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Neo-Hinduism

(258 words)

Author(s): Harder, Hans
[German Version] The term Neo-Hinduism denotes ideas and practices that began to take shape in India in the 19th century, as Indians contended with British colonialism, orientalism, and Christianity (Hinduism: I, 2). As part of Indian religious and cultural apologetics vis-à-vis the West, Neo-Hinduism has nationalistic features; it arose as a distinct term, appropriating the non-native collective term Hinduism. The expression Neo-Hinduism appeared for the first time in 1885 in Bengali ( nabyahindu), used by Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay and others to denote exegesis o…

Rāmakrishna

(400 words)

Author(s): Harder, Hans
[German Version] (Rāmakṛṣṇa Paramahaṃsa, birth name Gadadhar Chattopadhyay; Feb 18, 1836, Kamarpukur, India – Aug 16, 1886, Calcutta), is considered the most important holy figure of Hinduism in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1847 Rāmakrishna, who was born into a rural Bengal Brahman family, came to ¶ Dakshineshvar where he served as a Kālī priest from 1856 and was taught Vedānta by the ascetic Totāpurī. His ecstatic worship and mystical show of the goddess Kālī became widely known and, from the 1870s on, attracted primarily young Calcut…

Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli

(329 words)

Author(s): Harder, Hans
[German Version] (Sep 5, 1888, Tiruttani, India – Apr 16, 1975, Madras), philosopher of religion and politician, an important exponent of neo-Hinduism. Radhakrishnan studied at Madras Christian College; he was professor at various Indian universities; from 1946 he was a statesman; from 1962 to 1967, president of India. His apologetic and nationalistic interpretation of Hinduism was to give it a new self-understanding in dealing with Christianity; this included, among other things, a positive recep…