Discusses Hindu Advaita Vedānta as a philosophy of social justice for the modern world.
Finalist for the 2016 Book Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion, in the Constructive-Reflective category presented by the American Academy of Religion
This engaging and accessible work provides an introduction to the Hindu tradition of Advaita Vedānta and brings it into discussion with contemporary concerns. Advaita, the non-dual school of Indian philosophy and spirituality associated with Śaṅkara, is often seen as "other-worldly," regarding the world as an illusion. Anantanand Rambachan has played a central role in presenting a more authentic Advaita, one that reveals how Advaita is positive about the here and now. The first part of the book presents the hermeneutics and spirituality of Advaita, using textual sources, classical commentary, and modern scholarship. The book's second section considers the implications of Advaita for ethical and social challenges: patriarchy, homophobia, ecological crisis, child abuse, and inequality. Rambachan establishes how Advaita's non-dual understanding of reality provides the ground for social activism and the values that advocate for justice, dignity, and the equality of human beings.
Anantanand Rambachan is Professor of Religion at St. Olaf College and the author of The Advaita Worldview: God, World, and Humanity, also published by SUNY Press.
"Rambachan's groundbreaking book … marks an exciting moment for Hindu theology in the postcolonial era and will be a welcome conversational partner for the many global theologies that employ the methods of liberation theology." — Horizons
"If you have only one book on the Advaita tradition or Hindu ethics in your library, this is the one to have. Aside from his scholarly honesty, Rambachan is an excellent writer of clear and concise prose and makes Hinduism accessible." — Journal of Hindu-Christian Studies
"Rambachan has written an original, creative, and provocative book that will assure that Hinduism has a greater voice in the general arena of interreligious dialogue." — Paul F. Knitter, Union Theological Seminary
"This is an important contribution to the advancement of constructive work in Hindu theology, comparative theology, and the study of South Asian religious traditions. It has the potential to revolutionize how scholars view Hinduism generally, and Advaita Vedānta in particular." — Jeffery D. Long, Elizabethtown College