‘ll admit a curiosity towards Hinduism. I work in a modern American corporation’s software division, meaning I’ve got a lot of Indian coworkers. They flooded the market a couple of tech-booms ago and now over half the team is Indian (as well as other races – at one point, there were only two old white guys left).
I’ll also admit that my curiosity got me to explore the Indian lifestyle. My wife and I watch a lot of Indian movies (hey, nothing tells you more than the movies a culture likes). We’ve visisted a local temple and been invited into Indian homes. I’ve read some short story collections by Indian authors. And recently I observed Shiva Maas (the one month effort to be vegetarian and non-alcoholic – gads!).
Thus, when a train club buddy (who is reading and watching an accompanying DVD series of Great World Regions) offered me the one on Hinduism, I jumped at the chance.
The book is very interesting (and very short – only 50 pages and you hit the reference materials). However, it discusses the blanketing of the early Indian city-states (perhaps not as violently as originally supposed) by the Aryan race (a large nomadic tribe). It was interesting to see the origins of the caste system reflected in their own social organization. From there, we read about the general conversion over to what is modern day Hinduism, its organization (sic) and some of its customs.
But 50 pages? Hardly scratches the surface.
Of those five castes, there are hundreds of subcastes (had some interesting conversations with the coworkers, and I’m still not sure I quite get it). And there are hundreds of gods and goddesses. Anyone who works IT knows how many festivals we lose offshore to. So, fifty pages is not going to cover this roiling mix of culture and religion and race and caste that is (and was) India. If you were expecting to know how to sail a sixty gun frigate, you’re going to have to look elsewhere. This book pretty much is a peek into the sextant. It gives you the tiniest glimpse of a culture that seems to change even as you look at it.
But it’s a start. My friend really enjoys the full series, so I guess that means check it out!
>>>I KNEW A LOT, A DECADE AGO, ABOUT THE PHOENICIAN AND PERSIAN GODS. I LOVE THE IDEA OF A CITY-GOD – THAT’S A GOD I COULD GET INTO. ALONG WITH THE MINOR DEITY OF TRAFFIC LIGHT TIMING. ANYWAY, FIND OUT MORE ABOUT ANCIENT GODS HERE IN MY OWN BOOKS!<<<