• Magazine Web Edition
  • July/August/September 2019
  • Educational Insight: Hinduism In a Nutshell
  • Educational Insight: Hinduism In a Nutshell




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    SHUTTERSTOCK




    EDUCATIONAL INSIGHT


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    A Simple Overview of a Complex Faith


    BY THE EDITORS, DRAWN FROM THE


    TEACHINGS OF SATUGURU SIVAYA SUBRAMUNIYASWAMI


    A recent Google search on “What is Hinduism” yielded some 223,000 answers. Many are from outsiders offering their best take; many are from antagonists taking their best shot. Too few are knowledgeable; fewer still are authentic. Rare is the answer that goes beyond parochial sectarian understandings; scarcely any encompasses the huge gamut implied in the question. For these reasons alone, the book from which this article is taken was inevitable. Written by devout Hindus and drawn from the deepest wells of spiritual experience and cultural insight, it is a definition coming from deep inside the inner sanctum and depicting in words and amazing images the living, breathing entity that is Hinduism. The founder of HINDUISM TODAY magazine, Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami (1927–2001), well understood the challenges that all religions face in today’s world, whether from outside or within. He wrote that every religion consists of the spiritual precepts, practices and customs of a people or society, transmitted from generation to generation, that maintain the connection with higher realms of consciousness, thus connecting man to God and keeping alive the highest ideals of culture and tradition. Gurudeva, as he was affectionately known, observed that if this transmission misses even one generation, a religion can be lost for all time, left to decay in the dusty libraries of history, anthropology and archeology. He strove to protect the religion he loved so dearly. He would ask rhetorically, “Where are the once prominent religions of the Babylonians, Egyptians, Aztecs, Mayans, American Indians or Hawaiians?” Little remains of them. Not long ago it was feared by some and hoped by many that Hinduism—the religion of a billion people, one sixth of the human race, living mostly in India—would meet the same fate. That it survived a history of religious conquest and extermination that wiped out virtually every other ancient religion is exceptional.





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