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Swami Vivekanada

  • Date Submitted: 02/07/2014 10:59 PM
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The Man the Mysticism and the Vedanta

Part 1 – The Man and the Vedanta Philosophy

India is home to one of the world’s oldest and most popular religions in Hinduism. With Hinduism’s age has come many periods of reform, re-identification, and prominence. To many in the West, Eastern religions - particularly Hinduism - have been a mystery. Eastern religions were often associated with the superstition, idolatry, and primitive societies. In the eyes of many Western theological scholars, Hinduism stood in stark contrast to the monotheistic ideals of the Abrahamic West, and was quite often mistaken as something polymorphous, polytheistic or even pagan. The majority of Western scholars were either ignorant of the religion or denied its value on a global religious scale. It has not been until recent years that education and exposure on the part of prominent Hindu thinkers has elevated the religion's status in the eyes of Western scholars. Swami Vivekananda was one of those who helped to change this image through the introduction of a new school of philosophy called Advaita Vedenta.
This paper will analyze the development of Swami Vivekananda’s Vedanta philosophy, its relevance to modern Hindu identity, as well as its social and theological goals. This will be achieved through a discussion and analysis of his philosophies and their impact in the modern Hindu world.
Essential to understanding the motivations behind Vivekananda’s drive to bring spirituality to the world is the idea that religion should no longer be held in private but should be brought out into the open and incorporated into daily life through social and political action. Understanding Vivekananda helps construct a better appreciation for colonial and post-colonial Hindu identity, as well as the formation of a new form of thought within Hindu philosophy.

The Man
Swami Vivekananda was born 1863 in Calcutta as Narendra Nath Datta. His family was part of the Kayastha (warrior) caste, and he...

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