[Advaita-l] Inter Religious Dialogue - Part 1

Omkar Deshpande omkar_deshpande at yahoo.com
Tue Nov 22 22:20:35 CST 2011

<<<I will quote his exact words later when I'm back home.>>>

I'm quoting him below. This is regarding the complaint recently raised about Western academics:

<<<When dealing with a complex subject much care has to be taken to not group them and generalize. I am sure Muslims and Christians would object if
they were grouped with Jews and their beliefs are treated as one religion -
"The Abrahmic Cult". In the same way, the Hindus have the right to object
to if their diverse traditions are grouped in to one religion - "The Hindu"
- just because they accept the Vedas. As you know, the different traditions
accept the Vedas in different ways.>>>
Here are the words of Prof. Grant Hardy (also a Christian by personal belief) about Hinduism from an introductory course on Indian and Chinese religions:
Quote - The term 'Hindu' does not describe a single Indian religion. Rather, it is a catch-all term for the tremendous variety of beliefs and practices of the Indian subcontinent. Hinduism is a Western term that was invented by outsiders that means 'all the religious stuff that happened in India'. The word India itself comes from the geographical region the Hind/Sindh meaning the area around the Indus/Sindhu river. It's almost as if the Mongols had taken over Europe in the 13th century and then lumped Judaism, Christianity and Islam into one religious package that they called "Middle Easternism". All those religions that are monotheistic, that have prophets, a single book of scripture, and came out of the desert -- aren't they all pretty much the same?
The very introduction of Mark Muesse's "The Hindu Traditions" (note the plural) points to the problems with using a single word 'Hinduism' to capture religious diversity of India. He spends the very first lecture of his course exclusively on how those used to Western religions need to be cautious in accepting simplistic statements like "Hinduism is the religion of India", given that all the three words (Hinduism, religion and India) are inventions of outsiders (for details, see the introduction to his textbook on amazon). I am not sure how and why such complaints arise about academics, especially given that these two examples are not atypical examples, 



More information about the Advaita-l mailing list