Essence of Hinduism: Path of the Ancient Wisdom by Hiro G. Badlani
The book contains 260 pages and is divided in 57 small easy-to-read chapters, containing authentic information about all the important aspects of Hindu religion, culture, and philosophy. It is designed to entice the young reader; in particular, the youthful Hindu Diaspora in America and other countries where Hindus are now settling in large numbers. At the same time, many others, including also the non-Hindus who would like to learn about Hindu philosophy and India may find the book useful.
The book is written in story-telling method and it is easy to read and understand. It is presented with the fewest controversies, complex theories, and critical judgment. Hinduism is a dynamic and evolutionary religion, making periodic changes as the instance and circumstance demanded, over the millennia, without sacrificing the essential principles. The book is presented in chronological order, starting from the ‘Origin of Creation’ 18 billion years ago, ‘Proto-Human creature in Africa’ 6 million years, ‘Modern Human Brain’ 100.000 years, arrival of first human tribal race in Indian subcontinent 50,000 years, the pre-historic roots of Hinduism or the Sanathan Dharma tracing back up to almost 10,000 years, and then covering the different times from the Vedic era till the present one, describing the Hindu populations and Hindu temples in all five continents of the world now!
Religion—dharma—is basically like a classroom, a school, or a university, where we get the instruction for the moral and virtuous pedagogy. Ultimately it becomes our responsibility to learn and understand these spiritual teachings properly and put them into use in everyday living. Even more than that, we must imbibe dharma deep into our mindset (antahkaran), so that we think in a moral and spiritual manner, harboring no hatred, ill will, or harm to others. ‘Spiritual Teachings’ as such form the core of the book; without imparting and propagating the spiritual teachings, what other role any religion may have? It is a book on religion but every effort is made so it may pass the acid test of reason and rationality as far as possible. Also it is a book on religion that may be applicable to everyday living. The main purpose of religion is to impart moral guidance. It has been said repeatedly that Hinduism is not so much a set of dogmas but it is a way of life. There are many pearls of wisdom offered as guiding principles though not as dos and don’ts. More important, Hinduism is a living faith of nearly one billion people and is regarded as the most ancient religion in the world. Extensive coverage to religious teachings and principles is therefore given in the book.
Perhaps a great number of diverse tribal and ethnic groups converged together on the sacred land of India, and some of the highly evolved souls among them meditated profoundly in the quest of many enquiries. They discovered that all beings of creation, human as well as nonhuman, are connected with each other through eons of birth cycles as one large family of the divine, Vasudhaiva Kutumbkam. Hindu thought repeatedly emphasizes this concept of spirituality. Across millennia, Hindu seers have propagated the idea of harmony of all mankind regardless of faith and place. They perceived the Divine as the transcendental universal being pervading all the creation Ota-prota; they called it Brahman. Hindu sages have believed that there is an essential unity and homogeneity of all the religions; the ‘spiritual teachings’ are very similar, if not the same. All religions lead to the same destination. Sincere and truthful endeavor is made to pursue this philosophy in the book.