Hinduism  
Internet Resources

There is a growing number of web sites useful for the study of Hinduism. Indeed, a search on the term "Hinduism" in a major internet search engine will turn up thousands upon thousands of hits. Here I will mention only some of the most useful.

General

Dr. T. Matthew Ciolek and a team of 45 co-editors maintain the large clearinghouse for online information on Asia generally known as the Asian Studies WWW Virtual Library. This site has been around for a long time and is enormous. One nice feature is the organization of material by geographical area, so that one can go directly to the resources on India, namely the India WWW Virtual Library. Here you will find links to Indian cities with web pages and to Indian newsgroups and mailing lists. In other words, short of being able to visit India in person, this is an excellent way to make contact with the subcontinent, albeit "virtually." Also be sure to look at their large collection of links to sites dealing specifically with aspects of Indian religions.

Hindu Resources Online describes itself as "the Web Window to Hindu Organizations, Leaders and Resources Worldwide." Here you will find, for instance, a collection of pages on the "God and Gods of Hinduism," complete with numerous images. The Hindu Universe, maintained by the Hindu Studies Council, "an international forum promoting understanding of Hindu culture and heritage," is a clearinghouse for information on virtually all aspects of the Hinduism. Also of interest is the South Asian Milan, which presents itself as "your online resource to the countries, cultures and communities of South Asia." It's page on religion in India has a great many links to web pages of all descriptions, some of high quality, some more doubtful, all thrown together in no particular order, but all interesting in one way or another. Hinduism Today, described as a "monthly magazine affirming Sanatana Dharma and recording the modern history of a billion-strong global religion in renaissance, maintains a web site that includes back issues of the magazine. One of the great advantages of many of these sites is that they are being created by Indian Hindus for Indian Hindus, and thus provide a glimpse of contemporary Hinduism "from the inside." In this way the Web is becoming an invaluable resource for the study of Hinduism as a living religion.

Academic Sites

Sites with a more academic focus include John Stratton Hawley's excellent site at Barnard College devoted to Hindu Studies. Some of the more interesting sites listed there are Jack Llewellyn's page on the Kumbh Mela and the Sri Vaishnava Home Page. The Rutgers University Religion Department also maintains a Hindu Studies page, which is part of its enormous Virtual Religion Index.

Indology: Internet Resources for Indological Scholarship is just what its title indicates, oriented to scholars. Also along the same lines are the Asiatica Association, which has links to the Journal of South Asian Women Studies and to the International Journal of Tantric Studies, and the Center for the Advanced Study of India at the University of Pennsylvania. The University of Pennsylvania's Department of South Asian Regional Studies is also online, as is its South Asia Art Archive, part of the Center for Electronic Text and Image.

Sites on Specific Topics

There are a large number of web sites devoted to specific aspects of the Hindu religious tradition. Both the the major epics, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, now have web sites devoted to their study. The followers of Madhva's Dvaita Vedanta maintain a web page, and there is a web page devoted to tantra. I have already mentioned the Sri Vaishnava Home Page above, as well as the page on the Kumbh Mela. One can now learn about the Hindu calendar online, or study photos of the seals and images excavated in the Indus Valley (the latter is a particularly nice site). There is even an PhD dissertation online, "The Developing Terminology for the Self in Vedic India," by John Robert Gardner at the University of Iowa.

The International Society for Krishna Consciousness, better known in America as the Hare Krishnas, has its own web page. There is even a Hare Krishna Network. Many other Hindu organizations have a presence on the web, as can be seen by taking a quick look at the listing of organizations maintained by the Hindu Universe web page mentioned above.

 

Clearly there is an enormous amount of material on Hinduism present on the World Wide Web, and the amount is growing constantly. The quality, as with all things on the net, is of course variable, and you must always pay attention to who is putting the material on-line and what their qualifications (and prejudices) are. It is quite easy to find statements on some of these sites that are questionable or even demonstrably false from the perspective of the academic, historical-critical study of Hindu religious traditions but which nevertheless provide insight into alternative perspectives on various aspects of the Hindu tradition. The same could be said about the presence of other major religious traditions on the web. The official web site of Jerry Falwell Ministries might present the Christian tradition quite differently than would, for instance, the official Vatican web site. One of course has to proceed intelligently. Nevertheless, the links discussed above are just the tip of the iceberg. Go and explore!