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Fact of fiction ?- A reader's Report

From: Nutech (Nutech_at_ix.netcom.com)
Date: Wed Apr 29 1998 - 13:48:56 PDT

READER"S REPORT

TITLE : "Explaining the Unexplained- 
Myths, Miracles and Mysticism In Hinduism: What do they Signify?"

AUTHOR: Anbil Ramaswamy

SYNOPSIS:

"Explaining the Unexplained" is a non-fiction work which seeks to
explain the numerous traditions incident to the Hindu faith. As the
subtitle of the work suggests, the endeavor is arranged along three
chief lines- Hindu Myths, Miracles and Mysticism.

Each of these categories are divided into neatly arranged sections which
breakdown the various elements of each category. In this sense, the work
is very much like an educational and explanatory guide for those well
versed in the Hindu faith as well as those who are genuinely interested
in the faith. 

The first area of interest surrounds Hindu myths. For the author, "a
Myth consists of legendary fiction based on an event which occurred
during the early days of a certain people’s existence. Further, the myth
reflects certain tenets of faith and belief of that people "(page 1). 

The author spends Section one of the work giving the reader background
on mythology in general and how a society uses it as a cultural
practice. 

The Second section of the work looks specifically at selections from the
Hindu holy scriptures. These passages demonstrate how the Hindus use
myth as a tool for the teaching and promotion of moral practices. The
author’s commentary in this section allows Non-Hindu readers to
understand the universality of Hindu teachings.

Part Two of the work centers around Miracles. Simply put, a Miracle " is
an extraordinary occurrence that is ascribed to a divine or supernatural
cause"(page 71). A miracle is not magic trick because the latter is
little more than a well orchestrated illusion. A miracle, on the other
hand, is the genuine article. Miracles are important for religious
believers because only God can perform the impossible. Miracles, thus,
are a stamp of a higher divine existence. In Hindu belief, God shows
Himself in this world via a physical presence called ‘Avatar’. 

Part Two ends with a discussion of holy men and how a believer may be
assured that he or she is not being fooled. With this insight, the Hindu
becomes ready to receive whatever miracle or wisdom which God intends.

Part Three focuses on Mysticism. Mystery is ‘ a truth unknowable except
by supernatural or divine revelation’(Page 110). In a religious context,
mystery surrounds the knowledge by which eternal life in the other world
may be attained. Mysteries may be benevolent or malevolent, and the
author provides examples of both types. This Part is the shortest in the
work and ends with the explanation of such mystical happenings as "deja
Vu’, ‘amnesia’, and ‘telepathy’ among others.

The work concludes with a thorough and complete bibliography. The
presentation of the manuscript is very solid.

CRITICAL APPRAISAL:

"Explaining the Unexplained" is very well written work. The language
employed is very straightforward and the author does a good job of
explaining and tying together the various different topics which the
manuscript covers. The author’s use of language helps in this regard
because the reader never gets perplexed by a poor choice of words. Thus,
the work flows nicely and is very readable.

The structure of the manuscript complements the author’s efficient
language use by making the work reader- friendly. The frequent use of
sections keeps the story going at a pleasant pace. This technique also
helps the reader to absorb more of the material presented. In many ways,
the work has the look and feel of a textbook. For students studying the
Hindu faith, this well researched work could serve as an excellent
supplemental tool in their education. 

The lengthy bibliography could also point students to other areas of
potential research.

In any event, the obvious target readership of the work surrounds those
who have a deep knowledge of Hinduism. At the same time, individuals who
are in search of spiritual guidance through understanding of faiths
other than their own will find this book fascinating. The author does an
excellent job of discussing items specific to the Hindu faith.

Overall, the work is a very strong one and accomplishes what it is
trying to do. The author’s faith in the Hindu traditions and how they
may benefit the modern world is sincere and gives the author credibility
with the reader. It also makes the work more relevant and useful for an
audience of today.

I wholeheartedly recommend the manuscript for publication. It is an
excellent material that should be told and shared with many.
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