The Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta is a philosophical and theological school active chiefly in South India, from the last centuries of the first millennium until today and holding that the Ultimate is a personal God who is the only existing entity and of whom everything else (from matter to human and other living beings) is a characteristic.
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?
One God, one śāstra: philosophical developments towards and within Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta between Nāthamuni and Veṅkaṭanātha
In the case of the Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta school, one has the advantage of having some basic historical elements to judge about the development of the theological and philosophical thought of the school. We have, in fact, at least some historical data about the time, place and personality of key figures such as Yāmuna, Rāmānuja and Veṅkaṭanātha and a good amount of works from them has survived and can be accessed. Some attempts have been made (e.g., by Oberhammer, Neevel, Mesquita) to offer a general interpretation of this early development, but many problems have remained open, and not only because of the lack of materials (regarding, e.g., Śrīvatsaṅka Miśra, Nāthamuni, important parts of Yāmuna’s work, etc.).
This panels aims at joining scholars working on the early Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta, and making them discuss the development of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta from its forerunners to a full-fledged philosophical and theological phenomenon. Possible leit-motivs in the analysis of this development can be topics such as (the list does not aim to be exhaustive):
- the increasing importance of the topic of aikaśāstrya, possibly paralleling the emphasis on the existence of just one God
- the adaptation of other schools to one’s theistic approach (from Nyāya and Yoga in the case of Nāthamuni to Uttara Mīmāṃsā in the case of Rāmānuja, to Pūrva Mīmāṃsā and again Nyāya for Veṅkaṭanātha)
Organisers: Elisa Freschi, Marcus Schmücker
Participants at July the 1st 2014: Francis X. Clooney, Elisa Freschi, Robert Leach, Halina Marlewicz, Erin McCann, Lawrence McCrea, Srilata Raman, Marion Rastelli, Marcus Schmücker
If you are interested in participating, or in knowing further details, please drop a comment here or send a line at my email address (my name dot my surname at gmail dot com).
The 16th World Sanskrit Conference will take place from the 28th of June to the 2nd of July in Bangkok. Further infos can be found here.
What are the Pāñcarātras? Is there anything like a uniform Pāñcarātra Canon and/or Theology? Or are these texts only part of a constellation which has been made consistent by its later interpreters?