Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism

Rated 4.53/5 based on 15 reviews
"Religion is the opium of the people," said Karl Marx many centuries ago. For more than a billion people living in India and abroad, Hinduism is the religion and a way of life. In this book Swami Achuthananda cracks open the opium poppy pods, analyzes the causes for euphoria, and comes away with a deeper understanding of the people and their religion. More

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Reviews

Review by: Cory Banyan on Dec. 23, 2013 :
I think that MANY MANY MANY GODS OF HINDUISM by author Swami Achuthananda is exactly the type of book that students should read when learning about other cultures. When its presented in this way, it comes off less as a teaching text book, but more like an interesting novel, with the stories and background information. It is almost like plots weaving themselves together. I had no preconceived notions regarding Hinduism good or bad…frankly I never gave it much thought. (I’d never heard of it as being “wicked” or “evil” or “pagan” like the author notes)But now that I’ve read this book I feel like my eyes have been opened in an unexpected way and I’m happy that I’m so much more aware of one of the worlds’ largest religions. I’m giving this to my fifteen-year-old son to read next. Excellent job, a terrific book.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Darla Ortiz on Dec. 22, 2013 :
This was a great book with excellent information. I would have liked to see some footnotes with links to source material for some of the facts and statistics, even though I could probably double check the info myself, it seems in a book like this it would be standard. Apart from the information Swami Achuthananda is imparting on readers about Hinduism and India, he also doesn’t hold back his feelings, whether it be about Americans approach to the accents, or other authors’ approach to teaching/studying Hinduism. The best word I can think of is at times “caustic” and I didn’t really like it. But that was only in a few places and on the whole I’d say this was an excellent book, one that would fit nicely into almost any bookshelf in America or elsewhere. Obviously the author is a skilled writer and thinker and if he writes more in the future I’d be very interested in reading it.
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: James Masters on Dec. 21, 2013 :
Well written, well researched and neatly organized into different sections, this book comes together in a brilliant way to paint a picture one rarely sees outside the ‘inner circle’ when it comes to the practices and traditions of Hinduism. At the risk of sounding like a cliché ignorant American, I never knew so many of the things that Swami Acuthananda teaches us in this book, yet for some reason I feel like I should know them. The closest I’ve come to Indian culture is the Indian food I’m addicted to, but sadly know very little other than that. This book is definitely a keeper and it has greatly enriched my lives. I definitely have a newfound respect and admiration, and do feel like I have a better grasp of what Hindus believe and how they express their beliefs. I was also fascinated by the list of the 10 things people associate with India which was very good and all very true! I was hooked from the first page to the last and think it’s one of the better books I’ve read in a long time
(reviewed long after purchase)

Review by: Nicole Hastings on Dec. 13, 2013 :
I read this book from Swami Achuthananda cover to cover in the span of an evening. I was raised Christian, yet I’ve always been interested in other religions and cultures different than my own. Mr. Achuthananda presented a very fair and wide reaching report of several important facets of Hinduism and its traditions that I thought were very interesting. Although it is not necessarily the same thing I believe in, I can say that I like how it sounds and what the Hindus do. It seems like a peaceful, beautiful, and enlightened religion and one that has impacted the world greatly. I was drawn into this book because of Mr. Achuthananda’s way of writing that made me just want to keep reading, but it was the beautiful and informative content that held my attention all the way through. Highly recommended for the casual scholar or the curious layperson. Suitable for ages 13 on up.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: S.S. Gee Buro on Dec. 11, 2013 :
What a beautiful thing is Hinduism! Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism is very informative, my understanding of this gentle culture after reading Swami Achuthanada's book was so much deeper. Everyone can take something away from this book, no matter their beliefs. Thank you for this experience!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Jenna Brewster on Dec. 06, 2013 :
This book was strange to me…I loved so much of it, but wish I could have cut out some parts. It starts of so wonderfully…engaging, positive, almost like a friend is welcoming you into his arms and telling you a wonderful story. The pacing is great and the writing and editing flawless (and I loved the designs on the chapters). This felt like such a beautiful and intelligent treatise and I was becoming more and more impressed and immersed. And then a whole section seemed to have nothing to do with the rest of the book and then actually made me question what the whole point of it really was…because at first I truly believed it was to enlighten the masses into a culture that many may not know much about…only to feel like at the end it was so that the author could use it as a vehicle to argue with or discredit other scholars. I have no dog in this fight. I’m no scholar, and this is the first book on Hinduism I’ve ever read and for the most part it was very good! But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that the negativity towards the end almost ruined the whole things for me.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Mark Williams on Dec. 02, 2013 :
What’s interesting is that as a Christian in present day America, one might not even really realize the amount of influence Hinduism has had on our culture and how it is not necessarily some strange foreign religion, but one that touches most of our lives whether we realize it or not. From the popular practice of yoga, to the belief in “karma” (thanks for fully explaining that, btw), it’s funny to see that Hinduism isn’t necessarily a culture that is “over there” but can be felt right here as well. I need to say that I am confused by the title about the believers into non-believers and vice-versa—but everything else was very good. The ending seemed really abrupt though, and almost a little snarky. Overall the message of the book was very informative and positive, although there were some times that the tone became tense and angry, which to me didn’t add to the benefits of the book, and almost undermined it. But in the end I took away a lot so for that it was a very good read I would recommend to others.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Jesse Thomas on Nov. 26, 2013 :
Comprehensive, descriptive, engaging, and provocative, “The Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism” by Swami Achuthananda is by far one of the better books I’ve read on this subject. Disclaimer: I haven’t read that many. Why? Because usually books like this are very one-sided and pushing an agenda, or are so esoteric it is nearly impossible for a “non-believer” to understand what is going on. This book was written in a way that anyone could grasp the concepts, and laid out in a way that ties everything together and it all makes sense. The “big picture” painted is one that leaves the reader with a much deeper knowledge and understanding that surprised me…I feel like I learned more reading this book in two nights than I did in my religions survey class in college. Definitely recommend.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: April Dawn on Nov. 25, 2013 :
I have slightly mixed feelings on this book. On one hand, I was so pleasantly amazed at how good it was! It gave such a neat, almost step-by-step description of not only Hinduism, but about the history of India, its cultures and people, the traditions, the rituals and why they happened, and some fascinating backstory I’d never heard of before. The writing was solid and the information impressive. However, I found myself taken aback at the tone the book seems to take toward the end…to me it felt unnecessarily hostile, almost personal when criticizing certain people and events. I’d much preferred this information be delivered in a far less biased manner and let the reader decide for him/herself what they think. It left a bad taste in my mouth and soured what was otherwise a phenomenal read.
(reviewed within a month of purchase)

