Inhabiting (CC.) ‘Religion’ in Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit to Develop an Ambedkarite Critique of the Blasphemous Nucleus of Upanishadic Wisdom (pages 55-84)

Rajesh Sampath

ABSTRACT: This paper begins with several opening passages from the most esoteric writings in Hinduism’s vast, ancient religious-philosophical heritage, namely the Upanishads. The aim is to reveal certain essential connections between the primordial relation between self and sacrifice while exploring uncanny paradoxes of eternity and time, immortals and mortals and their secret linkages. The work is entirely philosophical in its intent and does not aspire to defend a faith-perspective. The horizon for this exposition follows the spirit of Ambedkar’s critique of Brahmanic superiority inherent in this entire system of religious thought: we must expose what lies in the heart of modern Hinduism to reveal its inner-contradictory entanglements, which are not exactly innocuous. A phenomenological-deconstructive inspiration motivates our own critical theoretical-philosophical conceptualizations beyond Ambedkar’s basic attestation to liberate India from Hinduism. The enterprise derives from a speculative appropriation and extension of the depths of (CC.) ‘Religion,’ the penultimate chapter of Hegel’s indomitable Phenomenology of Spirit (1807). The aim of the paper is to advance new philosophical theses in an unrelenting metaphysical critique of Hinduism– beyond Ambedkar’s writings– but also in a manner that is irreducible to the Western philosophical cosmos within which the nineteenth-century Hegel inhabited. The paper argues that the internal contradictions and aporias of mortality, immortality, self, body-hood, time, and eternity in the Hindu Upanishads can be contrasted with Hegel’s speculative Western-Christological propositions to expose a greater metaphysical complexity that escapes Eastern and Western religious and philosophical traditions alike. Therefore, the paper falls within the scope of comparative philosophies of religion.

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