Challenging Advaitic and Universalist Notions of Hinduism
Within the academic study of Hinduism, there is a tendency to misrepresent Indian religion by portraying it as entirely Advaita Vedānta, the monistic ideology commonly associated with Śaṅkara. By looking at reasons for Advaita Vedānta’s popularity as well as the history of Vaiṣṇavism, this paper will challenge claims that Hinduism is best represented by Advaita Vedānta. Ultimately, what I find is that Hinduism is better used as a broad category for the varieties of diverse Indian religious expression, rather than as a single unified ideology that defines itself in terms of Advaita Vedānta.
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