About Dr. Arvind Sharma PDF Print E-mail

Most people remember where they were and what they were doing when they first heard the news of the aerial assault on the Twin Towers in New York on September 11, 2001.The ground may not have shifted under our feet at the moment but the very concept of religion underwent a paradigm shift for many of us. Instead of standing for virtue and piety, and peace and harmony, the word religion was launched on a semantic trajectory which would make it a byword for evil, aggression and terror.

But is there not more to religion than this? We invite you to explore the more positive possibilities of the religious dimension of life by attending the second Global Congress on World's Religions after September 11, which will meet in Montreal on September 7, 2011. Its aim is to bring together the various religions of the world in an ecumenical spirit to address the many issues facing the world today, in the hope that this will help all of us become better human beings.


In friendship,

Arvind Sharma
Birks Professor of Comparative Religion
Faculty of Religious Studies
McGill University 


Arvind Sharma's career 


India (1940-1968)

He was born at Varanasi in India and had his early education at Modern School in New Delhi. After obtaining a Bachelor's degree from Allahabad University, he joined the Indian Administrative Service (or I.A.S. for short) in 1962 and served in the state of Gujarat until 1968. His last posting was as the District Development Officer (or D.D.O.) of Ahmedabad, where he had also served earlier as the managing director of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation.

U.S.A. (1968-1976)

After six years as a public servant, he resumed his academic career in 1968 when he joined the University of Syracuse, in upstate New York. He obtained a Master's in Economics in 1971 from that university, after completing a Master's dissertation on: The Hindu Scriptural Value System and India's Economic Development. His thesis signaled a shift in his academic interests towards religion and he went on to obtain a Masters in Theological Studies from the Harvard Divinity School in 1974, concentrating on comparative religion. He then joined the Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies at Harvard University, finally obtaining his Ph.D. in 1978. His doctoral work focused on Abhinavagupta's commentary on the Bhagavadgita. He also subsequently translated the commentary into English.

Australia (1976-1987)

He was appointed Lecturer in Asian Religions at the University of Queensland in Brisbane, Australia in 1976 and subsequently to a similar position at the University of Sydney in 1980. When the International Association for the Study of Religions (IAHR) met in Sydney in 1985, he organized a special event to commemorate the bicentennial of Bhagavadgitas translation into English in 1785. The appearance of two books also marked the occasion: his The Hindu Gita and Eric J. Sharpe's The Universal Gita.

Canada (1987- )

He was appointed Associate Professor in the Faculty of Religious Studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada in 1987, where he is now the Birks Professor of Comparative Religion. Two books edited by him while at McGill are widely used in teaching comparative religion: Women in World Religions (1987) and Our Religions (1993). He was instrumental in recently convening a global congress on World's Religions After September 11 which met at the Palais des Congrès in Montreal from September 11-15, 2006.


Dr. Arvind Sharma Website


Chess Quotes

And for the chess-player the success which crowns his work, the great dispeller of sorrows, is named "combination."

-Emanuel Lasker (1868-1941)

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