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By Klaus K. Klostermaier

The 3rd version of this well-regarded advent to Hinduism provides new fabric at the religion's origins, on its kin with rival traditions, and on Hindu technological know-how.

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The gods, therefore, usually grant boons with built-in precautions, stipulating the conditions under which the boon will be effective. A telling story is that of Vikra, who, after practicing severe tapas for many years, called on Śiva, asking him to grant the boon that whosoever’s head he would touch, that person should die instantly. Śiva laughingly granted the boon, realizing his folly only when Vikra chased his wife and him, to try out the new art. Śiva in his despair sought refuge with Viṣṇu, asking for advice.

Orientalist constructions of India19 have evidently much to do with constructions of reality in general undertaken by the systematizing Western mind. Sociological, psychological, economical, and historical constructions of Europe or America fall into the same category. Hindus are quite capable of speaking for themselves. This is acknowledged in the Survey by letting Hindu voices speak for Hinduism and by keeping outsiders’ voices and interpretations to a minimum. Hinduism is not a “case” to be scientifically studied and to be reduced to preset categories taken from Western culture but an expression of human nature and culture to be accepted on its own terms.

The vices originating from speech are: telling lies, caustic talk, calumny, and absurd talk. The corresponding virtues of speech are: veracity, talking with good intention, gentle talk, and recitation of scriptures. Adharma connected with the mind is threefold: ill will, covetousness, and irreligious thinking. 18 Patañjali’s Yogasūtras offer a less systematic, but more popular series of virtues necessary for the attainment of peace of mind and are an exposition of dharma under the two categories of yama and niyama (restraints and observances).

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