Chapter

Social Philosopher

Ferdinando Sardella

in Modern Hindu Personalism

Published in print November 2012 | ISBN: 9780199865918
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780199979998 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199865918.003.0005
Social Philosopher

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This chapter explores Bhaktisiddhānta's personalist philosophy in relation to the religion and society of his time. Through its analysis of Bhaktisiddhānta's writings, the chapter highlights his attempt to develop the foundations for a dialogical encounter between opposites such as object and subject, in-worldliness and otherworldliness, non-personalism and personalism, caste and varnāśrama. The chapter deals with issues of definition, his critique of alternative views, the principle of constructive action within society through engaged renunciation (yukta vairāgya), and the connection between social and gendered philosophy. The chapter also reviews the manner in which Bhaktisiddhānta carefully analyzed the workings of the religion and society of his time in order to find a balance between the values and principles of the personalist core that he embraced and the novelty and innovations of the modern world. It shows that his concept of the non-material person was neither disembodied nor mystical, but immanent and active. This informed not only his struggle against the Hindu caste system and the narrow cultural boundaries of European colonialism, but also his personal struggle against the constraints of body and mind.

Keywords: caste; engaged renunciation, gender, personalism; yukta vairāgya; varnāśrama

Chapter.  14452 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Hinduism

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