Divine Self, Human Self The Philosophy of Being in Two Gita Commentaries

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2013-07-04
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic

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The Gita is a central text in Hindu traditions, and commentaries on it express a range of philosophical-theological positions. Two of the most significant commentaries are by Sankara, the founder of the Advaita or Non-Dualist system of Vedic thought and by Ramanuja, the founder of the Visistadvaita or Qualified Non-Dualist system. Their commentaries offer rich resources for the conceptualization and understanding of divine reality, the human self, being, the relationship between God and human, and the moral psychology of action and devotion. This book approaches their commentaries through a study of the interaction between the abstract atman (self) and the richer conception of the human person. While closely reading the Sanskrit commentaries, Ram-Prasad develops reconstructions of each philosophical-theological system, drawing relevant and illuminating comparisons with contemporary Christian theology and Western philosophy.

Author Biography

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy in the Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, and Associate Dean for Research, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, at Lancaster University, UK. He is the author of Knowledge and Liberation in Classical Indian Thought (Palgrave, 2001), Advaita Epistemology and Metaphysics: An outline of Indian non-realism (Routledge, 2002), Eastern Philosophy (Wiedenfield and Nicholson, 2005), India: Life, Myth and Art (Duncan Baird, 2006), which has been translated into French, Polish and Finnish, and Indian Philosophy and the Consequences of Knowledge (Ashgate, 2007). He is a member of the Academic Advisory Council at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and a regular contributor to BBC Radio 4's Beyond Belief and Sunday Programme.

Table of Contents

1. Setting the scene: The Gita and its commentaries in context / 2. The ground of being and the divine self: Sankara on brahman and Krsna / 3. The divine self beyond being: Ramanuja on Krsna and brahman / 4. Self and person: Who and what is the princely warrior? / 5. Divine self, human self: Action, knowledge and devotion / Bibliography / Index

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