Modern Trends in World Religions

By A. Eustace Haydon | Go to book overview

XVI
HINDUISM AND INTERCULTURAL CONTACTS

By S. L. JOSHI

THE subject with which I propose to deal is the influence of foreign cultures on Hinduism. The influence of Hindu thought on the cultural traditions of Islam, China, and Japan, as well as on the West, is necessarily omitted from this paper for want of time, however fascinating such a task would be.

In attempting to make an appraisal of the effects of foreign cultures on Hinduism, I should like to endeavor to show that the distinctive foundations of Hindu culture have not been seriously affected by Western influences; that, under the stress of modern science, changes of an abiding nature have occurred in the outward expression of the spirit of Hindu culture; that these changes are not hostile to the basic structure of Hinduism; that some Western scholars and Christian missionaries in India have often been misled into giving erroneous interpretations of at least three of the strands out of which Hindu culture has been built up; the doctrines of Maya and Karma and the institution of caste; and, lastly, that the outlook for the future of Hinduism will be brightened in proportion as India assimilates the scientific spirit, eliminates the evils associated with the caste system, discards the ascetic ideal, and faces the future as far as climatic difficulties and a prolonged period of political emasculation will permit, by rapid adaptation of her social movements to the exigencies of modern progress, without the sacrifice of spiritual values which have sustained her through the centuries of change.

-153-

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