Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction

By Kim Knott | Go to book overview

Chapter 3
Understanding the Self

Twentieth-century gurus have continued to teach and guide their disciples by traditional methods while also employing up-to-date techniques of communication, principally the printed word, modern means of transport, and, more recently, computers and the Internet. A number of gurus maintain an international following in this way. Successful guru-based groups such as the Swaminarayan Hindu Mission, the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and the Shaiva Siddhanta Movement have centres in and beyond India, with their leaders travelling around the globe to visit disciples. The last of these is a south Indian movement led in the West by a guru called Sivaya Subramuniyaswami, who is American by birth and Shaiva Hindu by initiation. He has used the medium of a globally distributed newspaper, Hinduism Today, to reach established and potential disciples and other interested people. Anyone who wants to know his thoughts on the nature and destination of the self may find them by searching the archive of Hinduism Today on the Internet. From the 'Publisher's Desk' in the November 1996 issue, Sivaya Subramuniyaswami gives his answer to the question 'Who Am I?':

Rishis proclaim that we are not our body, mind or emotions. We are divine souls on a wondrous journey. We came from God, live in God and are evolving into oneness with God. We are, in truth, the Truth we seek. Aum.

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Hinduism: A Very Short Introduction
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Preface v
  • Acknowledgements ix
  • Contents xi
  • List of Illustrations xii
  • List of Maps xiv
  • Chapter 1 - The Scholar and the Devotee 1
  • Chapter 2 - Revelation and the Transmission of Knowledge 11
  • Chapter 3 - Understanding the Self 24
  • Chapter 4 - Divine Heroes: The Epic Tradition 38
  • Chapter 5 - The Divine Presence 48
  • Chapter 6 - Hinduism, Colonialism, and Modernity 65
  • Chapter 7 - Challenges to Hinduism: Women and Dalits 78
  • Chapter 8 - Crossing the Black Waters: Hinduism Beyond India 92
  • Chapter 9 - Hindu Dharma, Hinduism, and Hinduisms 107
  • Appendix - The Six Philosophical Systems (Darshana) 116
  • Timeline 117
  • Glossary 121
  • Further Reading 125
  • References 131
  • Index 135
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