Samkara's Advaita Vedanta
A Way of Teaching
Routledge – 2005 – 264 pages
Series: Routledge Hindu Studies Series
Samkara (c.700 CE) has been regarded by many as the most authoritative Hindu thinker of all time. A great Indian Vedantin brahmin, Samkara was primarily a commentator on the sacred texts of the Vedas and a teacher in the Advaitin teaching line. This book serves as an introduction to Samkara's thought which takes this as a central theme. The author develops an innovative approach based on Samkara's ways of interpreting sacred texts and creatively examines the profound interrelationship between sacred text, content and method in Samkara's thought. The main focus of the book is on Samkara's teaching method. This method is, for Samkara, based on the Upanishads' own; it is to be employed by Advaitin teachers to draw pupils skilfully towards that realisation which is beyond all words. Consequently, this book will be of interest not only to students and scholars of Indian philosophy, but to all those interested in the relation between language and that which is held to transcend it.
'This book provides an excellent introduction to Samkara's work, while making a number of original arguments that are sure to be influencial in future studies on Samkara' - Brian Black, South Asia Research, Vol. 26 (2)
Introduction: Studying the Teacher 1. The Teacher Himself 2. The Need for the Teaching 3. The Source for the Teaching 4. The Methods of the Teaching 5. The Context of the Teaching: The World of Name and Form 6. The Context of the Teaching: The Lord 7. The Language of the Teaching 8. The End of the Teaching
J.G. Suthren Hirst is Lecturer in South Asian Studies at the University of Manchester. Her interest in teaching and learning at all levels informs her research on the Vedanta school of Indian philosophy, on Hindu texts, and on gender and religion in South Asia and the diaspora.