In the past, great movements of religious expansion such as those of Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam did involve contact among followers of different religions; however, such contact for the most part represented conflicts rather than dialogues. It is only during the past few centuries that such contact has stimulated inquiry into the actual beliefs and practices of various religions in a less combative atmosphere and has brought home to an increasing number of us the problem of the conflicting truth claims made by different religious traditions.
Although this may be true globally, it seems that India had to face the issue of religious pluralism — and that of the conflicting truth claims inherent in such a situation — at least as far back as the sixth century B.C.E. Conflicting truth claims were certainly an element in the situation Indian thinkers had to reckon with.
Sharma was the first Infinity Foundation Visiting professor of Indic Studies at Harvard. He has held fellowships at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Center for the Study of World Religions, the Brookings Institution, the Center for the Study of Values in Public Life, and the Center for Business and Government. He was also elected a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.
Books written by Arvind Sharma include: