Bhakti Universalist

Ferdinando Sardella

in Modern Hindu Personalism

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199865918
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979998 | DOI:
Bhakti Universalist

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This chapter discusses Bhaktisiddhānta's transnational attempt to propagate Caitanya Vaishnavism by sending disciples to London and Berlin in the 1930s. In this regard, it provides a fairly detailed description and analysis of their encounter with imperial Britain and Nazi Germany, as well as the manner in which they carried forth Bhaktisiddhānta's message. The Gaudiya Math's venture marked the earliest attempt of a Vaishnava institution to establish itself in Europe. Its intellectual foundation consisted of English language literatures that in some respects provided a more authentic understanding of Vaishnava bhakti than that which had been thus far presented in the writings of Christian scholars and Indologists. The Gaudiya mission attracted the attention of both British and German scholars, and even managed to kindle serious interest among a few others. Bhaktisiddhānta sought to provide a genuine alternative to the nondualistic understanding of Hinduism that had come to predominate, particularly within the Anglo-Saxon cultural sphere.

Keywords: London; Berlin; Nazi Germany; Gaudiya mission; Vaishnava Bhakti; indology

Chapter.  18382 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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