Hindu Writings:A Short Introduction to the Major Sources
Compiled and annotated by Klaus K. Klostermaier

Table of Contents

Foreword ix

Introduction 1

Basic Hindu Source Literature 3

The Gods and Goddesses of Hinduism 8

The Four World-Ages 10

1 The Vedic Indra religion 12

Indra in the Rgveda 12

Indra in the Brhaddevata 13

Indra in the Brahmanas 14

Indra in the Upanisads 15

Indra in Epics and Puranas 17

The Vedic Yajn�a 19

Other Features of Vedic Religion 21

2 Vaisnavism 23

Visnu in the Vedas 23

Visnu in Epics and Puranas 25

Vaisnava Philosophy and Theology 35

Bhakti Poets and Mystics 52

3 Saivism 58

Siva in the Vedas 58

Siva in the Brahmanas 61

Siva in the Upanisads 62

Siva in Epics and Puranas 63

Saivite Philosophies 69

Saiva Poets and Saints 75

4 Saktism 83

Devi in the Vedas 83

Devi in the Epics 85

Devi in the Puranas 89

Devi in the Tantras 94

Sakta Philosophy 96

Devi in Other Hindu Systems 97

Devi in Modern Hinduism 99

5 The Smartas 102

6 Hindu Philosophies 104

The Antecedents 104

The Six Accepted Systems (Saddarsana) 106

7 Modern Hinduism 120

Raja Ram Mohan Roy and the Brahmo-Samaj 120

Dayananda Sarasvati and the Arya-Samaj 123

The Ramakrishna Movement 124

8 Hindu nationalism Hindu Jagaran 131

Balgangadhar Tilak 131

Caste Conferences 132

The Servants of India Society 132

Rabindranath Tagore (Thakur) 133

Aurobindo Ghose 135

Mahatma Gandhi 136

Vinoba Bhave 139

Hindu Mahasabha 142

The Rastriya Svayamsevak Sangh (R.S.S.) 144

The Bharatiya Janata Party (B.J.P.) 145

9 Opposition to Hindu nationalism 147

The Dalits (Oppressed) 147

Hindu Secularism 148

10 The new universal Hindu gurus 150

Swami Rama Tirtha 150

Ramana Maharsi 151

Sathya Sai Baba 152

Ananadamayi Ma 153

Conclusion 156

Notes 157

Glossary 168

Index 187


Hindu Writings: A Short Introduction to the Major Sources has been conceived as companion to Hinduism: A Short History (Oneworld, 2000) and Hinduism: A Short Introduction (Oneworld, 1998) 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.

Full references have been given for those quotes that are translations from Indic languages. The endnotes identify existing translations (in English) of the complete sources referred to. While these translations (and others in other languages) were consulted, they were modified on the basis of the original texts. An attempt was made to avoid all archaisms and complicated sentence constructions, in order to make the texts as accessible as possible for the interested non-specialist today. Where an existing translation was adopted as found in the original referred to, this has been explicitly acknowledged. Texts originally written in English have been reproduced without any changes in style or the transliteration of Indic words.

As the readers of Hinduism: A Short History will know, the essentials of Hinduism are not fully circumscribed by ancient Hindu scriptures (large as these may be) but include also Hindu customs and practices as well as historical developments through the ages. Hinduism has always been, and still is, in the making. Sources from our own time have been included to demonstrate this continuing growth of Hinduism and the changes that are taking place as a consequence of constant reinterpretations of the ancient sources, and in response to challenges and stimuli from outside.

Klaus K. Klostermaier