Textual Authority in Classical Hindu Thought
Ramanuja and the Vishnu Purana
Routledge – 2013 – 224 pages
Series: Routledge Hindu Studies Series
Theistic Vedanta originated with Ramanuja (1077-1157), one of its foremost proponents, who was 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.
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.
1. Introduction 2. Scriptural corroboration and the Viṣṇu Purāṇa 3. Creation, Cosmology, and the Divine Body in the Vedārthasaṃgraha 4. The Individual Self and Brahman in the Śrībhāṣya 5. The Individual Self and Matter in the Bhagavadgītābhāṣya 6. Conclusion
Sucharita Adluri is Assistant Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at Cleveland State University, US.