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On Hinduism$
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Wendy Doniger

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199360079

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199360079.001.0001

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Hinduism by any Other Name 1

Hinduism by any Other Name 1

(p.2) (p.3) Hinduism by any Other Name1
On Hinduism

Wendy Doniger

Oxford University Press

This chapter defines Hinduism based on a cluster of beliefs and concepts represented by a Venn diagram. It shows that some of these beliefs and concepts are held and done by some Hindus, others by other Hindus, and still others shared not only by Hindus but also by members of other South Asian religions, such as Jainism or Buddhism. It argues that scholars, who differ as to the number and nature of the elements of this cluster, should combine aspects of both the literary tradition and popular Hinduism such as karma, dharma, belief in the Vedas, a cosmology centered on Mount Meru, worship of local gods and goddesses, and worship at shrines of Muslim saints. The chapter also looks at markers of Hindu identity other than a cluster of beliefs and concepts that may help define Hinduism, including sacred and classical texts shared among different linguistic groups, class and caste, and geography.

Keywords:   beliefs, India, Hinduism, karma, dharma, Vedas, Mount Meru, gods, caste, worship

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