India: A Civilization of Differences: The Ancient Tradition of Universal Tolerance

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Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, Jul 5, 2005 - History - 132 pages
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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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India: A Civilization of Differences: The Ancient Tradition of Universal Tolerance

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Danilou (1907-94) was a musician, scholar, and convert to Hinduism best known for his interpretations of Hindu texts. This volume consists of works unpublished at the time of his death but written ... Read full review

Contents

The Caste Institution
1
Hinduism and Human Behavior
7
The Hindu Caste System
16
Racism and Castes
33
The Hindu Woman and the Goddess
43
The Ahir Caste at Benares
54
Customs Institutions and Ceremonies of the Peoples of India
59
Evolution and Freedom
71
Remarks on Cultural Colonization
92
Cultural Genocide in Africa
96
Relations Between the Dravidian and African Negro Cultures
101
Rights and Duties
113
Notes
118
Origin of the Texts
123
Other Works by Alain Daniélou Dealing with the Caste Institution
125
General Bibliography Provided by Alain Daniélou
126

The Dictatorship of the PenPushers or AlphaBêtiseMe
73
The Castes in Modern India
88
The West and the Merchant Caste
90

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About the author (2005)

In India the caste system is a natural organizing principle wherein differences are embraced rather than ignored. Daniélou 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 previously unpublished articles and examines the structure of Indian society before and after Western colonialism.

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