By Vinay Lal, Borin Van Loon

Hindusm is related to be the world's oldest faith. but the note 'Hindu' is of international 18th-century foundation. Hindusm is outlined as a polytheistic faith, yet Mahatma Gandhi famously declared that you'll be a Hindu with out believing in any god. Hindusm appears to be like to house unending contradictions. it's a faith a minimum of as a lot of fantasy as of background - it has no old founder, no unmarried authoritative ebook, and few primary doctrines. This ebook bargains a advisor to this amazing various religion. It untangles the complexities of Hindusm's gods and goddesses, its caste approach and its perspectives on intercourse, daily life and asceticism. Why do Hindus revere the cow? needs to Hindus be vegetarian? It explores the hyperlinks with and changes from Buddhism, Jainism and different religions, and describes the resurgence of Hindu extremism, the phenomenon of Bollywood and the out of the country Hindu diaspora.

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Here moral lessons are imparted through beast fables. The Hitopadesa [Upadesa = instruction; Hita = advantage: thus, a manual of instructions on how to gain advantage in life], and the better known Pancatantra, offer clues on how to outwit enemies, increase wealth, flatter one's superiors, and so on. 45 Kama: The Life Of Desire (Pleasure) Everyone has heard of the Kama Sutra, a manual of love-making attributed to Vatsyayana (c. 400-200 BC). It enumerates various sexual positions, the types of love-making, the wiles of women, the rules of courtship and the different characteristics of female and male genitalia.

All doubts about her chastity and fidelity are put to rest. Notwithstanding his bizarre conduct, Rama is venerated, and Rama and Sita are represented as the perfect example of monogamous marriage. *Sita means 'furrow'. 60 Some recent feminist interpretations are extremely critical of the Ramayana which is cited as an example of the patriarchal basis of Hinduism. The only conclusion to draw from the fact that Rama and Sita are still viewed as the ideal Hindu couple, despite his mistreatment of her, is that Hinduism expects women to be subservient to men.

The Mahabharata's narrator prefers to remain agnostic. Comparatively recent Hindu reformers came to accept the colonial critique that Hinduism had an insufficient conception of ethics. The Mahabharata appears to counsel an enormously elastic, even "utilitarian", view of dharma. It scarcely helps that Yudhisthira is deviously advised by Krishna. 54 Dharma and Freedom of Action Should dharma be bound by an intentionalist school of ethics? Or does Hinduism judge actions by their consequences? Modern social theorists speak about "agency".

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