Many many many Gods of Hinduism by Swami Achutananda is a comprehensive guide about Indian culture, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Achuthananda begins his text with a note to the reader about the importance of asking questions about who we are and why we are here on the planet. He posits that Hinduism is key to addressing these issues as the literature is vast and represents thousands of years of spiritual experiences.
First, Achuthananda addresses key aspects of Indian culture, such as the idea of karma, the life of Buddha, and the relationship between India and Pakistan. For Achuthananda, to understand Hinduism, one must understand the cultural and linguistic background of the religion.
Next, Achuthananda discusses key concepts of the religion itself. He points out the many different scriptures and talks about important symbolism. Mostly, he compares Hinduism with most Western religions to show the differences between the two and to highlight the essence of Hinduism.
Finally, he addresses some controversies in the religion itself. A big one being that some Hindu scripture hints that man created God. While this seems blasphemous to a Westerner, Achuthananda explains that the Hindu concept of God is so hard to wrap one’s head around, that people needed some concrete form of reference—thus the many Gods, which are actually multiple facets of one God.
This text is all-inclusive, interesting, and educational. Anyone who wants to learn about Hinduism should pick up this book, as it is informative about the religion and the culture from which it stems. The one thing that would make this book easier to read would be more concrete examples from the culture and the scriptures. Some of the concepts are hard to understand and examples would help illuminate the ideas.