Hinduism: The Basics  book cover
1st Edition

Hinduism: The Basics

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 7, 2023
ISBN 9780415716468
March 7, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge
200 Pages 11 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Hinduism: The Basics introduces readers to the third largest, and arguably the oldest, living religious tradition. It opens a vista into the rich and dynamic ethos of the Hindu religious tradition in India and other parts of the world. The book explores the variety of philosophical schools, priestly rituals, and popular practices common in the Hindu faith, presenting the layered diversity of its traditions and how they function in everyday life.

Chapters unpack key concepts and discussions around the faith, including:

  • The historical development of Hinduism
  • Religious practices such as pilgrimage, meditation, and life cycle rituals
  • The organisation of Hindu society into castes and related social justice issues
  • The spread of Hinduism around the world, the rise of Hindu nationalism, and other challenges of modernity
  • The continuum between sacred texts in both elite Sanskrit and in popular South Asian vernacular
  • Hindu worldviews including karma, reincarnation, and ethics
  • The vitality of indigenous cultures in every form of Hinduism

Featuring glossaries, timelines, suggestions for further reading, and a list of key deities, this is an ideal introduction to Hindu beliefs and traditions for undergraduates and others new to the study of Hinduism.

Table of Contents


1. Hinduism in History

2. Foundational and Formative Sacred Texts and Concepts

3. Functional Sacred Texts: Vernacular Performativity

4. Social Organization and Goals for Individual Life

5. Religious Action and Expressions

6. Embracing Modernity

7. Hinduism Beyond India


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Neelima Shukla-Bhatt is a professor of religion and South Asia Studies at Wellesley College, USA. She is the author of Narasinha Mehta of Gujarat: A Legacy of Bhakti in Songs and Stories, and with Surendra Bhana of A Fire that Blazed in the Ocean: Gandhi and the Poems of Satyagraha in South Africa (1909-1911).