The content of this article is based on an invited presentation about Being Different: An Indian Challenge to Western Universalism by Rajiv Malhotra for the Society of Hindu-Christian Studies at the 2012 American Academy of Religion. I have taken into consideration some of Mr. Malhotra’s comments after the panel presentations, as well as a subsequent email exchange.

In Being Different Mr. Malhotra critiques Western thought from what he calls a “dharmic perspective,” something I was very glad to see and hope will inspire other such critiques. Much of my work has also sought to expose underlying and often unjustified assumptions in Western thought, another reason I initially greeted his book warmly. Despite being supportive of Mr. Malhotra’s goals and efforts, and despite my sincere wish to read critiques of Western thought from Indian perspectives, I think his book raises a number of “red flags,” to which I hope he and his readers will attend. My conclusion is that for those who wish to learn something substantial and accurate about dharma traditions, there are far better sources than Being Different.

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