The author discusses rebirth and salvation, mysticism, the worship of God, Buddhism, incarnation and history, and evil and good.
First published in 1892, this popular account of Brahmanism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Zoroastrianism serves as a spirited introduction to the diverse faiths of the peoples of the Indian subcontinent. Students of global religions and those seeking to understand the burgeoning influence of these cultures will be fascinated by: . the religious basis of Rig-Veda . the revelation of divine knowledge represented by the Upanishads . the Sankhya philosophy of an eternal soul . caste and class in Hinduism . the many incarnations of Vishnu and Krishna . the contradictory stations of women throughout Indian culture . temptation, evil, and self-discipline in Buddhism . and much more. GEORGE THOMAS BETTANY (1850-1891) is also the author of The Dark Peoples of the Land of Sunshine (1890) and Primitive Religions (1891).
The soul is so closely connected to life that one cannot think that it could ever be separated from life and, consequently, be mortal. Therefore, it can only be immortal. This argument from Plato's Phaedo for the immortality of the soul exhibits both a great strength and a great weakness. Its strength is that it is difÂ ficult for anyone to think that the soul could ever exist without life. Its weakness is, first, that not all religions accept a soul that remains the same as the center of the person - thus one speaks, for instance, in Buddhism of a "soulless theory of the human being" - and, second, that what is true does not depend on what we can think, but on what we recognize in experience and thought. The religions believe in the existence of a power that can work contrary to our experience that the soul in death is not separated from life. How the reliÂ gions believe they can establish this continued life after death and how faith in this life is related in the religions to the interpretation of history, its progress, its apocalyptic end, and its eschatological completion and transfiguration is the theme of this book. In the culture of the West in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, faith in the secular progress of the technological control of nature and the economic orÂ ganization of society was the enemy of faith in the immortality of the soul.
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