Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism

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Subject: Asian Studies

Edited by: Knut A. Jacobsen (Editor-in-Chief), University of Bergen, and Helene Basu, University of Münster, Angelika Malinar, University of Zürich, Vasudha Narayanan, University of Florida (Associate Editors)

Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism presents the latest research on all the main aspects of the Hindu traditions. Its essays are original work written by the world’s foremost scholars on Hinduism. The encyclopedia presents a balanced and even-handed view of Hinduism, recognizing the divergent perspectives and methods in the academic study of a religion that is both an ancient historical tradition and a flourishing tradition today. The encyclopedia embraces the greatest possible diversity, plurality, and heterogeneity, thus emphasizing that Hinduism encompasses a variety of regional traditions as well as a global world religion. Presenting all essays and research from the heralded printed edition, Brill’s Encyclopedia of Hinduism is now available in a fully searchable, dynamic digital format. The service will include all content from the six printed volumes..

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Lakshman Joo

(4,159 words)

Author(s): Bettina Bäumer
Swami Lakshman Joo (also called Lakshmanji Brahmacarin; 1907-1991) was the last master of the nondualist tradition of Kashmir Śaivism or Trika. He was a unique combination of scholar and saint, or yogī. After centuries of oblivion when the tradition was passed on exclusively in Kashmir, in Sanskrit and Kashmiri, he brought it to the scene of world spirituality and philosophy by teaching it to Indian and international students and scholars. In the words of the French Indologist L. Silburn, “I was working with the Swami Lakshma…


(5,026 words)

Author(s): Jaishree K. Odin
Lallā (also known as Lalleśvarī or Lal Ded) is a 14th-century Śaiva mystic poet from Kashmir. Even though Lallā is an integral part of Kashmiri language and culture, no reference to her exists in the medieval Sanskrit literature. Jonarāja's Rājataraṅgiṇī, a chronicle of the period when Lallā lived, does not mention her at all. The reason for this neglect could be that the medieval chronicles primarily focused on kings and the political intrigues surrounding them. Lallā, however, lived in the countryside, and it was the common people …

Language and Linguistics

(9,936 words)

Author(s): Madhav Deshpande
The Hindu tradition goes back to the prehistoric mergers of various linguistic and cultural communities in the South Asian region. Most of the languages of modern North India are members of the Indo-European language family, and Sanskrit, particularly Vedic Sanskrit, is the oldest known language of this family in South Asia. As the language of the Vedas, the scriptures of the Hindu tradition, Sanskrit plays a very important role. Related to Sanskrit are a whole range of ancient vernaculars, gene…

Languages and Literatures of the Vernaculars

(23 words)

Languages and Literatures of the Vernaculars: North Indian Languages and Literatures of the Vernaculars: South Indian

Languages and Literatures of the Vernaculars: North Indian

(13,204 words)

Author(s): Heidi Pauwels
Many Bhaktis: Fluidity of Religious and Language Boundaries This article will focus on sacred literature now perceived to be “Hindu,” but it will become clear that current perceptions of religious demarcations do not hold good for the premodern period. There is a continuum of literary expression all over North India that transcends religious boundaries. At a popular level, “Hindu” religious movements are closely entwined with those in what are now perceived to be other religions, whether Jaina, Sikh, or…

Languages and Literatures of the Vernaculars: South Indian

(8,645 words)

Author(s): Archana Venkatesan
Tamil Literature and Hindu Traditions Early Literary Production: Paripāṭal and Tirumurukāṟṟuppaṭai Toward the end of the Caṅkam period of Tamil literary history (1st–3rd cents. CE; see also Tamil Nadu), we witness a distinct shift in literary form and content. The Paripāṭal, a late 4th-century CE (?) anthology of poems, signals this move away from the largely secular Caṅkam literature that was primarily concerned with love, war, ethics, and law. Instead, the luminous, abstract, and fragmentary Paripāṭal contains poems of praise and devotion to the great river V…