An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism, third edition, offers a comprehensive study of a contemporary form of Hinduism. Begun as a revival and reform movement in India 200 years ago, it has now become one of the fastest growing and most prominent forms of Hinduism. The Swaminarayan Hindu transnational network of temples and institutions is expanding in India, East Africa, the UK, USA, Australasia, and in other African and Asian cities. The devotion, rituals, and discipline taught by its founder, Sahajanand Swami (1781–1830) and elaborated by current leaders in major festivals, diverse media, and over the Internet, help preserve ethnic and religious identity in many modern cultural and political contexts. Swaminarayan Hinduism, here described through its history, divisions, leaders, theology and practices, provides valuable case studies of contemporary Hinduism, religion, migrants, and transnationalism. This new edition includes up-to-date information about growth, geographic expansion, leadership transitions, and impact of Swaminarayan institutions in India and abroad.
1. The beginnings of Swaminarayan Hinduism; 2. Growth, administration, and schism; 3. The structure of Swaminarayan theology; 4. The sacred world; 5. Dharma: the disciplined life; 6. The sacred thread: transmission of tradition; 7. Transnational growth of Swaminarayan Hinduism.
Raymond Brady Williams is LaFollette Distinguished Professor in the Humanities emeritus and Professor of Religion (Chair) emeritus of Wabash College, Indiana. He began his research on Swaminarayan Hinduism in 1976 for books, including A New Face of Hinduism (Cambridge, 1984), An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism (Cambridge, 2001), and Swaminarayan Hinduism, editor (2016). His research on immigrants was published as Religions of Immigrants from India and Pakistan: New Threads in the American Tapestry (Cambridge, 1988) and Christian Pluralism in the United States: The Indian Immigrant Experience (Cambridge, 1996). He is the founder of the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion and the journal, Teaching Theology and Religion.
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