The Religion & Culture Web Forum
Many Gods, Many Paths: Hinduism and Religious Diversity
by Wendy Doniger, University of Chicago
5 William Dalrymple, “India: The War Over History,” The New York Review of Books, 7 April 2005, 65. For a discussion of the consequences that the rise of Hindu nationalism has had upon scholarship on Hinduism, see my forthcoming essay, “Historical Scholarship and the Study of Hinduism,” in India: Implementing Pluralism and Democracy, ed. Martha Nussbaum and Wendy Doniger.
7 In the Disney film Bambi (1942), the mother of Thumper the rabbit asked him on several occasions, “Thumper, what did your father say?” and Thumper replied, “If you can’t say something good about a person, don’t say anything at all.”
8 For a discussion of mythological attitudes to this otherness, see Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, Other Peoples’ Myths: The Cave of Echoes (New York: Macmillan, 1988), especially 15-21; and Wendy Doniger, The Implied Spider: Politics and Theology in Myth (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999).
9 Sheryl Daniel, “The Tool Box Approach of the Tamil to the Issues of Moral Responsibility and Human Destiny,” in Karma: An Anthropological Inquiry, ed.Charles F. Keyes and E. Valentine Daniel (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983), 27-63.
18 I am using the terms “Vedanta” and “Vedantic” here to designate the strain of Indian philosophy that begins with the Upanishads, climaxes with the great commentaries of Shankara and Ramanuja, and survives in the thought of Vedantins such as Ramakrishna and Vivekananda. By Vedic I mean not merely the Vedas but the entirely strain of Hinduism that endorses Vedic sacrifice and the worship of a pantheon of gods, as it is carried on to this day in Hindu temples and households.
19 Compare Nu 11:25-29 and Mk 9:38-48 (KJV), which contrast the exclusivist view of Joshua (“My lord Moses, forbid them”) with the inclusivist view of Moses (“Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets”) and the exclusivist view of John (“We forbad him, because he followeth not us” with the inclusivist view of Jesus (“Forbid him not”).
21 Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty, “Ethical and Non-Ethical Implications of the Separation of Heaven and Earth in Indian Mythology,” in Cosmogony and Ethical Order: New Studies in Comparative Ethics, ed. Frank Reynolds and Robin Lovin (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1985), 177-198.
22 See Friedrich Wilhelm, “The Concept of Dharma in Artha and Kama Literature,” in The Concept of Duty in South Asia, ed. Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty and J. Duncan M. Derrett (London: School of Oriental and African Studies, 1978), 66-79.
23 See Brian K. Smith, Classifying the Universe: The Ancient Varna System and the Origins of Caste (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), for texts and arguments substantiating the social basis of Indian classificatory systems.
26 Rig Veda 1.164.46; see O’Flaherty, The Rig Veda, 80. ekam sad vipra bahu vadanti. The context is clearly theistic rather than philosophical: “They call it Indra, Mitra, Varuna, Agni, and it is the heavenly bird that flies. The wise speak of what is One in many ways; they call it Agni, Yama, Matarishvan.”