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Classical Hinduism

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pp. VIII-526, Roma
data stampa: 1982
codice isbn: 978887652482

Hinduism has a span of three thousand years of history in which various forms of religious experience took shape and grew into a wide and rich variety of myths and cults, beliefs and practices, doctrines and disciplines, which have nurtured millions af Hindus throughout the ages. The exact idea af Hinduism is hard to define since the beliefs and practices of the Hindus differ greatly from one period af history to another, and within a given period, from one region to another, and within a given region, from one class of society to another. In its traditional form the chief distinguishing features of its development are Vedism, Brahmanism, classical Hinduism, Sectarian Hinduism, Medieval Hinduism, Modern Hinduism and Contemporary Hinduism. These developments should not be considered as water-tight compartments, for they merge into one another. Hinduism has shown in its long history a marked propensity to assimilate rather than exclude various religious currents which once used to be considered alien to its own orthodoxy; this feature divides sharply Hinduism from other religions, for example, from Islam and to a certain extent at least in its beginning Judaism; these religions in their strict form reject as false all other religious beliefs and practices. Hinduism on the contrary concedes some validity to all other religions in the spirit of the teaching of the Bhagavad-gita in which Krishna observes:

"Whatever form [god] a devotee with faith desires to honour, that very faith do I confirm in him, [making it] unswering and secure. Firmly-established in that faith he seeks to reverence that god and then he gains his desires, though it is I who am the true dispenser.» (7.20-21)

Indice:

PREFACE

CHAPTER ONE: REVELATION

1) The origin of revelation according to Hindu Scriptures

2) Revelation in Hindu Mythology

3) Revelation in Hindu Theology

4) The message of Hindu Revelation

5) Conclusion

CHAPTER TWO: THE IDEA OF GOD

1) Terms for God

2) Vedic idea of God

3) Absolutism in the Upanishads

4) Theism in the Upanishads

5) Theism in the Bhagavad-gita

6) Trimurti (Trinity)

CHAPTER THREE: 'INCARNATIONS'

1) Introduction

2) Ten principal 'incarnations'

3) Bhagavad-gita's teaching on 'incarnations'  

4) Hindu classical theologies of 'incarnation'

5) Contemporary Hindu theologies of 'incarnation'

CHAPTER FOUR: TRE CONCEPTION OF MAN

1) The Vedic idea of man

2) The Upanishadic conception of man

3) The epic idea of man

4) The Bhagavad-gita's concept of man

5) Conclusion

CHAPTER FIVE: PRIESTHOOD

1) The Priest in the Vedic social structure

2) The function of the Brahman priest

3) The special privileges of priests

4) Conclusion

CHAPTER SIX: WORSHIP, SACRIFICES AND SACRAMENTS

1) Vedic sacrifices

2) Domestic rites and sacraments

3) The meaning of Hindu sacrifice

4) The worship of deities

5) General characteristics of the Hindu ritual

6) Conclusion

CHAPTER SEVEN: PRAYER

1) Vedic prayer 

2) The Hindu Mantra

3) The Hindu Japa

4) Hymns of Praise (stuti, stotra, stava)

5) Hindu Kirtana and bhajana

6) Prayers of love of God (bhakti)

7) Conclusion

CHAPTER EIGHT: MEDITATION

1) Meditation in the Upanishads

2) Meditation in the Mahabharata

3) Meditation in the Bhagavad-gita

4) Meditation in the Yoga-Sutras

5) Meditatfon in the Puranas

6) Meditation according to Acharyas

7) Conclusion

CHAPTER NINE: MYSTICISM

1) Mysticism of the spiritual self of man

2) Mysticism of the Absolute, the Sole Reality 

3) Mysticism of love of God

4) Conclusion

CHAPTER TEN: MORALITY

1) The meaning of the term dharma

2) The sources of dharma

3 )The classification of dharma

4) The teaching of the Bhagavad-gita on dharma

5) Conclusion

CHAPTER ELEVEN: MONASTICISM

1) Technical terms for Hindu ascetics

2) Hindu asceticism in its origins

3) Apastamba Dharma Sutras

4) The Law of Manu

5) The teaching of the Mahabharata

6) The teaching of the Bhagavad-gita

7) The teaching of the Sannyasa Upanishads

8) The vows of the Sannyasin

9) Conclusion

CHAPTER TWELVE: SALVATION

1) Religious terms for salvation

2) The evil from which salvation is sought

3) Vedic idea of salvation

4) Salvation in the Upanishads

5) Salvation in the Mahabharata

6) Salvation in the Bhagavad-gita

7) Conclusion

CHAPTER THIRTEEN: WAYS OF SALVATION

1) The way of works

2) The way of knowledge

3) The way of love of God

4) Ways of salvation in the non-dualist school

5) Ways of salvation in the Theist school

6) Differences between the two schools 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

INDEX OF CLASSICAL AND MODERN AUTHORS

INDEX OF SUBJECTS

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