Hinduism and Religions in India
Chaturvedi Badrinath is known for his authoritative work on the Mahabharata, and on the central place of dharma in Indian thought. His Swami Vivekananda: The Living Vedanta continues to inspire readers with a fresh perspective on the man who was the living embodiment of the Vedanta he preached.
In Dharma: Hinduism and Religions in India, Badrinath argues that the Indian civilization is a 'Dharmic' one, founded as it is on the principle of dharma. Dharma has always been translated, wrongly, as 'religion'.
The concerns of Indian philosophy are the concerns of human life everywhere. Badrinath talks about the history of the words 'Hindu' and 'Hinduism', Islam in relation with Hinduism, the issues that arose from the spread of Christianity in India, Jainism and Buddhism as part of dharma and darshana, and explains why organized violence in the service of religious fundamentalism is the very negation of religion with its reverence for life.
Thought provoking, perceptive and challenging many long-held notions, Dharma is a must-read for anyone who is interested in India, the interaction of different religions over centuries in this land, and the underlying unity of all life.
Chaturvedi Badrinath (1933-2010) was born in Mainpuri, Uttar Pradesh. A philosopher, he was a member of the Indian Administrative Service (1957-89), and served in Tamil Nadu for thirty-one years. During 1971-73, he was a Homi Bhabha fellow. As a visiting professor at Heidelberg University, 1971, he gave a series of four seminars on dharma and its application to modern times. Invited by a Swiss foundation, Inter-Cultural Cooperation, he spent a year, 1985-86, in Europe. In 1985, he was a main speaker at the European Forum, Alpbach, Austria, and at a conference of scientists at Cortona, Italy.
From 1989 onwards, Times of India published his articles on dharma and human freedom every fortnight for four years. He was a visiting professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, between 1990 and 1992. He was one of the two main speakers at the Inter-Religious Federation for World Peace Conference, 1994, Seoul, South Korea. In 1999, at Weimar, he gave a talk on Goethe and the Indian philosophy of nature; and contributed to an interreligious conference in Jerusalem, with the Dalai Lama. He was one of the two main speakers at the Sasakawa Peace Foundation symposium on 'Civilizational Dialogue', Tokyo, 2002.
Chaturvedi Badrinath's other published books are Dharma, India and the World Order: Twenty-one Essays (1993, Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, and Pahl-Rugenstein, Bonn); Introduction to the Kama Sutra (1999, Roli Books, New Delhi; translated into German, French, Italian and Dutch); Finding Jesus in Dharma: Christianity in India (2000, the Indian Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, ISPCK, Delhi); Swami Vivekananda: The Living Vedanta (2006, Penguin, Delhi); The Mahabharata: An Inquiry into the Human Condition (2006, Orient Longman, Delhi) and The Women of the Mahabharata: The Question of Truth (2006, Orient Longman, Delhi).
He passed away in 2010, a day after winning the Sahitya Akademi Award for his book The Mahabharata. In 2016, Oxford University Press brought out a collection of his essays, Unity of Life.