Principles and Practice of
Hindu Religion
Sanãtana Dharma Šãsthra
Bala N. Aiyer


S. RAMAKRISHNAN - General Editor

A Book Review


In an interesting and an informative book "Principles and Practice of Hinduism", its author Dr. Bala N. Aiyer, has achieved an outstanding feat. He has covered all the important aspects of Hinduism in just about 200 pages. Hinduism is veritably an ocean and packaging the essence of Hinduism in 200 pages is as colossal a task as filling the ocean in a bottle.

Dr. Aiyer has divided the book into seven major chapters, with each chapter dealing with an important topic on Hinduism. He has then systematically proceeded to further divide each chapter into different lessons, each lesson consisting of only one page. Thus, the reader is spared the burdensome task of reading pages after pages of text. Thus, by means of only light reading, one learns a great deal about the fundamentally profound subject of Hinduism.

Time has three dimensions: Past, Present and Future. In the initial chapters, the author has authentically traced the history of evolution of Hinduism. He has described comprehensively, how the various spiritual practices and rituals of Hinduism took birth in the light of socio-political environment prevalent in India throughout the centuries. He then analyses the present day scenario and also the problems confronting the Hindu faith. In the Epilogue, he candidly assesses the situation and concludes on an optimistic note that though Hinduism has been lying dormant for a while now, owing to the eternal nature of its basic tenets, it is going to regain its place in the world of human affairs -- not as a mere religion or faith, but as a Universal Way of Life.

In other chapters, the author has highlighted the fact that Hinduism is essentially monotheistic -- it propounds the existence of only one God. However, it permits the individual to ascribe any form or name to God as per his/her choice and to worship "his/her" God. The various Deities and Incarnations of God as also the different schools of Hindu philosophy and their distinguishing principles have been succinctly elaborated. The appendices to the book contain Hymns from some of the foremost Hindu scriptures.

The author has made an honest attempt to dispel the misgivings a common man is likely to have about Hinduism. The various scriptures of Hinduism and their teachings have come in for comprehensive treatment. The significance of these teachings in one's daily life and the methods of practicing them for one's benefit have been presented very lucidly. The uniqueness of Hinduism as compared to other faiths and the fact that despite superficial differences, Hinduism states exactly what other faiths stated later on, is born out quite effectively.

Thus, the book is useful for a Hindu who wants to know more about his/her religion and also to the adherents of other faiths as reading the book shall help them understand true Hinduism correctly and they will be enlightened about the element of unity among all religions, however diverse they may appear to be.

The book carries the benediction of the Acharyas of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham.

Dr. Bala N. Aiyer has settled in the USA for a long time. The book is an evidence that even among Indians settled abroad, the fervor for India's priceless spiritual heritage, culture, philosophy and moral values has remained undiminished.

Benediction [ Srimukham ] : Acharyas of Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
Color Laminated Pictures of various Hindu Deities : 19
Size : Royal Octavo : : Hardback bound with jacket
Price : Rs. 600. : : US $ 28.
Available from:
Book Sales Division
Kulapati K. M. Munshi Marg, Mumbai - 400 007
Phone : 363 - 12 61; 495 - 09 16; 363 - 44 62 / 3 / 4
Principles and Practice of
1- Srimukham: - [Benediction] from Sri Sankaracharya of Kanchipuram, India.
2- Foreword: - from Sri. Dr. N. Mahalingam, Chennai, India.
3- Preface: - from Sri. Dr. S. V. Narasimhan, Chennai, India.
4- Introduction: - by Author
5- Acknowledgements: - by Author
6- Afterword : - A word from the Author
7- Bibliography : References and suggested books for Reading

Prayer : A Universal Prayer to One Almighty

I. An Introduction and Overview of Hinduism
A basic study of the principles and Practice
II. The Essentials of the Hindu Traditions
The evolution of the Spirit and the Culture
III. A Historical Approach to Hindu religion
A Study of the History of Hinduism
IV. The Scriptures and Sacred Works
The Books we have as our Religious Texts
V. The Principles and Philosophy
The Basic Message of our Teachings
VI. The Daily Practice of the Faith
The applied form of the faith in daily practice
VII. Rituals, Prayers, Practices and Problems
A study of various customs, ethics and rules

Epilogue : A Time for renaisance

Bibliography : References
A Companion:
Part I. Devotional and Ritualistic Path
Part II. Selected songs and Prayers
Part III. Verses from Srimad Bhagavat Gita.
Part IV. Selected verses from Vedas.