Last week took place one of the main (or the main?) conferences for Sanskrit scholars, namely the 16th edition of the World Sanskrit Conference, of which you can read a short summary by McComas Taylor on Indology (look for it here). Marcus Schmücker and I organised a panel called One God—One Śāstra, Philosophical developments towards and within Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta between Nāthamuni and Veṅkaṭanātha. You can read the initial call for papers here.
Is the world existent at every time?
Does sense-perception have natural limitations? Or can it be improved through practice and still be perceptual?
As frequently observed, free will was not a main topic in Indian philosophy, and discussions about it need rather to be looked for either at partly unexpected places (e.g., within logical discussions about agency) or in texts which are not primarily philosophical and in their commentaries, most notably the Mahābhārata and especially the Bhagavadgītā. Nonetheless, a precious exception is offered by a passage in a 11th c. theologian and philosopher, namely in Rāmānuja’s Vedārthasaṅgraha, which focuses on a constellation of topics quite similar to the one Western readers are accustomed to.
A philosopher might end up having a double affiliation, to the philosophical standpoints shared by one’s fellow philosophers, and to the religious program of one’s faith.
This can lead to difficult reinterpretations (such as that of Christ with the Neoplatonic Nous, or that of God with the Aristotelic primum movens immobile), or just to juxtapositions (the addition of angels to the list of possible living beings).
A Vaiṣṇava who starts doing philosophy after centuries of religious texts speaking of Viṣṇu’s manifestations (vibhūti), of His qualities and His spouse Lakṣmī (or Śrī or other names), is in a similar difficult situation.
When, where and how did bhakti become acceptable within the Indian intellectual élites?
Can one speak of theology without partaking a given faith and belonging to a given community of believers? Religious texts can be read as historical or literary documents, but can they also be read as theological ones outside a community of believers?
I am grateful to Elise Coquereau for bringing me back to one of my past interests, namely Daya Krishna‘s philosophy. Daya Krishna was a polyedric genius, who wrote on economics, sociology, history of Western and Indian Philosophy, aesthetics, etc., always with a revolutionary and unconventional spirit.
In post-Vedānta Deśika (traditional dates 1269-1370) Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta texts Hayagrīva seems to have assumed the function Gaṇeśa has in all other texts, namely he is invoked at the beginning as the God of learning, protecting the intellectual enterprise one is about to undertake.