Conventional approaches to Hinduism typically stress its classical religious tradition with an emphasis on the Brahmin texts and practices. Frequently neglected are the practices of lower caste Indians, the role of women in the culture, the religious life of village folk devotion to the deity Rama, and the Sant tradition of North India. ""The Many Colors of Hinduism"" is the first introductory text to provide a balanced view of this rich religious tradition, acknowledging the full range of its many competing and even contradictory aspects. Utilizing a thematic-historical approach, Carl Olson draws on a wide array of textual evidence, the fieldwork of anthropologists in close contact with insiders, and voices of thinkers ranging from Indologist Alf Hiltebeitel to Cambridge scholar Julius Lipner. The result is a narrative approach that offers a view of Hinduism that emulates the storytelling nature of the religion itself. Covering ancient times to the present and explaining important cultural metaphors, symbols, and narratives not generally found in other introductory textbooks, Olson offers students a new perspective of a religion that is more varied than most Westerners realize. ""The Many Colors of Hinduism"" will be essential reading for undergraduate courses in world or Asian religions.
Carl Olson is a professor in the department of religious studies at Allegheny College. His numerous books include The Different Paths of Buddhism: A Narrative-Historical Introduction and Original Buddhist Sources: A Reader (Rutgers University Press).
Part I; The Nature of Hinduism; A Journey to Mother India; Tongues of Fire of the Vedic Sacrificial Cult; The Swan, World Renunciation, and Upanisads; The Way and the Structure of Life; The Experiential Nature of Hinduism; Part II; Nature of Devotional and Sectarian Hinduism; The Sensual Nature of Hinduism; Embodiment of Visnu of Earth; Divine Play, Madness, Eroticism, and Krishna; Righteous Rama, Untouchables, and Sants; Dance of the Ascetic Deity Siva Feminine Thread; Desire Transformed: Tantra and Saktism; Part III; Issues in Modern and; Contemporary Hinduism; The World of the Goddess: Village Hinduism; Reformers, Missionaries, and; Gurus in Modern Hinduism.