Naraseva Ð modern Hindu diaconate. Forms, concepts, strategies, religious and ideological reasonings
Recent Hindu traditions show a religious paradigmatic change which is expressed as ethicized Hinduism Ð at the center of which is the needy, suffering human being. This identification of love of one"s neighbor with love of god ("Naraseva is Narayanaseva": Service to men is service to Narayana (Vishnu)), Möstl opines, facilitates the overcoming of caste barriers and to develop a "universal solidarity", a concept developed from indigenous tradition, according to which "seva" (service) is the "supreme dharma" (religion). Möstl describes the historical background (Neo-Hinduism in the 19th century), the provenance and background of the Naraseva movement, and then related phenomena like temples (Tirumala Temple...), ashrams, teachers (Sai Baba, Swami Vivekananda...) and organizations (Vishva Hindu Parishad, Rashtriya Svayam Sevak Sangh...) and projects. The last chapter deals with the institutionalized aspect of the movement, and bhakti (the religious devotional sentiment connected with seva).