chapter  2
24 Pages

Deity

We are going to begin our exploration of South Asian religious traditions at a point that many people might see as the appropriate place – that is, with notions of the divine. The idea that religion emanates from the focal point of the divine figure of God is a common one, yet it is often skewed by presuppositions that do not fit the South Asian context. As a consequence, the nature of the divine in South Asian traditions can appear perplexingly complex and contested. This can be particularly the case with Hindu traditions. In 2006, for example, a UK Hindu group wrote to the Times Educational Supplement complaining about the representation of Hinduism in British schools as a ‘naive paganistic religion happy to accept many all-mighty Gods’ (Times Educational Supplement 2006). This group rather argues that Hindu gods are ‘facets of the same Brahmm, the Supreme God’ (Hindu Council UK n.d.), a very different view.