I was recently asked to review the booklet “Hindu Spirituality in a Nutshell”. available from http://www.hinduspirituality.com/. This is available as a downloadable e-booklet at a cost of £0.73, or as a paperback at £4.03. Being just over 30 pages long it is easily readable on the computer, so I would recommend the electronic version rather than the rather expensive paperback.
This book sets it self one goal, to teach the basic ideas of Hindu spirituality. It describes the basic ideas of reincarnation, God, Karma and the nature of the spiritual and physical world. It does not seek to teach any practical spiritual practices such as yoga, meditation, or devotional worship. I have to say that it achieves simple goals it sets for itself very well. There are some things that I would have probably included that were missing, for example it described the physical and spiritual world but did not distinguish the subtle plane. I can see however that the author has decided to keep things simple, and the omission was of deliberate choice rather than error. The only criticism I could make is that the description of Karma seemed to take on a rather fatalistic perspective. We know that people can float uncontrolled in the sea of samsara, but I think that anyone who has decided to read a book such as this is showing the beginnings of purushartha, self effort to determine destiny.
This book should not be the only book on Hinduism anyone should read. With out practice the knowledge contained would be dry and not bear fruit. I think it would be an ideal book for someone who has already learned meditation or yoga and needs to know the practice, or someone drawn to the devotional path but who needs the background knowledge.