Reviews

Understanding Vedanta philosophy

From time immemorial, Vedic knowledge and principles were traditionally taught by a guru to a disciple or a group of disciples through the gurukulavasam method of teaching. This methodology encouraged the students to collectively think, debate, question, and understand the thesis and anti-thesis of a subject, thus helping them gain a strong foundation in it.

Following this system, M.K. Sudarshan, the author of the book, The Nondescript God – “Abstraction or Paragon?, (Bluerose Publishers) has adopted a unique approach to explain the Visishtadvaita perspective of realisation of Brahman, in the form of a dialogue between a student and an unknown Srivaishnava.

The author has presented this philosophy in a nutshell under eight points covering the true meaning of Brahman with attributes (saguna Brahman) and Brahman without attributes (Nirguna Brahman), based on Vedanta Desikar’s Satadushani and Parasara Bhattar’s commentary on Sri Vishnu Sahasranamam.

Vivid explanation

The author has drawn references from the works of stalwarts of Indian philosophy to give a vivid explanation of the two ideologies – Advaita and Visistadvaita, as far as the concept of Brahman is concerned. The interpretations of Upanishad quotations by Adi Sankara and Sri Ramanuja are quite interesting. He has appropriately traced the history of Advaita, and how it emerged in India during the time of Adi Sankara by referring to the Buddhist school of thought.

His explaination of Ramanuja darsana, particularly jagath kaaranatvam and apprathak siddhi is commendable. In the segment dealing with apprathak siddhi , the author has chosen passages from Chandogya Upanishad and Vedanta Sutra, with two analogies of the Sun and Space, for a vivid description.

The book is a welcome addition to the learners and scholars of both Advaita and Visishtadvaita philosophies.

The Chennai-based writer is a retired professor of Tamil.


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Printable version | Aug 6, 2022 4:50:17 am | https://www.thehindu.com/books/books-reviews/understanding-vedanta-philosophy/article65533384.ece