The Happiness that Qualifies Nonduality:Jñāna, Bhakti, and Sukha in Rāmānuja’s Vedārthasaṃgraha

Ram-Prasad, C. (2022) The Happiness that Qualifies Nonduality:Jñāna, Bhakti, and Sukha in Rāmānuja’s Vedārthasaṃgraha. International Journal of Hindu Studies. ISSN 1022-4556

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Abstract

The great eleventh-century figure, Rāmānuja, belonged to the Śrīvaiṣṇava community that worshiped the divine as Viṣṇu-with-Śrī, the Lord-and-Consort. But he also embarked on a project to develop an interpretation of the first-century Vedāntasūtra, which presented the supposedly core teachings of the major Upaniṣads, traditionally the last segment of the sacred corpus of the Vedas. Rāmānuja sought to reconcile the devotional commitments of Śrīvaiṣṇavism—which was built on the human yearning for the divine that was incomprehensibly Other while graciously accessible—with the conceptual demands of the Vedānta in which a profound identity between the individual self (ātman) and the impersonal, ultimate explanatory principle (brahman) was taught. This reconciliation of difference and identity came to be called “Qualified Nondualism.” In his earliest work, the Vedārthasaṃgraha, one of the ways Rāmānuja points to reconciliation is through identifying a single state of consciousness as both cognition of nonduality (the Vedāntic project) and the emotionally valent experience of happiness (the supreme expression of the human encounter with the divine). It does not seem that he systematically pursues this conception of how a state can be both cognitive and affective, and such an analysis will require independent philosophical analysis. Thus, this article argues that if a state of consciousness were indeed both cognitive and affective in this way, we would have a full explanation for how the devotional approach of a human being to Viṣṇu-with-Śrī can also be the self’s realization of identity with brahman.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
International Journal of Hindu Studies
Uncontrolled Keywords:
/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3316
Subjects:
ID Code:
182248
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
03 Jan 2023 12:05
Refereed?:
Yes
Published?:
Published
Last Modified:
03 Jan 2023 12:05