Forging Indian philosophical texts

Did Indian authors forge their authorities? Did they need it, given the freedom commentators enjoyed (so that Śaiva texts have been used by Vaiṣṇava authors (see the Spandakārikā) and dualist texts by non-dualist authors (see the Paratriṃśikā) as their authorities)?

Was Yāmuna the real founder of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta? (On Mesquita 1971 and 1973)

Yāmuna (967–1038 according to Mesquita 1973) is one of the chief figures of the philosophy later known as Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta. In fact, to me one of the most intriguing questions regards his role in the formation of this school. It is only with Rāmānuja (who lived two generations after Yāmuna) that the school becomes clearly Vedāntic and it is not by chance that it is only Rāmānuja who decided to write a commentary on the Brahmasūtra.

Economic structures and philosophic superstructures: On Scott 2013 and Eltschinger 2013

How was Capitalism born? And, more in general, 1. does the economic structure determine its superstructure (including philosophy or religion), as in Marx; 2. does a certain philosophy, religion, etc. determine a certain economic result, as in Weber; or 3. do important actors select a certain philosophy, religion, etc., because it is more adequate for their needs? Or are there still other solutions (as in Hirschman’s 1977 The Passions and the Interests)?

Scripture, authority and reason —About a new book edited by Vincent Eltschinger and Helmut Krasser

How do reason and authority interact and trace each other’s boundaries? Which one is the first to be allowed to delimit its territory and, by means of that, also the other one’s one?

Let us organise more Saṃvādas! An Interview with Mrinal Kaul

I met Mrinal Kaul for the first time in December 2012, when he attended the Coffee Break Meeting on textual reuse in Indian Philosophical texts. Since then, I tried to have him collaborate to many of my projects, but always failed, since he is already very  busy with incredibly many others. You can read his blog here and find out something more about him on his Academia page. Once you have done this, add much more Sanskrit than you would believe, imagine a smiling, funny face and you will still have only a vague idea of him.

Alexis Sanderson on Pleasure and Emotions in Tantric Śaiva Soteriology

Sanderson is always an incredibly fascinating speaker. In this conference he discusses the dialectics of Śaivism and “orthodox Hinduism”: It is not only the case that Śaiva authors tried to be accepted as “orthodox Hindūs” and “orthodox Hindūs” tried to block them. By contrast, on both sides there were trends towards assimilation and resistance to these trends.


(Full disclosure: I have discussed a similar case of a complex dialectical relationship —this time between Pāñcarātra Vaiṣṇava theology and “orthodox Hindūism”— in an article to be published in the proceedings of IIGRS 4).