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Hinduism
Introductions, Anthologies, Dictionaries & Other Resources
27 Recommended Titles

These titles constitute a core library
of books on the subject of Hinduism.

"Hinduism is currently followed by one-fifth of humankind."

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Hinduism : A Very Short Introduction

Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction
by Kim Knott

Oxford University Press, 2000, 160 pp.

"Hinduism is practiced by about eighty percent of India's population, and by about 30 million people outside India. But how is Hinduism defined, and what basis does the religion have? In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott provides clear insight into the beliefs and authority of Hindus and Hinduism, and considers the ways in which it has been affected by colonialism and modernity."

"Knott offers succinct explanations of Hinduism's central preoccupations, including the role of contemporary gurus and teachers in the quest for spiritual fulfillment; and the function of regular performances of the Mahabharata and Ramayana -- scriptures which present the divine in personal form (avatara) and provide models of behavior for everyone, from kings and warriors to servants and children, and which focus on the dharma, the appropriate duties and moral responsibilities of the different varna or classes. The author also considers the challenges posed to Hinduism at the end of the twentieth century as it spreads far beyond India, and as concerns are raised about issues such as dowry, death, caste prejudice, and the place of women in Hindu society."

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The Hindu Religious Tradition

The Hindu Religious Tradition
by Thomas J. Hopkins

Wadsworth Publishing, 1971, 1st edition, 168 pp.

"This book provides a comprehensive survey of Hindu development from the Indus civilization to the present."

"The Table of Contents is as follows:  1. The Aryans and Early Indian Culture. 2. The Creative Power of the Sacrifice. 3. The Upanishads. 4. Challenges and Change. 5. The New Brahmanical Synthesis. 6. The Religion of the Epics and Puranas. 7. Late Puranic Religion: The Full Tradition. 8. The Continuing Tradition. Outline of the Development of Vedic Writings. A Schematic Diagram of the Hindu Religious Tradition."

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An Introduction to Hinduism

An Introduction to Hinduism
by Gavin D. Flood

Cambridge University Press, 1996, 359 pp.

"This book provides a much-needed thematic and historical introduction to Hinduism, the religion of the majority of people in India. Beginning with the question 'What is Hinduism?', Dr Flood traces the development of Hindu traditions from their ancient origins, through the major deities of Visnu, Siva and the Goddess, to the modern world. Hinduism as both a global religion and a form of nationalism is discussed. Particular emphasis is given to the tantric traditions, which have been so influential; to Hindu ritual, which is more fundamental to the life of the religion than are specific beliefs or doctrines; and to Dravidian influences from south India. An Introduction to Hinduism examines the ideas of dharma, particularly in relation to the ideology of kingship, caste and world renunciation. Dr Flood also introduces some debates within contemporary scholarship about the nature of Hinduism. His book is suitable both for the beginning student and for the general reader, and as such will be an ideal starting point, and an indispensable companion, for anybody interested in learning more about a religious tradition of major and continuing significance."

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Hinduism:  A Short Introduction

Hinduism:   A Short Introduction
by Klaus Klostermaier

Oneworld Publications, 2000, 2nd edition, 192 pp.

"This is a new edition of Klostermaier’s popular guide to the beliefs and practices of the Hindu tradition."

"Explaining the immense variety of practices, scriptures and philosophies that make up what is known as 'Hinduism', Klostermaier expertly traces the history and development of the Hindu tradition, and succinctly presents the key themes that make Hinduism a religion of such breadth and depth."

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Hinduism:  A Short History

Hinduism:   A Short History
by Klaus K. Klostermaier

Oneworld Publications, 2000, 352 pp.

"With his characteristically jargon-free style, Klostermaier traces the history of Hinduism from its Vedic origins to the present day, charting the many different strands that constitute this complex and diverse tradition. This comprehensive historical survey moves swiftly but thoroughly through the ages in an informative and thought- provoking study of Hindu history."

See Table of Contents.

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The Hindu Writings: A Short Introduction to the Major Sources

The Hindu Writings: A Short Introduction to the Major Sources
by Klaus K. Klostermaier

Oneworld Publications, 2000, 208 pp.

"From the earliest writings to the outpourings of contemporary Hindu gurus, this title explores the full diversity of Hindu literature and completes the Oneworld trilogy of introductory Hindu titles. Featuring original writings and accessible translations from all the major texts, the reader will gain not only a deeper understanding of the Hindu religion, but also a true flavour of this faith’s profoundly beautiful literature."

"From the ancient Vedas, through the sweeping epic that is the Mahabharata, words of Mahatma Gandhi, Rabindrath Tagore, and contemporary teachers like Sathya Sai Baba; this unique introduction treads a steady path through Hindu literature."

"Hindu Writings: A Short Introduction to the Major Sources has been conceived as companion to Hinduism: A Short History (Oneworld) and Hinduism: A Short Introduction (Oneworld) providing fairly extensive textual documentation for the narrative. The brief introductions and the comments accompanying the texts are meant to contextualize the quotes and to explain names and words that are essential for an understanding of the issues."

See Table of Contents.

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A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism

A Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism
by Klaus K. Klostermaier

Oneworld Publications, 1998, 288 pp.

"Featuring the major systems of Hindu thought, covering figures from Manu to Gandhi and locations from Ramesvaram on the southernmost tip of India to the Himalayas in the north, this concise encyclopedia is a thorough presentation of the theoretical and practical aspects of Hinduism."

"The entries range from the earliest legendary figures and texts of Hinduism to the present, and include a nice balance of different periods and regions, as well as doctrine."

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India

India
by Richard Waterstone

Little, Brown and Company, 1995, 184 pp.

"This books describes the main themes in the Hindu and other spiritual traditions of India.  A well-written text explains key concepts in language that is easy to understand.  This book has more than 250 full-colour illustrations, showing superb art, artifacts, and architecture as well as documentary photos past and present.  Waterstone presents a vivid picture of the spiritual life of the subcontinent and explains important ideas and practices that have entered the spiritual vocabulary of the West -- including yoga, karma, meditation, Tantra and enlightenment."

"Highly recommended especially for the beautiful full-coloured illustrations and photos."

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India

India
by Manini Chatterjee

DK Publishing, 2002, 64 pp.

"Exquisite photographs and concise information introduce readers to the history, traditions, and culture of India. Two-page overviews tackle a spectrum of topics from the first civilizations through the impact of technology on contemporary Indian society. Each section includes a paragraph of information and numerous, colorful photographs and reproductions with informative captions."

"The photos and descriptions and cutaway drawings are excellent.  India is rich in ancient architecture and that is brought to life by the excellent photos - a specialty of the DK books. These photos jump off of the pages with bright colors."

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