Monday, September 23, 2013

Rāmānuja's Śrī Bhāṣya and its readers

Rāmānuja is usually considered the real founder of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta. The Śrī Bhāṣya is usually considered his masterpiece. Thus, what would one expect in it?

A ground-breaking thesis, something like "I am establishing a new idea" (as in Utpaladeva's Īśvarapratyabhijñākārikā); a defensive attitude, like "I am not departing from what my predecessors said" (like in Jayanta's Nyāyamañjarī and in so many other Sanskrit texts); the awareness of the risky path one has undertaken (as can be perceived in Veṅkaṭanātha's essay to find a place for Mīmāṃsā within Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta)…?

Instead, the Śrī Bhāṣya seems to have been written from the perspective of an author having already a well-established readership. It does not seem to have to address the worries of Tamil Vaiṣṇavas who did not want Vedānta to become an essential part of their religion. Nor does it address the worries of Vedāntins who did not want too much religious devotion in their philosophy. Instead, the Śrī Bhāṣya quotes a lot from the Upaniṣads, possibly in order to show that Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta is their best interpreter. Further, it discusses at length issues such as the oneness of Brahman…

Does it mean that the Śrī Bhāṣya's target-readers were Advaita Vedāntins? Could it be that Advaita Vedāntins were the key-opponent in 11th c. South India?

For another post on the oneness of Brahman according to the Śrī Bhāṣya, see here.


RuralYES said...


Thanks for sharing this. The link at the bottom to another post on Sri Bhasya and Ramanuja does not work! Much appreciate a repost with the correct link.

elisa freschi said...

Thanks a lot for making me aware of it. I am now in Germany for the DOT and will fix the link in the post as soon as I am back. For the time being, here is the correct link:

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