Hinduism: Past and Present
by Axel Michaels

Table of Contents

  List of Illustrations ix
  List of Tables xi
  Preface xiii
  Pronunciation of Indian Words xvii


CHAPTER 1. Theoretical Foundations 3
Is India Different? 3
The Identificatory Habitus 5
What Is Hinduism? 12
Hinduism and Hindu-ness 13
Religion and Dharma 15
Hindu Religions and Hindu Religiosity 21
Great and Little Hinduism 25
Continuity and Change 27

CHAPTER 2. Historical Foundations 31
Epochs in the History of Religions 31
First Epoch: Prevedic Religions 31
Second Epoch: Vedic Religion 33
Third Epoch: Ascetic Reformism 36
Fourth Epoch: Classical Hinduism 38
Fifth Epoch: Sects of Hinduism 43
Sixth Epoch: Modern Hinduism 45
Religious Literature 47
Vedic Literature 50
The Literature of the Ascetic Reformism 57
The Literature of Classical Hinduism 58
The Literatures of the Hindu Sects 62
Literatures of Modern Hinduism 66


CHAPTER 3. Stages of Life and Rites of Passage 71
Initiation 71
The Salvational Goal of Initiation 72
The Second Birth 77
Pre-Rites 77
Tonsure 85
Natural Birth, Ritual Birth, New Birth 88
The Sacred Thread 92
Consecration of the Ascetic, Consecration of the Student, Consecration of the Man 94
Childhood and Socialization 99
The Early Years 102
Parentage and the "Oceanic Feeling" 104
Sacred Fatherhood 108
Wedding and Matrimony 111
The Wedding 113
The Daughter as Gift 115
Kinship, Alliance, and Descent 120
The Situation of the Woman 124
Death and Life after Death 131
The Brahmanic Ritual of Dying and Death 132
Ancestor Worship 144
Widow-Burning and Religiously Motivated Suicide 149
The Ban on Killing and Ahim? 153
Karma and Rebirth 154
Mortality and Immortality 157

CHAPTER 4. The Social System 159
Social Stratification 159
The Caste Society 160
Segmentation 165
Social Contacts 175
Greeting 176
Touching 178
Eating 180
Purity and Impurity 184
Religious and Social Hierarchy 187
Priests and the Supremacy of the Brahmans 188
Religious and Economic Centrality 194
Hierarchies of the Gift 197

CHAPTER 5. Religiosity 201
The Idea of God and the Pantheon 201
Equitheism and Homotheism 202
Visnu, Krsna, and the Centrality of the Gods 211
Siva in the Great and Little Traditions 215
Ganesa and the Miracle 221
Wild and Mild Goddesses 223
Elements of Religiosity 226
Prayer 227
Looks 230
Ritual Acts 233
Ritualism 235
The Brahmanic-Sanskritic Morning Ritual 236
Divine Worship (puja) 241
Sacrifice 246
Devotionalism and Theistic Traditions 252
Bhakti Movements 252
The Grace of the Gods 255
Spiritualism and Mysticism 259
The Identification Doctrine of the Upanishads 259
The Psycho-Physical Identifications of Samkhya and Yoga 264
Samkara's Doctrine of Nonduality 269
Special Features of Indian Mysticism 270
Heroism and Kingship 272
Akharas: Religious Centers of Strength 273
Power and Authority of the King 276
King and Ascetic 279


CHAPTER 6. Religious Ideas of Space and Time 283
Religious Awareness of Space 284
Spaces and Directions as Sacred Powers 284
Pilgrimage Sites and Their Hierarchy 288
Astrology and the Cosmic Place of Man 291
Religious and Scientific Concepts of Space 292
Religious Awareness of Time 295
Ancient Indian Cosmogonies 296
Creation in Classical Mythology 298
The Doctrine of the Ages of the World 300
Cyclical and Linear Time: The Calendar 304
Unity of Space and Time: Festivals 310
Religious and Scientific Ideas of Time 313

CHAPTER 7. Immortality in Life 315
Asceticism: Life in Transcendence 315
Ascetic Practice and Sects 316
Asceticism and Sacrifice 322
The Salvation of Identifications 325
The Socioreligious Function of Norms of Purity 326
Descent and Autonomy 329
The Logic of the Identifications 332
The "Theology" of the Hindu Religions: Identity of God and Man 340

Notes 345
Glossary 375
References 381
Index 419