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

Words are arrows piercing lotus leaves

I recently received a thoughtful email from Satyanarayana Hegde, who is a Civil Attorney by profession and characterizes himself as an autodidact interested in Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Persian and Urdu languages and literary cultures who ccasionally perpetrates random acts of Continue reading

Learning from Gārgī’s Silence

“Thereupon, Gārgī Vācaknavī fell silent.” (Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upaniṣad 3.6) I’m currently teaching a class called “Ancient Women Philosophers: India and Greece,” which is interesting for many reasons. I’ll get to some of those reasons in another post. In this post I want Continue reading

Could Upaniṣadic sentences be interpreted as prescriptions? A debate within Maṇḍana’s Vidhiviveka

Within the Vidhiviveka, a Prābhākara-inclined Mīmāṃsaka debates with a Vedāntin about the meaning of Upaniṣadic sentences on the self. The Prābhākara insists that all sentences should be injunctive in character, and that Upaniṣadic sentences should also be interpreted in this Continue reading