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Hinduism Beliefs & Practices Volume II

Religious History and Philosophy

Jeaneane Fowler was formerly Head of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Wales, Newport, and later an Honorary Research Fellow. Her publications include Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices (Choice Outstanding Title, 1997); with books in the same series on Humanism, Chinese Religions, Tai Chi, Nichiren Daishonin: Buddhism in Wales, and books on the Philosophy of Hinduism and the Philosophy of Taoism; and a text and commentary on the Bhagavad Gita.


Originally published in 1997 – "A wonderful balance of detail and clarity with excellent introductory essays on the Indus Valley civilization, the Vedic Period, the Upanishads, and devotional Hinduism," Religious Studies Review; Choice Outstanding Academic Book – selling over 10,000 copies, and now revised and expanded to two volumes (Volume I: Major Deities and Social Structures)

Herewith an outstanding introduction to the development of the religion of Hinduism from earliest times. While historical tradition is explored from as far back as pre-Aryan times in the fascinating ancient civilization that existed in India a few thousand years BCE, later expressions of religion and philosophy that informed early Hindu tradition are gleaned from its sacred texts. The author examines how present beliefs and practices have been informed by past traditions, and the resulting accommodation in Hinduism today. The book serves as an introduction to the two strands of theism and philosophical thought that emerged from early scriptures as they are expressed independently in Hinduism as well as in those traditions where they are woven together to create new religious movements. No prior knowledge of Hinduism is required. Contents include: The Indus Valley Civilization; The Vedic Period; Vedanta; The Advaita Vedanta of Sankara; Influential Theories (Samkhya and Yoga); Devotional Hinduism; The Bhagavad Gita; Songs of the Poets; The theistic philosophy of Ramanuja; The devotional theism of Caitanya; Unity and diversity.


Paperback ISBN: 978-1-84519-623-3
Paperback Price: £24.95 / $34.95
Release Date: September 2016
   
Page Extent / Format: 340 pp. / 246 x 171 mm
Illustrated: No
   

 



Preface and Acknowledgements

Introduction

1 The Indus Civilization
Archaeological explorations
Roots of the Indus civilization
Mehrgarh
Indications of religion at Mehrgarh
Early civilization in northern India and Pakistan
Early Indus Period
Indications of religion in the Early Indus Period
The Transitional or Intermediate Period
The Mature/Urban Indus civilization
Mohenjo-daro and Harappa
The Indus inscriptions
Seals and sealings
Indications of religion in the Mature Period
The Late/Post-Urban Period
The demise of the Indus civilization

2 The Vedas
Origins of the !ryans
The four Vedas
The interface between the Indus civilization and the Vedic period
The Vedic poets
The cosmic law: Rta
Sacrificial ceremony: Yajña
Creation
Vedic deities
Gods
Goddesses
Concluding remarks

3 Vedanta
Relation to the four Vedas
The Upanisads
Brahman
Atman
Brahman-atman
Yoga
Reincarnation
The empirical self
Creation
The means to ultimate Reality
Liberation

4 Advaita Vedanta
Background to the school
General features of the school
Reality: The Advaita view of the world
Samskara’s concept of Brahman
Maya and avidya
Knowledge
The self
Causality
The concept of God
Liberation

5 Influential Theories: Samkhya and Classical Yoga
Samkhya
Background to the school
Main proponents and commentators
Reality: The Samkhya view of the world
Prakrti
Knowledge
The Self: Purunas
The interaction of purunas and prakrti
Causality
The absence of God
Liberation
Classical Yoga
Background to the school
General features of the school
Reality: The view of the world in Classical Yoga
Knowledge
Citta
The eight angas of Yoga
The self
Karma
Causality
The concept of God
Liberation
Concluding remarks

6 Devotional Hinduism: The Bhagavad Gita
The concept of God
Creation
The Self: Atman
Dharma
Paths to God: Yoga
Jñana-marga: The path of knowledge
Karma-marga: The path of detached action
Bhakti-marga: The path of devotion
Liberation

7 Devotional Hinduism: The Rise of Vaisnava Bhakti in Medieval India

8 Devotional Hinduism: The Rise of Saiva Bhakti in Medieval India

9 Diversity and Unity

Glossary of Sanskrit Terms
Notes

Further Reading


Originally published in 1997 – “A wonderful balance of detail and clarity with excellent introductory essays on the Indus Valley civilization, the Vedic Period, the Upanishads, and devotional Hinduism,” Religious Studies Review; Choice Outstanding Academic Book

Volume II explores the hymns of the medieval devotional poets and has a more philosophical tone than the previous volume I. It also has the advantage of a longer text, which facilitates a more detailed study of this complex religion. Beginning from the earliest times, it examines the influence of past traditions on the present as well. Nine chapters are: the Indus civilization; the Vedas; Vedanta; Advaita Vedanta; influential theories: Samkhya and classical yoga; devotional Hinduism: the Bhagavad Gita; devotional Hinduism: the rise of Vaisnava Bhakti in Medieval India; devotional Hinduism: the rise of Saiva Bhakti in medieval India; diversity and unity.
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