Dr. S. Penchalaiah born in 1958 holds Degrees of M.
Phil, Ph.D and Diploma in Yoga from Sri Venkateswara
University, Tirupati. At present he is Assistant
Professor of Philosophy at Department of Comparative
Dravidian Literature and Philosophy, Dravidian
University, Kuppam, India.
He had taught for philosophy in the department of philosophy at S.V.U
(1992-1997) for Post Graduate level. He commands respect as a teacher
and researcher in Philosophy. He has numerous research publications to
Saint Vemana was a grate poet-philosopher, spiritual teacher practical
philosopher ethical humanist and an eminent Advaita Philosopher from
Andhra Pradesh. He is compared with Vedas, Upanishad, sages for his
vision and originality in his socio religious and spiritual exposition. This
book offers an insight into the metaphysical exposition of the Advaita of
Vemana by covering such concepts as Brahman, World, Maya, Jiva,
Atman, Moksha etc., besides comparatively evaluating Vemana's Advaita
with Sri Sankaracarya, Bhasaveswara, Sri Narayana Guru, Thiruvallvar,
Immanuel Kant, Bishop George Berkeley. The book also throws light on
issues like God, religion, yoga, education, superstitions, belief, Caste-
system and so on.
That the foundations of Indian culture were deeply embedded
in Dravidian culture is now an incontrovertible fact. Dravidian
culture is one of the most ancient cultures of the world. Those cultures,
slightly contemporaneous to one another, slowly started fading out.
However, the primordial Dravidian culture continues to thrive without
losing its quintessence despite the apparent changes in systems of dress
Dravidian University was established in 1997 to mirror the real
and rich picture of Dravidian culture not only in its linguistic, literary,
cultural and philosophical facets but in science and technological angles
The main objectives of Dravidian University are to augment the
Common weal and social well being of the communities of marginal
Languages and to build bridges among the Southern states. While working
on each language separately in varied areas, it aims at a synthesis and
a discovery of the common heritage through Comparative Studies.
Prasaranga (Publications wing) and Amusrjana (Translation Bureau)
are the two most significant wings of the University from out
of its several on going progressive activities.
Andhra Pradesh has a distinct culture,- history and philosophy.
The influence of Telugu Kannada and Tamil cultures is conspicuous on
the region. Various dynasties that ruled Andhra Pradesh contributed
their might for the propagation of religion, literature and philosophy.
the great poets, literary scholars, saints and social reformers contributed
the socio-religious and philosophical foundations inthisregion.
A galaxy of poet-philosophers have contributed for the enrichment
of Advaita philosophy in India more so by South Indian Philosophers.
Andhra Pradesh can take pride in one of its all time great poet social
reformer and saint i.e., Vemanayogi or Vemana. He was a great poet
philosapher and yogi who have not only enriched the tradition of Advaitu
originality and fulfillment but also it reached the minds of commo
Vemana’s philosophy is understood and interpreted in different
ways and plasticized by poets, scholars, philosophers, spiritualists an
social reformers. Vemana, who flourished some tune between 16-17th
century AD isa well-known Advaitin, saint, poet philosopher and social
reformer in Andhra Pradesh, who authored 3000 poems. C. P. Brown
consider him to be a great saint and an Advaitin. We learn that this
yogic thought was beyond the Vedas and Upanishdic thought. Vemana
was tried to refined and re-construct of Vedant philosophy. The author
tried to explain the spiritual philosophy of Veman into social philosophy.
S. Penchalaiah points out that Vemana |. Elaborated meta-physical
and empirical reality. 2 Compare the concept of Maya between India
and Western philosophy. 3.Asserted Saivadvaita to be superior to
traditional Advaita. 4.Comparative study of Advaita of Veman and the
Advaita of Sankaracharya on the concept of World, Brhman, Self,
Maya and Moksha.
The author has given a clear and quite detailed exposition of
Vemana’s thinking. In fixing this yogi’s time and giving, an account of
his life has been critical and objective. While in presenting his ideas he
has been analytical and practical moreover, he has tried to highlight
what he believes to be the yogi’s contribution to Advaita.
It is a difficult task to integrate traditional Advaita Vedanta and
Advaita of Vemana in which Penchalaiah has done a commendable
service to the field of Vedanta philosophy. It is a worth recalling that
great saints and philosophers like Basaveswara, Sri Narayanaguru,
Gowdapada, Sri Sankaracharya, Sri Ramanujacharya, in India and
Berkeley and Kant in West. However, a thorough and full length of
philosophical pceems was not available. Penchalaiah has ventured to
present a comprehensive philosophical treatise on Vemana through the
The author has successfully brought out all the aspects of Vemana
like Mayavada, World, Self, Liberation as conceived by Sankaracharya
and that Vemana has clearly brought out the fact that Vemana, has
Further expanded and advanced the Advaita philosophy in the Modern
Social Hinduism and added a new dimension to the Indian philosophy.
