Hinduism - Lesson 22
The Philosophical Theology of Sankara and Ramanuja
The Philosophical Theology of Sankara and Ramanuja
XIV. The Philosophical Theology of Sankara
B. Sankara’s Advaitic Vedantism (non-dualism)
a. Sankara’s Monism Defined
b. Monism and the Nature of Absolute Brahman
c. Nirguna Brahman defined
d. Atman is Brahman
a. The problem stated
b. Sankara’s maya analogies
i. Subjective delusion
ii. Objective illusion
iii. Non-difference from Brahman
a. Moksa defined
b. Moksa as the breaking of ignorance
c. Moksa as the liberation from the effects of karma
Terms to Know from this lecture:
Sankara (788-820) - India’s most influential philosopher and founder of the non-dualist
philosophy known as advaita Vedanta.
Advaita - non dualism (a school of Vedanta)
Sacred thread -
neti-neti - “not this, not this”
Hinduism is the third largest religion in the world and one of the oldest. It is about 12% of the world population and about 95% are in India. Hinduism is difficult to define. There is evidence of civilization in the Indus valley as early as 2800 BC. The sacred literature that is the basis for Hinduism was created and developed over hundreds of years. It was originally transmitted orally and was eventually written down.
Introduction to fundamental ideas and literature that are basic to the Hindu religion. The first lecture given for this class is not available at this time. This lecture begins on the class outline at II, C.
Discussion of the influence that the Vedic tradition has on Hinduism.
Mahavakyas is made up of two words meaning, “great utterances.” The creation stories are a collection of different stories with various themes. The world is created by a divine figure dismembering themself and their body becomes the world. The caste system has a racial element to it based on some of the creation narratives in the RgVeda.
The Upanishads are one strand of the Vedas. Brahman refers to the all-pervading reality in the Upanishads, not the Brahmin caste. The question throughout the Upanishads is, “Who or what is Brahman?”
Brahman is the ultimate reality of the universe. Our atman is encrusted with karma and stuck on the wheel of Samsara. A Hindu's goal, in the process of being reincarnated through thousands of lifetimes, is to rid themselves of karma so they can achieve moksa, oneness with Brahman.
Maya is the ability of the gods to create the world and give it the appearance they choose, thereby concealing the true nature of Brahman. Karma is the principle that what you sow, you alone reap.
A Hindu must work off their karma to be released from the wheel of Samsara and achieve moksa when their atman becomes one with Brahman. Yoga was developed as a way to achieve the goals of the Samkhya philosophy. Hindus see God as a material cause of the universe, not an efficient cause.
The Mahavakyas are “great sayings” that give you insights into core teachings of Hinduism. The Brehed Aranyaka Upanishad shows that Hindus believe that diversity can come through oneness and not be an “other.”
Sankara says that Brahman is unknowable and we can't perceive any of his qualities. The rope-snake metaphor is often used by Hindus to discuss the difference between perception and reality.
Hindu writers often use metaphors to illustrate and teach the essentials of the Hindu philosophy. In their writings, they refer to these metaphors in a way that assumes that you know and understand them.
The purpose of this lecture is to see the structure of Hinduism at a glance. Hinduism operates and a philosophical level and a popular level. Hinduism attempts to resolve the relationship between knowledge, works and devotion. The four stages of life and the caste system determine much of cultural structure of Hinduism. Hindus worship many Gods.
The three major dissent movements that area a challenge Hinduism are Buddhism, Janism and materialism. Hinduism is adept at absorbing other movements. Buddhism claims that there is a teaching that makes it possible for you to reach the state of Nirvana which is liberation from all suffering. The founder of Buddhism is Siddhartha Gautama. The content of his teaching is the four noble truths and the eight-fold path.
The key insight of the Upanishads is the identification of atman with Brahman. Buddhists deny both atman and Brahman.
The Bhakti marga is branch of Hinduism that emphasizes a spiritual journey undertaken by a devotee that will culminate in a state of union with God or mutual indwelling of the deity and the bhakta.
The Hindu gods have identifying characteristics that make them easy to recognize when you see them in temples or other settings. The Trimrti are the three major gods of India which are Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. Brahma is not often visually represented, so Vishnu and Shiva are seen the most. Brahma the creator, Vishnu the preserver, Shiva the destroyer. Vishnu has 10 incarnations or avatars. These are partial incarnations and don’t represent the fullness of Vishnu.
