Indian Theism: From the Vedic to the Muhammadan Period

Indian Theism: From the Vedic to the Muhammadan Period

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Indian Theism: From the Vedic to the Muhammadan Period

Indian Theism: From the Vedic to the Muhammadan Period

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Excerpt

India has always been recognized as so determinedly pantheistic in its religious thought that 'Indian Theism' will seem to many an unnatural collocation of words. There are some, no doubt, who will maintain that whatever can be so described is really foreign to the Indian spirit and must be credited to Christian or Muḥammadan influences. Were this the case the study of the course of the theistic development in India would lose much of its interest and value. A closer acquaintance with the facts will show, however, that Indian religion has had a far wider range of expression than is here suggested. The spirit of no people--certainly not that of the Indian races--can be summed up in a single formula. Theism, no doubt, assumes various aspects in various environments and as it passes through various minds. For that reason it will be found in India always to bear certain characteristic marks that determine it as Indian. But while that is the case it can hardly be denied that what can be definitely described as theistic is both ancient in the land and indigenous to the soil. It might indeed be maintained, were this the appropriate place to do so, that the common heart and conscience of mankind everywhere has in it the promise and potency of such a religious attitude. Without controversy, there are certain profound needs and longings of the heart which a faith in a personal God would seem alone to satisfy, while we are conscious at the same time of the fact that the demand of reason in us is steadily advancing simultaneously towards a conviction of the ground of the universe as one. We shall accordingly find at all periods of the Indian religious development certain elements in it which, far off as they often are from what we understand . . .

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