Spirituality, Politics and the Reinterpretation of Hinduism

  • Bhikhu Parekh


Much of the Western philosophy of man is anthropocentric in the sense of regarding man if not as the centre of the universe at least as the highest being on earth. The anthropocentric tendency goes back to the Sophists, was forcefully articulated by Plato, endorsed with several reservations by Aristotle and, with the exception of the Natural Law theorists, shared by the other Greek and Roman thinkers. It lies at the basis of the Judeo-Christian tradition for which man is the crowing glory of creation enjoying under the lordship of God a privileged ontological position and almost unlimited rights over the non-human world. As God receded further and further in the modern age and the cosmic dimension of human existence dropped out of sight, man moved in to occupy the resulting vacuum and the anthropocentric tendency acquired unprecedented domination. His relation to the increasingly desacralised nature was released from the different kinds of constraints imposed by the earlier writers and societies, and it was reduced to a mere resource to be exploited as he pleased.


Spiritual Activity Spiritual Exercise Universal Love Anthropocentric Approach Total Detachment 
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  1. 1.
    For Gandhi’s discussion of moral life see Discourses on the Gita (Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1960): From Yeravada Mandir (Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1932); and Mahadev Desai, The Gita According to Gandhi, (Ahmedabad: Navajivan, 1935). Discourses has suffered much from a bad translation.Google Scholar

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© Bhikhu Parekh 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bhikhu Parekh
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HullUK

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