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Shankara opposes the dualistic Yoga as much as the Samkhya in his Brahmasutrabhasya and other works. But one clearly sees that his opposition does not extend to the methodology of Yoga. He generally speaks favourably of yogic practices and even accepts the siddhis of Yoga. Sankara mentions the threefold sravana, manana and nididhyasana as of paramount importance for brahman-realization. While sravana is translated as hearing and studying the relevant sacred texts and manana as reflection on what one has learnt from the texts, nididhyasana is usually translated as samadhi as well as dhyana.
The course will present an account of the Vedānta commentarial tradition and discuss detailed readings of key texts. We will begin with Śaṅkara’s commentary on the Brahma-sūtra 1.1.1 and his advaita interpretation.
We will continue our inquiry into the Vedānta with an examination of Rāmānuja’s commentary on the same text. We will begin to understand the nature of the commentarial tradition as a discussion about the nature of truth across the centuries and the different theological positions developed through history. We will also examine a section from Rāmānuja’s Vedāntasāra.
Reading: Rāmānuja, The Vedāntasūtras with the Commentary of Rāmaṇuja translated by G. Thibauty, Sacred Books of the East Series (MLBD: Delhi, 1976).
The Mūrtāmūrtabrāhmaṇa (II.3) of the Bṛhadāraṇyakopaniṣad introduces the néti néti formula and explains it. From Sanskrit commentaries we can gather that this formula was traditionally interpreted in two ways. The second of them, the one adopted by Śaṅkara, has become the favourite of most of the modern translations; the first interpretation has not attracted the attention of a modern scholar.
On the other hand, a very competent scholar like Geldner (1928) has made an exception and interpreted the formula in an extra-ingenious way, as double negation, which was never considered in the