PLA

by Nirad C. Chaudhuri
Oxford,$18.95
“A Hindu is under no compulsion to subscribe to any dogma or profess faith in a particular thing,” Mr. Chaudhuri explains. “It is not possible to find doctrinal heresy in Hinduism because Hinduism has no fixed doctrine. . . . There is no such thing as a centralized or hierarchial organization. . . .” There is, however, something for everybody from the hair-splitting scholar to the farmer worried about his crops, and Mr. Chaudhuri describes the various cults and texts and rituals through which people find consolation or encouragement. His intention is not to attract Western converts (he considers the Western enthusiasm for Hindu mysticism an aberration verging on idiocy) but to inform readers about the actual functioning of the faith. The book is not easy reading, but neither is it all hard work. Mr. Chaudhuri includes attractive bits of personal reminiscence and unpredictable asides such as, “When Freudians get hold of Hinduism they can run amuck. . . .” Bibliography, index.