Hinduism

Hinduism

Hinduism

Hinduism

Synopsis

This book traces the key concepts of Hinduism through its 4000-year development, explaining its foundations and the current processes of redefinition which it is undergoing. Clearly and concisely explaining the essence of Hindu concepts without over-simplification, Zaehner offers a penetrating interpretation of the multiple facets of Hinduism from ancient times to the present day.

Excerpt

'HINDU' is a Persian word: it means simply 'Indian'. Hinduism is thus the '-ism' of the Indian people. The suffix '-ism' is rarely affixed to the name of a people, and the only examples that readily come to mind are 'Hellenism' and 'Judaism', the first denoting a way of life and the second a national religion. Which is the more apposite and the more true in the case of Hinduism Sir Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan who has devoted much of his life to interpreting his country's religion and culture to the Anglo-Saxon world entitled one of his books The Hindu Way of Life, not The Hindu Religion, and this would imply that to him at least Hinduism was a 'Hellenism' rather than a 'Judaism', a way of life characteristic of a whole people, an intangible though none the less real national ethos rather than a religion in the Western sense of the word, that is, obedience to a revelation believed to be God-given and the worship of God in accordance with the content of that revelation. Judaism is, in addition, also a rigorous and refined system of God-given law.

Hinduism is, in fact, both a Hellenism and a Judaism: it is both a way of life and a highly organized social and religious system, but unlike Judaism, the essence of which is submission to the One God who is personal, transcendent, and holy, who reveals himself in history and acts in history, Hinduism is quite free from any dogmatic affirmations concerning the nature of God, and the core of religion is never felt to depend on the existence or non-existence of God, or on whether there is one God or many; for it is perfectly possible to be a good Hindu . . .

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