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Tuesday, Nov 30, 2021
Outlook.com
Book Review

With Charvaka Rationalists

Tharoor’s earlier book locked horns with ascendant forces of Hindu bigotry. This useful primer on the universe of Hinduism also doesn’t suffer fanatics.

With Charvaka Rationalists
With Charvaka Rationalists
outlookindia.com
2019-11-22T11:30:53+05:30

Hinduism, for most within its fold, is a way of life. It has no one pope, no one text, no infl­exibly prescriptive ritual, no mandatory congregation and no one presiding temple.  It is precisely for this that it has continued to flourish since time immemor­ial, san­atan and anant. Shashi Tharoor’s The Hindu Way is thus app­ropriately titled. It gives a broad-brush introduction, tarrying on some details but, in general, providing a bird’s-eye-view to the practice and ideology of a religion that defies rigid definitions.

For Hindus, to know a little more about their religion is essential, especially today. While accepting that Hinduism is a way of life, it would be incorrect to say that it is only an amorphous and diffused collation of customs and festivals. The core of Hin­duism is its spiritual legacy, which con­­stitutes a grand edifice of thought, not­able for its cerebral energy. Hinduism as a religion is inseparable from Hindu­ism as a philosophy. If Hindus are adrift from the deep philosophical moorings of their religion, they are del­iberately choosing the shell for the great treasure that lies within. When religions are largely redu­ced to rituals, there is always the danger that the form will bec­ome more important than the substance. Tharoor’s book is an important attempt to counter this danger.

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