The Hindu Traditions: A Concise Introduction

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Fortress Press - Religion - 216 pages
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Renowned lecturer from The Teaching Company, Mark W. Muesse brings readers into an encounter with the world's oldest living religious tradition, known as Hinduism. Muesse's brief survey, challenges the perception of Hinduism as one religious tradition, showing how wonderfully rich and diverse this 5,000-year old story truly is. He traces the vast history and practices of classic and diverse traditions, moving from the origins in the Indus Valley up through classic and contemporary periods. Muesse exhibits a keen sense of the myriad spiritualities associated with Hinduism, demonstrating how the religious tradition is both monotheistic and polytheistic.
 

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Contents

The Indus Valley Civilization
15
The Demise of the Indus Valley Civilization and the Advent of the Aryans
26
The Noble Ones
30
The IndoIranians
31
The Religious Transformation
36
The IndoIranian Divide
38
The World of the Vedas
40
The Vedas
42
The Trimarga
100
Rituals
102
Festivals
108
Pilgrimage
112
The Way of Knowledge
115
The Vedantic Solution
119
The Path to Liberating Knowledge
125
Seeing God
129

The World of the Vedas
43
Vedic Ritual
50
Myth and Ritual
55
Foundations
59
Rebirth and Karma
61
The Axial Age in India
62
Death and Rebirth
65
The Upanishads
66
Transmigration in the Upanishads
67
Karma and the Ethicization of Rebirth
69
Dharma and Caste
72
The Caste System
73
The Jati System
79
Caste and Ritual Purity
80
Caste and Karma
81
Men Women and the Stages of Life
83
The Female Life Cycle
86
Paths to Liberation
97
The Way of Action
99
The One and the Many
131
Iconography and Idolatry
133
Symbols of the Divine
134
The Iconography of Shiva
137
Image as Incarnation
140
The Way of Devotion
144
Vishnu and Vaishnavism
145
The Bhagavad Gita
149
The Goddess and Her Devotees
156
Tantra
164
Modern Challenges
169
The Modern Period
171
The British Raj
178
Hinduism Comes West
183
Notes
189
Glossary
195
Index
205
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