India: The Ancient Tradition of Universal Tolerance

India: The Ancient Tradition of Universal Tolerance

Paperback

By (author) Alain Danielou

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  • Publisher: Inner Traditions Bear and Company
  • Format: Paperback | 144 pages
  • Dimensions: 150mm x 213mm x 18mm | 249g
  • Publication date: 27 July 2005
  • Publication City/Country: Rochester, VT
  • ISBN 10: 1594770484
  • ISBN 13: 9781594770487
  • Edition: 1
  • Edition statement: Us ed.
  • Sales rank: 1,065,315

Product description

A collection of Dani鬯u's writings that builds a bold and cogent defense of India's caste system - Looks at the Hindu caste system not as racist inequality but as a natural ordering of diversity - Reveals the stereotypes of Indian society invented to justify colonialism - Includes never-before-published articles by the internationally recognized Hindu scholar and translator of "The Complete Kama Sutra" (200,000 copies sold) In classical India social ethics are based on each individual's functional role in society. These ethics vary according to caste in order to maximize the individual's effectiveness in the social context. This is the definition of caste ethics. The Indian caste system is not a hierarchy with some who are privileged and others who are despised; it is a natural ordering, an organizing principle, of a society wherein differences are embraced rather than ignored. In the caste system it is up to the individual to achieve perfection in the state to which he or she is born, since to a certain extent that state also forms part of a person's nature. All people must accomplish their individual spiritual destinies while, as members of a social group, ensuring the continuity of the group and collaborating in creating a favorable framework for all human life--thereby fulfilling the collective destiny of the group. The notion of transmigration provides an equalizing effect on this prescribed system in that today's prince may be reborn as a woodcutter and the Brahman as a shoemaker. In "India: A Civilization of Differences," Dani鬯u explores this seldom-heard side of the caste debate and argues effectively in its favor. This rare collection of the late author's writings contains several never-before-published articles and offers an in-depth look at the structure of Indian society before and after Western colonialism.

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Author information

Alain Danielou (1907-1994) spent twenty years in India studying music and philosophy with eminent scholars of the Hindu traditions. He is the translator and author of more than thirty books on the religion, history, and arts of India and the Mediterranean, including "The Complete Kama Sutra," "The Myths and Gods of India," and "A Brief History of India."

Review quote

"This is definitely a very personal view of a country where the author studied music, philosophy, and Hindu traditions, however that personal touch brings magic to what might have been a rather controversial subject matter. I recommend this book to any student of philosophy, sociology, or spirituality because Alain Danielou shows the ancient framework that allowed the mystics, mahatmas, and sages to spring up in India and gift us with their wisdom."

Back cover copy

HINDUISM / SOCIOLOGY In India: A Civilization of Differences Alain Danielou builds a bold and cogent defense of the Hindu caste system, viewing it not as racist inequality but as a natural ordering of diversity. Instead of being a hierarchy with some who are privileged and others who are despised, it is an organizing principle of a society wherein differences are embraced rather than ignored. Danielou argues the point that negative stereotypes about the inequality of Indian society were invented by Westerners to justify the goals of colonialism. In classical India, social ethics are based on each individual's functional role in society. These ethics vary according to caste in order to maximize the individual's effectiveness in the social context. In the caste system it is up to the individual to achieve perfection in the state to which he or she has been born, since to a certain extent that state also forms part of a person's nature. All people must accomplish their individual spiritual destinies while, as members of a particular social group, ensuring the continuity of the group and collaborating in creating a favorable framework for all human life--thereby fulfilling the group's collective destiny. The notion of transmigration provides an equalizing effect on this prescribed system in that today's prince may be reborn as a woodcutter and the Brahman as a shoemaker. Danielou thoroughly explores this seldom-heard side of the caste debate and argues effectively in its favor. This rare collection of the late author's writings contains several never-before-published articles and offers an in-depth look at the structure of Indian society before and after Western colonialism. ALAIN DANIeLOU (1907-1994) spent twenty years in India studying music and philosophy with eminent scholars of the Hindu traditions. He is the translator and author of more than thirty books on the religion, history, and arts of India and the Mediterranean, including The Complete Kama Sutra, The Myths and Gods of India, and A Brief History of India.