Indian Thought and Western Theism
The Vedanta of Ramanuja
Routledge – 2015 – 208 pages
Series: Routledge Hindu Studies Series
Vedanta is one of the most important of intellectual and soteriological traditions in Hinduism, and Ramanuja is one of its major exponents. This book is a study of the Vedanta of Ramanuja, in particular his concept of Brahman and of Brahman’s relationship with the world, and a critique of modern Western and Indian interpretation of Ramanuja’s work.
Modern Western and Indian studies of Ramanuja have drawn parallels with Western theistic accounts, where it has become common to distinguish between ‘classical’ theism, being the doctrine of God and creation that prevailed until the 20th century, and ‘non-classical’ theism, being a range of more recent positions that have developed as alternatives. It is common to find it asserted that Ramanuja’s teaching has little in common with the classical theism and that instead it is like non-classical forms of Western theism. As a result, Ramanuja’s thought is often described using the terms closely associated with non-classical Western theism. The author puts forward that, on the contrary, fundamental points of convergence with classical Western theism and fundamental divergences from non-classical forms can be identified, thus reversing the tendency of earlier interpretation. It examines in detail the general comparisons that have been made and the various terms used. Thereby, it addresses the neglect of classical Western theism and of its relationship to Indian thought by Western and Indian scholars and furthers the proper appreciation of Ramanuja as a great Vedantic teacher.
Arguing that there is indeed an affinity between the Western scholastic tradition and that of classical Indian thought, and suggesting a reversal of the tendencies of earlier interpretations, this book will be of interest to students and scholars of Asian Religion, Hinduism, and Indian Philosophy.
Introduction. 1. Vedānta and Thomism 2. Methodology 3. The Ultimate Reality 4. The World 5. Rāmānuja and Modern Western Theism. Conclusion
Martin Ganeri is Lecturer in Theology at Heythrop College, University of London and Prior of Blackfriars, Cambridge, UK.