The Siva icon always has the presence of the Trishal, which is a sacred weapon of destruction. There is also the nag (cobra), damaru (drum), third eye, Ganges river flowing out of his head. The dancing Siva has a damaru in one hand and a flame of fire in the other that represents creation and destruction of the world. He also has dreadlocks and the trunk of an elephant. The third eye of siva is what Hindu women have on their forehead. The Siva Lingum is the most dominant icon in north India.
The Brahminical branch teaches that works and devotion lead to true knowledge (Upanishadic vision, tat twam asi). Bhaktis say that knowledge and works should lead to devotion.
The Ramayana is an epic account of India. It is the story or epic of Rama and Sita, and is the origin of the tradition of Suti. Mahabharata is the epic of India. It’s the longest collection of poems in the world. The Bhagavad-Gita is the most important part of the Mahabharata. It talks about both the dharma of caste and the dharma of denial and renunciation.
Gurus integrate different parts of the marga system. Paramahamsa Ramakrishna declared the unity of all religions. He claimed to have visions of Hindu gods and Jesus Christ and Mohammed and that all religions lead to the same ultimate reality, sat chit ananda. Swami Vivekananda was the most well-known follower of Ramadrishna and brought his message to the western world. He accepts tat twam asi, the great insight of the Upanishads, but thinks that everyone, not just Brahmans can perceive that unity. (The last point of the lecture was cut short due to a technical limitation.)
You may download the text of Vivekananda's speech by clicking on the Handouts link in the upper left corner.
These are nine of the major holidays celebrated in India. Sankara has been called India’s greatest philosopher. Sankara emphasized universals and Ramanuja emphasized the particulars, similar to Plato and Aristotle in Western thought. Sankara has greater status as a philosopher, but Ramanuja has had a great influence on how the masses practice Hinduism.
The chart Dr. Tennent refers to near the end of the lecture is the “Three Vehicle Structure of Hinduism,” which is labeled Lecture 6 in the complete class outline pdf document on the class page.
Brahmabandhav Upadhyay was an upper jati Brahman teacher who converted to Catholicism. He attempts to explain Christianity by using Advadic motifs. Brahmabandhav is an example of how a Brahman can address the Brahminical community using a Brahminical line of reasoning.
There are opportunities for preaching the gospel and planting churches, but there are significant challenges. There is a difference between being unreached and being unevangelized. Homogenus unit principle is one factor that makes it difficult for the gospel to spread in India. It’s important to send people to unreached groups and use a strategy that is effective for those groups.
In-depth survey of philosophical and popular Hinduism’s historical and theological themes. Exposure to current strategies being used to bring the gospel to Hindus and how Christian theology is being formulated in the Indian context.
Dr. Tennent occasionally uses pictures of Hindu gods or other visual resources in his lectures. You can download a document with these pictures by clicking on the Hindu Deity Pictures link.
Dr. Timothy Tennent
The Philosophical Theology of Sankara and Ramanuja (Part 1)
You have to kind of come down on some basic interpretation of it. So we have chosen this class to do kind of a standard interpretation of the upon the shards, and that is that of chakra. We closed the last period by highlighting some of the great statements made about Sankara. He's been called one of the great magnitudes of philosophical and textual history. He's been called one of the great metaphysical tendencies in the history of human thought. Not just Indian thought, but the history of human thought. He's been called India's greatest philosopher and the pinnacle of India's philosophical contribution to the world. Roman, as it were, called him, one steeped in darkness who doesn't know how to utter a true statement. But Shankara is widely regarded as a great philosopher, and I think he represents what I would call the platonic tendency and Eastern thought. Ramanujan will definitely be the Aristotelian emphasis on particulars. Just to refresh our memory on some of the main points, and I have lecture 14 which in the past we have kind of plowed through in a lot of detail, but most of them we've already discussed someone. I just kind of got to briefly to remind you of Sean Crow's interpretation of Monism grows out of his omission of type. Tomasi which essentially identifies the essence of humanity with the essence of the universe. So the distinction of enjoy yours and objects of enjoyment does not exist. So he wants to erase subject, object, dichotomy and instead identify that everything is Brahman. We're going to see harmony. So basically accepts this, but with a lot of qualifications of what this means in the second sentence.
