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By Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, Donald R. Kelley, Bonnie G. Smith

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19 international audience. Like Christianity, it was, and continues to be, a missionary religion. A key difference between the two forms of Hinduism involves the use of language. Traditional Hinduism is based on Sanskrit and on local vernacular languages. Neo-Hinduism is based, in large part, on English philosophical and religious terms that the Bengali intelligentsia learned in Christian missionary schools. According to Paul Hacker, “To a very large extent modern Indians think in concepts associated with English words.

All of the leaders, for example, mistrusted outer forms of religion and focused instead on inner spirituality. ”23 Dabendranath Tagore contrasted inner spirituality to outer forms of worship, saying, “God is to be worshipped only in spiritual ways. ”24 They also believed that inner intuition was superior to scripture as a means of attaining knowledge. Eclectic use of texts to support one’s views was sanctioned by the Brahmo Samaj. The now-Unitarian minister William Adam said of Roy, Ram Mohun Roy, I am persuaded, supports this institution [the Brahmo Samaj] not because he believes in the divine authority of the Ved, but solely as an instrument of overthrowing idolatry.

As mentioned earlier, so-called left-handed Tantra includes illicit sexual practices for the purpose of attaining powers. 9 However, left-handed Tantra is not a part of the practice or belief system of followers of HIMMs, which derive in large part from Neo-Hinduism. “Neo-Hinduism,” a term made popular by the German Indologist Paul Hacker, is often used to refer to a blending of worldviews that developed during the Bengal Renaissance. In an attempt to revitalize their religion in keeping with modern sensibilities, intellectual Indians in Bengal experimented with new ways of understanding and expressing Hinduism.

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