Rethinking Religion in India

Is religion a cultural universal or is it merely a phenomenon innate to certain cultures? What happens when people from religious cultures go to study cultures without religion? SN Balagangadhara (Balu) brilliantly talks about these and many other related questions, and articulates his thesis (see part1 below) on how the West effectively constructed the concept of Hinduism. This was done mainly by the European  intellectuals, travelers and missionaries who came to the Indian subcontinent during the past 400 years or so and tried to understand the way of life in India through their own veil of religion. In essence, Balu concludes that there is no such thing as religion in India, it is merely a construct of the West. Then, the great tragedy is that we do not know what the ancient Indian thinkers were talking about, for example in Vedas and Puranas,  since there are no systematic studies on these aspects by Indian intellectuals, only a western prespective.

See part2, part3, part 4, part5.

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