But all of us identify with Brahman or dismissed as ultimately unreal. So he wants to create a situation where the entire world is an illusory Maya state. And the only thing that is done for Brahman is Atman. He deals with the whole quality of Brahman issue by focus on the indigenous Arjuna distinction, which is absolutely critical to the whole Ayurvedic position. Everything in the Upanishads that talks about Brahman with qualities or attributes he uses as his hermeneutical technique that must be referring to is FARA. This is again a Brahman Shankara follows a very rigorous monism or a rigorous non dualism in the sense that he's not going to accept any statements that show qualities or attributes of Brahman. If whenever prominence worship with forms and qualities or I'm quoting him now, it's spoken of as if it were embodied. This is only because of ignorance. So therefore, in light of all of our discussion of popular Hinduism and all the Avatars of Vishnu and so forth, all of that discussion of God being embodied has to be at the level those goona which must be relegated ultimately to illusory less than real capital R, and therefore it ultimately will fail you. It ultimately has no ability to help you achieve a moksha. The only hope is proper knowledge. So he deftly responds to all the conflicting texts and you punish shards by creating these two levels of of Brahman and he uses his text. One of the texts that we are quoted in, such as his thought to punish shot in our great Maha Baki pocket passages. There are two forms of Brahman the form and the formless, the mortal and the immortal, the unmoving, the moving, the actual and the true being, which he interprets as being and the goodness.
Sigona Ramana, you will see later interpret this as manifested and manifested. He interprets it a bit differently than Shankara does. Then I thought I would just expose you do not need to know these quotes, but I thought it'd be helpful just to expose you to a little bit of some of Shankar's actual writing to give you a little feel for kind of his argumentation. He's such a classic Middle Ages thinker Ramana as well. They both think very much like the great philosophers of this time period thought, and they argue along these terms. And this is typical of what Shankara might say in his in this case. This comes from his drama sister based here. His commentary on the Brahma suitor is when a man is asked, where do you have pain? He points to the locus where the body is burned or cut and not to the perceiver, saying I have pain in my head or in the chest or the stomach. If pain or the cause of pain such as burning and cutting, relocating the perceiver. He would point to the perceiver as the locus of pain. So this is a chakra trying desperately to just. Distinguished between the experience of the world and the art and the eye. So when someone says I am in pain in my head hurts. They don't point to their ottoman. So the word AI is being used in some secondary sense. I have pain is actually saying my head is hurting, my stomach is hurting or whatever. It's very interesting how shocking the monitor will reinterpret how we use the word I. It's very, very important. And not only Hindu philosophy, but Buddhist philosophy. And I am convinced very strongly that both Shankara and Ramanujan are largely preoccupied with debates about the eye.
Because of Buddhism, Buddhism is as a really remarkable movement. We haven't obviously dealt in this class, but Buddhism is probably sustained the most powerful blow to Hinduism that Hinduism has has yet to absorb. Christianity will ultimately be the final shattering blow to Hinduism, but we've been unable to actually get our fist in the proper position to drop the bow. And so it hasn't yet happened. But Buddhism was able to formulate a very powerful critique of Hinduism that really Hinduism still reeling from. And so Shankara is extremely preoccupied in his writings with the fact that he's not a book proving that he's not a Buddhist. He's very, very upset that people might call him a Buddhist. If you want to get an Vedic person upset, say to him, You're a Buddhist. I know you are. You really believe in the annihilation of the self. All this really gets him in a roar. So Shankara is trying to deal a lot with this. How we use the word I listen listeners quote of his A man possessed by nascent. This means ignorance, I vidya being defensive, a body, etc. I think that his argument is connected with things desirable and undesirable. This is the basic problem that we've already looked at of the upon chronic vision. Before you get to the point of thought, Tomasi, a Brahmin and all that is that you are connecting your eye yourself with various associations, with your body and your experience. But the Scripture gradually removes his ignorance concerning this matter and uproots innocents, which is the view that Atman is different from Brahman because this is just standard stuff. We've already looked at that the root of ignorance is saying that yea, I have an eye which is other than Brahman.
