Subjects

A Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, Vols. I to III

Swami Harshananda, Ramakrishna Math, 2008, 1986 p, 3 vols, 102 col. plates, 22 black and white, ISBN : 8179070574, $130.00 (Includes free airmail shipping)

A Concise Encyclopaedia of Hinduism, Vols. I to III/Swami Harshananda

"Of late, study of Hinduism is drawing the attention of scholars both from India and from other countries. However, books on general Hinduism covering all aspects are hard to find. The book that is now in your hands is expected to remedy this problem to a considerable extent. The subjects dealt with are: religion, philosophy, mythology, rituals, scriptural works, festivals and pilgrim centres, astrology, biographies of religious personalities, iconography, temples and religious institutions. Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism which are closely allied to Hinduism have also been dealt with briefly. Short biographical notes of the better known indologists have been added at the end as appendices. The students of Hinduism will find this work useful in understanding the essence of Hinduism in the right spirit.

The entries have been arranged in the English alphabetical order. Since most of the subject headings are in Sanskrit, standard diacritical marks as approved by the International Alphabet of Sanskrit Transliteration and based on a standard established by the Congress of Orientalists at Athens in A.D. 1912 have been adopted. However, while arranging the titles in the alphabetical order, the diacritical marks have been ignored to facilitate easy recognition.

As for the subject content, the following are the main topics dealt with in greater detail: religion, philosophy, mythology, rituals, scriptural works, festivals and pilgrim centres. Other topics described include astrology, biographies of religious personalities, iconography, Sanskrit language and literature, temples and religious institutions.

Care has been taken to deal with the four Vedas, their subsidiary works and allied literature. Several important Vedic Suktas, Yagas or Sacrifices as also unfamiliar concepts and terms have also been described. Along with the major Upanisads and the Mahapuranas, several minor Upanisads and the Upapuranas too have been dealt with.

While the easy on the Ramayana is fairly exhaustive, the one on the Mahabharata is more condensed because of its immense size. However, the various topics dealt with in it like dharma or the minor Gitas or the Yaksaprasna do find a place as independent articles.

Since most of the Agamas and Tantras are still in the manuscript form, justice could not be done to this subject area. Only a few major ones, more well-known, have been delineated. Since Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism are closely allied to Hinduism they too have been described briefly along with the biographies of their founders."

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