Modern Hindu Personalism: The History, Life, and Thought of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati
Modern Hindu Personalism explores the life and works of Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati (1874-1937), a Vaishnava guru of the Chaitanya school of Bengal. Ferdinando Sardella examines Bhaktisiddhanta's background, motivation and thought, especially as it relates to his forging of a modern traditionalist institution for the successful revival of Chaitanya Vaishnava bhakti. Originally known as the Gaudiya Math, that institution not only established centers in both London (1933) and Berlin (1934), but also has been indirectly responsible for the development of a number of contemporary global offshoots, including the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Hare Krishna movement). Sardella provides the historical background as well as the contemporary context of the India in which Bhaktisiddhanta lived and functioned, in the process shedding light on such topics as colonial culture and sensibilities, the emergence of an educated middle-class, the rise of the Bengal Renaissance, and the challenge posed by Protestant missionaries. Bhaktisiddhanta's childhood, education and major influences are examined, as well as his involvement with Chaitanya Vaishnavism and the practice of bhakti. Sardella depicts Bhaktisiddhanta's attempt to propagate Chaitanya Vaishnavism internationally by sending disciples to London and Berlin, and offers a detailed description of their encounters with Imperial Britain and Nazi Germany. He goes on to consider Bhaktisiddhanta's philosophical perspective on religion and society as well as on Chaitanya Vaishnavism, exploring the interaction between philosophical and social concerns and showing how they formed the basis for the restructuring of his movement in terms of bhakti. Sardella places Bhaktisiddhanta's life and work within a taxonomy of modern Hinduism and compares the significance of his work to the contributions of other major figures such as Swami Vivekananda. Finally, Bhaktisiddhanta's work is linked to the development of a worldwide movement that today involves thousands of American and European practitioners, many of whom have become respected representatives of Chaitanya bhakti in India itself.
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1 Rise of Nondualism in Bengal
2 Life and Works
3 Bhakti Universalist
4 Social Philosopher
5 Bhaktisiddhānta in Context
Theoretical and Methodological Notes
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advaita advaita Vedanta Aryan Baṅge Sāmājikatā Bengal Bengal Renaissance bhadralok Bhāgavata Bhaktisiddhānta Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Bhaktivedānta Bhaktivinoda Bimala Prasad brahman brāhmanas Brahmo Brahmo Samaj British Caitanya bhakti Caitanya Caritāmrta Caitanya Vaishnavism Calcutta caste century Chandra Christian colonial commentary consciousness cultural dāsa Delhi devotional dharma disciples English esotericism Europe European Gaudiya Math Gaudiya Mission Gaura Kiśora Germany global Goswami guru Harmonist Hinduism ideas India Indic religions indigenous institution ISKCON jāti jīva jñāna Kedarnath Kedarnath Datta Kolkata Krishna lectures literature London Mayapur missionaries Modern Hindu modern Hinduism movement Nabadwip Neo-Hinduism nondualism nondualistic nonetheless nonmaterial one’s orientation Oxford University Press period philosophy political practice prakrti Rāmānuja Rammohun Roy reform regarded religious Sabhā sacred sampradāya Śaṅkara Sanskrit Sarasvatī Jayaśrī smārta social society spiritual Śrī Swami Bhakti Swami Bon teachings texts theistic theology thought tion tradition translation ultimate understanding Vaishnava varnāśrama Vedanta Vrindavan West Western worship Zetland