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Lectures by Prof. Dilip Loundo

Adhyaropa-Apavada Tarka: The Nature and Structure of the Soteriological Upanisadic Argument in Sankaracarya and Swami Sacchidanandendra Saraswati

24 Jan 2013

The lecture will highlight some of the basic features of contemporary vedantin writer Satchidanandendra Saraswati’s advaita vedānta as presented in his magum opus Vedānta Prakriyā Pratyabhijñā(The Method of the Vedānta). Elaborating on Śaṅkarācārya’s postulation of the Upanișads as ‘secret knowledge’ or ‘secret instruction’ (rahasya-upadeśa), Satchidanandendra Saraswati posits a sort of apophatic mystagogy that seeks to reinstate upaniṣadic thinking (vicāra-tarka) as a rigorous rational discipline understood as a ‘device of imagination’ (kalpita-upāya) acceptable only on account of its results, viz., self-realisation (anubhūti). Described as a systematic process of deliberate superimposition of attributes followed by their retraction (adhyāropa-apavāda), upaniṣadic thinking aims at eliminating the various manifestations of the fundamental and recurrent error of objectifying the ultimate Reality (ātman/brahman). It is described as the culminating ladder of a tri-phasic reasoning that includes, in its two initial stages, avirodha-tarka – a set of arguments ‘proving’ the plausibility of upaniṣadic ‘theses’ – and mīmāṃsā-tarka – a set of exegetical arguments ‘proving’ the purportful centrality of the sentences of non-difference (mahāvākya) in the Upaniṣads. Eliminative reasoning constitutes, finally, the fundamental nature of upaniṣadic thinking and the basic tool of a transformative philosophy that ensures the eradication of ignorance as the root cause of human suffering and the concomitant realization of one’s ever-present non-dual nature (ātman/brahman).Prof. Loundo is Coordinator of the Center for the Study of Religions and Philosophies of India (NERFI). NERFI is an integral part of the Postgraduate Program of Religious Studies (PPCIR) of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. It was started in 2010 and is officially registered as a national research group at the National Scientific Research Council (CNPq.), Brazil. In addition to its core group based at UFJF, NERFI has also developed an interdisciplinary network of research collaborators from various universities in Brazil, covering areas such as Philosophy, Social Sciences, Linguistic, Mass Communication and Psychology. Prof. Loundo is a Ph.D. in Indian Philosophy from Mumbai University; an M.A. and M.Phil. in Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sanskrit from Mumbai University. His recent publications include: What´s Philosophy After All? The Intertwined Destinies of Greek Philosophy and Indian Upanisadic Thinking (Barcelona, 2011); An Anthology of Hindi Poetry (Rio de Janeiro, 2010); The Seashore of Endless Worlds: Rabindranath Tagore’s Encounters with Latin America (Belo Horizonte: 2011); The Apophatic Mystagogy of the Upanișads in Satchidanandendra Saraswati’s Advaita Vedanta (Juiz de Fora, 2011); Poetry and Soteriology in India: The Devotional Lyricism of Jayadeva’s Gita-Govinda (Campinas: 2011); Bhartrhari’s Nondual Linguistic Ontology (sabda-advaita-vada) and The Semantics of Sanskrit Middle Voice (atmanepada) (Bangalore, 2010);Ritual in Vedic Tradition: Openness, Plurality and Teleology (João Pessoa, 2012);Tropical Dialogues: Brazil and India (Rio de Janeiro: 2009).

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Textual Authority (śruti) and Soteriological Reason (tarka) in Advaita Vedānta

