Showing posts with label Sir John Woodroffe. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sir John Woodroffe. Show all posts

Hinduism - Who Was Sir John Woodroffe?


Sir John Woodroffe (1865–1936) was a Calcutta High Court Justice who also translated and published writings on tantra, a hidden, ritual-based religious practice, under the alias Arthur Avalon.

Woodroffe was one of the early European proponents of tantra as a cohesive religious path, and he defended the texts' purportedly "impure" or "immoral" ceremonial actions.

In his tantric expositions, Woodroffe was attempting to persuade two audiences, both of whom were outraged by the licentiousness detailed in the tantric scriptures, which included breaking deeply established taboos on nonvegetarian cuisine, alcohol use, and illicit prostitution.

On the one hand, Woodroffe was speaking to the British, who were the political overlords of the moment, and on the other, educated Indians, many of whom would have dismissed the tantras as a fad.

Although more thorough academic work has been done since then, his publications and lectures were crucial in helping to make tantrism acceptable.

Representatives from major global religions, including Asian religions, were invited to the World Parliament of Religions Meeting in Chicago in 1893.

It was a turning point in the Euro-American perception of non-Christian faiths, when they were no longer dismissed as mere idolatry but were considered seriously as legitimate religious pathways.

It's also worth noting that many mainline Christian churches were not represented, with historically black congregations providing the majority of the Christian presence.

The presentation by Swami Vivekananda, in which Hinduism—in its logical, Vedantic form—was first seriously acknowledged by his Western hearers, was one of the highlights of the Parliament.

Vivekananda's charm was such that he spent the following four years in America, where he created the Vedanta Society in 1897.

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.