Download A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition by Klaus K. Klostermaier PDF

By Klaus K. Klostermaier

The 3rd variation of this well-regarded creation to Hinduism provides new fabric at the religion's origins, on its family members with rival traditions, and on Hindu technological know-how.

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Extra info for A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition

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In connection with recommendations on their behalf by the Mandal Commission, this led to riots and self-immolation by caste Hindus some years ago. India is a large country and has always contained a considerable part of the earth’s population, roughly one-sixth at present. India’s civilization in all its aspects—material, intellectual, artistic, spiritual—is a major component of world civilization and has been so for the past five thousand years at least. Learning about India widens our horizons and makes us better understand what it means to be human and civilized.

The identity of Hinduism rests primarily on the particular line of verbal revelation on which the Hindu tradition is grounded. The Vedas and the other books, which are held sacred as scriptures by Hindus, differentiate Hinduism from other religions possessing their own specific holy books, and they permit at least in a negative way a definition of the essentials of Hinduism over against what is not Hinduism. While acceptance of the Veda as revealed is certainly the most basic criterion for declaring oneself a Hindu—the preferred self-designation of Hinduism in Indian languages is Vaidika dharma, the “Vedic Law”—there is another genre of literature that has shaped the minds and hearts of present-day Hindus much more profoundly: the two great epics, Mahābhārata and Rāmāyana, and the voluminous Purāṇas, the true Bibles of Hinduism.

The boons are limited by the power of the god, and the tapasvi has to make the right choice. If the god is not quick witted enough, the ascetic who called him can also turn the boon against the god. The gods, therefore, usually grant boons with built-in precautions, stipulating the conditions under which the boon will be effective. A telling story is that of Vikra, who, after practicing severe tapas for many years, called on Śiva, asking him to grant the boon that whosoever’s head he would touch, that person should die instantly.

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