I am always on the look-out for good books on Hinduism. And I have seen several requests here for recommendations for good books. Generally I have not been pleased with the books I have bought or browsed. Either they were so academic that they bored me to death, or they were so superfluous, badly written and horribly presented. I think I have found a book I can confidently present to colleagues and friends, and you.
Over the weekend, a friend gave me this copy of “Explaining Hindu Dharma: A Guide for Teachers.” It's a coffee table sized (~ 8.5 in x 11 inches) hardcover book. This is a British publication and targeted for UK school teachers. Essentially teaching teachers about Hinduism, so they can teach school students. So it does have some info on British school regulations, which are easily skipped.
The information is provided in a very efficent manner. No boring research, or indepth treatment of the scriptures. Just the essence. Many a times, I only have simple queries regarding some aspect of our religion and this book seemed to have it. There are innumerable short stories and information provided in text boxes and lots of pictures – which makes it ideal for my short attention span. I could randomly flip the pages and start reading. Very well done. This will make an ideal book to give as a gift.
At first I was uneasy that the book was published by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council), but then I considered, who better to organize the resources and knowledge from the 1000s of sects and temples of India, than the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. I would not expect the Christian Coalition, or a gathering of Islamists, or some individual with suspect motives, to do justice to MY religion.
This local gentleman bought a large shipment directly from the publisher and is selling the book from his home essentially at his cost for $28.50 ($25 + 3:50 Shipping). BTW, the original price is 25 UK pounds. I was searching for it on Amazon.com and saw someone selling a 'used' copy for $215. What a rip-off! Ofcourse I told my friend to sell it on Amazon as well. I don't know when he will get around to posting it there.
In the meantime, if you are interested, you could contact him directly at: Brij Garg, 15 Ticklefancy Lane, Salem, NH 03079. his email is bgarg AT ieee.org
PS: I have no financial stake in the book or the publisher 🙂