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An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism

An Introduction to Swaminarayan Hinduism is a comprehensive study of a modern form of Hinduism that is growing in the place of its birth in the Indian state of Gujarat and among Indian immigrants in east Africa, Great Britain, and the United States. It is the most prominent form of transnational Hinduism because it creates networks that define and preserve ethnic and religious identity in the modern context of rapid mobility and communication. Founded by Sahajanand Swami or Swaminarayan (1781-1830), a religious reformer in a time of great social and political change in Gujarat, Swaminarayan Hinduism expounds a path of devotion to Swaminarayan as the final, perfect manifestation of God. Raymond Brady Williams provides a detailed introduction to the history, theology, discipline, and ritual of this important form of Hinduism. Based on and extending, with considerable updating and revision, his A New Face of Hinduism: The Swaminarayan Religion (Cambridge, 1984), the book places Swaminarayan in the context of transnational Hinduism and analyses its current status in India and abroad.
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Table of Contents

Introduction; 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.


'A much-needed descriptive account.' Times Literary Supplement 'This work is most valuable as a reference source on the Swaminarayan movement.' The Journal of Asian Studies 'A book every Hindu would do well to read.' East and West Series

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