A Framework for Understanding Hinduism
A few years ago a student taking the course began reading the chapter on Hinduism. When he got about half way through the chapter, he posted a question to the bulletin board: "What am I reading?!?!? I can't make any sense out of this." I suspect he wasn't alone. For those who are new to HInduism, it can be a confusing array of various, even seemingly contradictory ideas and practices.
So, I want to take a moment to frame this chapter and maybe make it a little more understandable. At least, we can give the material a frameworkthat will hopefully make it a little more intelligible. To understand what is presented in the text, think of Hinduism as growing and changing in three historical stages: vedic religion, classical Hinduism, and Bhakti Hinduism.