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On Hinduism


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Table of Contents

Introduction: Foreword into the Past A Chronology I On Being Hindu Hinduism by Any Other Name Are Hindus Monotheists or Polytheists? Three (or More) Forms of the Three (or More) - Fold Path in Hinduism The Concept of Heresy in Hinduism Eating Karma Medical and Mythical Constructions of the Body in Sakskrit Texts Death and Rebirth in Hinduism Forgetting and Re-awakening to Incarnation Assume the Position: The Fight over the Body of Yoga The Toleration of Intolerance in Hinduism The Politics of Hinduism Tomorrow II Gods, Humans and Anti-Gods Saguna and Nirguna Images of the Deity You Can't Get Here from There: The Logical Paradox of Hindu Creation Myths Together Apart: Changing Ethical Implications of Hindu Cosmologies God's Body, or, the Lingam Made Flesh: Conflicts over the Representation of Shiva Sacrifice and Subsitution: Ritual Mystification and Mythical Demystification in Hinduism The Scrapbook of Undeserved Salvation: The Kedara Khanda of the Skanda Purana III Women and Other Genders Why Should a Brahmin Tell You Whom to Marry?: A Deconstruction of the Laws of Manu Saranyu/Samjna: The Sun and the Shadow The Clever Wife in Indian Mythology Rings of Rejection and Recognition in Ancient India The Third Nature: Gender Inversions in the Kamasutra Bisexuality and Transsexuality Among the Hindu Gods Transsexual Transformations of Subjectivity and Memory in Hindu Mythology IV Kama and other Seductions The Control of Addiction in Ancient India Reading the Kamasutra: It Isn't All About Sex The Mythology of the Kamasutra From Kama to Karma: The Resurgence of Puritanism in Contemporary India V Horses and Other Animals The Ambivalence of Ahimsa Zoomorphism in Ancient India: Humans More Bestial Than Beasts The Mythology of Horses in India The Submarine Mare in the Mythology of Shiva Indra as the Stallion's Wife Dogs as Dalits in Indian Literature Sacred Cows and Beefeaters VI Illusion and Reality in the Hindu Epics Impermanence and Eternity in Hindu Epic, Art and Performance Shadows of the Ramayana Women in the Mahabharata The History of Ekalavya VII On Not Being Hindu "I Have Scinde": Orientalism and Guilt Doniger O'Flaherty on Doniger You Can't Make an Omelette The Forest-Dweller Appendix I: Limericks on Hinduism Appendix II: Essays on Hinduism by Wendy Doniger List of Abbreviations Notes Bibliography Index

About the Author

Wendy Doniger [O'Flaherty] graduated from Radcliffe College and received her Ph. D. from Harvard University and her D. Phil. from Oxford University. She has been a full professor in the Divinity School at the University of Chicago since 1978 and is the author of many translations of Sanskrit texts as well as books about Hindu mythology and cross-cultural mythology, particularly about illusion, animals, gender, and sex, most recently The Bedtrick: Tales of Sex and Masquerade, The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was, and The Hindus: An Alternative History.


"For anyone seeking a deeper and more nuanced understanding of Hinduism, this book is a must read." --Publishers Weekly "Clear and direct this will stand as a reliable resource to return to frequently." --Library Journal "On Hinduism is a treat. For those who already know and admire Wendy Doniger's work, this is a handy (if hefty) compendium of many of her essays.... For those who are reading her for the first time, the book is a marvellous introduction to the multiple ways that Hinduism can be approached and understood through the stories that it tells.... In short, the book is a winner on all counts." --Livemint "Doniger really is a surprising writer. When you are not busy being astounded by her knowledge of the religion and its history, you are left wondering at the beautiful stories she culls out from ancient Hindu texts, and the unexpected connections she draws between pieces which appear centuries apart from each other. But the picture she paints is always complete, and the analysis she draws always fulfilling." --The Sunday Indian "These lively essays, flowing from Wendy Doniger's decades-long encounter with Hinduism, show us what can happen when an extraordinary mind takes up an even more extraordinary subject. The constant freshness of her insights, the remarkable range of her reading, her eye for gender, and her unrivalled ability to enter and enact a story-all this is revealed over and over as we turn these pages. A collection to honor and celebrate." --John Stratton Hawley, author of The Memory of Love: Surdas Sings to Krishna "This is a wonderful book, written with the grace and humor we have come to expect from Professor Doniger. There is an energy to the writing that carries the reader along. The book succeeds in presenting the complex and contentious range of cultural forms we call 'Hinduism' in a way that explains their complexity while identifying their uniting features. This book is a treat and pleasure to read." --Gavin Flood, Professor of Hindu Studies and Comparative Religion, Oxford University

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