An introduction to hinduism gavin flood free download
An Introduction to Hinduism by Gavin D. FloodIn attempts to figure out my research interests for graduate school I took on this book upon the recommendation of a friend. Nonetheless, it was incredibly insightful with a few chapters needing to be read twice due to the books dryness and the confusing way it is structured.
Ill begin by noting that as a Muslim trying to find parallels between Hinduism and Islam I started this book in hopes of answering two questions: (1) Is Hinduism in fact a monotheistic religion? (2) Do Hinduism and Islam affect one another in South Asia?
For the first question I discovered that there is a huge problem; namely with the word religion. According to the author, Gavin Floods, the category ‘religion’ comes from the Christian understanding of the word which defines it in terms of unified belief, faith, soteriology (i.e. concept of salvation), God, etc. However, in trying to understand Hinduism one has to look at the tradition differently because the Hindus did not view religion this way. Floods says that what essentially makes a Hindu is his/her ritual devotion (i.e. Dharma - which is explained in great detail) and that a Hindu ...may be a theist, pantheist, atheist, communist and believe whatever he likes. So if you really want to use the word religion then you have to treat Hinduism as a group of different religions sharing rituals, theology, scripture, epic literature, romance stories, and origin (i.e. India). All of which is overviewed pretty well in the book I think. Its funny because in Islam we have this concept of Bidah (a label given to any religious practice deviating from orthodoxy) in order to try to keep the religion in its pure form, but in Hinduism its almost the complete opposite yet you still have this harmony and coexistence between the differing religions. This I found very beautiful. So again to answer the first question what you find in this book as you go through the different periods of Hindu history is that there are many different religions in this great tradition, however it is important to note that these religions do not have rigid boundaries. The final chapter Modern Hinduism was very interesting because you witness Hinduism become more universal (more in line with the word religion) and paradoxically exclusively Indian as well. Perhaps Hinduism needed to do this in order to be included as a world religion today and perhaps India needed to pump nationalism into Hinduism in order to use the religion to help preserve the nations identity against colonialism and foreign missionaries.
I was elated by the answers I found to my second question as now I have loads of potential research topics to consider. Hinduism has tremendously impacted Islam in South Asia and at the same time I am convinced that HInduism was forever changed upon Islams entrance into the subcontinent. You have literally hundreds of pseudo-religions and movements that have been birthed by these two mother traditions. Some questions to think about: Why is the Islam of South Asia so dogmatic and superstitious? Why is there more emphasis in the Islam of South Asia on ritual practice and devotion and not understanding? All of it seems to lead to the fact there is this wonderful marriage between these two religions resulting in beautiful literature, culture, music, film, politics, etc. Unfortunately like any marriage there is violence as well ;)
To Muslims of South Asian heritage I call upon you to learn about Hinduism. For many of us somewhere in our lineage we had a Hindu ancestor who made the decision to accept Islam, but this doesnt mean we erase the incredible history prior to that decision as I believe it is still a part of our identity. To students of Islam who plan to serve South Asian communities I invite you to study Hinduism as well as that will shed light as to why our flavor of Islam is the way it is. Please work with it and enhance it instead of trying to merely Arabize it.
I feel like Im leaving a lot out in this review because I personally found myself ignoring a lot of what I was reading. The book is painfully detailed sometimes and unless one is doing a research paper its not important to pay attention to everything in my opinion. All in all a great introduction.
Ill end with a quote by Floods on the importance of studying religion today, In writing this book, I have assumed that the study of religion is of vital importance in the modern world in which everyone is, in some sense, a ‘global citizen’, and in which issues of identity and meaning are as important as ever.
An Introduction to Hinduism
Flood, Gavin D. Includes bibliographical references and index. List o f illustrations x Acknowledgem ents xii A note on language an d transliteration xiii Abbreviations and texts xv Introduction I. Plates Unless otherwise stated, the author is responsible for the plates. Symbolic elephant Reproduced by kind permission o f the Victoria and A lbert Museum. A popular representation 4 Lord Krsna with Radha.
View Larger Image. Ask Seller a Question. Title: An Introduction to Hinduism. Publisher: Cambridge University Press. The book's balance between scholarly detail and clear, readable elucidation of issues is commendable In all, this is a valuable contribution to the undergraduate classroom. Libraries whose Hinduism holdings include other good introductions should, nonetheless, acquire this one.