Perhaps more than any other religion Hinduism is associated in the modern mind with the erotic. The Kama Sutra and the sexual activity portrayed in stone at the great medieval Indian temple complex of Khajuraho are renowned the world over. The classical Hindu exploration of eroticism is manifestly one of the supreme expressions of the human spirit. Hindu sculpture, defined as uniquely able to express inner states of being, is no less able to portray the beauty of eroticism. At the same time, many Hindus see their religion rising above the world of the senses and deprecate western enthusiasm for a perceived erotic India. In this important book David Smith explores the true significance of Hindu eroticism. He shows that while withdrawal from the senses is a major component of Hinduism, it is precisely because the Hindu appreciation of the power of the senses is so very refined that asceticism developed in India as a counter-reaction. He argues that so varied, extensive and diffused is the Hindu idea of the erotic that it is central to understanding the inner heart of Hinduism. Profound and stimulating in equal measure, and illustrated throughout by some of the greatest examples of Hindu erotic art, ´The Hindu Erotic´ will be essential reading for anyone interested in Indian religion, sexuality, and South Asian culture.
What is a mandir for? Who is Shiva? What is a murti? How do Hindus pray? All these questions and more are explored in this first introduction to the religion of Hinduism. The We Worship Here series introduces children aged 6+ to the main religions of the world. Each book features information about beliefs, values and the ways people worship. The books are clearly and sensitively written and the text is supported with beautiful illustrations.
The best known of the Tantric scriptures. It was translated by Sir John Woodruffe (under the pseudonym ´Arthur Avalon´), one of the few Indologists to gain direct access to this obscure and secretive branch of Hinduism. Framed as a conversation between the god Shiva and goddess Shaki, this text describes the chakra, or subtle energy structure of the human body, ceremonies, yogic practices and mantras for meditation, and a summary of the Hindu laws (dharma) regarding sexual behavior. THE Indian Tantras, which are numerous, constitute the Scripture (Shastra) of the Kaliyuga, and as such are the voluminous source of present and practical orthodox ´´Hinduism.´´ The Tantra Shastra is, in fact, and whatever be its historical origin, a development of the Vaidika Karmakanda, promulgated to meet the needs of that age. Shiva says: ´´For the benefit of men of the Kali age, men bereft of energy and dependent for existence on the food they eat, the Kaula doctrine, O auspicious one! is given´´. To the Tantra we must therefore look if we would understand aright both ritual, yoga, and sadhana of all kinds, as also the general principles of which these practices are but the objective expression.
This book examines the role of Hindu-inspired faith movements (HIFMs) in contemporary India as actors in social transformation. It further situates these movements in the context of the global political economy where such movements cross national boundaries to locate believers among the Hindu diaspora and others. In contemporary neoliberal India, HIFMs have become important actors, and they realize themselves by making public assertions through service. The four pillars of the contemporary presence of such movements are: gurus, sociality, hegemony and social transformation. Gurus , who spearhead these movements, create a matrix of possible meanings in their public discourses which their followers pick up to create messages of personal and social change. Sociality is a core strategy of proliferation across such movements and implies social service, which is qualified by memories of the guru and what they are believed to embody. Hegemony is reflected in the fact that social service in such movements often ominously imbibes right-wing or far-right Hinduism. They propose a model of Hindu-inspired social transformation , involving faith building into and transforming the civil society. The book discusses in a nuanced way several Hindu-inspired faith movements of various hues which have made national and international impact. This topical book is of interest to students and researchers in the fields of sociology, anthropology, social work, and social psychology, with a special interest in the study of religious movements.