Derek Sivers
Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism - by Linda Johnsen

Complete Idiot’s Guide to Hinduism - by Linda Johnsen

ISBN: 1592579051
Date read: 2023-02-04
How strongly I recommend it: 2/10
(See my list of 360+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Well-explained book, but drowned me in names. Somewhere, somehow, the beliefs and guidelines of Hinduism should be taught separately from its tales with hundreds of names.

my notes

There are more religions inside of Hinduism than outside of it.

Hinduism emphasizes the authority of living teachers and allows for correction and evolution over time.

Hinduism emphasizes the realization of the higher Self over any religious institution, book, dogma, or savior.

Hinduism is the world’s largest non-biblical tradition, and the world’s largest non-organized religion.

The Veda is Hinduism’s most ancient and most sacred scripture.
An incredibly old book, parts of which were composed some 6,000 years ago.
The Veda is actually four different books, which is why you’ll often hear it called “the Vedas”, plural.
The sages who composed the Vedas are called rishis, which means “seers.”
The word veda literally means “knowledge.”

Mathematical, geometric, and astronomical information essential to the ancient Hindus’ concept of sacred space was encoded in the very rhythm, meter, and pronunciation of the verses.

The word Vedic is often used as a synonym for anything Hindu, as in “Vedic literature” or “Vedic science.”

In the Vedas, the gods blend easily into one another.
These gods aren’t colorful personalities. They’re personifications of natural forces, integrating their functions, and dissolving their identities in each other just as clouds lose themselves in rain and rain loses itself in the earth and sea.

Hindus’ own term for their religion is Sanatana Dharma.

Hindus believe that any truth worth setting up as the foundation of your religion has to be akriti - from beyond space and time. It has to be true forever, even billions of years from now, after this solar system has disintegrated.
The things that were ultimately true in our world must be equally true in the cosmos to come.  

Hindus experience time as cyclical, not progressing forward.

Most of the languages of North India, like Hindi, Bengali, Gujarati, Marathi, and Punjabi, are related to the majority of European languages, such as English, French, German, Italian, Greek, and Spanish.
Sanskrit paralleled European languages.

Vedic sky god Dyaus Pitar (literally “sky father”)
Romans sky god Jupiter (they pronounced his name “Dyu-piter”)

The majority of Indian people are Caucasian.

The concentration of Buddhist talent at large centers like Nalanda was a major contributing reason to the fall of Buddhism in India.
Hindu students usually studied in small groups in the homes of their teachers, while Buddhist students congregated at large centers
When the Muslims came to town around 1000 C.E., they simply burned down the Buddhist university-monasteries and killed all the monks. Poof! - Buddhism was gone.

Westerners and most Muslims are raised with the firm understanding that there is one God (theirs) and every other deity is a false god.
Hindu belief is exactly the opposite. The Veda consistently portrays all the different gods as ultimately just different faces of the one Supreme Being.
They are the various ways Its will acts in nature.

The modern democratic nation-state of India was born at midnight on the morning of August 15, 1947.

Upanishads are the philosophical portion of the Veda.
Upanishad means “sitting near.”

“Pour some salt into this bucket of water,” Uddalaka continued. Shvetaketu obeyed. “Now give me the salt back.”