He says this typically and this is typical by way of all Shankara. He says this by way of negation, but essentially innocence is the view that Atman is separate from Brahman and therefore true knowledge is the association of art and with Brahman, which is thought I see. So all of this is kind of standardized by Shankara, and I don't really believe that the Hinduism, Hindu philosophy as we know it today was really properly articulated in the way that it's today done until the eighth century A.D. So it's a long time before we get this kind of crystal clear and the goodness of goon and all of that thought must see interpretation along these lines. It doesn't actually occur until Shankara It actually gets more dramatic after Shankara, because I think his followers tended to take it even farther and even more emphasize the unreality of the world. I had this problem with my dissertation. I had this poem, my book. Some of those who are critical of my dissertation book were critical because they felt like I was too easy on Shankara, and I did not emphasize as much as I should have. The fact that Advait ends teach the world is unreal. And what everybody who knows will tell you that in fact it is not Shankara who does this is Shanker. As Chunka writes, It's just like, in my opinion, what happened with Calvin. When you say Calvinism, you have always said Calvin. When you say Calvin and you talk about sort of the short throws, there's a there's a migration that goes on. And maybe it's true to the spirit of Calvin, but maybe it's not. But these are two different realities. And so you have to be very, very careful about how we define what is being said by Calvin.
What's been said by the followers of Calvin was said by Sean, questioned by the followers of Shankara. So these are some of the issues that you have to dealt with. The only thing I on the handout, which I haven't mentioned at this point, is nothing. Nothing. Do we discuss this in the original lecture on punishment, vision, Eternity? This is a very classic statement. It means this. What I have here is a translation. This is a Sanskrit. Expression, which means not this net. The net. Not this. Not this. It comes from the bridgehead at or near coupon, a shard section to chapter three, verse six. And essentially what happens in that passage is the inquiring student presses the teacher about Brahmans attributes, and the teacher says to him, Nettie, Nettie, this is really important. It's kind of a lot in literature because it is a nice little summary statement anyways. It's like a Maha Vaka. It's like a it's a great utterance. Nothing, nothing. Because it summarizes the overall position of the advocates that you cannot say anything about Brahman with certainty. And so if you say God is love or nothing, that the not there is not this, you can't make those aside from God is just nothing that they always respond with nothing. Nothing. And so when you're discussing with that maidens or they're in their their discourses, they'll often will use the expression nothing, nothing. Yes. Unless you say God is truth, consciousness, bliss. If you say Brahman is sat chit Ananda, that's fine. As long as those are indicators of Brahman, they're viewed as indicators, not necessarily as attributes or qualities of Brahman. I mean, maybe a fine distinction, but I mean, one of the problems is that if you say nothing, nothing, everything, the philosophical weakness of it is that you could be interpreted to say that this is just nothing more than a great void.
I mean, if you can't say anything about something, then it can be nothing of which the Buddha say it is. The Buddha say it's nirvana, it's nothingness. It shouldn't matter. They call it So Zenyatta is nothingness. The last thing that Shankara will accept as the Brahman is nothingness. And so the such an unending stuff kind of helps create some way of contrasting the position with the Buddhist. It's very, very difficult, actually. Quoting the phrase the absolute is reality, knowledge, infinity. This is a slight variation of situation. And I mean, this would go into another whole thing. But actually when Shanker was writing the that particular Upanishad was not well known. We're not absolutely sure that Shanker was aware of that particular Upanishad, which is such an idea. That's a little side thing that troubles you. Then forget it. But it was it was in the literature, the discussion that Brahman is not checked on in Twi. It means infinity. The escalator migrates to this other thing of bliss. It's a long kind of discourse. Anyway, in his one of his writings, the Roman suits are by nature, he says. The absolute is reality, knowledge, infinity. This is referring that earlier kind of phrase. It is the absolute that has been defined because the absolute is being present as the primary thing that one has to know. Therefore, the reason why the words reality knowledge infinity would say such surrender are set in the same grammatical case as the word for the absolute and in a position with it is that they represent the characteristics by which it is to be defined. Now, that is the most the strongest statement he makes that seems to indicate the closest thing to some kind of definition of Brahman.
