This book is friendly to the reader who wants to get a bird’seye view of the entire gamut of Hinduism, as well as a thoughtful companion of another who wants to brood why this pristine religion hasn’t gained as much acceptance in the world as the three Abrahamic ones, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam have.
India’s other homegrown faith, Buddhism too has had a much wider reception globally.
In short, this book will satiate the curiosity of a spiritual layman, as well as offer enough food for thought to the well-initiated. It concisely introduces all the scriptures of Hinduism: the Puranas, the four Vedas, Upanishads, and the two epics, the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The Bhagavad Gita is presented in good detail, and many similarities with Islam’s holy book, the Quran are revealed. The contentious document called the Manusmriti is analyzed perceptively; its arbitrariness is brought to focus, its many contradictions are pinpointed to underline that it is, after all, only a man-made text.
There is nothing “Divine” about it. It is patently unfair to women and is full of Freudian sexuality.
The harmful polarization of society in contemporary India is discussed in the penultimate chapter, HINDUISM TODAY. This chapter also presents an insightful analysis of V. D. Savarkar’s Hindutva and similar speculations of another RSS stalwart, M. S. Golwalkar.
The author laments that Hinduism stands at a crossroads today. A religion that began with predominant themes of tolerance and nonviolence today stands at a risk of being bracketed among the most impatient and belligerent in the world.
The progressive movements of Brahmo Samaj and Arya Samaj couldn’t help much, the author points out in a separate chapter.