woman praying shiva in hinduism

Best Books on Hinduism

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Hinduism is among one of the most widespread religions in the world. Only a few know and believe in the fact that this religion is a collection of multiple teachings and philosophies. The traditions of the religion do not emerge from any one single text or the preaching of anyone spiritual leader.

There are many aspects of the Hindu religion which have taken root in different parts of the world. Perhaps it is the reason why many readers feel anxious to read more about it. We have collected some of the best books on Hinduism, which will satiate your desire to read on this topic.

5 Best Books on Hinduism & Reviews

1. Meeting God: Elements of Hindu Devotion

Author: Stephen Huyler and Steven P. Huyler

Publisher: Yale University Press 

Pages: 268

The author brings a vivid and bright introduction to the religion that is practiced by scores of devotees all over the world. The context of the book is centered around the various rituals and devotional practices which are adopted by the people who practice the religion with complete dexterity.

One of the remarkable features of the book is its appealing illustrations and graphics, painted in hues of diversity. If the reader is intent on understanding the rites, rituals and the beliefs which are followed by the followers of Hinduism, this book is replete in offering insights for their satisfaction.

This book is suggestive of the truest elements that define the religion and overcomes the barriers to understanding which the westerners often face in believing about its roots. Should the reader adopt an illuminating approach to accepting the practical information printed in this book, they may rejoice the mirth of accessing such brilliant text.

Summary: The author describes Hindu stories and worships with intricate details. These will be appreciated by the reader for want of precise information and sacred stories.

2. Hinduism: Beliefs & Practices

Author: Jeananne Fowler

Publisher: Sussex Academic Press

Pages: 160

The author spins a brilliant balance of clarity and detail with his work in this book that spans a vast array of topics on Hinduism. The most compelling part for the reader in this book is that the author begins his tale on a clean slate. Assuming no prior knowledge of the reader, the author has done an immaculate job to describe the major beliefs and practices which guide the religion.

The author uses the power of his words to explain Hinduism with vivid clarity. He explores its many dimensions and unpinning its fermented beliefs. The reader will be pleased to gain a radical yet balanced introduction to the context of the religion.

Without hoarding the reader with bags of information, the author sets stable stepping stones. The reader can explore one topic from another in his conquest to understand more about this religion. This rather thin volume is an exciting opportunity for the uninitiated to equip themselves with knowledge about Hinduism.

Summary: The readers will appreciate the short and precise context of the information. The author layers in his words in the most meaningful manner for readers.

3. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism

Author: Linda Johnsen

Publisher: Alpha

Pages: 432

In this book on Hinduism, the author tries to contain the complexity of a religion that is vast by all measures. Compiling the huge sum of information on Hinduism to a few hundred pages is the work of skill and excellence that the author has crafted with an exotic brilliance.

The author ventures down to the deepest history, philosophy, deities and traditions which guide the religion of Hinduism. Perhaps the interesting catch of this book lies in the fact that not only does it appeal to a newcomer but also to a firm believer of Hinduism himself, who may find answers to his devotion with questions that he may have never raised for himself.

Talking about facts and reports, the author dares to explore several abjured topics such as the visit of Jesus to India. Besides, she also attempts to explore and simplify the myths surrounding religion.

Summary: The author presents a very exotic account of a religion that holds the interest of many. With her fact telling skills, she inspires the reader to adopt a practical and knowledgeable approach with her book.

4. The Hindu Religious Tradition

Author: Thomas J. Hopkins and Fredrick J. Streng

Publisher: Wadsworth

Pages: 156

The book spans the development of Hinduism from the period of Indus civilization. Presented in a neat and concise pattern, the chapters add to the reader’s thorough knowledge of Hinduism and its worshipped texts, deities and more. The author explored various reformative movements in modern times, which have altered and shaped the religion as we know it today.

In a very few pages, the author has spun an enticing tale of poignant narration. He has linked them to the various stages of development which the religion has undergone. The book is an exciting introduction to the world of Hinduism and inspires the reader to delve deeper into his research.

Summary: Drawing upon the religious traditions, this book will be appreciated by readers for its clear and concise text.

5. The Hindu Tradition: Readings in Oriental Thought


Author: Ainslie T. Embree and William Theodore de Bary

Publisher: Vintage

Pages: 384

The author has taken inspiration from basic Hindu writings to compile this beautiful book. In this literature, the author explores the various traditions followed by believers of Hinduism. He also studies the events that inspired their beliefs and thinking and the prominence of the religion in India, with the most number of followers.

The author remains careful not to hoard the reader with endless facts. Instead, he draws selective works from various religious and philosophic creations. He then proceeds to summarize them for the reader.  Thus, they can make sense of the cultural development of this religion and trace its historic evolution.

Remarkably, the author does not sit idle on the subject of religious beliefs and navigates further towards the subject of political statuses, attitude towards social life and the acceptance of the religion in the Indian population. This might perhaps act as an eye opener for many, who reserve contrary beliefs on the matter.

The author has made a very delicate selection of materials while including facts in this book. From the Rig Veda to Radhakrishnan and even some of the modern day leaders of the country, the author takes a wide view on the religion, before making any remarks which reflect in his work in this book.

The readers will be delighted to read about the making of a prominent country like India, on the groundwork of religions such as Hinduism. Students who study ancient and medieval India and require study material on it will find this book highly useful.

Summary: The readers will find this book extremely relevant and useful. In fact, the content of this book will be appreciated as much by a student as by a scholar in Hinduism.

In Conclusion

Given the vastness of a religion such as Hinduism, it can be tricky to pick up the right text to read. We have compiled the best books on the subject for you and we sincerely hope that they will be useful for you in your conquest to learn about Hinduism.

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