Translated by F Max-Muller, revised and with an Introduction by Suren Navlakha. Upanishads are mankind's oldest works of philosophy, predating the earliest Greek philosophy. They are the concluding part of the Vedas, the ancient Indian sacred literature, and mark the culmination of a tradition of speculative thought first expressed in the Rig-Veda more than 4000 years ago.
Remarkable for their meditative depth, spirit of doubt and intellectual honesty, the Upanishads are concerned with the knowledge of the Brahman, the Ultimate Reality, and Man's relationship with it. The name Upanishad is derived from the face-to-face mode of imparting knowledge - in the utmost sanctity and secrecy, to prevent its trivialisation or perversion. Composed in Sanskrit between 900 and 600 BC, the Upanishads presented here are by far the oldest and most important of those that exist.
Twelve were first translated more than a hundred years ago, and have been extensively revised and edited. The thirteenth is an entirely new translation by Suren Navlakha.
The Upanishads, the earliest of which were composed in Sanskrit between 800 and 400 bce by sages and poets, form part of the Vedas - the sacred and ancient scriptures that are the basis of the Hindu religion. Each Upanishad, or lesson, takes up a theme ranging from the attainment of spiritual bliss to karma and rebirth, and collectively they are meditations on life, death and immortality. The essence of their teachings is that truth can by reached by faith rather than by thought, and that the spirit of God is within each of us - we need not fear death as we carry within us the promise of eternal life.
Hinduism is practised by nearly eighty per cent of India's population, and by some seventy million people outside India. In this Very Short Introduction, Kim Knott offers a succinct and authoritative overview of this major religion, and analyses the challenges facing it in the twenty-first century. She discusses key preoccupations of Hinduism such as the centrality of the Veda as religious texts, the role of Brahmins, gurus, and storytellers in thetransmission of divine truths, and the cultural and moral importance of epics such as the Ramayana.
In this second edition Knott considers the impact of changes in technology and the flourishing of social media on Hinduism, and looks at the presence of Hinduism in popular culture, considering pieces such as Sita Sings the Blues. She also analyses recent developments in India, and the impact issues such as Hindu nationalism and the politicization of Hinduism have on Hindus worldwide. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area.
These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
The essential guide to one of the world's most diverse and fascinating faiths, with a Foreword by Amartya SenK. M. Sen discusses the evolution of Hinduism's central systems of belief and codes of conduct, as well as popular cults and sects such as Bhakti, Tantrika and the mystics of North India, and describes the varying incarnations of its supreme deity, Krishna and Rama among them.
He recounts its history from the Indus Valley civilization c.2500 BC and the Vedic age nature gods to its relationship with Buddhism and Jainism and the impact of western culture. And he describes the day-to-day practice of Hinduism - customs, festivals and rituals; the caste system; and its philosophies and exponents. The author's grandson Professor Amartya Sen brings his work right up to date, examining the role of Hinduism in the world today.
An engrossing and definitive narrative account of history and myth that offers a new way of understanding one of the world's oldest major religions, The Hindus elucidates the relationship between recorded history and imaginary worlds. Hinduism does not lend itself easily to a strictly chronological account: many of its central texts cannot be reliably dated even within a century; its central tenets karma, dharma, to name just two arise at particular moments in Indian history and differ in each era, between genders, and caste to caste; and what is shared among Hindus is overwhelmingly outnumbered by the things that are unique to one group or another. Yet the greatness of Hinduism - its vitality, its earthiness, its vividness- lies precisely in many of those idiosyncratic qualities that continue to inspire debate today.
Wendy Doniger is one of the foremost scholars of Hinduism in the world. With her inimitable insight and expertise Doniger illuminates those moments within the tradition that resist forces that would standardize or establish a canon. Without reversing or misrepresenting the historical hierarchies, she reveals how Sanskrit and vernacular sources are rich in knowledge of and compassion toward women and lower castes; how they debate tensions surrounding religion, violence, and tolerance; and howanimals are the key to important shifts in attitudes toward different social classes.
The Hindus brings a fascinating multiplicity of actors and stories to the stage to show how brilliant and creative thinkers - many of them far removed from Brahmin authors of Sanskrit texts - have kept Hinduism alive in ways that other scholars have not fully explored. In this unique and authoritative account, debates about Hindu traditions become platforms from which to consider the ironies, and overlooked epiphanies, of history.