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Am I A Hindu? The Hinduism Primer Paperback – August 1, 1992

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This primer, serving some of the vast sweep of Hindu belief and practice, takes the form of dialog between a Hindu father and his American-born son. The son wants to understand his family's religious traditions and discover what is relevant for him today. The book is useful not only to American Hindus but to those who want a nontechnical introduction to Hinduism as lived today. The book also explains how Hinduism engages in dialog with Western science and culture. Recommended for large public libraries and undergraduate collections.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Publisher

The best introduction to the tenants of Hinduism I have yet read.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 321 pages
  • Publisher: Halo Books (August 1, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879904063
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879904064
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,040,210 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 57 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 31, 1999
Format: Paperback
Reading Hindu philosophical books is my hobby and I never ever read a book like this. This may be the only book in the market discussing about Hinduism as the culture of India not as an organized religion. This book is very very simple without too many Sanskrit words and it can be even read by a 12 year old. It deals with almost all aspects of Hinduism. It is in a Question and Answer fomat between a father and son and as such it is spelbounding. Book is filled with very descriptive flow charts on "end of the world"; "caste system", "world religions"; "Hindu scriptures"; etc and I for one will highly recommend this book for every one on earth. I did not see any kind of bias in this book like the "reader from Calcutta" is talking about.. In the chapter Untochables [page-250], author describes caste system as a "curse on Hinduism" and quotes a great Indian Untouchable leader Ambedkar who said: "To the untouchables, Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors" . There is no cover up of animal sacrifice in Hinduism in this book. On the contarary, this book discusses about animal sacrifice in the chapter "The Cow & Hindus". I am amazed to see this book even subjects such as Tantra, Kama Sutra and erotic sex, which Hindu authors normally do not discuss in their books. Surprisingly, book repeatedly states that "Hinduism has no monopoly on Truth & God" and at the end ask the reader even to read books such as Holy Bible & Holy Koran in their search after truth. So I highly recommend this book for anyone out there who is in search of truth.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful By Alan Fensin on December 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
I have been a voracious reader of books on Hinduism since child hood and I never ever saw a book like this. This is the most lively, compelling and informative book on hinduism that I have ever read. This book is filled with many great flow charts simplify different aspects of Hinduism such as WORLD RELIGIONS, HINDU SECTS, HINDU GODS, HINDU SCRIPTURES, END OF THE WORLD
I have no idea what the 'reader from calcutta" is talking about, unless his idea is to put down a great book like this so that nobody will read and understand the ancient, intriguing & thought provoking Hindu culture. The author of this book has taken extreme measures to discuss every minute detail of the complex culture of India in very simple language. There is absolutely no mix up of metaphysics and mythology in this book. Nor is there any dogma or demagoguery. In fact, 90 chapters [ in questions and answers format between a 14 year old american born Indian teenager and his middle aged father] are laid out in a very systematic manner staring with SHRUTI literature like VEDAS, UPANISHADS and ending with PURANAS and ITHIHASAS.
Believe me, I never read a book on Hindusim in which the author discussed Charvaka's material philosophy or Hindu dances or Hindu carnatic music. This book even deals with subjects like KAMA SUTRA, TANTRISM and DEVADASI. Normally Hindu authors shy away from discussing such erotic subjects. The author never downplayed negative aspects of the caste system. Instead he called the CASTE SYSTEM, the greatest curse on Hinduism [page -250]. The book even quotes Ambedkar, who said: " To the untouchables, Hinduism is a veritable chamber of horrors."
No wonder copies of this book is sought after by millions of people all over the globe.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 27, 2002
Format: Paperback
I was born and raised in a very orthodox Hindu family and as such I have read many books on Hinduism. With all honestly, I have to admit, I never ever saw a book like this about Sanathana Dharma or Hinduism. This book covers everything one wanted to know about Hinduism, and answers every question one will have about Hinduism, specially the questions every Indian child will have, in a very lucid, well organized style. There are many well illustrated educational flow charts about different aspects of Hinduism in this book. I have not seen such charts in any other Hindu book. Am I A Hindu? can be described as an encyclopedia of Hinduism, dealing with the history of Hinduism, the sacred scriptures from Vedas to Puranas and major branches of Hinduism, such as Vaisnavism, Saivism, and Saktism. Mr. Viswanathan has done an excellent job of explaining very complex Hindu philosophies and beliefs with out sacrificing the subtle truths ancient Hindu scriptures convey to the world. Amazing that he achieved all this with out mentioning many Sanskrit verses from Hindu scriptures. I urge every one, especially Indians, to read this book.. I have decided to give copies of this book as Christmas presents to some of my co-workers who constantly ask me questions about Hinduism. Mr, Viswanathan, you have indeed done a great job and pray that you will write and publish more books on Hinduism.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 28, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is an excellent book if you nothing whatsoever about Hinduism, but the book suffers from several faults. For one thing, the author's sense of prudishness as well as his lack of emphasis on the metaphysics of Hinduism makes our religion come out sounding silly. While he takes pains to differentiate between mythology and the deeper religious teachings, at times he seems to favour the mythology; for example when he asserts that in the first yuga of a kalpa, children are born without their parents having to resort to sexual intercourse, or when he speculates that perhaps Hitler's misuse of a Hindu symbol may have resulted in his downfall. Also, Ed tends to downplay the more negative features of Hinduism, such as the caste system and animal sacrifice. The problem is that many Hindus here in Calcutta DO sacrifice animals. Near Calicut, there is a temple honouring those who have committed Sati, which Chitra banerjee Devakaruni wrote a poem about in her "Black Candle" anthology. Prabhupada is a gleaming example of narrow-mindedness, rather than tolerance and the caste system is by no means dead in India. he says that Hinduism never had a "housecleaning" like other religions but fails to say exactly what could be done to "clean it up". he falls prey to a problem that Tagore noticed in a conversation with H.G. Wells, namely that there is too much religious tolerance in India -- so much so that any sort of injustice can be perpetrated in the name of religion without anyone thinking twice about it. For those interested in a deeper and more telling book, read "The Hindu Sound" by Corbett.
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