Distinction in travel journalism
Is independent travel journalism important to you?
Click here to keep it independent

2 Sep, 2013

11-Volume Encyclopedia of Hinduism Launched in U.S.


Columbia, South Carolina – In an historic moment marking the spiritual and cultural history of India, the international edition of the Encyclopedia of Hinduism was launched on Aug 25, 2013 in a ceremony hosted by the University of South Carolina, Columbia, USA.

A project of India Heritage Research Foundation, founded, guided, inspired and led by one of India’s most revered spiritual leaders, Pujya Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, the Encyclopedia of Hinduism is a colossal product of more than 1,000 esteemed scholars from around the world, totaling 11-volumes and approximately 7,000 entries. The international edition is published by California-based Mandala Earth Publications.

Pujya Swamiji presented the first official set to the Governor of the State of South Carolina, for the State’s Library.

The Encyclopedia has been nearly twenty-five years in the making and it is the first time in history that the depth and breadth of India’s great spiritual culture is made available in authentic, academic and scholastic form. It is a compendium of thousands of years of history, science, art, architecture, polity, religion, philosophy and culture. The Encyclopedia is not limited to Hinduism as a religion, but rather provides all inclusive treatment of India’s spiritual culture (including coverage of Sikhism, Jainism and Buddhism traditions in India).

In addition to Pujya Swamiji, the launch was attended by:

• Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina

• Dr. Harris Pastides, President of the University of South Carolina

• Mr Anna Hazare, renowned social leader from India

• Joe Wilson, Congressman for South Carolina

• Ajit Kumar, Consul General to India

• Dr. Meera Narasimhan, Vice Dean, School of Medicine, USC, organizer of the event

• Dr. Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia

Pujya Swamiji said: “The wisdom, truths, teachings and insights of Indian and Hindu culture are not limited to or applicable to only Hindus or Indians. Rather they belong to the world and can deeply benefit the world. It is, therefore, our aim that the richness of this ancient yet timeless culture and heritage should be made available to the entire world, in a way that is authentic, academic, comprehensive and illuminating.”

Dr. Pastides said: “This is a remarkable work of scholarship and research. I hope that many in academia and in everyday life will turn to it as a resource to better understand the characters, the tenets, and the impact that Hinduism has had, and is having, in the world.”

Mr Anna Hazare said: “Pujya Swami Chidanandji is carrying our Indian culture to the entire world. This is a historic event here tonight. Spreading the teachings of our great tradition is a wonderful task Pujya Swami Chidanandji has undertaken and completed successfully.”

Dr Meera Narasimhan said: “Hinduism, one of the oldest traditions of the world, has been a major influence with a focus on the ancient moral and spiritual insights and their modern developments. The EOH will serve as a comprehensive, scholastic reference for students, teachers and researchers and helps deepen the inter-cultural dialogue. As an Indian American, I have strongly been influenced by Hinduism and it’s rich rubric of spiritual, philosophical, and cultural ideas and practices that originated in India. As a physician trained in western medicine, it provided me with an abundance of knowledge to help better understand the mind, body, spirit connection that is key in understanding health as it pertains to disease and wellness.”

Subhash Kak, Regents Professor of Computer Science, Oklahoma State University, said: “Encyclopedia of Hinduism is a historic milestone in Indian studies. It will facilitate the understanding of the culture and civilization of India and its diaspora scattered all over the world.”

V.V. Raman, emeritus professor of physics and humanities, Rochester Institute of Technology and senior fellow at Metanenexus Institute, said: “Indic civilization is among the brightly shining stars in the firmament of humanity’s heritage. Volumes have been written on it. There are copious commentaries on the abundant treasures of Indic culture. But one thing it has not had until now: a multi-volume Encyclopedia dedicated to it, in which the primary authors are scholars and thinkers from the Hindu tradition. That serious lacuna has disappeared as a result of this major publication. In keeping with India’s welcoming arms to one and all, Non-Hindu scholars were also invited to contribute to this international project.”

Rama Rao Pappu, senior professor of philosophy at Miami University (Ohio), said: “The EH is comprehensive in its scope by including important topics in Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism; erudite scholars from all over the world have given their expert knowledge of their discipline, at the same time making the EH accessible to other scholars and general public as well.”

Sadhvi Bhagawati Saraswati said: “This is a great moment in history. The depth and breadth of the world’s oldest living culture, civilization, philosophy and theology has finally been encapsulated in encyclopedic form. The launch is a great meeting of East and West. Hindu and Indian culture truly have no boundaries and no borders.”

The unveiling was part of a daylong conference on Hinduism and the encyclopedia project and drew many USC faculty, staff and students. In addition to numerous talks, the event captured the vibrancy of Indian culture with a traditional Indian lamp lighting ceremony, music and food and art.

The Encyclopedia of Hinduism presents the vast panorama of Hinduism, giving a faithful record of the world’s oldest living spiritual tradition. To ensure comprehensive coverage, the entries of the Encyclopedia are conveniently prepared under the following twelve subject areas:

1. Art: Architecture, Music, Iconography, Painting, Dance, Drama, Theater Per- formance, and Sculpture.

2. Hinduism in Global Context: Nepal, Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, North and South America, Mauritius, Africa, and the Caribbean.

3. History, Historiography, and Geography: Religious Developments in Hindu Kingdoms and Empires. Epigraphy, Numismatics, Flora and Fauna, Mountains, Rivers, and other pertinent data.

4. Language and Literature: Texts and commentaries in Sanskrit and in differ- ent Indian Languages, Folk Literature, Myths, Legends, and Journals.

5. Philosophy: Metaphysics, Psychology, Ethics, Six Systems of Indian Philoso- phy, Jaina, Buddhist and Sikh Thought, Tantra, Saiva Siddhanta, and Contem- porary Hindu Thought.

6. Polity: Political Institutions, Judicial Systems, Economics, Law and Order, Military History, and Weapons.

7. Religion and Spirituality: Knowledge Texts, Gods and Goddesses, Saints, Mystics and Teachers, Rites and Ceremonies, Holy Places, Sectarian Move- ments, Temples, Sacraments and Modern Developments.

8. Sciences: Ayurveda, Astronomy, Astrology, Mathematics, Cosmology, Chem- istry, and other relevant disciplines.

9. Social Institutions and Movements: Education, Varnasrama Dharma, Tribes and their Customs, Status of Women, Sports and Pastimes, Feasts, Fasts, Festivals, Diet, Dress and Cosmetics.

10. Spiritual Disciplines: Karmayoga, Bhaktiyoga, Hathayoga, and Tantra.

11. Scholarship in Hindu Studies: Ideological, Theosophical, and Commen- tarial Tradition, Oral Tradition, Philological Studies, Sociological, Mystical, and Comparative Studies.

12. Women Studies: Full coverage of issues related to the important role played by women in cherishing, maintaining, and transmitting Hindu heritage.

For more information about the Encyclopedia of Hinduism and to order, please email to info@ihrf.com