But he doesn't say definition. He said this is a characterization, this is indication. He uses kind of that whole thing. He makes the example of if you want to distinguish, for example, a blue lotus from a red lotus, then you use expressions like blue Lotus to distinct from a red lotus. So these are things that distinguish and by way of negation, that everything that is not this is denied so that they can apathetic boundaries essentially how he deals with this. Okay. Let's move on to the Maya, which we've also discussed quite a bit. If Brahman is the only reality there is, then how do we account for the seemingly obvious plurality of the universe? That's, of course, is the key problem. I want you to think about this question because this is actually a question that you should be able to answer. How does Shankar respond to this question? How does the monitor respond to this question? Because essentially both Shankar and Moniz are seeking to answer this question. Shankara answers that with the doctrine of Maya. We've examined that already. So Brahman is the only reality. Ottman is identifiable Brahman and everything else is Maya. Everything else is this lower level of. So that's the selection of another real or unreal. In this less than real state, Maya has been called the key concept around, which is that Shankar, his entire system revolves and that is an understatement. Very, very important to Shankara, his version of Maya. So Maya for Shankara is a way to deal with all of the potential problems of different. AtIon of particularity. All the things that we see. We come to Maya. We've already discussed transgress, famous categories of metaphors. I just remind you of that whole discussion. And that's exactly a discussion that flows out.
And he doesn't actually develop this line of argumentation in his writings, but he definitely draws upon metaphors from all three of these categories. This has been a later analysis of Shankara, and I used it to demonstrate the hermeneutical technique of Indians. But you remember how I told you, rather than speaking about something directly, they speak indirectly by looking at stars around the mystery and they point to it. This is the around the tea hermeneutic the number that we discuss that. Okay. So in the same way, whenever he's discussing Maya, this is where the Shankar rights took off and they took one of these metaphors and they began to propagate it in the West. So most Western textbooks make the mistake of taking the subjective delusion metaphors and assuming that that's Maya. And there's plenty of Shankar right quotes to back it up. But see, Maya is here, is not here. And so you have to actually take into account all of his metaphors to grasp the mystery of Maya. And we spend a good bit of time exploring that. When we look at the concept of Maya, and I've pretty much kind of told the song great line at that point, because that's the starting point for any discussion on Hindu philosophy. Okay, so there's no point in going through that. Moksha, therefore, is the breaking of ignorance. It is the liberation from the effects of karma. So chakra is very much focused on the whole Jain Jannah. The priority of knowledge and moksha is breaking the ignorance that thinks that we're attached to the world in some way. And Maya's the liberation from the effects of karma. And he has a famous saying of Shankara, even included here in transliteration in that from the Sanskrit Brahman Satyam jargon Mithila Jiva.
But I'm either no pada Brahman is real. You can see the Indian problem. Rum is reality. The world is unreality. Jiva is the person. The individual is not different from Brahman. And that really summarizes in a little phrase that's, again, kind of a little malarkey in a way. But this is a summary of Shankara, if properly understood. Brahman is real. The world is unreal. The individual is not from Brahman. To be technically accurate, you should read this as Brahman is real capital R The world is not real capital are to keep you from reading This is is total illusion. But essentially this is the way it's often translated and this leads to some of the misunderstandings of it. But essentially Shankara, this is his phrase, Brahman is real capital R The world is not real. The individual is non different from Brahman referring to the the atman, the locus of the eye. So for Shankara, going back to our three points of tension that we looked at throughout the course and our three markers on the chart, if you remember the famous chart that we keep coming back to, which gives us our overall structure, this is the way Shankara is going to view it works, and devotion are only valuable if they lead to true knowledge. And I'll even add that once you come to true knowledge, this does not serve as a foundation point. It's not like a foundation you build on to get to this. Once you achieve true knowledge for chakra, this passes away, this drops off. And so he doesn't actually value this as a ongoing reality, but it's something that will simply help you in your rebirth to be born as a Brahman. That was a very brief, but I hopefully was of time.
