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Caitanya Vaishnavism as Liberation Theology: The Matrix of Material and Spiritual Liberation

Fici, Christopher Lawrence

As Caitanya Vaishnavas, should we hold the liberation of the spirit as something dualistically distinct and different from the liberation of the body from political oppression? Can the liberation of the spirit be fully achieved without concern for the liberation of the body from political oppression? This brief essay will explore the tension between these two definitions of liberation and the tension between advocacy for the liberation of the spirit from the body and the liberation of the body from political oppression. I will argue that the fierce power of our compassion, as instruments of the compassion of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, must be better directed at those peoples and living beings who are oppressed and marginalized in our contemporary world because of distinct political and socio-economic conditions. I will attempt to frame a discussion and argument which bridges the unnecessary dualistic divide between the liberation of the spirit and the liberation of the body, in order to help strengthen our commitment to our ultimate concern as devotees and followers of Caitanya Vaishnavism.

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