Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Religious Studies

First Advisor's Name

Nathan Katz

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Christine E. Gudorf

Third Advisor's Name

Albert Wuaku

Fourth Advisor's Name

Whitney Bauman

Fourth Advisor's Title

Committee member

Keywords

Anuvrat, Vows, Nonviolence, Ethics, Secular, Morality, Charisma, Movement

Date of Defense

3-28-2013

Abstract

The slogan: “Self-restraint is life,” forms the philosophical ideal behind the Anuvrat Movement. The purpose of my thesis is to evaluate the Anuvrat Movement introduced by Acharya Tulsi as a non-sectarian, ethical-spiritual movement. The study considered in some detail the historical context within which the movement emerged. The thesis provides a much-needed analysis of the 11 vows formulated by Tulsi in the model of the traditional vows in Jainism. It explored the question whether these vows are relevant and effective in the contemporary Indian society, and whether Tulsi’s movement can cross the geographical boundaries of the Indian sub-continent to be a part of larger global initiatives. The study explored the social significance of the concepts of nonviolence, social justice and sustainability in the wider global community. The study suggests a positive association between the exemplary charismatic role of a leader and the popularity and longevity of social movements in India.

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