I don't want to spend a lot of time rehashing through Sean and that's been kind of our default thought the course. So what I really want to do is focus on how Ramanujan is different from Shankar. But any questions to clarify? Shankara or any of the basic punished like vision? If you have any questions, I'll be happy to clarify if that needs to be done. Yes, I was very he said that Christianity could do, you know, a final word, Hinduism. But we hadn't time on the right spot. Well, I'm actually speaking more historically, and I am methodologically. I mean, I think that obviously in the cross. And the resurrection of Christ, the decisive blow has been delivered. So I don't really see that we have anything we can do. I mean, what needs to be done is already been done. The question is, how is the real the in breaking the kingdom? How can that be known in a way that the Hindus recognize that their system is simply a house of cards built upon itself with no foundation? And I think that's that has not been well communicated in a lot of ways, because Hindus, as a rule, have so many associations with Western culture and various things with Christianity they haven't admitted actually hear the gospel properly, and we haven't a very good job at actually creating the proper discourse in their languages so that it's being communicated in their own language. So there's a lot of layers of problems that we're trying to address, but the most important being that we're training North Indians to plant churches among North Indians. That's the best way. Because as Andrew Walls beautifully says in his book, The Cross-Cultural Process in Christian History, his second collection of his writings, he says the sign of the church is not a converted individual, but a worshiping community.
I really think that the church in India has never actually realized that point. We have. It's been 2000 years trying to save individuals in India, out of Hinduism, and we never really seen the importance of creating believing communities that can transform the society and live out. What does it mean to be a member of the body of Christ in a Hindu, predominant Hindu society? And that's what we're starting to see happen little by little. Yes, Thinking about the house of cards brings raises the question of why someone like C.S. Lewis reported such. Well, let me just clarify what Lewis says. And I don't and I don't mean maybe the House of Cards analogy shouldn't be taken as a wipe out of my entire course. I hope that I have demonstrated that over the whole course of this. Hours and hours of lectures on this that I take this very seriously and that I respect that the Hindu worldview is internally consistent within itself, a real point where it just has no proper ontological foundation, in my view. Therefore, what C.S. Lewis said about his kind about Hindu, if he wasn't a Christian, he'd be a Hindu, was simply to affirm the fact that he acknowledged that Hinduism had a coherent structure. Once you accept their presuppositions, if you have the presuppositions, then then you can build from there. But the positions are in error. Of course, if C.S. Lewis was not totally convinced of the Christian faith, he would abandon it was that he was a committed Christian, not a Hindu. But he was simply acknowledging the fact that this is a well thought out system. It's not something you would dismiss. I think it's basically saying. Did you have a question? I'm sorry, I forgot that.
What is it? Ashram. Ashram. I'm sorry. We did not mention that, did we? Or Mut? Oh, yeah. It's pronounced like much like. Like a dog. That's it's like. But Ashram refers to the what happened was when the Hindu philosophers, they didn't just teach in like seminaries. This is a big from the second notion we think about Western philosophers who are writing in some university sitting in a you know, endowed chair writing books. But these are actually men that start communities of followers that live together, which is called an ashram. Ashram is a community of devotees and saints that live together. Gandhi started an ashram. There are many, many Hindus over the centuries that started ashrams. So the awesome represents more of kind of like the disciple guru community where they just live together. A mutt is much more than that. A mutt is a bit closer to what we would call a seminary. A mutt play a place where you actually train people in your philosophical thought. It's much more of a formalized, even though they all live there. I mean, it's a community to a mutt is simply an advanced ashram. It's not that you take away the ashram aspect, but it's a much more advanced place where you actually promulgate the philosophy and you focus on explicit teaching, formalized teaching, much like we're doing here. Shankara and our monitor both established at least four months where they would establish these to promulgate their teaching. And this is partly how their teaching became so widely known and embraced around the world, or at least around India. Yes, I mean, clear or how do you spell it now? I'm sorry, it's on the handout. It's imitates is the singular. The plurals must imitate a is just pronounced ah mutt.