Shivdasani Lecture
22 Jan 2015

Far from antinomic terms and more than just compatible terms, śruti and tarka seem to converge, in Advaita Vedanta, to the same soteriological discipline that constitutes the only means to attain liberation (mokṣa). Accordingly, śruti is revelation in the sense that it, basically, reveals a method of dialogical reasoning (anugṛhita tarka) that succeeds in eliminating one’s ignorance about Reality. Special emphasis will be given to the teachings of Śaṅkarācārya, Sureśvarācārya and Satccidanandendra Saraswati.Prof. Dilip Loundo is Coordinator of the Centre for the Study of Religions and Philosophies of India (NERFI). NERFI is an integral part of the Postgraduate Program of Religious Studies (PPCIR) of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Minas Gerais, Brazil. Prof. Loundo is a Ph.D. in Indian Philosophy from Mumbai University, an M.A. and M.Phil. in Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sanskrit from Mumbai University. His recent publications include: Comments on Nāgārjuna’s Two Truth Doctrine (São Paulo, 2014); Buddhavacana e Śabda Pramāṇa in Mahāyāna Buddhism and Advaita Vedānta (Campinas, 2014); Ritual in Vedic Tradition: Openness, Plurality and Teleology (João Pessoa, 2012); What´s Philosophy After All? The Intertwined Destinies of Greek Philosophy and Indian Upaniṣadic Thinking (Barcelona, 2011); The Seashore of Endless Worlds: Rabindranath Tagore’s Encounters with Latin America (Belo Horizonte, 2011); The Apophatic Mystagogy of the Upaniṣads in Satchidanandendra Saraswati’s Advaita Vedānta (Juiz de Fora, 2011); Poetry and Soteriology in India: The Devotional Lyricism of Jayadeva’s Gītā-Govinda (Campinas: 2011); Bhartṛhari’s Nondual Linguistic Ontology and the Semantics of ātmanepada (Bangalore, 2010); An Anthology of Hindi Poetry (Rio de Janeiro, 2010); Tropical Dialogues: Brazil and India (Rio de Janeiro:2009). He is presently engaged in preparing the first direct translation into Portuguese of the main Sanskrit Upaniṣads.

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The Meaningfulness of the ‘Meaninglessness of Ritual’: Vedic Ritual (yajña) as Renunciation (tyāga)

Shivdasani Lecture
5 Feb 2015

Though debatable in textual interpretation, Staal’s provocative idea of the ‘meaninglessness of ritual’ points to intrinsic self-justifying dimensions of Vedic ritual.  Perhaps the most important of these dimensions is the ritual’s intrinsic component of renunciation (tyāga) that co-exists, in a complex form, with other external goals. Renunciation forms the structural basis for the continuity between yajña and pūjā and for the organic link that binds together the karmakāṇḍa and the jñānakāṇḍa of the Vedas.  Prof. Dilip Loundo is Coordinator of the Centre for the Study of Religions and Philosophies of India (NERFI). NERFI is an integral part of the Postgraduate Program of Religious Studies (PPCIR) of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Minas Gerais, Brazil. Prof. Loundo is a Ph.D. in Indian Philosophy from Mumbai University, an M.A. and M.Phil. in Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sanskrit from Mumbai University. His recent publications include: Comments on Nāgārjuna’s Two Truth Doctrine (São Paulo, 2014); Buddhavacana e Śabda Pramāṇa in Mahāyāna Buddhism and Advaita Vedānta (Campinas, 2014); Ritual in Vedic Tradition: Openness, Plurality and Teleology (João Pessoa, 2012); What´s Philosophy After All? The Intertwined Destinies of Greek Philosophy and Indian Upaniṣadic Thinking (Barcelona, 2011); The Seashore of Endless Worlds: Rabindranath Tagore’s Encounters with Latin America (Belo Horizonte, 2011); The Apophatic Mystagogy of the Upaniṣads in Satchidanandendra Saraswati’s Advaita Vedānta (Juiz de Fora, 2011); Poetry and Soteriology in India: The Devotional Lyricism of Jayadeva’s Gītā-Govinda (Campinas: 2011); Bhartṛhari’s Nondual Linguistic Ontology and the Semantics of ātmanepada (Bangalore, 2010); An Anthology of Hindi Poetry (Rio de Janeiro, 2010); Tropical Dialogues: Brazil and India (Rio de Janeiro:2009). He is presently engaged in preparing the first direct translation into Portuguese of the main Sanskrit Upaniṣads.

