Advaita Worldview, The: God, World, and Humanity

SUNY Press
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In this book, Anantanand Rambachan offers a fresh and detailed perspective on Advaita Vedanta, Hinduism’s most influential and revered religious tradition. Rambachan, who is both a scholar and an Advaitin, attends closely to the Upanisads and authentic commentaries of Sankara to challenge the tradition and to reconsider central aspects of its current teachings. His reconstruction and reinterpretation of Advaita focuses in particular on the nature of brahman, the status of the world in relation to brahman, and the meaning and relevance of liberation.

Rambachan queries contemporary representations of an impersonal brahman and the need for popular, hierarchical distinctions such as those between a higher (para) and lower (apara) brahman. Such distinctions, Rambachan argues, are inconsistent with the non-dual nature of brahman and are unnecessary when brahman’s relationship with the world is correctly understood. Questioning Advaita’s traditional emphasis on renunciation and world-denial, Rambachan expands the understanding of suffering (duhkha) and liberation (moksa) and addresses socioeconomic as well as gender and caste inequalities. Positing that the world is a celebrative expression of God’s fullness, this book advances Advaita as a universal and uninhibited path to a liberated life committed to compassion, equality, and justice.
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About the author

Anantanand Rambachan is Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College and is the author of several books, including The Limits of Scripture: Vivekananda’s Reinterpretation of the Vedas.

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Additional Information

Publisher
SUNY Press
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Published on
Feb 29, 2012
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Pages
158
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ISBN
9780791481318
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Language
English
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Genres
Philosophy / Eastern
Religion / Eastern
Religion / Hinduism / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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Anantanand Rambachan
Discusses Hindu Advaita Vedānta as a philosophy of social justice for the modern world.

This expansive and accessible work provides an introduction to the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedānta and brings it into discussion with contemporary concerns. Advaita, the non-dual school of Indian philosophy and spirituality associated with Śaṅkara, is often seen as “other-worldly,” regarding the world as an illusion. Anantanand Rambachan has played a central role in presenting a more authentic Advaita, one that reveals how Advaita is positive about the here and now. The first part of the book presents the hermeneutics and spirituality of Advaita, using textual sources, classical commentary, and modern scholarship. The book’s second section considers the implications of Advaita for ethical and social challenges: patriarchy, homophobia, ecological crisis, child abuse, and inequality. Rambachan establishes how Advaita’s non-dual understanding of reality provides the ground for social activism and the values that advocate for justice, dignity, and the equality of human beings.

“Rambachan has written an original, creative, and provocative book that will assure that Hinduism has a greater voice in the general arena of interreligious dialogue.” — Paul F. Knitter, Union Theological Seminary

“This is an important contribution to the advancement of constructive work in Hindu theology, comparative theology, and the study of South Asian religious traditions. It has the potential to revolutionize how scholars view Hinduism generally, and Advaita Vedānta in particular.” — Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown College
Anantanand Rambachan
"Hailed as one of modern India's cultural heroes, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) has been credited not only with interpreting Hinduism to the west but with interpreting it to India itself. Despite his pervasive influence, critical assessments and attempts to "demythologize" Vivekananda have been rare, and rarer still are historical and hermeneutical clarification of his work. The Limits of Scripture offers a close examination of Vivekananda's understanding of the authority of sruiti (the Vedas) and its relationship to anubhava (personal experience)." "Beginning with an analysis of western influences and Hindu responses in the nineteenth century, Anantanand Rambachan moves on to a careful explication of Vivekananda's understanding of the Vedas, the nature and scope of their authority, and the hermeneutical principles employed by him in his approach to the texts. Throughout the discussion, the author also clarifies the generally overlooked distinctions between Vivekananda's view of anubhava as the source of liberating knowledge and that of Sankara (ca. 788-820), the principal systematizer and exponent of the Advaita tradition, who argued for the Vedas as the authoritative source of this knowledge. The task of critically distinguishing Sankara and Vivekananda has not been thoroughly accomplished elsewhere and is crucial for understanding religious and philosophical change in modern Indian thought." "In addition this work evaluates the coherence and consistency of Vivekananda's reinterpretations, drawing attention to important problems in his claim for the supremacy of personal experience, his arguments for "many paths to the same goal," and his attempts to reconcile the insights of Hinduism with the methods and findings of science. In undertaking this assessment and analysis, The Limits of Scripture makes a real contribution to the understanding of Vivekananda's legacy, Indian religions, and the wider study of religion."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Anantanand Rambachan
Discusses Hindu Advaita Vedānta as a philosophy of social justice for the modern world.

This expansive and accessible work provides an introduction to the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedānta and brings it into discussion with contemporary concerns. Advaita, the non-dual school of Indian philosophy and spirituality associated with Śaṅkara, is often seen as “other-worldly,” regarding the world as an illusion. Anantanand Rambachan has played a central role in presenting a more authentic Advaita, one that reveals how Advaita is positive about the here and now. The first part of the book presents the hermeneutics and spirituality of Advaita, using textual sources, classical commentary, and modern scholarship. The book’s second section considers the implications of Advaita for ethical and social challenges: patriarchy, homophobia, ecological crisis, child abuse, and inequality. Rambachan establishes how Advaita’s non-dual understanding of reality provides the ground for social activism and the values that advocate for justice, dignity, and the equality of human beings.

“Rambachan has written an original, creative, and provocative book that will assure that Hinduism has a greater voice in the general arena of interreligious dialogue.” — Paul F. Knitter, Union Theological Seminary

“This is an important contribution to the advancement of constructive work in Hindu theology, comparative theology, and the study of South Asian religious traditions. It has the potential to revolutionize how scholars view Hinduism generally, and Advaita Vedānta in particular.” — Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown College
Anantanand Rambachan
"Hailed as one of modern India's cultural heroes, Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902) has been credited not only with interpreting Hinduism to the west but with interpreting it to India itself. Despite his pervasive influence, critical assessments and attempts to "demythologize" Vivekananda have been rare, and rarer still are historical and hermeneutical clarification of his work. The Limits of Scripture offers a close examination of Vivekananda's understanding of the authority of sruiti (the Vedas) and its relationship to anubhava (personal experience)." "Beginning with an analysis of western influences and Hindu responses in the nineteenth century, Anantanand Rambachan moves on to a careful explication of Vivekananda's understanding of the Vedas, the nature and scope of their authority, and the hermeneutical principles employed by him in his approach to the texts. Throughout the discussion, the author also clarifies the generally overlooked distinctions between Vivekananda's view of anubhava as the source of liberating knowledge and that of Sankara (ca. 788-820), the principal systematizer and exponent of the Advaita tradition, who argued for the Vedas as the authoritative source of this knowledge. The task of critically distinguishing Sankara and Vivekananda has not been thoroughly accomplished elsewhere and is crucial for understanding religious and philosophical change in modern Indian thought." "In addition this work evaluates the coherence and consistency of Vivekananda's reinterpretations, drawing attention to important problems in his claim for the supremacy of personal experience, his arguments for "many paths to the same goal," and his attempts to reconcile the insights of Hinduism with the methods and findings of science. In undertaking this assessment and analysis, The Limits of Scripture makes a real contribution to the understanding of Vivekananda's legacy, Indian religions, and the wider study of religion."--BOOK JACKET.Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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