Hinduism

Provides over 1,000 accessible, informative and authoritative entries that answer any major question about Hinduism, it's mythology, practices, customs and laws India is so vast that each of its regions is a land in its own right, with diverse languages, customs, and cultural traditions. Yet shared social systems, firmly grounded in religious beliefs, provide the cohesive force that unites over a billion people of different backgrounds. Hinduism is the main religion of India, and this new dictionary provides an unrivaled insight to all aspects of Hindu life, past and present. Some thousand illustrated entries elucidate the history of Hinduism, its mythology, art, architecture, religion, laws, and folklore. The development of Hinduism is presented from its ancient manifestations in local cults and epic poems to modern-day festivals and customs worldwide. The complex relationship between the multitude of gods, goddesses, and semi-divine beings is brought to light in the articles on religion and mythology, while its rich imagery is revealed in the entries on architecture, sculpture, painting, dance, and theater, including works of art illustrated here for the first time. Food and etiquette, the caste system, Ayurvedic medicine, love and marriage, and contemporary practices are just a few of the topics explored. Maps and entries on the major cities and places of pilgrimage in India, as well as a concise chronology and a list of principal dynasties, provide a clear overview of the geography, history, languages, and vibrant religious and cultural traditions of Hinduism. This volume will serve as a lively and indispensable guide for those preparing a visit to India, for Indians living in the West, for students, or for anyone interested in the subcontinent. 275 b/w illustrations.
Why should we be good? How should we be good? And how might we more deeply understand the moral and ethical failings--splashed across today's headlines--that have not only destroyed individual lives but caused widespread calamity as well, bringing communities, nations, and indeed the global economy to the brink of collapse? In The Difficulty of Being Good, Gurcharan Das seeks answers to these questions in an unlikely source: the 2,000 year-old Sanskrit epic, Mahabharata. A sprawling, witty, ironic, and delightful poem, the Mahabharata is obsessed with the elusive notion of dharma--in essence, doing the right thing. When a hero does something wrong in a Greek epic, he wastes little time on self-reflection; when a hero falters in the Mahabharata, the action stops and everyone weighs in with a different and often contradictory take on dharma. Each major character in the epic embodies a significant moral failing or virtue, and their struggles mirror with uncanny precision our own familiar emotions of anxiety, courage, despair, remorse, envy, compassion, vengefulness, and duty. Das explores the Mahabharata from many perspectives and compares the successes and failures of the poem's characters to those of contemporary individuals, many of them highly visible players in the world of economics, business, and politics. In every case, he finds striking parallels that carry lessons for everyone faced with ethical and moral dilemmas in today's complex world. Written with the flair and seemingly effortless erudition that have made Gurcharan Das a bestselling author around the world--and enlivened by Das's forthright discussion of his own personal search for a more meaningful life--The Difficulty of Being Good shines the light of an ancient poem on the most challenging moral ambiguities of modern life.
A fascinating look at India’s remarkable impact on Western culture, this eye-opening popular history shows how the ancient philosophy of Vedanta and the mind-body methods of Yoga have profoundly affected the worldview of millions of Americans and radically altered the religious landscape. 
 
What exploded in the 1960s, following the Beatles trip to India for an extended stay with their new guru, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, actually began more than two hundred years earlier, when the United States started importing knowledge--as well as tangy spices and colorful fabrics--from Asia. The first translations of Hindu texts found their way into the libraries of John Adams and Ralph Waldo Emerson. From there the ideas spread to Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman, and succeeding generations of receptive Americans, who absorbed India’s “science of consciousness” and wove it into the fabric of their lives. Charismatic teachers like Swami Vivekananda and Paramahansa Yogananda came west in waves, prompting leading intellectuals, artists, and scientists such as Aldous Huxley, Joseph Campbell, Allen Ginsberg, J. D. Salinger, John Coltrane, Dean Ornish, and Richard Alpert, aka Ram Dass, to adapt and disseminate what they learned from them. The impact has been enormous, enlarging our current understanding of the mind and body and dramatically changing how we view ourselves and our place in the cosmos.
 
Goldberg paints a compelling picture of this remarkable East-to-West transmission, showing how it accelerated through the decades and eventually moved from the counterculture into our laboratories, libraries, and living rooms. Now physicians and therapists routinely recommend meditation, words like karma and mantra are part of our everyday vocabulary, and Yoga studios are as ubiquitous as Starbuckses. The insights of India’s sages permeate so much of what we think, believe, and do that they have redefined the meaning of life for millions of Americans—and continue to do so every day.  
 
Rich in detail and expansive in scope, American Veda shows how we have come to accept and live by the central teaching of Vedic wisdom: “Truth is one, the wise call it by many names.”
An extensive look at all the aspects of multi-natured Shiva

• Explores the shamanic roots of world spirituality as exemplified by this Hindu god who shares many of the attributes of the Norse Odin and the Celtic Cernunnos

• Looks at Shiva’s relation to contemporary culture, Tantra, and the dualistic religions of the West

To his devotees Shiva is the entire universe and the core of all beings. Hindu myth shows him appearing at the beginning of creation as a giant pillar of fire from which this world sprang forth. Yet he is also the most approachable of gods, for he is the lover of lovers and the devotee of his devotees. Of the 1,008 names of Shiva, Pashupati, Lord of Animals, is one of the most common. His special relation to animals along with his trickster nature reveal the deep connection of Shiva to shamanism and other gods such as the Norse Odin and the Celtic Cernunnos that came out of the Paleolithic traditions.

