Hindu Response to Religious Pluralism


Daniel, P.S.


It is frequently stated that Hinduism is the most tolerant religion, and that its tolerance is the greatest antidote to conflict and disharmony in a multi-religious society. The author looks at this allegation and demonstrates that Hinduism contains all of the possible answers to religious pluralism as well.

The author’s study of the Ancient Indian tradition of selected Hindu sacred texts – Rigveda, Gita, and others – and three contemporary Hindu thinkers, Swami Vivekananda, Swami Dayananda, and Mahatma Gandhi reveals that from the start there have been various responses to religious pluralism not all of which are tolerant.

Contents : Introduction : The Problem; Clarification of Terms; Scope and Method; Previous research / Religious Pluralism in Hindu Sacred Texts : Rg Veda; Bhagavad Gita; Itihasas and Puranas : Hinduism and Buddhism, Saivism and Vaisnavism, Conclusion / Swami Dayananda Saraswati : Vedic Dharma the Only True Religion : Introduction; Vedas the Norm of Truth; Marks of the Vedic Dharma : Its is Monotheistic; Its is Rational; It is Ethical; It is Universal; Vedic Dharma and Other Religions; Dayananda’s Critique of Particular Religions; Observations and Evaluation : Dayananda’s Negative and Militant Approach; Dayananda’s Interpretation of Other Faiths; Why was Dayananda so Aggressive and Negative in His Response to Other Religions?; Why did Dayananda Make the Vedas the Only Basis and Norm of Truth?; Conclusion / Swami Vivekananda : The Absoluteness of Vedanta 120 : Harmony of Religions : Religion and Religions; All Religions are One in Essence; all Religions are One in Goal; All Religions are Means to the Same Goal; All Religions are True; The Need for Many Religions; Observations; Advaita the Fulfilment of all Religions; Advaita the Exclusively True Religion; Why Vedanta of Religions? Vivekananda’s Claims; Evaluation and Observations : A Critique; Further Remarks / Mahatma Gandhi : Equality of Religions : the Bases of the Equality of Religions : Practical and Pragmatic Ground; Phenomenological Ground; Metaphysical and Theological Ground Religion and Religions : Unity in Diversity Further Considerations on Meaning of the Equality of Religion : No one Religion can be Valid and Effective to all; No Religion is Superior or Inferior to any Other Religion; Tolerance and Respect for Other Faiths Gandhi and Particular Religions : Christianity; Islam; Hinduism; Gandhi and Some Prctical Issues : The Problem of Conversion; the State and Religions; Evaluation / Retrospect and Prospect : The Nature of Hindu Response : There is not Standard Hindu Response; Hindu Response is not Unique; the Nature of Hindu Tolerance : Hindu Tolerance; The Implications of Hindu Tolerance; Issues in Religious Pluralism : The Question of Truth; Religilous Communalism and the Problem of Identity Crisis; State and Religion : Religious Freedom and the Question of Conversion; Concluslion

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