Neo-Vedanta, also called Hindu modernism, neo-Hinduism, Global Hinduism and Hindu Universalism, are terms to characterize interpretations of Hinduism that developed in the 19th century. Some scholars argue that these modern interpretations incorporate western ideas into traditional Indian religions, especially Advaita Vedanta, which is asserted as central or fundamental to Hindu culture. The development took place partly in response to western colonialism and orientalism, contributing to the Indian swami vivekananda scholarship renewal form pdf struggle and the modern national and religious identity of Hindus in the Republic of India. This societal aspect is covered under the term of Hindu reform movements.
Among the main proponents of such modern interpretations of Hinduism were, Vivekananda, Aurobindo and Radhakrishnan, who to some extent also contributed to the emergence of Neo-Hindu movements in the West. Neo-Vedanta has been influential in the perception of Hinduism, both in the west and in the higher educated classes in India. It has received appraisal for its “solution of synthesis”, but has also been criticised for its Universalism.
The terms “Neo-Hindu” or “Neo-Vedanta” themselves have also been criticised for its polemical usage, the prefix “Neo-” then intended to imply that these modern interpretations of Hinduism are “inauthentic” or in other ways problematic. According to Halbfass, the terms “Neo-Vedanta” and “Neo-Hinduism” refer to “the adoption of Western concepts and standards and the readiness to reinterpret traditional ideas in light of these new, imported and imposed modes of thought”.
The term “Neo-Vedanta” appears to have arisen in Bengal in the 19th century, where it was used by both Indians and Europeans. Paul Hacker, who used it to demarcate these modernist ideas from “surviving traditional Hinduism,” and treating the Neo-Advaitins as “dialogue partners with a broken identity who cannot truly and authentically speak for themselves and for the Indian tradition”.