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Last updateMon, 13 Nov 2017 4am

Response to the Postmodernist charge of “Essentialism”

Response to the Postmodernist Charge of Essentialism

My book’s emphasis on difference is mainly about differences in axioms, truth-claims and philosophies. The purpose is to demonstrate that all truth-claims are not the same, and the intent is not to establish the superiority or inferiority of any. Some post-modernists do find all truth-claims to be essentialism, including all scientific claims; however, that is such an extreme view that I shall not bother to address it. My response here is to another kind of charge of essentialism – i.e. the use of terms like West, India, Dharma, Christian.

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Gandhi: Quintessentially Different and Non-Digestible

Gandhi Quintessentially Different and Non-Digestible

My book brings to the foreground some fundamental differences between Indian and Western civilizations, and explored at length the spiritual, metaphysical, philosophical and historical basis for such differences. I argue, that to gloss over these differences, reveals a dismal lack of civilizational self-awareness and wishful thinking on the part of Westerners, and low self-esteem by Indians resulting in part of an education system that seems to be still fulfilling the mandates of colonial educators.

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The Tiger and the Deer: Is Dharma being digested into the West?

The Tiger and the Deer Is Dharma being digested into the West

By assuming the mantle of the originators and bearers of universal truths – both sacred and secular – the West has often embarked on and justified programs, missions and schemes to bring the rest of mankind around to it’s own worldview. I use the metaphors of “tiger” and “deer” to illustrate the process of what I call the “digestion” of one culture by another, carried out under the guise of a desire to assimilate, reduce differences and assert sameness. The key point being made is that the digested culture disappears. This digestion is analogous to the food consumed by a host, in that what is useful gets reformulated into the host’s body, while that which doesn’t quite fit the host’s structure is eliminated as waste.

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Is Karma-Reincarnation Compatible with Christianity?

Is Karma-Reincarnation Compatible with Christianity.png

It is commonplace these days to hear the word “karma” used in popular parlance. Broadly speaking, karma could be translated as, “as you sow, so shall you reap” and this is how it is usually understood and used by Christians. The word karma, in a popular context, underscores the idea that there is a universal law at work, that we do live in a just world and no action (or thought) is exempt from consequences. Many surveys also show that an increasing percentage of Americans believe in karma and its corollary, reincarnation.

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Response to the Doctrine of Sameness

Response to the Doctrine of SamenessThe World Negating Thesis

A notion has become widespread that non-duality is escapism from the mundane world. This has become the handle with which Vedanta got dismissed on the basis that:

  1. It does not bring about advancement in the human condition because it advocates that the human condition as we experience is a false construction, hence there is no need to try and improve it;
  2. It causes complicity with poverty, social abuse and is therefore socially irresponsibile;
  3. Hence, such a people are naturally dependent upon the “progressive” West for help.

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Challenging Western Universalism

Challenging Western Universalism

One of the most important objectives of my book,Being Different, An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism (HarperCollins, 2011) is to refute Western claims of universalism. According to these claims, the West is both the driver of history and the ultimate, desirable destination of the entire world.  The West purportedly provides the ideal template to which all other civilizations and cultures must contort, be pruned, trimmed or reconfigured to fit, or else be eliminated or sidelined by some means.

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A Different Kind of Hindu-Christian Dialogue

A Different Kind of Hindu-Christian Dialogue

For over a decade, I have used interfaith exchanges as opportunities to introduce the concept of mutual respect and why it is superior to the patronizing notion of “tolerance” that is typically celebrated at such events. BEING DIFFERENT(Harpercollins, 2011), is entirely about appreciating how traditions differ from one another rather than seeing them as the same. In parallel with these works, I have been in conversations and debates with numerous thinkers of traditions other than my own.

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