“The Religion of the Future” and Vedānta: The Importance of Consulting Primary Sources

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In his book, The Religion of the Future, Unger groups distinct philosophies under the term Overcoming the World (henceforward, OW). This is problematic because Unger makes several metaphysical and epistemological claims about OW without clearly identifying which of these distinct philosophies supports his allegations. Specifically, Unger groups Vedānta under OW without distinguishing between Advaita and Dvaita Vedāntas – two similar but distinct traditions within Vedānta. Thus, while he mainly criticizes the views of Advaita Vedānta, which are similar but not equal to those of Buddhism, Dvaita Vedānta contradicts many of Unger’s assumptions on Vedānta. Thus, Unger misleads students who read his book into thinking that Advaita and Dvaita Vedāntas are the same. While I will not deal in this paper with the reasons why Unger might have decided to do so, I will introduce and clarify some of the distinctive features within the Dvaita Vedānta tradition that render his criticism of Vedānta in favor of his concept for a future religion problematic and biased.
Last updated on 04/26/2022