Review by: Kaylee Stevens on Nov. 20, 2013 :
Wow, this book was incredible! First of all, the cover and inside pictures are GORGEOUS. Right off the bat the author had me hooked with his down-to-earth, almost “folksy” approach to a subject that is complicated and controversial at best (I’m referring to religion, not Hinduism specifically). I appreciated how the author maintained a respectful tone about other beliefs and practices, and just informed the readers what and who Hinduism was, and most importantly “why”. I didn’t understand some of the “controversies” or even why it was included…felt like another book, maybe? But there was much I gained from this book that I am actually going to read more on the subject. I’ve always considered myself spiritual, but the beliefs and practices outlined here really resonated with me for some reason. A lot just made good sense, and I’m relieved one no longer has to be “born” into the religion as it is something I plan on definitely checking out further. I’d most definitely recommend this book for anyone who is curious about other faiths and cultures and perhaps looking for a change in their own life.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Karen Matthews on Nov. 17, 2013 :
I loved that this book answered so many question I never even knew I had! And explained so many different facets in such an easy to understand and comprehensive way, I really feel like I got a lot out of it. It was very educational, but not in that dry, textbook sort of way that many religions nonfictions can be. And it didn’t come across as preachy at all! Just explaining things and connecting the dots to how the world is influenced by (and influences) Hinduism. I was shocked to learn it was the 3rd biggest religion only behind Christian and Muslim. Perhaps because I live in the south and there is little to no zero Hindu population here (yet they teach yoga at my local YMCA) ;) I personally think this would be a good book for students to read in college…or even high school as it educates in a very relatable way and isn’t boring!
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Claire Middleton on Nov. 17, 2013 :
I was surprised with how much I liked reading this book. I admit I’m not normally one for the religious-type books, and consider myself more spiritual than sticking to any one practicing religion. But I think that was almost what I liked the best about this book was explaining the roots of the spiritualty that Hindus believe and especially how they connect it with the body and mind. Even if you don’t agree with the philosophy for your own religious ideas, it is hard to deny that this is a well-written book that succinctly lays out the principles of Hinduism in a cohesive and entertaining manner. Recommended for teens on up.
(reviewed within a week of purchase)

Review by: Stacy Decker on Nov. 14, 2013 :
"Many, Many Many God of Hinduism” is literally the first book I’ve ever read on or about Hinduism and I’m so glad I did! I hate to admit it but I honestly never knew that Hinduism was so fascinating and multifaceted and like the living tree it talks about (The Great Banyan)…I love so many things about it! You would really have to spend more time studying in depth this is just a glimpse into a huge religion and culture but it is a good survey of a broad landscape. I never knew that “chakras” were an Indian/Hindu thing and I like that it explains about the person connecting with the spiritual, but it also places high emphasis on the physical. I really can’t think of another religion that does that. It just makes a lot of sense that everything would need to be in harmony. To me this is one book that many, many, many people should read.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Anabella Johnson on Nov. 12, 2013 :
This is really the first introduction I have had to learning about Hinduism and I must say it was very eye opening and enlightening! I almost feel stupid for how many things I was familiar with that I didn’t realize were connected with India and Hinduism. This was a very informative book and in my opinion one that should be required reading in classrooms. It is interesting to read and easy to understand, and Swami Achuthananda did a marvelous job of explaining complex ideas simply and coherently. I feel like I’ve learned a lot and hold a new level of respect for Hindus.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Simon Baxter on Nov. 11, 2013 :
With a title that reads "Many Many Many Gods of Hinduism" it should be about the gods of Hinduism, right? Only about halfway through the book did I realize that the title was a pun intended to highlight the nature of one supreme spirit.

Among the introductory books on Hinduism, I found this book most readable and entertaining. Yes, surprisingly entertaining for a religious book. Having been a visitor to India many times, I agree with the writer that it is easy to understand Hinduism when you are exposed to the culture of India. Among the many chapters, I found the 20-odd chapters on controversies especially interesting. Lots of stuff were new to me, although I've been reading about eastern religions for more than 30 years. The chapter on Hindutva, the Hindu fundamental movement, to lift their game was justified. The comparison of Hinduism with Buddhism was hilarious, so was the short piece on "Manly Englishman and effeminate Indian." It was shocking to learn about the so-called Wendy's child syndrome and how scholars misuse their academic freedom.

Lastly, I hope Jesudas, the famous Christian singer, gets the opportunity to visit the hindu temple in Guruvayoor. I know how much this means to many Indians. It's only fair since the temple premises regularly play his songs.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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