It is extremely difficult for student of Telugu literature and
philosophy to grasp the philosophical fragrance of Vemana. But
penchalaiah has made a pioneering effort to bring to light and evaluate
the philosophical and sociological and spiritual greatness of this great
Telugu poet-philosopher of Andhra Pradesh.
Drawn towards the objectives of Dravidian University, I felt
esteemely obliged to study the Dravidian philosophy, literature, culture
and religion and I chose a project entitled "Counter Discourses - A
Study on Vemana's Advaita". My aim of this work has been to
reproduce the thought of the original poems of Vemana in clear and
simple understanding English for readers and the laymen.
Vemana was a great poet-philosopher, saint, social reformer and
a radical humanist, was born on 17" century AD on the stage of
history in Andhra Pradesh a region of Southern India. He revolted
against the tyranny of destination in the society based on caste, creed
and gender advocated by the followers of Varnasrama Dharma. He
asserted that both men and women could attain liberation (Moksha), if
you know yourself.
He made efforts for building a universal religion and casteless
society through his Advaita philosophy. The teachings of Vemana and
the values he perused in his own life and meaningful and relevant to
people of all countries and hold good for all times. His life was a message
to humanity that the message is enshrined in his works. He who studies
his poetry with faith and devotion to understand the mighty import of
his magnificent poems.and implement them in his life fully and sincerely.
The source material for the preparation of this work is taken from
different books, journals, inscriptions, mutts, religious magazines,
newspapers, seminar papers, besides local histories. I am indebted
immensely to a number of scholars who have written on Saint Vemana’s
Literature and Philosophy.
This work has been divided into Seven Chapters. The First Chapter
is Introduction. It surveys the Socio-religious conditions and
philosophical texts and literary sources of Andhra Pradesh. The Second
Chapter elucidates the Life at Glance of Vemana. The Third Chapter
is devoted to the Comparative study of the Concept of Brahman as
seen in the Vedas, the Upanishads and Vemana. Chapters Four and
Five speak about Vemana’s Concept of Maya (Phenomenalism) and
Saivadvaita Philosophy in detail. In the course of discussion Vemana’s
views on Advaita Philosophy the views of other thinkers like
Basaveswara, Sri Narayana Guru, Tiruvalluvar, Kant and Berkeley
are compared and contrasted. Chapter Six deals with a study of the
Concept of Moksa (Liberation). The Seventh Chapter elucidates the
summary of the main findings of the study in the form of a conclusion.
I have received generous help from a number of people in various
ways in the preparation of this work. My indebtedness to them is so
great that I can never repay it. All that I can do is to record my-gratitude
to them. At the outset, I express my deep sense of gratitude to Prof.
Kadapa Ramanaiah garu, Vice-Chancellor, Dravidian University,
Kuppam for his ingenious encouraging and support for me in the
preparation of the work. I have great pleasure to place on record my
deep sense of gratitude to my beloved teacher, Prof. C. Ramaiah garu,
Rtd. professor of Philosophy and Dean of Academic Affairs, S. V.
University, Tirupati, and at present the Member of Indian Council for
Philosophical Research, New Delhi who was of utmost help and
guidance in the preparation of this work. I express my deep sense of
gratitude to Prof. N. Bhaktavasthala Reddy Head, I/C and former
Head I/C Prof. M. Kumaraswamy Raju Professor of English, Dravidian
University and for their encouragement. I wish to express my sincere
thanks to my beloved teacher Prof. B. Sambasivaprasad, Professor of
Philosophy, S. V. University, Prof. K. Anandan, Professor of Telugu, P.
S. Telugu Viswavidyalayam, Hyderabad and Dr. Bhudati Venkateswarlu
Associate professor of Telugu, Dravidian University. I thank the
authorities of the libraries of Dravidian University Kuppam, S. V.
University Tirupati, Karanataka University Dharwada for their kind
permission to use the material available in their institutions. My grateful
thanks are due to my colleagues in the Department of comparative
Dravidian literature and Philosophy, for their encouragement and moral
Further, I acknowledge wholeheartedly and with all humility the
help, I have received from a numbers of historians, poets, sociologists,
and other scholars with whom I have interacted at various conferences
and seminars. My sincere thanks to Dr. V.Gopalakrishana, Institute of
Asian Studies Chennai Dr. B. Tirupati Rao, Associate Professor, Depart
of English & Communications has kindly perused the manuscript and
making suggestions before going to press.
I am thankful to the Prasaranga, Dravidian University for
publication of this work.
Tam thankful to my beloved father-in law Sri. S. Nagulaiah (Rtd)
Principal of Government Junior College Madhira Khammam and my
life partner Smt. S. Hemalatha and my daughters Likhita and Nikhila
for their constant co-operation and help in several ways for preparing
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