Hinduism — A Way of Life and a Mode of Thought: Usha Choudhuri, Indra Nath Choudhuri; Niyogi Books, D-78, Okhla Industrial Area, Phase-I,

New Delhi-110020.

Rs. 1045.

The cover of the book has a truncated form of a phrase used by Jacques Derrida, “Religion without religion”, to indicate what the authors conceive as Hinduism. True Hinduism, the book says, has a power and beauty that no one acquainted with it can regard with anything but the deepest respect. “You have to approach it as you approach poetry, with a willing suspension of disbelief.” Above all the peripheral myths, customs, beliefs and rites, rises the edifice of Hindu philosophy, painting, architecture and poetry. The book is described as a search for true Hinduism that is beyond any kind of definition of religion. “Here the secular and the sacred meet. Truth and untruth, spirituality and materialism, gods and demons, life here and life beyond are complementary to each other.” The book points to Hinduism’s vast range of scriptures, a huge array of ritualistic procedures and traditions of brahminical orthodoxy, varied interpretations with multiple views. “There is a variety of theological explications, ultimately leading to the celebration of life while searching for the divine and realising the self.”

Black-shelled Jade Sculptures and Mago Civilization: by Chai Hisuk; Translated by Kim Eunha; Mago Civilization Institute Publishing Department, 17 Supyo-ro 6-gil, Jung-gu 100-013, Seoul. $ 250.

In August 2006, in the area of Huadexian, Neimenggu, an autonomous region some 300 km northwest of Beijing, ancient artefacts were unearthed. One distinguishing feature of the discovery was the overwhelming number of mysterious sculptures found in the area. They were carved on very hard jade and typically covered with black pigment. The initial discovery was reported by Kim Heeyong. He found a complete skeleton, beside 31 jade sculptures painted with black pigment from one of the underground shrines in the find-spot. The type of stone, the form and style of images greatly differ with each location.

Kim Heeyong believes that there had been “pre-civilisations” in a vast range of regions over a long period of time. The sculptures are much larger in scale and harder than those of the Hongshan culture.

The book argues that the trained sculptors who created these were from a special class excluded from the problem of living, and did not directly participate in producing food. “It was an abundant world with high technologies and devices where they could have sufficient support from their society.”

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