Download Contemporary Hinduism: Ritual, Culture, and Practice by Robin Rinehart PDF

By Robin Rinehart

An exam of the modern practices, ideals, and problems with one of many world's oldest and such a lot enduring religions, either inside of its Indian place of birth and through the world.

• Ten essays discover the historical past, sleek perform, and modern problems with Hinduism

• Maps together with historical and modern India and the Hindu diaspora, in addition to illustrations inside of person essays

• The booklet encompasses a thesaurus of phrases and a advisor to announcing phrases from Indian languages

• A accomplished introductory essay presents a simple ancient assessment and addresses the improvement of the definition and examine of Hinduism

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Sample text

These are not hard and fast categories—being Vaishnava does not preclude participating in Shaiva activities or vice versa, and both Vaishnavas and Shaivas may express their regard for some of the goddesses of the Shakta tradition. Although the background and history of the Shakta category is less clearly understood than that of the Vaishnavas and Shaivas, archeological evidence suggests that goddess worship may be traced at least to the time of the Indus Valley civilization and may have been widespread throughout the Indian subcontinent.

The top three, Brahmin, Kshatriya, and Vaishya, are known as the “twice-born” because they are allowed to study the Vedas and are initiated into Vedic study through a ritual involving a symbolic second birth (hence the name “twice-born”). It is the responsibility of Brahmins to teach and recite the Vedas and to perform Vedic rituals for themselves and others. Brahmins are to be given great respect, and killing a Brahmin is one of the greatest offenses against dharma possible. It should come as no surprise that the authors and compilers of the dharma literature were themselves Brahmins.

Uddalaka then told Shvetaketu to bring him the piece of salt, but of course he couldn’t because it had dissolved. Yet when Shvetaketu sipped the water, it all tasted salty. That, Uddalaka told his son, is like the atman within a person—it cannot necessarily be specifically identified, yet it is there, and it is what you are in essence (Olivelle 1996, 148–155). To know oneself, then, is to discover one’s atman. The goal of religious practice in the Upanishads thus involves uncovering one’s true identity, the atman.

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