Dr. Arvind Sharma's writings have focused primarily on comparitive religion, Hinduism, and the role of women in religion. He has also published works of fiction and an intellectual autobiography. He is a prolific writer, having authored and edited over forty volumes.
A selection of his most well-known publications are listed below.
The king of Shangrila is seeking a bride. Unfortunately, the girl he wants to marry, a courtier's daughter, is more spiritually inclined. She keeps putting off marriage for philosophical reasons.
The king meets her lofty challenges, which turn on such fundamental issues as, "Who am I?" He finally wins her hand in a finale that is evocative of the school of Hindu philosophy known as Advaita Vedanta. This philosophy is all about understanding the self.
Readers do not have to know Advaita Vedanta to appreciate Marriage Made in Heaven. Its universal theme is about self knowledge and love.
An essential introduction to the world's living religions, edited by Arvind Sharma, by experts from each tradition -- published in conjunction with the 1993 Parliament of the World's Religions.
The volumes includes exploratory essays on Hinduism by Arvind Sharma, Buddhism by Masao Abe, Confucianism by Tu Wei-ming, Taoism by Liu Xiaogan, Judaism by Jacob Neusner, Christianity by Harvey Cox, and Islam by Seyyed Hosein Nasr.
It has been long taken for granted in the study of Hinduism over the past two centuries that the Hindus lacked a sense of history. This book marshalls evidence to render this assumption, which has had far-reaching consequences, implausible.
In his Autobiography, Gandhi wrote, “What I want to achieve—what I have been striving and pining to achieve these thirty years—is self-realization, to see God face to face. . . . All that I do by way of speaking and writing, and all my ventures in the political field, are directed to this same end.” While hundreds of biographies and histories have been written about Gandhi (1869–1948), nearly all of them have focused on the national, political, social, economic, educational, ecological, or familial dimensions of his life. Very few, in recounting how Gandhi led his country to political freedom, have viewed his struggle primarily as a search for spiritual liberation.
Shifting the focus to the understudied subject of Gandhi’s spiritual life, Arvind Sharma retells the story of Gandhi’s life through this lens. Illuminating unsuspected dimensions of Gandhi’s inner world and uncovering their surprising connections with his outward actions, Sharma explores the eclectic religious atmosphere in which Gandhi was raised, his belief in karma and rebirth, his conviction that morality and religion are synonymous, his attitudes toward tyranny and freedom, and, perhaps most important, the mysterious source of his power to establish new norms of human conduct. This book enlarges our understanding of one of history’s most profoundly influential figures, a man whose trust in the power of the spirit helped liberate millions.
Books by Arvind Sharma
One Religion Too Many is a Hindu pilgrim’s progress through the world’s religious traditions. An eminent scholar of comparative religion, Arvind Sharma provides a firsthand account of how he came to be a party to the dialogue of religions—first with his own religion, then with the comparative study of religion, and finally with the religious universalism he has come to espouse because of this heritage.
Starting with an account of the Hinduism of his family in Varanasi, India, Sharma then heads west, finding himself initially dumbfounded by the Christian Eucharist, wondering if there is a “Hinjew connection,” grappling with Zen in Massachusetts, and pressed into service to teach about Islam.
Works of Fiction and Personal Reflections
Select Academic Publications
A historical and contemporary exploration of Phenomenology of Religion as a method in the study of religion.This book of twelve chapters may be conceptually divided into three parts, each consisting of four chapters.
The connotations of the term 'Phenomenology of Religion' are subjected to a detailed analysis in the first part; in the second part the phenomenological method is located within the general methodological framework of religious studies, while the current debate around this method is spelled out in the last part, with the author making his own contribution to the debate in the last chapter.
Comparison is at the heart of religious studies as a discipline and foundational to the field's methodology. In this book, Arvind Sharma introduces the term "reciprocal illumination" to describe the mutual enlightenment that can occur when a comparison is made between one tradition and another, one method and another, or between a tradition and a method.
Developing the concept of reciprocal illumination through historical, phenomenological, and psychological methods, Sharma demonstrates how to use comparison, while avoiding the pitfall of treating it as merely raw material for higher order generalizations.
Philosophy of religion as a discipline first arose in Europe; its subject matter has been profoundly influenced by the practices of European Christianity. While Eastern and Western religions subsequently found a place in these studies, one global religious tradition, namely, the primal tradition, remains unrepresented in its discussions.
This book examines the significantly different perspectives offered by primal religions on virtually every theme discussed in the philosophy of religion.
Addressing religion and feminism on a global scale, this unprecedented book contains a nuanced and fine-tuned treatment of seven of the world's religions from a feminist perspective by leading women scholars. Feminism and World Religions contains chapters on Hinduism by Vasudha Narayanan, Buddhism by Rita M. Gross, Confucianism by Terry Woo, Taoism by Karen McLaughlin and Eva Wong, Judaism by Ellen M. Umansky, Christianity by Rosemary Radford Ruether, and Islam by Riffat Hassan, along with a general introduction and a postscript by Katherine K. Young and a preface by Arvind Sharma.
The fact that these authors share a dual but undivided commitment both to themselves as women and to their traditions as adherents imparts to their voices a prophetic quality, and if Mahatma Gandhi is to be believed, even scriptural value.
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