Textual Authority in Classical Indian Thought
Ramanuja and the Vishnu Purana
Routledge – 2015 – 176 pages
Series: Routledge Hindu Studies Series
Theistic Vedanta originated with Ramanuja (1077-1157), who was one of the foremost theologians of Visi??advaita Vedanta and also an initiate of the Srivai??ava sectarian tradition in South India. As devotees of the God Vi??u and his consort Sri, the Srivai??avas established themselves through various processes of legitimation as a powerful sectarian tradition. One of the processes by which the authority of the Srivai??avas was consolidated was Ramanuja’s synthesis of popular Hindu devotionalism with the philosophy of Vedanta.
This book demonstrates that by incorporating a text often thought to be of secondary importance - the Vi??u Pura?a (1st-4th CE) - into his reading of the Upani?ads, which were the standard of orthodoxy for Vedanta philosophy, Ramanuja was able to interpret Vedanta within the theistic context of Srivai??avism. Ramanuja was the first Brahmin thinker to incorporate devotional pura?as into Vedanta philosophy. His synthetic theology called Visi??advaita (unity-of-the-differenced) wielded tremendous influence over the expansion of Vi??u devotionalism in South India and beyond. In this book, the exploration of the exegetical function of this purana in arguments salient to Ramanuja’s Vedanta 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 Ramanuja’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.
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
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.