Wednesday, January 19, 2011

God and Atheists

An interesting, though unspelt, innovation of post-classical Mīmāṃsā is the introduction of theistic (specifically: Vaiṣṇava) attitudes within the originally atheist Mīmāṃsā.
Śabara, Kumārila, Prabhākara and their immediate commentators (such as Uṃveka Bhaṭṭa, Pārthasārathi Miśra, Śālikanātha Miśra) seem to be consistent in their denial of any god. Kumārila's Ślokavārttika displays an opening verse (maṅgala), which seems to praise Śiva but has been interpreted by his commentator, Pārthasārathi Miśra, as praising the sacrifice, yajña. Pārthasārathi himself opens his Śāstradīpikā with a maṅgala in praise of Mukuṇḍa, which has no connection with the rest of the text and could even be suspected to be a later addition. Śālikanātha and Bhavanātha only praise their "guru", Prabhākara. In their subcommentaries, on the other hand, maṅgalas in praise of one's iṣṭadevatā begin to flourish. A little bit later still, Mīmāṃsā seems to acquire a strong Vaiṣṇava connotation. Mahādeva Vedāntin conforms to this tendency with a maṅgala Rāma at the beginning of the MNS and several works of Vaiṣṇava flair (a commentary on the Viṣṇusahasranāma section of the Mahābhārata and on the Rāmasahasranāmastotra). Interestingly, this theistic background never affects the Mīmāṃsā content. This may depend on the technical nature of many Mīmāṃsā topics, but perhaps also on the distinction implicitly driven by many authors between one's emotional relation to a personal God and one's philosophical engagement against the necessity of a god as one's logical foundation. If the two attitudes are not just incidentally co-existing in a single personality, one might suggest that the denial of any logical necessity of such a basis is perhaps in itself the presupposition for a purely emotional relation to God.


Daniel López Salort said...

Dear Elisa:

We have edited your commentary about Daya Krishna, into our website:

Dharma, Filosofías de la India.

It is the only deep commentary that we know about him.

Thanks for your concepts on Indian Philosophies and your very important job about them.

Sinceresley yours,

Daniel López Salort.

elisa freschi said...

Thank you, Daniel, but there are surely other interesting articles on Daya Krishna (see for instance Daniel Raveh's one, published short after Daya Krishna's death). I hope we will keep in touch. The older I get, the more I am interested in wider projects, the sort of I cannot accomplish on my own.

yours elisa

p.s. As far as I am concerned, I am happy to see ideas circulate and I appreciate the fact that you mentioned the journal where the article has first appeared. In all other cases, however, it would be safer to ask before publishing or translating something.

Dharma, Filosofías de la India. said...

Thank you, Elisa, for your commentaries. Unfortunately, I couldn't find how to meet you until I casually knew your blog, which I enjoy now. That was the reason why I didn't ask your permission for publishing your article. My apologize for that.
The aim of our website is to give to spanish-speaking readers deep thinking researchers and scholars.

Yours, Daniel.

elisa freschi said...

just in case, my email address can be found here:

and on

Dharma, Filosofías de la India. said...

Dear Elisa:
As we do not want to bother you, we have removed the translation of your article on Daya Krishna.



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