A Survey of Hinduism, Third Edition by Klaus K. Klostermaier

By Klaus K. Klostermaier

The 3rd variation of this well-regarded advent to Hinduism provides new fabric at the religion's origins, on its family members with rival traditions, and on Hindu technology.

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And Śaivas, of course, know that only Śiva is the Great Lord, whom all must adore and serve and for whose glory they expend themselves. 29 Considerable friction existed also between the followers of these Purāṇic traditions and the orthodox Vedic Brahmins. The Pāñcarātrins, one of the prominent sects of Vaiṣṇavas, were labelled great sinners, whose existence was the result of killing cows in some former birth. 30 Both Śaivas and Vaiṣṇavas considered the “atheistic” Buddhists and Jains their common enemy.

Modern Hindu scholars try to justify this claim in terms of the many religions and systems of law prevailing in the world as well as to specify how it relates to Hindu law. Thus Śrī Nārāyanjī Puruṣottama Saṅgani explains: Upon which as a fundament everything is built and which gives to the whole world its order, that which provides man in this world with blessed peace and in the next with supreme bliss and helps to attain to complete emancipation, that is sanātana dharma, the eternal religion. It is of the nature of God, because it has developed through God himself.

Quite articulate critiques of Western “Orientalism” have been voiced by Orientals and Westerners alike. Orientalist constructions of India19 have evidently much to do with constructions of reality in general undertaken by the systematizing Western mind. Sociological, psychological, economical, and historical constructions of Europe or America fall into the same category. Hindus are quite capable of speaking for themselves. This is acknowledged in the Survey by letting Hindu voices speak for Hinduism and by keeping outsiders’ voices and interpretations to a minimum.

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