The Bhagavad-Gita: Krishna's Counsel in Time of War

"The Bhagavad-Gita" has been a necessary textual content of Hindu tradition in India because the time of its composition within the first century A.D. one of many nice classics of global literature, it has encouraged such diversified thinkers as Henry David Thoreau, Mahatma Gandhi, and T.S. Eliot; so much lately, it shaped the center of Peter Brook's celebrated creation of the "Mahabharata."

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Sample text

In their taut, compressed faces he 24 gauri viswanathan finds a Hinduism to which he can relate, as surely as he is alienated by the other face of Hinduism blazoned by conch shells, camphor, and cymbals. He can conclude that, though “there is no dignity, no taste, no form. . I don’t think one ought to be irritated with Idolatry because one can see from the faces of the people that it touches something very deep in their hearts” (Forster 1953: 64). Forster’s personal odyssey frames an experience of Hinduism that, in its exquisite detail and ultimate compassion, is far more nuanced than is its portrayal in some of his other better-known works.

The Impetus for Reform in Hinduism The colonial policy of “divide and rule” has had some of its deepest consequences for Hinduism, its relation to Indian Islam not being the least of them. British colonialism’s attitude to Hinduism has long been a fraught one, ranging from antagonism to admiration, but never complete indifference. The existence of a highly evolved religious system practiced by the Hindus confounded the colonial assumption that all cultures outside the Christian pale were primitive, tribalistic, and animistic.

To be sure, British colonialism’s relation with Hinduism has long been a fraught one, ranging from antagonism to admiration, with a good measure of sheer indifference thrown in between. Some scholars argue there was no such thing as Hinduism in precolonial India, only a set of traditions and practices reorganized by western scholars to constitute a system then arbitrarily named “Hinduism” (Frykenberg 1989). The most radical position states that Hinduism is not a single religion but rather a group of amorphous Indian religions.

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