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Counter Discourses- A Study on Vemana's Advaita

Counter Discourses- A Study on Vemana's Advaita
Item Code: NAX097
Author: S. Penchalaiah
Publisher: Dravidian University Campus
Language: English
Edition: 2009
Pages: 140
Other Details: 9.00 X 6.00 inch
weight of the book: 0.18 kg
About the Author

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 his credit.

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 and address.

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 also.

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 people.

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 present work.

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 support.

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 the book.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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