3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Once again, the Idiots Guide format comes to our rescue. There is a good forward by Dr. David Frawley. In the introduction the way and why of the book layout is explained. To better cover the subject the book is divided into six parts:
Part 1. "The Eternal Religion" explains how Hindus look at time and space.
Part 2. "What Hindus Believe" introduces you to the Hindus ideas about god and the value of other faiths.
Part 3. "Who Hindus Worship" about Westerners mistaken ideas about Hindu and polytheism.
Part 4. "How Hindus Live" the cast system and so forth.
Part 5. "God's House has many Doors"" examines the paths to God in Hinduism
Part 6. "A timeless Tradition" a look at Hinduisms many saints and sages.
There are many helpful hints in the margins.
On a personal note, I get tired of the many stereotypes mentions in the East VS West explanations. I understand it is necessary yet never the less there are many grades how people view the world. In fact, I could have sworn that Sanatana Dharma pilfered my ideas. If it is the other way around, I have no idea where I got them, however the truths would exist with or without Hinduism.
Any way you look at it this book by Linda Johnsen is a very good starting place.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 12 November 2012
Many scholars of Hinduism, for example, R. C. Zaehner, have expressed bewilderment at the varying forms of Hindu theology and practice and have passed this frustration on to the reader. Intellectuals are sometimes paralyzed to explain the big picture.
Linda Johnsen is qualified as a participant, observer and guide to explain the world's oldest religion to a western audience. Even knowledgeable students of Hinduism might learn something from this book because it covers and goes beyond Hindu theology to its personal practice. These include the Hindu codes of conduct, religious stories including stories of Hindu Gods to illustrate values, religious festivals and pilgrimages, the main denominations, the practice of meditation and the sacred guru disciple relationship. Tantra is also explained. The hundreds of subheadings are smart, catchy and to the point. The reader chooses from these according to personal interest, yet the book can also be read from cover to cover.
The author cracks many jokes, makes comparisons to western religions and frequently uses the pronoun "we". In many places she indicates her involvement in Hinduism and indeed, the author dedicates the book "To Hindus everywhere, with affection and respect."