M.R. Narayan Swamy
Book: "Hinduism — An Alphabetical Guide"; Author: Roshen Dalal; Publisher: Penguin; Price: Rs.999; Pages: 483
This is an invaluable encyclopaedia on Hinduism, a treasure of knowledge, a product of years of painstaking research. With its eclectic nature, no other religion perhaps requires a reference manual as much as Hinduism. And scholarly author Roshen Dalal provides just that, explaining literally from A to Z everything you want to know about one of the greatest religions of the world.
There is no aspect of Hinduism left uncovered here. Key temples big and small, festivals and rituals, gods and goddesses, aesthetics, holy books, sacred plants, birds and animals, philosophers and sages, sanyasis, worship and sacrificial worship, sacred mountains, memorials, Puranas, Upanishads, Vedas and what have you.
Also explained are innumerable concepts such as karma, moksha, Brahman, reincarnation, bhakti, tantra, mantra, yoga, dharma, places, ideas and deities and even Hinduism's attitude to other religions.
A brief overview of Hinduism's historical development that forms the start of the book will be illuminating, both to those who subscribe to the religion and to those who are merely its students.
There may be areas where a reader may differ from the author. But even for someone like me who loves to pray at temples and is fascinated by Hinduism and its way of life, the book was an eye opener. I learnt a lot I did not know.