Perennial nondualism

I have spent a good deal of time criticizing the idea of a “perennial philosophy”, the idea (expressed by Ken Wilber and others before him) that the great sages of the world have always basically agreed on the really important Continue reading Perennial nondualism

Vedānta commentators on the Bhagavadgītā 2.46

The three main schools of Vedānta in South India—Advaita, Viśiṣṭādvaita, and Dvaita all center themselves around a similar canon of sacred texts, including the Vedas, Upaniṣads, Purāṇas, etc. Of such canonical scriptures, the Bhagavadgītā (BG) is regarded as authoritative in all three Continue reading Vedānta commentators on the Bhagavadgītā 2.46

The theology of Vaikuṇṭha: Why should you want to be in heaven?

We all know so many clever jokes about how hell should be preferred “because of the good company” and about how boring should heaven be. Let me take the chance to focus on the Śrīvaiṣṇava heaven, i.e., Vaikuṇṭha, and see Continue reading The theology of Vaikuṇṭha: Why should you want to be in heaven?

Inert and alive substances: Alternative classifications in Veṅkaṭanātha

In the Nyāyasiddhāñjana and the Nyāyapariśuddhi, Veṅkaṭanātha discusses some fundamental ontological topics in order to distinguish his positions from the Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika position. The Nyāyasūtra proposes a fundamental division of realities into dravya ‘substances’, guṇa ‘qualities’, and karman ‘actions’,1 with the Continue reading Inert and alive substances: Alternative classifications in Veṅkaṭanātha

The role of convention in signification

In his Seśvaramīmāṃsā ad 1.1.12, Veṅkaṭanātha explains that the example of proper names does not prove that language in general depends on convention. He writes that the case of proper names is not a dahanadṛṣṭānta, possibly ‘an example which sets Continue reading The role of convention in signification

What were the ṛṣis up to while composing the Vedas?

While commenting on PMS 1.1.4, Veṅkaṭanātha makes a long digression aimed at refuting every kind of intellectual intuition, especially as a source for knowing dharma. Dharma, he explains, can only be known through the Veda.People who claim to have directly Continue reading What were the ṛṣis up to while composing the Vedas?

The role of the prescription to teach the Veda according to Prabhākara

If you are a Prābhākara, you think that students don’t have to learn the Veda and that they actually do it because of the teachers’ duty to teach it. This certainly solves the problem of having a young boy (younger Continue reading The role of the prescription to teach the Veda according to Prabhākara

The role of the prescription to learn the Veda

Why should one study Mīmāṃsā? In order to understand the meaning of the Veda, say Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsā authors. But why should one learn the Veda? According to Bhāṭṭa Mīmāṃsā, because a Vedic prescription itself tells you to do so. The Continue reading The role of the prescription to learn the Veda

Why is bhakti different than the other human purposes? Vīrarāghavācārya on Pūrva Mīmāṃsā Sūtra 1.1.2

Vīrarāghavācārya was a 20th c. Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedāntin whose editorial and commentarial contribution to his school will remain impressive for many generations to come. Personally, I am particularly pleased by his attempts to think along the tradition in a creative way. Continue reading Why is bhakti different than the other human purposes? Vīrarāghavācārya on Pūrva Mīmāṃsā Sūtra 1.1.2

Emotions in Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta philosophy: Distance and closeness

The main thing which stroke me when I started working on the theory of emotions in Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta is that emotions can be useful and are not to be avoided. In other words, unlike some Sāṅkhya-Yoga philosophers, the Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta Continue reading Emotions in Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta philosophy: Distance and closeness