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A History of Hinduism: The Past, Present, and Future

R Ramachandran (Author)

Or, does the story of Hinduism begin with the descriptions of the ancient roots as revealed by archaeological findings and the evidence from present day tribal, village and regional cultures? This book looks at both. The history of Brahmanas, tracing their lineage to the fifty-odd Rigvedic poets, is dealt with through the chronological ordering of the Sanskrit texts which were first handed down to us as oral narratives from Gurus to shishyas. The circumstances and purposes for which these texts were written is examined, along with events of a true historical nature. This is followed by a sequential treatment of Hinduism as a ‘Rigvedic religion’, the two Mimamsas, Buddhism, Jainism, Dharmasastras, the Epics and the Puranas. The growth of Hindu temples, the role of Adi Sankaracharya and the Bhakti movement is delved into, and the influences of Muslim and British rule of the subcontinent on Hinduism is analysed.

The author explores one major reason for the survival of Hinduism—the support of prehistoric tribal and village cultures which were not modified or destroyed by the later-day Brahmanas. Much of tribal and village deities and practices were co-opted into concurrent Hinduism, so-much-so that today these cannot be separated from mainstream Hindu practices and traditions. They exist in all their colourful glory to this date and make Hinduism vibrant. It is these ancient folk religions that provide a stable foundation for the survival of Hinduism, argues author R Ramachandran, presenting in this book an all-encompassing landscape view of Hinduism as it has been for the last five thousand years. Finally, the present status of Hinduism is discussed along with its survival in the future.

Contents: Preface. Introduction. 1. The Roots. 2 Rigvedic Religion. 3. Mimamsa. 4. Uttara-Mimamsa. 5. Buddhism and Jainism. 6. Dharmasastras. 7. Epics. 8. Puranas. 9. Hindu Temples: Their Origin and Growth. 10. Adi Sankaracharya. 11. Bhakti Movement. 12. Hinduism under Muslim Rule. 13. Hinduism under British Rule. 14. The Present. 15. A Peep into the Future. Appendices. Glossary. Selected References. Index.

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About the author

R Ramachandran

 R Ramachandran born into a large family of orthodox Brahmanas, the author obtained his basic training in Vedic religion and rituals from his father, who was a high school headmaster and a scholar in Vedic literature. Higher education first in the University of Madras and later in the United State brought new perspectives to his thinking on religion. Although specialized in the academic discipline of geography, the author developed a special interest in social anthropology and ancient Indian history that helped him understand Hinduism better.

After completing his academics career, he joined the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, and spent nearly three decades in that institution. He was Professor and Head of the Department of Geography, University of Delhi, for well over a decade and held various other important positions in the university. After retirement in 1996, the author devoted all his time to the study of the Hindu scriptures in Sanskrit. The present work is the outcome of his labour for well over a decade.

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Bibliographic information

Title A History of Hinduism: The Past, Present, and Future
Format Softcover
Date published: 07.05.2018
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 9789352806980
length 336p.