Textual Authority in Classical Indian Thought: Ramanuja and the Vishnu Purana, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Textual Authority in Classical Indian Thought

Ramanuja and the Vishnu Purana, 1st Edition

By Sucharita Adluri


156 pages

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Theistic Vedānta originated with Rāmānuja (1077-1157), who was one of the foremost theologians of Viśistādvaita Vedānta and also an initiate of the Śrīvaisnava sectarian tradition in South India. As devotees of the God Visnu and his consort Śrī, the Śrīvaisnavas established themselves through various processes of legitimation as a powerful sectarian tradition. One of the processes by which the authority of the Śrīvaisnavas was consolidated was Rāmānuja’s synthesis of popular Hindu devotionalism with the philosophy of Vedānta.

This book demonstrates that by incorporating a text often thought to be of secondary importance - the Visnu Purāna (1st-4th CE) - into his reading of the Upanisads, which were the standard of orthodoxy for Vedānta philosophy, Rāmānuja was able to interpret Vedānta within the theistic context of Śrīvaisnavism. Rāmānuja was the first Brahmin thinker to incorporate devotional purānas into Vedānta philosophy. His synthetic theology called Viśistādvaita (unity-of-the-differenced) wielded tremendous influence over the expansion of Visnu devotionalism in South India and beyond. In this book, the exploration of the exegetical function of this purana in arguments salient to Rāmānuja’s Vedānta facilitates our understanding of the processes of textual accommodation and reformulation that allow the incorporation of divergent doctrinal claims.

Expanding on and reassessing current views on Rāmānuja’s theology, the book contributes new insights to broader issues in religious studies such as canon expansion, commentarial interpretation, tradition-building, and the comparative study of scripture. It will be of interest to students and scholars of Indian philosophy and Religious Studies.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

2. The Individual Self, Cosmology, and the Divine Body in the Vedārthasaṃgraha

3. Brahman, Individual Self, and Ignorance in the Śrībhāṣya

4. Sāṃkhya-Yoga, Kṛṣṇa, and the Foremost Devotee in the Bhagavadgītābhāṣya

About the Author

Sucharita Adluri is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Comparative Religion at Cleveland State University. Her research interests include Sanskrit Commentary and Intellectual History and the History of Religions of South India.

About the Series

Routledge Hindu Studies Series

This series, in association with the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies, intends primarily  the publication of constructive Hindu theological, philosophical and ethical projects aimed at bringing Hindu traditions into dialogue with contemporary trends in scholarship and contemporary society. The series invites original, high quality, research level work on religion, culture and society of Hindus living in India and abroad. Proposals for annotated translations of important primary sources and studies in the history of the Hindu religious traditions will also be considered.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
RELIGION / Hinduism / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Regional Studies