Chapter

Hinduism and the Question of Founders

Måns Broo

in Varieties of Religious Invention

Published in print November 2015 | ISBN: 9780199359714
Published online September 2015 | e-ISBN: 9780190264253 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199359714.003.0008
Hinduism and the Question of Founders

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This chapter discusses the role of “founders” in Hinduism, a religion that prides itself on not having any identifiable historical initiators but also teems with creators and organizers of all kinds of sects, schools, and doctrines, gurus who lean heavily on charisma for their influence. What types of arguments do these facts give rise to, and what types of heuristic tools can be used to understand the dynamics behind religious orthodoxy and renewal in Hinduism? Using examples from both history and contemporary Hinduism, this chapter maintains that not having a founder is used creatively by Hindus to argue for the authenticity and supremacy of Hinduism. This strategy also enables Hindu thinkers and practitioners to find points of entry into a variety of contemporary discourses while creating space for charismatic innovation and revival through “secondary founders.”

Keywords: Hinduism; gurus; charisma; religious innovation; secondary founders

Chapter.  7391 words. 

Subjects: East Asian Religions

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