Chapter

The Anti-hierarchical ‘Individual’ Self

Jeanne Openshaw

in Writing the Self

Published in print December 2009 | ISBN: 9780198062479
Published online October 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199080489 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198062479.003.0006
The Anti-hierarchical ‘Individual’ Self

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The notion that all human beings are one and the same self, without differentiation, clearly threatens the distinctions on which householder and renouncer societies are based. In general, Raj and his disciples offer an uncompromising critique of divisions, lateral or vertical, between person and person, whether of caste, religion (primarily Hindu and Muslim), lineage (guru–disciple), and gender. Raj's lineage recruits from all castes (Brahmins to Scheduled Castes) and even from ‘Muslim’ as well as ‘Hindu’ communities, although such radicalism is under siege at a time of increasing religious communalism. Such radical social ideas are related to notions of the self by Bartaman-panthis. This chapter argues that it is not just the ‘self’, but specifically a material construct of the self which constitutes the focus of this radicalism. Raj's attitude to these issues underwent a profound transformation in the course of his life, as indicated by the autobiography and other writings.

Keywords: self; Raj Krishna; social radicalism; autobiography; Bartaman-panthis

Chapter.  5363 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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