For over a millennium, Sankara's advaitism: nondualism, has been exposed to extensive discussion, debate, and even polemic. In modern times, it has often been viewed as a system of metaphysical thought, involving a set of several subtle, though interrelated, doctrines - which all have the Upanisads at their base. But, wittingly or unwittingly, modern theoreticians/scholars tend to gloss over Sankara's acumen as a philosophical analyst - though his interpretations of the Upanisadic writings have indisputably shown his uncommon, rather unrivalled, genius for logic and meticulous philosophical analysis. Professor Ramamurty's works is, thus, a departure from run-of-the-mill studies attempting, as it does, an indepth 'conceptual analysis' of advaita Vedanta.
The book does not just present advaita as a system of metaphysical thought. It is essentially an off beat effort seeking to philosophically analyse the concepts of Atman, Brahman, and the World - which not only count among the fundamental concepts in the philosophic thought of the Upanisads, but also help capture the true meaning, profoundity, richness and beauty of Sankara's advaita itself. Also, in the specific contexts of Sankara's philosophy vis-à-vis the Upanisadic texts, Professor Ramamurty tries to explore, perhaps for the first time, the meaning and functions of language and the problem that stem from it.
Highlighting Sankara's advaitsm: his insistence on the "oneness of Brahman", the book offers a unique philosophic representation of the Upanisadicvision, which the scholars of classical Indian philosophy and discerning readers would love to share alike.
About The Author:
A. Ramamurty, Andhra University's Phd.D (1995), is a reputed scholar of traditional Indian philosophy, with specialization in Vedanta. And has lectured, as the British Council's visiting fellow, at different universities in the United kingdom. Also, he has had the distinction of being on the Subject Panel (on Philosophy) of the University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi, and a member of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research.
Currently, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hydrabad, Dr. Ramamurty is credited with the authorship of 'Advaita Mysticism of Sankara' and 'The Central Philosophy of the Rgveda.'
SEVERAL Philosophers and thinkers have been attracted to advaita in modern times, and most of them have tried to understand and present it as a system of metaphysical thought or as a set of doctrines on self, world and reality (Brahman) and their inter-relation. Although we find in the writings of Sankara an attempt to construct a system of metaphysics, or to interpret comprehensively the philosophy of the Upanisads from his perspective, he is known above all for his rigorous logical or philosophical analysis of some of the concepts fundamental to the philosophy of Vedanta, in which capacity, he is unmatching in the history of philosophy . And this aspect of his philosophical activity is his lasting contribution to philosophy, and is perennial in it influence. However, no significant and thorough-going work has been done on this important aspect of Sankara's philosophy.
In this work a comprehensive attempt is made to present Advaita as a philosophical analysis of some of the concepts in which man is perennially interested. The object of this work is not present Advaita as a system of metaphysical thought but to analyse philosophically some of the concepts fundamental to the philosophy of the Upanisads. A philosophical or logical analysis of the concepts of atman, Brahman and World is done with a view to comprehending the meaning of the concepts of Advaita, a concept central to the philosophy of Sankara. The meaning of the concept of Advaita is sought to be understood in three distinct but significant ways which complement each other, enrich each other, and would help us in comprehending the meaning and beauty of the concept of Advaita. In the final chapter and attempt is made, may be for the first time, to discuss and understand the meaning and function of language in relation to Advaita, and the various problems it gives rise to.
I express my thanks to Sri Susheel K. Mittal, Director of D. K. Printworld (P) Ltd., New Delhi who has taken keen interest in publishing this book. I also thank R.C. Pradhan who has gone through the entire script.
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