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The Life of Hinduism

John Stratton Hawley (Editor), Vasudha Narayanan (Editor)

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Paperback, 337 pages
ISBN: 9780520249141
December 2006
$34.95, £24.95
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The Life of Hinduism brings together a series of essays—many recognized as classics in the field—that present Hinduism as a vibrant, truly “lived” religion. Celebrating the diversity for which Hinduism is known, this volume begins its journey in the “new India” of Bangalore, India’s Silicon Valley, where global connections and local traditions rub shoulders daily. Readers are then offered a glimpse into the multifaceted world of Hindu worship, life-cycle rites, festivals, performances, gurus, and castes. The book’s final sections deal with the Hinduism that is emerging in diasporic North America and with issues of identity that face Hindus in India and around the world: militancy versus tolerance and the struggle between owning one’s own religion and sharing it with others.

Contributors: Andrew Abbott, Michael Burawoy, Patricia Hill Collins, Barbara Ehrenreich, Evelyn Nakano Glenn, Sharon Hays, Douglas Massey, Joya Misra, Orlando Patterson, Frances Fox Piven, Lynn Smith-Lovin, Judith Stacey, Arthur Stinchcombe, Alain Touraine, Immanuel Wallerstein, William Julius Wilson, Robert Zussman
List of Illustrations
A Note on Transliteration
Introduction

PART I WORSHIP
1 The Experience: Approaching God
2 The Deity: The Image of God
3 The Miraculous: The Birth of a Shrine

PART II THE LIFE CYCLE
4 Marriage: Women in India
5 Death beyond Death: The Ochre Robe

PART III FESTIVAL
6 Divali: The Festival of Lights
7 Holi: The Feast of Love

PART IV PERFORMANCE
8 An Open-Air Ramayana: Ramlila, the Audience Experience
9 A Ramayana on Air: “All in the (Raghu) Family,” A Video Epic in Cultural Context
10 Possession by Durga: The Mother Who Possesses

PART V GURUS
11 Anandamayi Ma: God Came as a Woman
12 Radhasoami: The Healing Offer

PART VI CASTE
13 A Dalit Poet-Saint: Ravidas
14 A Brahmin Woman: Revenge Herself

PART VII DIASPORA
15 Hinduism in Pittsburgh: Creating the South Indian “Hindu” Experience in the United States
16 A Diasporic Hindu Creed: Some Basic Features of Hinduism

PART VIII IDENTITY
17 Militant Hinduism: Ayodhya and the Momentum of Hindu Nationalism
18 Tolerant Hinduism: Shared Ritual Spaces—Hindus and Muslims at the Shrine of Shahul Hamid
19 Hinduism for Hindus: Taking Back Hindu Studies
20 Hinduism with Others: Interlogue

List of Contributors 301
Index 307
John Stratton Hawley is Ann Whitney Olin Professor of Religion at Barnard College. He is the editor of Saints and Virtues and Devi: Goddesses of India (both from UC Press), among other books. Vasudha Narayanan is Professor of Religion at University of Florida. Her books include The Tamil Veda: Pillan's Interpretation of the Tiruvaymoli and The Vernacular Veda: Revelation, Recitation, and Ritual.
"Hawley and Narayanan have shaped the presentation of this volume in an elegant, graceful way; the framework is brilliant, original, and compelling. These articles are very accessible, informative, diverse, and complex in argumentation. The collection of readings, carefully sifted from the repertoire of books and articles over the past generation, brings together items that are factually accurate and just great reads in their own right."—Paul B. Courtright, co-editor, From the Margins of Hindu Marriage: Essays in Gender, Religion, and Culture

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