Book Review of Hinduism: Ritual and Beyond by Ashok Mishra

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Hinduism: Ritual and Beyond

Neelam Sharma,

Writing Style


The book is journey through 5000 years of evolution of Hinduism, and is outcome of seven years of study to understand the roots of Hinduism. Tracing the genesis of Hinduism to pre-Indus Valley period, the book explains Hindu, Hinduism and Sanatana Dharma, before it takes one through Hinduism’s oldest scriptures – the four Vedas, the four components of each Veda, and what they contain. How all original translations of Vedic texts were done by Western Sanskrit scholars, and why their works have left scope for doubt about the fidelity of translations.
The yajnas (yagya) like Ashvamedha, Rajsooya, Vajpeya, etc., about which we only hear on TV serials and talk shows, have been demystified. The reader will be taken aback reading the sheer size and scale of Soma yajna, described step by step, in great detail. Hinduism’s journey to the Age of Reason, the Upanishads, its encounter with Buddhism, and its transformation into idol worshipping society with many gods and a multitude of stories about its millions of gods is lucidly explained. Puranas, what they contain and what was the reason they were created, has been described and explained next.

Hinduism’s journey to its modern form – idol worship, the modern puja, detailed description of puja and Sanskaras like Vivaha, their detailed description, the meaning of each action and how they are conducted, the gift to the priest, types of idols, their consecration, all are explained to help a reader understand the why and the how of what we do as a Hindu.
The book concludes with a discussion of – Do mantras have power? & Do rituals have meaning?


So guys, tell me a title based on History or historical facts and researches you have enjoyed reading in the past?

Hinduism is so elastic and subtle that the most profound Methodist and crudest idolator are equally at home with it.

Surely, Hinduism is one of the oldest cultures not only followed but also present since probably the beginning of old ages. Rich with all kinds of profound heritage, it is one of the most comprehensive as well as widely followed cultures in world history.

George Bernard Shaw

This book Hinduism: Ritual and Beyond by Ashok Mishra is an absolutely outstanding, detailed piece of writing. The book deals with complete knowledge with regards to Hinduism, the Hindu culture and the complete, exhaustive data behind its advent as well as terminologies, followings and all facets related to it.


The complete journey of Hinduism drafted and dated over a period of 5000 years, the Author Ashok has spent a period of more than 7 years, studying over 400 books, journals and monographs to understand the roots of it. 


I, especially, enjoyed reading about the 4 Vedas, the 6 Darsanas, the 18 Puranas and Upa-Puranas, Itihaas, Dharma Shastras, Upanishads and all other aspects of Hinduism and their cultural Significance and their pivotal roles in shaping up both our history as well as religion.

ALSO READ: Book review of Aksara Bhagavad Gita: Imperishable Bhagavad Gita by Haribakth and Vaishnavi

It is absolutely fascinating to read about Hinduism and associated rituals by means of this title especially as the author has compiled all the data and related information after a meticulous, comprehensive study of the human culture, patiently extricating all valuable info related to the concept. His research and strenuous research is evident from the humongous amount of data as well as the valuable links he has provided in support of his research, evidence and theory.


Say for instance, something as simple as performing a puja, which constitutes a part of Indian culture, has been extensively  researched, streamlined substantially and presented factually, in proper detail by him. Right from the manner in which it is performed to what goes in the form of various offerings to the correct methodology, techniques, the offerings to be done, the way of doing it i.e protrastion or Namaskara, Naivedya etc has been explained with complete and comprehensive detail.  

Simple concepts like Devotion, Dana (charity), Tirtha (Pilgrimage), Vrat (Fast), Gods, their arrival, worship (puja ), rules of this worship, Sanskaras, their types, the institution of marriage and beliefs and rituals related to it – all of this stands answered in this one comprehensive guide.

I would call this a proper reference book as far as understanding the complete concept and terminologies of Hinduism are concerned.


The language used by the author is simple, yet the explanations in no manner whatsoever are devoid of any significant fact and detail. It is commendable to note that the Author has done a research and reading of this magnitude to compile this piece of work. The result being evident considering the kind of rich data presented as well as the volumes of information related back links and sources provided by the Author towards the end depict his hard work and dedication. 


It is the perfect book for those wishing to understand the Hindu culture, Hinduism and Sanatan Dharma, researchers as well as students.


You like reading about culture and the historical back drop as well as facts related to the same.


You somehow do not enjoy reading about concepts like Hinduism and related data.

Overall a very well written, extensively researched and exhaustively and meticulously presented title worth reading I would say. Do read it and broaden your minds incorporating the interesting facets related to Hindu culturr and its significance and practices associated with it.

How did you like the book review of Hinduism: Ritual and Beyond by Ashok Mishra. Let me know in the comment section…

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