Chapter

A General Introduction

Arvind Sharma

in Modern Hindu Thought

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780195676389
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199081974 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195676389.003.0002
A General Introduction

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In philosophical discussions about modern Hinduism, the preferred word for ultimate reality is brahman. Thus, the first episteme for understanding modern Hinduism is brahman (satya). The Vedāntins, who came after Śankara (ninth century), debated over whether brahman was nirguna or saguna. This debate, which echoes in modern Hinduism, has taken on a distinctly academic tone. The extreme positions, although they do not dominate the debate, continue to be represented. The nirguna and saguna aspects continue to be represented by Ramana Maharsi (1879–1950) and Devendranath Tagore (1817–1905), respectively. This chapter explores the concepts of nirguna and saguna brahman, as well as incarnation, and ‘māyā’. It also discusses modern Hinduism in the realm of social thought, the caste system and its allied doctrine, the āśrama system, and the doctrine of the purusārthas.

Keywords: Hinduism; brahman; nirguna; saguna; Ramana Maharsi; Devendranath Tagore; incarnation; māyā; caste; purusārthas

Chapter.  11213 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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