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Modern Day Guruism in India and the West

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Gurus integrate different parts of the marga system. Paramahamsa Ramakrishna declared the unity of all religions. He claimed to have visions of Hindu gods and Jesus Christ and Mohammed and that all religions lead to the same ultimate reality, sat chit ananda. Swami Vivekananda was the most well-known follower of Ramadrishna and brought his message to the western world. He accepts tat twam asi, the great insight of the Upanishads, but thinks that everyone, not just Brahmans can perceive that unity. (The last point of the lecture was cut short due to a technical limitation.)

You may download the text of Vivekananda's speech by clicking on the Handouts link in the upper left corner.


XII. Modern Day Guruism in India and the West

A. Introduction

B. Rise of Paramahamsa Ramakrishna (1836-1886)

1. Visionary experiences

2. New developments in Ramakrishna's thought

C. Rise of Swami Vivekananda (1863-1902)

1. Popularization of Ramakrishna’s thought

2. Vivekananda comes West

a. Social ethics

b. Reification of Hinduism as a unified religion

c. “Hindusim” as a “world religion” and the birth of the “saffron mission”

3. Vivekananda and the Chicago Parliament of Religions

D. Streams of Modern Day Hinduism from Vivekananda's Thought

1. Social/Ethical Stream

a. Case study #1: Ghandi

b. Case study #2: RSS movement

2. Meditative/Devotional Stream

a. Case study #1: Hare Krishna movement

b. Case study #2: TM, Yogi

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