Consciousness in Indian Philosophy

The Advaita Doctrine of ‘Awareness Only’

By Sthaneshwar Timalsina

© 2008 – Routledge

182 pages

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Paperback: 9780415762236
pub: 2014-04-27
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About the Book

This book focuses on the analysis of pure consciousness as found in Advaita Vedanta, one of the main schools of Indian philosophy. According to this tradition, reality is identified as Brahman, the world is considered illusory, and the individual self is identified with the absolute reality. Advaitins have various approaches to defend this argument, the central one being the doctrine of 'awareness only' (cinmatra). Following this stream of argument, what consciousness grasps immediately is consciousness itself, and the notions of subject and object arise due to ignorance. This doctrine categorically rejects the plurality of individual selves and the reality of objects of perception.

Timalsina analyzes the nature of consciousness as understood in Advaita. He first explores the nature of reality and pure consciousness, and then moves on to analyze ignorance as propounded in Advaita. He then presents Advaita arguments against the definitions of 'object' of cognition found in various other schools of Indian philosophy. In this process, the positions of two rival philosophical schools of Advaita and Madhva Vedanta are explored in order to examine the exchange between these two schools. The final section of the book contrasts the Yogacara and Advaita understandings of consciousness. Written lucidly and clearly, this book reveals the depth and implications of Indian metaphysics and argument. It will be of interest to scholars of Indian philosophy and Religious Studies.

Table of Contents

Introduction Part 1: Sat 1. Establishment of Awareness Only 2. Svaprakasata 3. Ekajiva: Solitary Self-awareness 4. Existence and Awareness Part 2: Anirvacaniya 5. Avidya Part 3: Asat6. A Critique of Difference 7. A Critique of Object

About the Author

Sthaneshwar Timalsina is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, San Diego State University, US. His research interests include Tantric traditions, literary theory, and ritual studies. His first book, Seeing and Appearance, was published in 2006 by Shaker Verlag.

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:
REL032000
RELIGION / Hinduism / General