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Originally published in 1997 -- "A wonderful balance of detail and clarity with excellent introductory essays on the Indus Valley civilization, the Vedic Period, the Upanishads, and devotional Hinduism," Religious Studies Review; Choice Outstanding Academic Book selling over 10,000 copies, and now revised and expanded to two volumes (Volume II: Religious History and Philosophy). Herewith an outstanding introduction to Hinduism and the many expressions of the religion in India. The evolution and nature of the major Hindu deities occupies substantial sections of the book as well as social structures such as class and caste that inform not only ritualistic practices and approaches to divinity but also societal norms. Thus, the historical roots of present-day beliefs and practices and the religious contexts in which they are based are examined. Current issues such as the struggle for greater independence for women in all aspects of social and economic living are raised. The book also incorporates the ways in which Hinduism is expressed in the colourful festivals and the sacred pilgrimages throughout India. No prior knowledge of Hinduism is required. Contents include: Fundamental Beliefs; Scriptures; Class and Caste; The Four Stages of Life; Gods and Goddesses (Siva); Gods and Goddesses (Sakti); Gods and Goddesses (Visnu, Krisna and Radha); Ritual in the Home and Community (Worship); Ritual in the Home and Community (Life-cycle Rites); Women in the Home and Community; Sacred Times and Places: Festivals and Pilgrimage.
Originally published in 1997 "A wonderful balance of detail and clarity with excellent introductory essays on the Indus Valley civilization, the Vedic Period, the Upanishads, and devotional Hinduism," Religious Studies Review; Choice Outstanding Academic Book selling over 10,000 copies, and now revised and expanded to two volumes (Volume I: Major Deities and Social Structures) Herewith an outstanding introduction to the development of the religion of Hinduism from earliest times. While historical tradition is explored from as far back as pre-Aryan times in the fascinating ancient civilization that existed in India a few thousand years BCE, later expressions of religion and philosophy that informed early Hindu tradition are gleaned from its sacred texts. The author examines how present beliefs and practices have been informed by past traditions, and the resulting accommodation in Hinduism today. The book serves as an introduction to the two strands of theism and philosophical thought that emerged from early scriptures as they are expressed independently in Hinduism as well as in those traditions where they are woven together to create new religious movements. No prior knowledge of Hinduism is required. Contents include: The Indus Valley Civilization; The Vedic Period; Vedanta; The Advaita Vedanta of Sankara; Influential Theories (Samkhya and Yoga); Devotional Hinduism; The Bhagavad Gita; Songs of the Poets; The theistic philosophy of Ramanuja; The devotional theism of Caitanya; Unity and diversity.
This book combines academic expertise and philosophical inquiry with the practical expression of T'ai Chi. The authors combine eastern philosophy and the wisdom of T'ai Chi as expressed through a Master. The result is a harmonious blend of Taoist philosophy and the everyday use of its principles through the Chinese art of T'ai Chi Ch'uan. The exploration of Taoism and T'ai Chi begins by examining their origins and affiliations under the title of Beginnings. Subsequent chapters take up the themes of Harmony (expressing the duality and interrelation of yin and yang); The Way (which looks at the philosophy of the Tao and the path that leads to its practical expression through T'ai Chi); Change (which examines the influence of the I Ching and the Eight Energies); Direction (an analysis of the Five Elements); and Energy (which explores alchemy and the vital energy of ch'i). The primary focus is on Movement and Stillness, which harmonizes the softness of movement with the stillness of the inner self -- leading to the theme of Unity, the ultimate goal of philosophical Taoism and the practical dimensions of that philosophy in T'ai Chi.
A companion volume to the bestselling "Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism," this work discusses how Taoism is one facet of Chinese religion, and exemplifies particularly well the variety of beliefs and practices that humankind has adopted and experienced in the search for answers to both ultimate and proximate questions about life and death. This book explores the different pathways Taoism took in that search, touching at many points on the other interrelated facets of Chinese religion in Confucianism, Buddhism, and popular religion. The mystical, philosophical traditions of Taoism are analyzed, as well as the more colorful and overtly religious strands of Taoism.
This book examines the concepts of cause and effect from two dimensions. The first concerns the macrocosm of the Universe and how each belief system views creation. The second dimension explores the ways in which beliefs about creation influence the microcosmic world in terms of the nature of the self, the proximate goals within each system, the answers each belief system offers to the presence of evil and suffering in existence, and ideas about the ultimate goal of release from them. All these ideas inform and are fundamental to the understanding of the present-day practices of different faiths, presenting challenges for scriptural testimony balanced with existential living. The final two chapters explore current research in physics concerning the beginnings of the cosmos and what implications such research might have for existence within it, with the final chapter examining scientific views of the nature of the self. Contents include: Judaic and Christian Traditions. Islam. Hinduism. Early Buddhism. Sikhism. Classical Taoism. Recycled Stardust. Ashes to Ashes and Dust to Atoms: The Life and Death of the Self.
Jeaneane Fowler provides a text and detailed commentary on this important Hindu scripture, which is a dialogue between Arjuna the man and Krishna the God. Major Hindu concepts are examined in depth, and the background to the Gita is presented in a comprehensive introduction. Yoga is the key feature of the Gita but it has its own interpretation of what that yoga should be: thus, yoga features not only in each of the pathways of knowledge, desireless action and devotion, but in the way in which the divine is understood. The chapters of the Bhagavad Gita therefore describe Arjunas despondency followed by The Yoga of Sankhya, Action, Knowledge, Renunciation, Meditation, Knowledge and Realization, the Imperishable Brahman, Royal Knowledge and Royal Mystery, Manifestation, the Vision of the Universal Form, Devotion, the Differentiation of the Kshetra and Kshetrajna, the Differentiation of the Three Gunas, the Supreme Purusha, the Differentiation of the Divine and the Demonic, the Differentiation of the Threefold Shraddha and, finally, The Yoga of Liberation and Renunciation. The book also contains detailed notes to the Gita chapters, a Further Reading section, a combined Glossary and Index of Sanskrit Terms, and an Index of English words. The cover of the book is replete with symbolism. Krishna is always represented as blue in colour, hence the colour of the hands in the cover design. The chariot of Krishna and Arjuna is to be seen in the motif at the base, while the triple motif symbolizes the triple paths of the Gita action without desire for results, knowledge and devotion. There are also three strands that make up all phenomena light and radiance, energy, and inertia, as well as three aspects of the divine in the Gita the totally transcendent Absolute, the manifest deity that is also the essence of all things, and the personal God to whom devotion can be given. The main image of Krishna is superimposed on the roots of the ashvattha tree that features in chapter 15: its branches reach down into the earth and its roots ascend upwards and it represents phenomenal existence.
In its rich evolution from antiquity to present times, Chinese religion has encompassed manifold religious expressions. Taoism is one facet of Chinese religion, and exemplifies particularly well the variety of beliefs and practices that humankind has adopted and experienced in the search for answers to both ultimate and proximate questions about life and death. This book explores the different pathways Taoism took in that search, touching at many points on the other interrelated facets of Chinese religion in Confucianism, Buddhism and popular religion. The mystical, philosophical traditions of Taoism are analysed, as well as the more colourful and overtly religious strands of Taoism. Contents include: The origins of Taoism: ancient China; The interconnected cosmos: the I Ching; Creative forces: yin and yang and the Five Agents; Tao and its early philosophers; Taoism in Imperial China; Alchemy; Life beyond Earth: ancestors, deities, immortals and sages; Religious Taoism; Taoism today.
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