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The ‘Two Truths’ and the Nature of upāya in Nāgārjuna

Shivdasani Seminar
19 Feb 2015

In the Mūlamādhyamaka-Kārikā, Nāgārjuna sustains that the Buddha’s teachings combine, in a unique manner, saṃvṛti-satya (‘conventional truth’) e paramārtha-satya (‘supreme truth’). This peculiar combination of the ‘two truths’, involving a re-orientation of the original meaning of saṃvṛti-satya meant to suit the requirements of the meta-conceptual level of paramārtha-satya,  is, precisely, what constitutes an upāya (‘skilfull means’), the fundamental rational tool of (mahāyāna) Buddhist soteriology. Prof. Dilip Loundo is Coordinator of the Centre for the Study of Religions and Philosophies of India (NERFI). NERFI is an integral part of the Postgraduate Program of Religious Studies (PPCIR) of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Minas Gerais, Brazil. Prof. Loundo is a Ph.D. in Indian Philosophy from Mumbai University, an M.A. and M.Phil. in Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sanskrit from Mumbai University. His recent publications include: Comments on Nāgārjuna’s Two Truth Doctrine (São Paulo, 2014); Buddhavacana e Śabda Pramāṇa in Mahāyāna Buddhism and Advaita Vedānta (Campinas, 2014); Ritual in Vedic Tradition: Openness, Plurality and Teleology (João Pessoa, 2012); What´s Philosophy After All? The Intertwined Destinies of Greek Philosophy and Indian Upaniṣadic Thinking (Barcelona, 2011); The Seashore of Endless Worlds: Rabindranath Tagore’s Encounters with Latin America (Belo Horizonte, 2011); The Apophatic Mystagogy of the Upaniṣads in Satchidanandendra Saraswati’s Advaita Vedānta (Juiz de Fora, 2011); Poetry and Soteriology in India: The Devotional Lyricism of Jayadeva’s Gītā-Govinda (Campinas: 2011); Bhartṛhari’s Nondual Linguistic Ontology and the Semantics of ātmanepada (Bangalore, 2010); An Anthology of Hindi Poetry (Rio de Janeiro, 2010); Tropical Dialogues: Brazil and India (Rio de Janeiro:2009). He is presently engaged in preparing the first direct translation into Portuguese of the main Sanskrit Upaniṣads. 

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Ātmanepada as saṃvidhāna in Bhartṛhari’s Linguistic Ontology

Shivdasani Seminar
5 Mar 2015

Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya contributes to the clarification of Pāṇini’s seminal definition of ātmanepada (“the results of the acts are intended for the agent”) by postulating saṃvidhāna (lit., ‘making provisions/arrangements’ or ‘bringing things together’) as its major semantic component. Both in worldly and Vedic matters (dharma & mokṣa), ātmanepada seems to develop, through the suggestive power of saṃvidhāna, a capacity to convey purportful unity of action and the agent’s dynamics of ego-decentration.  Prof. Dilip Loundo is Coordinator of the Centre for the Study of Religions and Philosophies of India (NERFI). NERFI is an integral part of the Postgraduate Program of Religious Studies (PPCIR) of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), Minas Gerais, Brazil. Prof. Loundo is a Ph.D. in Indian Philosophy from Mumbai University, an M.A. and M.Phil. in Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sanskrit from Mumbai University. His recent publications include: Comments on Nāgārjuna’s Two Truth Doctrine (São Paulo, 2014); Buddhavacana e Śabda Pramāṇa in Mahāyāna Buddhism and Advaita Vedānta (Campinas, 2014); Ritual in Vedic Tradition: Openness, Plurality and Teleology (João Pessoa, 2012); What´s Philosophy After All? The Intertwined Destinies of Greek Philosophy and Indian Upaniṣadic Thinking (Barcelona, 2011); The Seashore of Endless Worlds: Rabindranath Tagore’s Encounters with Latin America (Belo Horizonte, 2011); The Apophatic Mystagogy of the Upaniṣads in Satchidanandendra Saraswati’s Advaita Vedānta (Juiz de Fora, 2011); Poetry and Soteriology in India: The Devotional Lyricism of Jayadeva’s Gītā-Govinda (Campinas: 2011); Bhartṛhari’s Nondual Linguistic Ontology and the Semantics of ātmanepada (Bangalore, 2010); An Anthology of Hindi Poetry (Rio de Janeiro, 2010); Tropical Dialogues: Brazil and India (Rio de Janeiro:2009). He is presently engaged in preparing the first direct translation into Portuguese of the main Sanskrit Upaniṣads.

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