlights key figures in Hinduism, including Shankara, Ramanuja, Madhva and, in recent times, Vivekanada, Sahajananda Swami and Bhaktivedanta Swami. It focuses on the major historical events that have shaped Hinduism - the Vedic Period and the North Classical Age, the Mughal Empire and the impact of British Rule. Hindiuism is often called the world's oldest living major religion, and this beautifully illustrated history is an excellent introduction to the subject. It opens with a timeline and an account of how Hinduism has spread over time from India, its country of origin, to become a truly global religion. The central section describes the major holy texts, including the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the Bhagavad-gita or Song of God. It ends with an exploration of Hinduism's profound teachings about the self, the law of karma, and the cycle of birth and death. This is the perfect book for anyone wanting to discover the history at the heart of Hinduism.
Tantra occupies an odd position in Western understandings of Hindu spirituality. Its relationship to sex has made its name instantly recognizable, but this emphasis on sex has obscured its philosophical concerns and ritual practices, to say nothing of its overall importance to Hindu religious life. This book offers a clear, well-grounded overview of Tantra that offers substantial new insights for scholars and practitioners. Andre Padoux opens by detailing the history of Tantra, including its origins, founding texts, and major beliefs. The second part of the book delves more deeply into key concepts like the tantric body, mysticism, sex, mantras, sacred geography, and iconography, while the final part considers the practice of Tantra today, both in India and in the West. The result is an authoritative account of Tantra's history and present place in the world, suitable for beginners and longtime practitioners alike.
The esoteric Hindu traditions of Tantrism have profoundly
influenced the development of Indian thought and civilization.
Emerging from elements of yoga and wisdom traditions, shamanism,
alchemy, eroticism, and folklore, Tantrism began to affect
brahmanical Hinduism in the ninth century. Nevertheless, Tantrism
and its key historical figures have been ignored by scholars. This
accessible work introduces the concepts and practices of Hindu
Sakta Tantrism to all those interested in Hinduism and the
comparative study of religion.
In The Cow in the Elevator Tulasi Srinivas explores a wonderful world where deities jump fences and priests ride in helicopters to present a joyful, imaginative, yet critical reading of modern religious life. Drawing on nearly two decades of fieldwork with priests, residents, and devotees, and her own experience of living in the high-tech city of Bangalore, Srinivas finds moments where ritual enmeshes with global modernity to create wonder-a feeling of amazement at being overcome by the unexpected and sublime. Offering a nuanced account of how the ruptures of modernity can be made normal, enrapturing, and even comical in a city swept up in globalization's tumult, Srinivas brings the visceral richness of wonder-apparent in creative ritual in and around Hindu temples-into the anthropological gaze. Broaching provocative philosophical themes like desire, complicity, loss, time, money, technology, and the imagination, Srinivas pursues an interrogation of wonder and the adventure of writing true to its experience. The Cow in the Elevator rethinks the study of ritual while reshaping our appreciation of wonder's transformative potential for scholarship and for life.
In this multifaceted work, John Carman and Vasudha Narayanan clarify historical developments in South Asian religion and make important contributions to the methodology of textual interpretation and the comparative study of world religions.
A comprehensive, yet entertaining introduction to Advaita, the non-dual philosophy which provides a completely reasonable explanation for who we are and the nature of the universe. There are many self-help approaches promising enlightenment and happiness but most are illogical and lack any proven capability. Advaita has a guru-disciple tradition stretching back for several thousand years and can guarantee the sincere seeker a progressive path to self-realization. A 21st Century treatment of this ancient eastern philosophy, this book addresses all of the issues that are covered by both traditional teachers from the lineage of Shankara and by modern satsang teaching and Direct Path methods stemming from Ramana Maharshi and Krishna Menon. The topics are explained in an accessible and readable manner, using amusing quotations and stories along with an abundance of metaphors from a wide variety of sources.
The Mahabharata, an ancient and vast Sanskrit poem, is a remarkable collection of epics, legends, romances, theology, and ethical and metaphysical doctrine. The core of this great work is the epic struggle between five heroic brothers, the Pandavas, and their one hundred contentious cousins for rule of the land. This is the third volume of van Buitenen's acclaimed translation of the definitive Poona edition of the text. Book 4, The Book of Virata, begins as a burlesque, but the mood soon darkens amid molestation, raids, and Arjuna's battle with the principal heroes of the enemy. Book 5, The Book of the Effort, relates the attempts of the Pandavas to negotiate the return of their patrimony. They are refused so much as a pinprick of land, and both parties finally march to battle.
Once known as "Pariahs," Dalits are primarily descendants of unfree agrarian laborers. They belong to India's most subordinated castes, face overwhelming poverty and discrimination, and provoke public anxiety. Drawing on a wealth of previously untapped sources, this book follows the conception and evolution of the "Pariah Problem" in public consciousness in the 1890s. It shows how high-caste landlords, state officials, and well-intentioned missionaries conceived of Dalit oppression, and effectively foreclosed the emergence of substantive solutions to the "Problem"-with consequences that continue to be felt today. Rupa Viswanath begins with a description of the everyday lives of Dalit laborers in the 1890s and highlights the systematic efforts made by the state and Indian elites to protect Indian slavery from public scrutiny. Protestant missionaries were the first non-Dalits to draw attention to their plight. The missionaries' vision of the Pariahs' suffering as being a result of Hindu religious prejudice, however, obscured the fact that the entire agrarian political-economic system depended on unfree Pariah labor. Both the Indian public and colonial officials came to share a view compatible with missionary explanations, which meant all subsequent welfare efforts directed at Dalits focused on religious and social transformation rather than on structural reform. Methodologically, theoretically, and empirically, this book breaks new ground to demonstrate how events in the early decades of state-sponsored welfare directed at Dalits laid the groundwork for the present day, where the postcolonial state and well-meaning social and religious reformers continue to downplay Dalits' landlessness, violent suppression, and political subordination.
