By Naveen Gopal

Vice President Pacifica Partners Financial Services

Most of us who grew up practicing Hinduism in our daily lives often understand the religion through rituals (poojas), mantras, stories (like the Ramayan) and a series of rules and obligations. We often wonder how we’d teach these customs to our kids in the age of social media, selfies and the internet.

Hinduism has a reputation for being vast, democratic and multi-faceted, and this book does an excellent job of boiling it down, helping the reader understand its philosophy, where it came from and why it relevant today, especially in this age of awareness.

The book explores the history and evolution of the religion and also importantly discusses who influenced the religion, both good and bad. Some philosophers encouraged scientific curiosity and rational thought, while others (for example) sought to divide its followers by advocating the caste system. It discusses science, karma and yoga, and helps shed light on how to apply its ancient wisdom today.

Ultimately the book is a detailed but concise overview of a very dense and complicated topic, and the reader is left encouraged to look deeper into the parts of Hinduism that interests them the most. It does require the reader to focus and pay attention, and a dictionary might be useful too. I found myself rewarded with a greater awareness of its relevance and a sense of how I might apply the thinking in my own life.