New to Vedic tradition
thank you for coming. If you are completely new to Vedic tradition (so-called Hinduism) here is a short introduction.
1. The word 'hindu/ism' is not found in the traditional texts. 'Hinduism' is a vast conglomerate of so various and sometimes opposing traditions that lumping them in under one label is misleading.
2. Some of these traditions are polytheistic (or rather
henotheistic), some monistic, and some monotheistic. Hinduism is
wrongly perceived as ultimately monistic (Brahman without
personality). This view is actually minor although it has a good PR
so many people think this way. How it happened?
Due to Swami Vivekananda's speech in Chicago 1893 people worldwide got an idea that Hinduism is generally polytheistic and ultimately monistic. Well, not really. The majority of 'Hindus' are monotheists - they worship mainly Visnu, Siva or Devi as the Supreme Being. Vaisnavas (devotees of Lord Visnu) are the most numerous (adherents.com).
3. Sometimes the term "sanatana-dharma" is used for a general Hinduism. In reality, sanatana-dharma (literally "eternal duty, or function") refers to the eternal relationship of a living being (jiva) with Brahman, ultimately in His personal Bhagavan aspect. So it can't apply to non-monotheistic paths.
4. Current Western academic treatment of Hinduism is largely
biased. Only recently ideas like Aryan Invasion Theory have become
challenged and disproved by multidisciplinary research. At the same
time, some pro-traditional authors (like P.N. Oak or V.K.D. Ayyangar)
resorted to dubious claims being influenced by nationalism. Only an
honest approach can help to present the fame of Vedic history.
Aryans were Indians, they did not invade
Western Indologists: A Study in Motives
Academic researchers versus Hindu civilization
Indo-European Linguistics (IEL), a belief system: reclaiming history of Bharatiya languages
5. Consider what do you want to learn. Vedas and related scriptures are vast and include every field of knowledge, material and spiritual. How to orient yourself:
More: Sastras and studies
6. A good overview of the religious history of India is given by Prof. Howard J. Resnick in his 39-part series in Religions of India Class at the University of Florida, spring 2009 (mp3 audio).
7. Vaisnavism history overview:
Vaisnavism and ISKCON timeline
How I came to Krishna Consciousness (stories by devotees, a questionnaire)
9. Jan's answers and other contributions:
Beliefnet's Hinduism forum, now here and here (nick 'jm8')
new Krishna.com forum (nick 'Jan@VEDA')
old Krishna.com forum (nick 'JanVEDA')
texty z bývalého Hare Krišna fórum (Czech)
mezináboženský dialog (Czech) source (removed): http://www.mezinabozensky-dialog.wz.cz/mezinabozensky-dialog-probihajici-mezi-rimskokatolickou-cirkvi-a-hnutim-hare-krsna
An exchange with a Muslim under a YT video on Jihad dissapeared with the video but the exchange is archived here (Czech language).
Wishing you the best in your study.
Hope this helps. Feel free to email us and ask about anything. Thank youVEDA feedback from readers
page url: http://www.veda.harekrsna.cz/site/newtovedictradition.htm
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