Through this magisterial volume which she calls the book of my books Wendy Doniger, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest and most original scholars of Hinduism, enlarges our understanding of an ancient and complex religion. Comprising a series of connected essays, On Hinduism examines many of the most crucial and contested issues in Hinduism, from the time of the Vedas to the present day: Are Hindus monotheists or polytheists? Is it possible to reconcile images of god with qualities (saguna) and without qualities (nirguna)? How can atheists be Hindu, and how can unrepentant Hindu sinners obtain salvation? Why have Hindus devoted so much attention to addictions, and why have they always been ambivalent about non-injury (ahimsa)? How have Hindu ideas about death, rebirth and karma changed in the course of history, and what do dogs and cows tell us about Hinduism? How and under what conditions does a pluralistic religion remarkable for its intellectual tolerance foster intolerance?
The book closes with short autobiographical essays in which Doniger looks back upon her academic career complete with its Orientalist heritage, self-critiques and controversies and talks eloquently and movingly about the influence of Hinduism on her own philosophy of life.
Drawing upon Donigers writing over forty years, On Hinduism is scholarship of the highest order, and a compelling analysis of one of the worlds great faiths.