M. K. Gandhi’s understanding of his native religion: unique features and universalism in Hinduism

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Senior Researcher, Department of Research and Innovation Policy, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)
Affiliation: Department of Research and Innovation Policy, Peoples’ Friendship University of Russia (RUDN University)
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameVostok. Afro-Aziatskie obshchestva: istoriia i sovremennost
EditionIssue 6

Object of investigation is the preface to my Russian translation of M. K. Gandhi’s (1869–1948) article “Hinduism”, which was first published on 6 October 1921. In this text, Gandhi creates an ideal image of his native religion and also discusses the imperfection of contemporary Indian society. The ideal image he associates with the original ancient faith, which he offers to his compatriots as a model for changes in all fields of life. The essence of his reform project is a refusal of blind admiration for any authorities, and an appeal to the inner moral sense as the criterion by which one can discern the significance of particular religious statements. Gandhi’s critical approach to the contemporary state of his native religion and his activity for its reformation allow us to consider him a reformer of Hinduism. His religious views are deeply humanistic. He does not accept religion as an unchangeable system of dogmas and rituals. In his opinion, religion should promote the spiritual evolution of every person, which is connected to one’s daily worldly activity because religion permeates all spheres of social life. Of particular importance for Gandhi was the connection between religion and politics. While rejecting the use of religious rhetoric for the sake of personal political ambitions, Gandhi insisted on the spiritualization of politics, on coordinating politics with ethical norms that the various faiths have in common. One key question for reformers, namely to identify the place of Hinduism vis-à-vis other religions, Gandhi resolves by emphasizing a religious universalism that recognizes all grand religions as merely different Paths to One God. Meanwhile, the particular features of a religion symbolize the contribution of a given civilization to the universal human destiny.

KeywordsReformation of Hinduism, Neo-Hinduism, religious universalism, M. K. Gandhi, tradition, modernization
AcknowledgmentThe article was prepared with the financial support of the Russian Science Foundation (RSF), project № 16-18-10427.
Publication date27.12.2018
Cite   Download pdf To download PDF you should sign in
Размещенный ниже текст является ознакомительной версией и может не соответствовать печатной

views: 1095

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Abdurazzakova M. A. Development of the Secularism Concept in India: Colonial Period. Indian Researches in CIS countries. Moscow: IV RAN, 2007. Pp. 255–270 (in Russian).

2. Abramov D. B. Secular State and Religious Radicalism in India. Moscow: IMEMO RAN, 2011 (in Russian).

3. Aryayeva Yu. E. Indian Secularism: Unity in Diversity. Indian Researches in CIS countries. Moscow: IV RAN, 2007. Pp. 271–289 (in Russian).

4. Bhagavad Gita. Translated from Sanskrit, research and notes by V. S. Sementsov. Moscow: Vostochnaia Literatura RAN, 1999 (in Russian).

5. Bose R. C. Brahmoism; or, History of Reformed Hinduism from Its Origin in 1830, under Rajah Mohun Roy, to the Present Time. New York: Funk & Wagnalls, 1884.

6. Burmistrov S. L. The Gandhian Utopian Project: Social-Philosophical Analysis. Vostok (Oriens). 2006. No. 4. Pp. 55–69 (in Russian).

7. Desai M. The Gospel of Selfless Action; or The Gita according to Gandhi. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1946.

8. Falikov B. Z. Neo-Hinduism and Western Culture. Moscow: Vostochnaia Literatura, 1994 (in Russian).

9. Gandhi Mahatma. The Collected Works. In 100 vols. New Delhi: Government of India. The Publications Division. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1958–1994.

10. Gandhi M. K. The Essence of Hinduism, ed. V. B. Kher. Ahmedabad: Navajivan Publishing House, 1996.

11. Komarov E. N., Litman A. D. Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s Worldviews. Moscow: Nauka, 1969 (in Russian).

12. Kostiuchenko V. S. Classical Vedanta and Neo-Vedanta. Moscow: Mysl’, 1983 (in Russian).

13. Kripalani J. B. Gandhi. His Life and Thought. New Delhi: Government of India. The Publications Division. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, 1970.

14. Martyshin O. V. The Political Views of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Moscow: Nauka, GRVL, 1970 (in Russian).

15. Melikov V. V. Neo-Hinduism: Extended Duality (Religious-Philosophical and Social-Political Interpretations by Vivekananda and Gandhi). Philosophy and Religion in Foreign East: 20th Century, ed. M. T. Stepaniants. Moscow: Nauka, 1985. Pp. 222–237 (in Russian).

16. Nanda B. R. In Search of Gandhi: Essays and Reflections. New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2002.

17. Nehru J. The Discovery of India. Translated from English by V. V. Isaakovich, D. E. Kunina etc. Moscow: Izdatel’stvo Inostrannoi Literatury, 1955 (Russian translation).

18. Pomerants G. S., Mirkina Z. A. Great Religions of the World. Moscow: Izdatel’skii Dom Mezhdunarodnogo Universiteta v Moskve, 2006 (in Russian).

19. Rybakov R. B. The Bourgeois Reformation of Hinduism. Moscow: Nauka, 1981 (in Russian).

20. Skorokhodova T. G. The Bengal Renaissance. Essays on History of Socio-cultural Synthesis in Modern Indian Philosophical Thought. St. Petersburg: Peterburgskoe Vostokovedenie, 2008 (in Russian).

21. Skorokhodova T. G. Tradition in Interpretation by the Thinkers of the Bengal Renaissance. Voprosy filosofii. 2008. No. 12. Pp. 142–152 (in Russian).

22. Sontheimer G.-D. Five Components of Hinduism and their Intercommunication. The Tree of Hinduism, ed. I. P. Glushkova. Moscow: Vostochnaia literatura RAN, 1999. Pp. 265–282 (in Russian).

23. Tkacheva A. A. Correlation of the Idea of Spiritual Commonality with the Hindu Messianism in M. K. Gandhi’s Worldviews. Indian Social Thought: the Past and the Present, ed. A. D. Litman. Moscow: Nauka, GRVL, 1989. Pp. 23–37 (in Russian).

24. Tkacheva A. A. “New Religions” of the East. Moscow: Nauka, GRVL, 1991 (in Russian).

25. Yurlova E. S. Untouchables in India. Moscow: Nauka, GRVL, 1989 (in Russian).

26. Yurlova E. S. India: from Untouchables to Dalits. Essays of History, Ideology and Politics. Moscow: Institut vostokovedeniia RAN, 2003 (in Russian).

27. Zacharias H. C. E. Renascent India from Rammohan Roy to Mohandas Gandhi. London: G. Allen & Unwin ltd., 1933.

Система Orphus