Hindu Nationalism & Advaita

Vidyasankar Sundaresan vsundaresan at HOTMAIL.COM
Tue Jun 15 21:31:51 UTC 1999

Balaji Hebbar <bhebbar at EROLS.COM> wrote:

>I  definately  agree  with  the  views  of  many  writers  here  that
>Advaita  VedAnta  has  a  philosophy  conducive  to  BharatIya
>Nationanalism  (of  both  the  Congress  and  the  BJP  types).

I beg to differ. What was more important for nationalistic purposes was not
really the philosophy of advaita vedAnta but the hagiographical personality
of Sankara. Read Nehru's comments about Sankara in The Discovery of India.
The tradition of his establishing maThas in the four directions was seen as
his having recognized India as one entity many centuries ago. This provided
an answer to the colonialist's contention that India fundamentally lacked a
cohesiveness and that this had to be imposed upon the country by foreign
rulers. It certainly helped that the tradition was a very old one. All this
has little to do with the philosophy per se. In fact, Nehru comes across as
having little patience for the nivRtti oriented monk. All his admiration is
reserved for the pravRtti oriented figure presented in legendary stories.


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