Crushing Defeat of Hindutva attempts to saffronize Californian textbooks

Ravindran Sriramachhandran rsriramachandran at YAHOO.COM
Fri Mar 10 22:18:57 UTC 2006

  this is certainly not true of western tamilnadu where i grew up, in fact (coming from an 'orthodox' vaishnavite family) i was even 'advised' not to go siva temples. no talk about one supreme being, and at times when the local pujari used the word 'bhagawan'  (ofcourse 'perumal' was preferable) he made clear that he meant vishnu and not siva.

Lance Nelson <lnelson at SANDIEGO.EDU> wrote:

I think you have touched on an important issue. I tell my 
undergraduates that, while there are certainly many "gods" in that 
complex family of religious traditions that we have labeled 
"Hinduism," for any given Hindu, there is one and only one supreme 
being. Obviously, if you talk to different Hindus from differing 
theological traditions, you will discover a number of different 
supreme beings (God or Goddess, capital "G"). But if we draw 
conclusions from this about a religion called "Hinduism" we can 
easily be mislead.

All best wishes,


On 10 Mar 2006 at 8:09, Jan E.M. Houben wrote:

> If I am not mistaken some sophisticated
> 'theistic' systems with a single highest god (or
> God) (various brands of theistic Vedanta, ancient
> ;Saiva and ancient Vai.s.nava sects) have been
> around in India for centuries and perhaps
> millennia, apart from polytheistic and even
> atheistic systems (anii;svara Saamkhya). Don't
> even Christianity, Judaism and Islam have their
> angels / powers apart from their "highest God"
> without becoming polytheisms ? The term
> 'polytheism' has anyway its own specific history
> (the hellenized Jew Philo of Alexandria used it
> to refer polemically to the non-Jewish religions
> of antiquity) which may not make it the most
> suitable term to describe Hinduism (or even only
> ancient Hinduism, Brahmanism or Vedism). 

Lance Nelson
Theology & Religious Studies
University of San Diego

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