Looking at this book, you may ask, 'Why do we need another book about Hinduism?' Excellent question. True, there are already many books, so publishing another one does not make any sense.
Apart from that, my book Am I A Hindu?, which I wrote and published for my first son in 1988, is on the bestseller list even today. It is amazing that the book is still a darling, after thirty years. Many universities in the US and Canada use this book in their world religion curriculums.
The whole idea behind writing this book is to educate people about India and Hinduism, providing cultural and historical perspectives in simple sentences-one or two paragraphs answering each topic.
I have purposely limited each answer to a page, since most people have no time or patience to read more than a page at a time. The subjects in this book are arranged in such a way that readers can pick and choose what they want to read, and be done in five minutes.
The aim is to light up a spark of inquiry in the reader-to spark curiosity about India, as well as about Hindu culture. I am certain that the reader, upon reading this book, will have hundreds, if not thousands of further questions.
Through this book I am reminding people of the importance of inquiry. Please do not take anything at face value, or believe everything that comes from hearsay. We have to question everything-even what I have written in my book. We should not accept something just because Lord Krishna or Jesus said it. We should not believe something just because it has been handed down through generations.
There are no superlative or fanatical statements in this book. Not even a statement that you have to be Hindu to attain salvation, nor that Hindus alone have all the answers, nor any statement demeaning or putting down other religions. This book deals with just facts, as stated in the scriptures. Whether these facts are reliable and applicable in the twenty-first century is left to each one of us to decide.
Hinduism remains very complex, especially since there has never been any centralization of the hundreds-perhaps thousands-of schools of thought, branches and sects of Hinduism since its origins in the Indus Valley region of India. No scripture has been rewritten or burnt. All other religions have periodically cleansed their scriptures of disputed statements, calling them blasphemy, and also, at times, harmed or killed people who wrote or preached such statements. These things have practically never happened in Hinduism.
In Hinduism, on one hand you may come across the worship of critters like rats and snakes, and on the other you may find the worship of ideas comparable to the Big Bang Theory, Quantum Mechanics, String Theory and Particle Physics.
In fact, I am openly stating that Hinduism is the result of a slowly developed thinking process. The 'Creation Hymn' in the Rig Veda alone tell us that the Indus Valley dwellers had thousands of questions about creation, as well as about themselves. Everything in Hinduism is discussed, debated, argued, contemplated, and meditated on by Rishis, who were the true scientists of the ancient past.
Their frankness and their capability to withstand open criticism resulted in people in India thinking freely and deeply, as well as making unbelievable contributions to Medicine, Geology, Astronomy, Trigonometry, the Decimal System, etc.
We have to allow our children to ask all kinds of questions. Annoying as it can be to face constant questions, parents should still encourage children to ask them. Shutting down a questioning mentality in children is not good for their mental growth. Unfortunately, in many homes, children are instructed to be quiet and accept what they are told.
I challenge everyone, particularly children, to investigate everything that I have written here, as well as everything written in Hindu scriptures and those of other religions. Once again, please do not accept anything that I have written at face value. Please investigate the truth and validity of everything.
**Contents and Sample Pages**