The Modern Advaita movement has undergone a split between two factions: one remains committed to a more traditional articulation of Advaita Vedanta, and the other has departed in significant ways from this traditional spiritual system. Over the past fifteen years, the Traditional Modern Advaita (TMA) faction has launched sustained and wide-ranging criticism of Non-Traditional Modern Advaita (NTMA) teachers and teachings. This article identifies the main themes of TMA criticisms and interprets their significance using insights from the social sciences and history of religions. I suggest that some reconfiguring of the Advaita tradition is necessary as it expands in transnational directions, since the structures of intelligibility from one culture to another are rarely congruent. Indeed, adaptation, accommodation and reconfiguration are normal and natural processes for religious traditions expanding beyond their indigenous cultural matrices. In the end, the significant questions for Advaita missionaries to the West may be how much accommodation is prudent, how rapidly reconfiguration should take place, and what adaptations are necessary for their spiritual methodology not only to survive but also thrive in new cultural settings.
Research Article| February 01 2014
Non-Traditional Modern Advaita Gurus in the West and Their Traditional Modern Advaita Critics
Nova Religio (2014) 17 (3): 6–37.
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Phillip Charles Lucas; Non-Traditional Modern Advaita Gurus in the West and Their Traditional Modern Advaita Critics. Nova Religio 1 February 2014; 17 (3): 6–37. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/nr.2014.17.3.6
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