The Hindu pantheon is rich in images of the divine feminine - deities representing a wide range of symbolic, social, and meditative meanings. David Kinsley's new book documents a highly unusual group of ten Hindu tantric goddesses, the Mahavidyas, many of whom are strongly associated with sexuality and violence. What is one to make of a goddess who cuts her own head off, or one who prefers sex with a corpse? The Mahavidyas embody habits, attributes, or identities usually considered repulsive or socially subversive and can be viewed as 'antimodels' for women. Yet it is within the context of tantric worship that devotees seek to identify themselves with these forbidding goddesses. The Mahavidyas seem to function as 'awakeners' - symbols which help to project one's consciousness beyond the socially acceptable or predictable. Drawing on a broad range of Sanskrit and vernacular texts as well as extensive research in India, including written and oral interpretations of contemporary Hindu practitioners, Kinsley describes the unusual qualities of each of the Mahavidyas and traces the parallels between their underlying themes. Especially valuable are the many rare and fascinating images he presents - each important to grasping the significance of the goddesses. Written in an accessible, engaging style, Kinsley's book provides a comprehensive understanding of the Mahavidyas and is also an overview of Hindu tantric practice.
The Mahabharata, an ancient and vast Sanskrit poem, is a remarkable collection of epics, legends, romances, theology, and ethical and metaphysical doctrine. The core of this great work is the epic struggle between five heroic brothers, the Pandavas, and their one hundred contentious cousins for rule of the land. This is the first volume in what will ultimately become a multi volume edition encompassing all eighteen books.
A popular and critical success when it first appeared in France,
Yoga and the Hindu Tradition has freed Yoga from the common
misconceptions of the recent Yoga vogue. Jean Varenne, the
distinguished French Orientalist, presents the theory of classical
Yoga, in all its richness, as a method--a concrete way to reach the
Absolute through spiritual exercises--which makes possible the
transition from existence to essence.
The first exhaustive collection of goddess mythologies from India.
Picking up where the best-selling and controversial 'The Christ Conspiracy' leaves off, 'Suns of God' leads the reader through an electrifying exploration of the origin and meaning of the world's religions and popular gods. Over the past several centuries, the Big Three spiritual leaders have been the Lords Christ, Krishna and Buddha, whose stories and teachings are curiously and confoundingly similar to each other. The tale of a miraculously born redeemer who overcomes heroic challenges, teaches ethics and morality, performs marvels and wonders, acquires disciples and is famed far and wide, to be persecuted, killed and reborn, is not unique but a global phenomenon recurring in a wide variety of cultures long before the Christian era. These numerous Godmen were not similar 'historical' personages who 'walked the earth' but anthropomorphisations of the central focus of the famous 'mysteries'. A major element of the cryptic, international brotherhood, these mysteries extend back thousands of years and are found world-wide, reflecting an ancient tradition steeped in awe and intrigue. The reasons for this religious development, which has inspired the creation of entire cultures, are unveiled in this in-depth analysis containing fascinating and original research based on evidence both modern and ancient, captivating information kept secret and hidden for ages. 'Suns of God' is possibly the most complete review of the history of religion from its inception ever composed in a single volume.
Before the passage of the Hindu Widow's Re-marriage Act of 1856, Hindu tradition required a woman to live as a virtual outcast after her husband's death. Widows were expected to shave their heads, discard their jewelry, live in seclusion, and undergo regular acts of penance. Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar was the first Indian intellectual to successfully argue against these strictures. A Sanskrit scholar and passionate social reformer, Vidyasagar was a leading proponent of widow marriage in colonial India, urging his contemporaries to reject a ban that caused countless women to suffer needlessly.
Vidyasagar's brilliant strategy paired a rereading of Hindu scripture with an emotional plea on behalf of the widow, resulting in an organic reimagining of Hindu law and custom. Vidyasagar made his case through the two-part publication "Hindu Widow Marriage," a tour de force of logic, erudition, and humanitarian rhetoric. In this new translation, Brian A. Hatcher makes available in English for the first time the entire text of one of the most important nineteenth-century treatises on Indian social reform.
An expert on Vidyasagar, Hinduism, and colonial Bengal, Hatcher enhances the original treatise with a substantial introduction describing Vidyasagar's multifaceted career, as well as the history of colonial debates on widow marriage. He innovatively interprets the significance of "Hindu Widow Marriage" within modern Indian intellectual history by situating the text in relation to indigenous commentarial practices. Finally, Hatcher increases the accessibility of the text by providing an overview of basic Hindu categories for first-time readers, a glossary of technical vocabulary, and an extensive bibliography.
Whenever the subject of communities and communal living comes uo, a variety of doubts and suspicions is usually aroused. The possible brainwashing of impressionable young people is frequently mentioned. Although the idea itself is centuries old, it has yet to be accepted as an approved method of living, even in this so-called New Age. Of the many hundreds that have been started, very few have proven successful. The fact that Ananda has done so remarkably well against terrifying odds, and that at every time of crisis help always seems to come in some extraordinary way, invites attention. During his lifetime, which ended in 1952, Yogananda called for the founding of spiritual communities dedicated to world brotherhood and to "simple living and high thinking." Ananda is the first response to this directive. Its remarkable history, and its present expanding horizons, are the subject of this work.
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