R. Balasubramanian (Ph.D. and D Litt Madras University) was Prof. and Head Sri Aurobindo School of Eastern and western thought and Chairman Indian Council of philosophical research New Delhi. A Specialist in Advaita Phenomenology and Existentialism he has number of books and articles to his credit and has lectured in several universities in and outside India. He taught in Besant Theosophical college, Vivekananda College, and Annamali University before joining the faculty of Radhakrishnan Institute for advanced study in Philosophy University of Madras of which he was the Director for a number of years. He spent a year at Stanford University as a Fulbright and Smith Mundt Scholar for his post doctoral studies. Some of his publications include personalistic existentialism of Berdyaev (1970) the Taittiriyopanisad Bhasya vartika of Suresvara (1974, 1984) Advaita Vedanta (1976) Some Problems in the Epistemology and Metaphysics of Ramanuja (1976) a Study of the Brahmasiddhi of Mandanamisra (1983) The Naiskarmyasiddhi of Suresvara (1988) and the Sivajnanabodhasangrahbhasya of Sivagrayogin (Sanskrit co-editor 1992).
The Hindu thought represents a number of schools comprising philosophical ideas, principles, and practices. The goal of each school is to idolize the supreme Deity representing a particular aspect of the ultimate Reality (Brahman). Each school has separate identity with monastic communities and literature. Some of these schools hold such contrary views that each appears to be a complete one. But they all believe in the central doctrines of Hinduism such as karma, dharma, reincarnation, existence of the ãtman, worship of deity, tradition of teacher and disciple, and the philosophical authority of the Vedas. None of these schools is in any way superior or inferior to the others. They simply represent different ways of approach to the same goal and are meant for various classes of people having different tastes, aptitudes, temperaments, and levels of self-development. The Vedanta system contains the fundamental thought of India. It is founded on the authority of the Upanisads, the Bhagavad-gita, and the Brahma-sutra of Badaräyal3a- Vvasa. According to Sadananda, Vedanta is the concluding m of the Upanisads, which along with the Sarira ka-sut rag mi the Bhagavad-gita helps in the correct exposition of its meaning. Vedanta brings out the mystical, ethical, and metaphysical aspects of philosophy. There are three different philosophies of Vedanta. Advaita (non-duality) implies that there is an identity of Brahman and Jivatman while Dvaita (duality) differs from Advaita and maintains an ultimate diversity between Brahman and Jivatman. Visistadvaita (qualified non-duality) maintains a crucial differentiation as well as a fundamental identity. Advaita is the oldest extant school of Vedanta associated with Gaudapada and Adi Sankara. The Visistadvaita philosophy was expounded by Ramanuja. The main exponent of the Dvaita philosophy was Madhva. Other systems which are not quite popular as the above mentioned philosophies include Dvait Advaita (dual-non-dual doctrine), Suddhadvaita (pure non-dualism) and Acintya-bhedabheda (oneness and difference) were expounded by Nimbarka, Vallabha, and Vidyabhusana, respectively. All the above philosophers have written commentaries on the Prasthana-traya (triple canon) of the Vedanta—the Upanisads, the Brahma-sutra, and the Bhagavad-Gita.
The followers of Saivism worship the ultimate reality as Lord Siva. This tradition is traced to the Indus Valley Civilization by many scholars. There are many schools of Saivism like Saiva Siddhanta, Paupata Saivism, Kashmir Saivism, Vira Saivism, etc. These systems differ somewhat in their doctrines pertaining to the relationship between Siva Atman and the world. among these the major schools of Kashmir Saivism are Krama (Progression Graduation or Succession respectively meaning spiritual progression or gradual refinement of the mental processes or Successive unfoldment taking place at the ultimate level in the supreme consciousness, Kula (family or totality) Spanda (Vibration/movement of consciousness) and Pratyabhijna (Spontaneous recognition).
Although the main principle of Kashmir Saivism and Vedanta is pure monism (advaita) yet there are many differences in their thinking of logic and representation of evidness from Sruti and Smrti. The present volume gives a comprehensive development of Vedanta and Saivism from the ancient to medieval time.
The Chinmaya International foundation Shodha Sansthan feels immensely pleased and expresses sincere thanks to Prof. R. Balasubramanian an eminent philosopher of India as well as western philosophy for publishing this volume through our institution. We are thankful to Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan for providing funds for the publication of this volume.
The Veda consist of Four parts: (1) Mantras (2) Brahmanas (3) Aranyakas and (4) Upanisads Since the Upanisads come at the end of the Veda they are Called Vedanta. The term Vedanta Etymologically means the end of the Veda the anta of the Veda). What is taught in the Upanisads has been conveyed in the form of brief statements called sutras in the Brahma Sutra composed by Badarayana. The Bhagavad-Gita the song of the lord sets forth the teachings of the Upanisads in the form of dialogue between Krsna, the incarnation of Visnu and Arjuna the human being caught in the existential predicament. It may be noted that tradition has accorded to this text the status of the Upanisad even though it is only smrti. While the Upanisad which is a part of the Veda is Sruti the Brahma sutra and the Bhagavad-Gita are smrti. The systems of Vedanta have developed their philosophy on the basis of Sruti Smrti and tarka. Some systems of Vedanta make use of the Agamas in addition to the prasthana traya for the support of their theory and practice.
There are four metaphysical perspectives bheda abheda, bhedabheda and visistadvaita in the systems of Vedanta and these perspectives are supported by the Upanisads. According to the tradition prevalent in Kashmir Saivism is as old as the Vedas. Like the Upanisads the sixty four Siva Sastras also teach these perspectives. So Saivism broadly speaking is of two kinds dualistic and non dualistic. Just as there are dualistic systems of Vedanta even so there are dualistic systems of Saivism. But Kashmir Saivims like Advaita Vedanta is no dualistic systems of Vedanta even so there are dualistic systems of Saivism. But Kashmir Saivism like Advaita Vedanta is non dualistic. It maintains that the entire universe is the manifestation of the one ultimate reality which is both consciousness and energy fused into one.
The present volume gives an account of the systems of Vedanta and Kashmir Saivism from A.D. 300 to 1000. Vedanta is a generic term comprising several philosophical systems of which Advaita is one. For example Dvaita Bhedabheda Visistadvaita etc. are Vedanta systems. Since Advaita is only one of the systems of Vedanta it is wrongs to identify Advaita with Vedanta as many scholars do.
I contributed a chapter entitled systems of Vedanta and Kashmir Saivism (A.D. 300-1000) to the PHISPC Volume life thought and culture in India edited by Prof. K. Satchidananda Murty and published by the centre for studies in Civilization 2002 I express my grateful thanks to Prof. D.P. Chattopadhyaya General Editor and Prof. Bhuvan Chandel Member Secretary of the Centre for Studies in Civilization for giving me permission to publish this as a separate monograph with minor changes. I am thankful to Chinmaya International foundation Shodha Sansthan for publishing this work. My esteemed colleague Prof. V.K.S.N. Raghavan helped me as usual in the preparation of the final draft of the script. I have to acknowledge the help of Prof. S. Revathy in checking the proofs. I thank K.S. Jayanthi for typesetting this work. The inspiration from my children’s is as usual a great support to me I need it; I Love it’ I cherish it.
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