- the difference and similarity between 'inclusivism' and digestion.
- and haven't some schools of thought in dharma always digested some other schools to yield what is today called Hinduism?
The responses and discussions are quite important. For example, it's pretty stunning that attempts to discredit Vivekananda, and brand Hinduism as some colonial construct, have continued since the 1890s - when Vivekananda enlightened the west, after which the holes in history-centric Christianity were permanently exposed. For a more complete answer to such attempts we will have to await Rajiv's new book 'Indra's Net: Defending India's philosophical unity'.
"...categories/typologies used in interfaith forums to classify forms of dialogues and attitudes toward the "other"...: exclusivism, inclusivism and pluralism.
Do you see any similarities or differences between "inclusivism" and "digestion"? In what ways?"
"This is a good question.
I do not consider the standard academic classification of inter-religious postures into the three (exclusivism, inclusivism, pluralism) to be adequate. I am aware that this classification is normative in the classroom. First of all, these are not mutually exclusive of one another because often a given person's attitude is a muddled combination of more than one of them. He might be exclusive on certain points and inclusive in others, for instance.
But more importantly and to the point of your question, Digestion is an outcome that can result from many starting postures including these three postures. An exclusivist posture like Protestant Nicene Creed based denomination explicitly rejects Hinduism and yet appropriates yoga into Christian Yoga. They do so by distorting those aspects of yoga that would not be digestible. So exclusivism can also lead to partial digestion. Similarly, Inclusivism and Pluralism are each prone to culminate as Digestion of Hinduism. My point is that the 3-way classification does not go deep enough as these three are surface positions where the encounter starts but does not end.
SPECIFICALLY, INCLUSIVISM IS NOT AN END STATE BUT AN INTERIM STATE. IT IS AN UNSTABLE STATE OF TRANSITION. The Christian spouse of a Hindu finds inclusivism convenient, and family/friends on both sides can get a period of peace because it can seem that there is no problem. But in fact they have just set aside the hard issues of differences rather than deal with them. So later on, I find in most such cases, problems surface. They would be better off extensively discussing differences up front, and reaching some sort of "deal" consciously rather than pretending there is no issues because they have slogans to chant from both sides."
"Would you agree that what you define as "Hinduism" has also been, and will maybe always be, a locus of digestion of its own? Would you agree that "digestion", as you define it, has taken place within the work of various and great Indian thinkers without them caring much about giving proper acknowledgement to their sources, even sometimes completely modifying the nature of the material they incorporated? (For example, one could try to prove this point by showing how some Buddhist notions were absorbed and reformulated in Vedantic terms, without acknowledgement, even under the cover as one might say. ...) Or would you think that this is impossible?
If it did happen, what do you make of this phenomenon in regard to your own quest of identifying "digestion" in other traditions?"
Rajiv comment: "Yes, there is continual intra-dharma digestion-like process going on, BUT with one critical difference: The source does not get destroyed as in the case of digestion by Abrahamic religions due to their exclusivity claims, and their mandate to take over "100% market share of souls" in the world. The doxographers in India (I refer to them extensively in my forthcoming book (Indra's Net)) were cross-appropriating from one another and kept the debates and purva paksha vibrant all the time. This is how innovation took place. This is why Hinduism has always been dynamic, continuous and yet connected with its sources (whether explicitly acknowledged or not).
Borrowing without harming the source is a good thing. It is how humanity advances by learning from each other. But in Digestion per se, there is no trace of the source left - as Pagans getting digested into Christianity.
There is another important distinction between cross-borrowing among dharma traditions and Abrahamic digestion of others: As BD shows
there are important common tenets across most dharma systems and hence when they borrow the foundation is robust enough for this to happen with mutual respect.
In history centric religions, the digestion must remove every trace of whatever disagrees with this absolutist and exclusivist historical grand narrative. Hence the latter is invariably destructive..."
"....I share your disappointment with the terminology (or typology) used in interfaith forums. ...
As for your views on digestion, if I understand your point, the problem lies in the power struggles generated by the Abrahamic faiths who always tried to impose their views and now try to absorb whatever is attractive in other systems. ... Coming from , disillusionment with the Church and with other Christian missionaries is deep rooted.
...I am doing my  research on Indian doxography. .."
Rajiv comment: The best evidence that Indian doxography did not lead to digestion (in the sense of digestion by the west) is that the systems incorporated or borrowed from by a given doxogrpher have continued to survive independently and separately as themselves, in most cases. For example, many Vedantins assimilated ideas from Samkhya but Samkhya flourishes as its own system. Similarly, Gaudapada got Madhyamika Buddhism ideas but nobody has destroyed Buddhism in the process. In other words, cross-learning was not destructive as it was in the case of history centric religions. I am trying to put your attention back on to history centrism."
Rajiv comment: The example in the following sentences is a counter productive diversion away from the point that has already been expressed well above .
Manish provides a couple of options:
Option B: Be pragmatic, dump all notions of nobility and recognise the stark reality that the civilisation that invariably wins is the one with a UCW (not necessarily the more noble one), which will conquer you and then force its unified civilisational weltanschaaung down your throat.
Game theory suggests that you are better off with (B). In other words, if you don't develop your own UCW, you will end up being subservient to an alien UCW. In either case, you have to have a UCW. So, why not one which is your own UCW?
Rajiv comment: The flaw with the above is seeing the philosophical exchanges among dharmic worldviews as a matter of "nobility" (whatever that might mean). The discussants in India saw their enterprise as a quest for truth, not a political quest.
Seeing in dharma terms, the deficiency being pointed out concerns kshatriyata in the kurukshatra of discourse. My new book (Indra's Net) has a long chapter in the end that gives my solution to this dilemma: how to remain true to our quest and at the same time not be weak and vulnerable to infiltrations/digestions. The problem I address is that we must remain open and yet pre-empt these attacks. Stay tuned..."
Karl responds to Kudan:
"...I am not bothered by "inclusivism", not even by "exclusivism" or "pluralism". I am more prone to think like Mr. Malhotra on the issue, meaning that I believe that the categories are somehow superficial, at most that they are mental attitudes appearing in some circumstances and not in others..."
....you wrongly label my intentions and my work by putting it into some boxes pre-existing in your own worldview. Unfortunately, it does not capture the reality and appears to be a good example of "adhyâropa" (अध्यारोप)...
I have nothing to do with Christianity or any Abrahamic faiths .. as a matter of practice (sâdhana - साधन) I am guided by the Karma Kagyü Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism.
...my view (darshana - दर्शन) can hardly be defined by a single word, or concept, or any substantiation like an "ism". It is certainly not a "religion", not even a cultural phenomenon or some kind of a national identity. At best, it is nothing standing by and of its own.
I am in fact struggling to understand the worldview of those who find it relevant to reify their (relative) identity with such concepts as "ism" or"religion". Especially when these people claim to understand the such deep views as the one found in Vedânta for example. It appears to me as a really "relative" understanding indeed.
To continue, as a scholar, I reject the use of the word "religion", sometimes even of "philosophy". What we call "religion" today is in fact the end of "religion" as it have been understood and lived by most traditions in the past (see Wilfrid Cantwell Smith)."
[to be continued ...]