Ethnologist Wolf-Dieter Storl was first captivated by Shiva when he was in India as a visiting scholar at Benares Hindu University. In this book he invites readers to join in the lively and mythical world of Shiva, or Mahadev, God of All Gods. Shiva is a study in contrasts: As the lord of dance he loses himself in ecstatic abandon; with his consort Parvati he can make love for 10,000 years. Both men and women worship him for his ability to unite and balance masculine and feminine energies. But as the ascetic Shankar he sits in deep meditation, shunning women, and none dare disturb him lest he open his third eye and immolate the entire universe. Lord of intoxicants and poisons, he is the keeper of secret occult knowledge and powers, for which he is worshipped by yogis and demons alike. Shiva dances both the joy of being and the dance of doom--but in every aspect he breaks through the false ego to reveal the true self lying within. This is his true power.
In India: A Sacred Geography, renowned Harvard scholar Diana Eck offers an extraordinary spiritual journey through the pilgrimage places of the world's most religiously vibrant culture and reveals that it is, in fact, through these sacred pilgrimages that India’s very sense of nation has emerged.
 
No matter where one goes in India, one will find a landscape in which mountains, rivers, forests, and villages are elaborately linked to the stories of the gods and heroes of Indian culture. Every place in this vast landscape has its story, and conversely, every story of Hindu myth and legend has its place. Likewise, these places are inextricably tied to one another—not simply in the past, but in the present—through the local, regional, and transregional practices of pilgrimage.
 
India: A Sacred Geography tells the story of the pilgrim’s India. In these pages, Diana Eck takes the reader on an extraordinary spiritual journey through the living landscape of this fascinating country –its mountains, rivers, and seacoasts, its ancient and powerful temples and shrines.  Seeking to fully understand the sacred places of pilgrimage from the ground up, with their stories, connections and layers of meaning, she acutely examines Hindu religious ideas and narratives and shows how they have been deeply inscribed in the land itself.  Ultimately, Eck shows us that from these networks of pilgrimage places, India’s very sense of region and nation has emerged. This is the astonishing and fascinating picture of a land linked for centuries not by the power of kings and governments, but by the footsteps of pilgrims.
 
India: A Sacred Geography offers a unique perspective on India, both as a complex religious culture and as a nation. Based on her extensive knowledge and her many decades of wide-ranging travel and research, Eck's piercing insights and a sweeping grasp of history ensure that this work will be in demand for many years to come.
From one of the world?s foremost scholars on Hinduism, a vivid reinterpretation of its history

An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth that offers a new way of understanding one of the world?s oldest major religions, The Hindus elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds.

Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account: many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated even within a century; its central tenets?karma, dharma, to name just two?arise at particular moments in Indian history and differ in each era, between genders, and caste to caste; and what is shared among Hindus is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the things that are unique to one group or another. Yet the greatness of Hinduism?its vitality, its earthiness, its vividness?lies precisely in many of those idiosyncratic qualities that continue to inspire debate today.

Wendy Doniger is one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism in the world. With her inimitable insight and expertise Doniger illuminates those moments within the tradition that resist forces that would standardize or establish a canon. Without reversing or misrepresenting the historical hierarchies, she reveals how Sanskrit and vernacular sources are rich in knowledge of and compassion toward women and lower castes; how they debate tensions surrounding religion, violence, and tolerance; and how animals are the key to important shifts in attitudes toward different social classes.

The Hindus brings a fascinating multiplicity of actors and stories to the stage to show how brilliant and creative thinkers?many of them far removed from Brahmin authors of Sanskrit texts?have kept Hinduism alive in ways that other scholars have not fully explored. In this unique and authoritative account, debates about Hindu traditions become platforms from which to consider the ironies, and overlooked epiphanies, of history.
An inspiring guide to finding your life’s purpose—what spiritual teachers call dharma—through mindfulness and self-exploration.
 
Stephen Cope says that in order to have a fulfilling life you must discover the deep purpose hidden at the very core of your self. The secret to unlocking this mystery, he asserts, can be found in the pages of a two-thousand-year-old spiritual classic called the Bhagavad Gita—an ancient allegory about the path to dharma, told through a timeless dialogue between the fabled archer, Arjuna, and his divine mentor, Krishna. Cope takes readers on a step-by-step tour of this revered tale and highlights well-known Western lives that embody its central principles—including such luminaries as Jane Goodall, Walt Whitman, Susan B. Anthony, John Keats, and Harriet Tubman, along with stories of ordinary people as well. If you’re feeling lost in your own life’s journey, The Great Work of Your Life may help you to find and to embrace your true calling.

Praise for The Great Work of Your Life
 
“Keep a pen and paper handy as you read this remarkable book: It’s like an owner’s manual for the soul.”—Dani Shapiro, author of Devotion
 
“A masterwork . . . You’ll find inspiration in these pages. You’ll gain a better appreciation of divine guidance and perhaps even understand how you might better hear it in your own life.”—Yoga Journal
 
“I am moved and inspired by this book, the clarity and beauty of the lives lived in it, and the timeless dharma it teaches.”—Jack Kornfield, author of A Path with Heart
 
“A rich source of contemplation and inspiration [that] encourages readers . . . to discover and fully pursue their inner self’s calling.”—Publishers Weekly
 
“Fabulous . . . If you have ever wondered what your purpose is, this book is a great guide to help you on your path.”—YogaHara
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