It's like everybody says bhakti, but it's actually bhakti. You'll say bhakti Hinduism. But it's actually an interesting thing about Sanskrit. It is not an alphabet. Have it taught you that yet in your studying Sanskrit class think in Hindi class. Have they told you it's not an alphabet yet. The first day I've got it isn't the same as just learning letters an alphabet, because you actually have what's called a celebrate, which means you actually have. And this is so insightful in Hinduism, every letter is a vocalized letter. So rather than a, B, c, D, you are Barkha is like that. But in Hinduism every consonant has a default r sound attached to it, so you cannot have. Okay, Jeff, I'll give you a, I'll give you a test here. What letter is this? And not so he didn't say Lily in LA, if you don't do anything, that's LA. If you want that long, you do that LA. If you want to say to Lee, you put that lead, you say LA, you put that LA. There's all kinds of ways you put vowels on it, but that consonant is not just a like a letter. L it's always a la And so it affects the way everything is. That's why when you listen to Sanskrit sound, some musical, because the R is constantly in there that creates like a new past. So you learn that the first day. So I'm sure you're much more advanced than that. Anyway, are you going to come in on the second that I was at last time? The second thread is part of the investiture of the and I forgot again to bring it into the class. I apologize. I have it. I have one in my office.
You'll probably be disappointed if I bring it in just a dirty string. But anyway, it's when you become a certain age, you take on the, let's say, a bar mitzvah for a Jew. You take on the associations and the responsibilities of being a Brahmin male, and they invest you with the sacred chord. And so it's just a sign of a Brahmin. In some parts of India, it can be worn by all high caste Brahmin settler of Asia, but that's actually not proper. I mean, technically it's only the Brahmin males that wear it. And you also have certain reformed movements that refuse to wear it. And fact one of the big dividing points in the Brahma surmises, which is a 19th century reform movement, was a debate about whether they should cast off a sacred thread or not. So if you're a Brahmin that believes in the reform of the cast that we want to you know, we don't like being known as dominant and crushing people and we want to care for the the Dalits and all that. The way you show that is to publicly cast off your record, to show, you know, I'm just one of you kind of thing. So there's many dramatic examples in history. People they'll say cast off the sacred thread. It's a symbolic way of saying, you know, I'm just one of you and all that. That happens in various points in history. So the terms like a thread is a term you should know. Okay. Moving on to Ramanujan. Ramanujan occurs much later than Shankar. So a Tom or Monisha comes around. We have very developed Shankar right thought, which is known as Advait ism. And Ramanujan writes a number of famous commentaries History by Shaw, his by by the word Boucher.
This is their work for commentary. The Brahma Sutra you already know about from our early part of the class. This is the writings of the philosopher early from Brahmins about the Abram Honors. Sri Bashir This is the Lord's commentary, the master's commentary, things like that. These are two of. Because you don't need to know these commentaries, but they are two of his more famous ones, and it's from these writings primarily, though I have quite a few others that I get the ramanujan's thinking. His system is not known as Advaita. We've talked a lot about Vedanta. Vedanta is actually divine, the three major schools of thought. Vedanta, of course. Is that part of the philosophy of the six schools? On your chart, you'll see that the Sixth School of Philosophy is Vedanta. The what was the word Vedanta mean? The end of the Vedas. What is the innovators defining definitions. So these are of schools that focus on the Punjab. They are known as Vedanta people, often incorrectly when they say Vedanta began to blab on about Advaita and you'll often find even textbooks will equate Advaita with Vedanta. But actually data is one school of Vedanta. Vedanta is the main category and then you have three major schools underneath it. You have the Advait, which is this one. This is Shankara. When we've been looking at so far is epitomized by Shankara, and then you have the Vish ish type data, which is the Ramanujan, which we'll look at, and then you have a form of dualism which is, by God, a mother, which we have not discussed in will not discuss in this class, is not one of the things that we will have time to deal with. It's a third school and it's a school that rejects the whole conception of monism, but it is a later development.
It has influences outside of India and I don't think it's actually true to the Panasonic vision. So we haven't really discussed this dualistic school of mudra. We had discussed this quite a bit and now we're going to briefly begin to develop a Ramanujan school. So the Dante, the main thing to know is Vedanta is the umbrella and you have various sub schools within it. We looked at Shankara and he is the Plato, Ramanujan is the Aristotle. His view is called Vish is that Veda? This is the word for two dewa. So has a provider of a in front of it just the way we use like words like atheism. This means not not to non dualism because you have the same thing here with Ramana. So you have he he continues the word advaita but he adds the prefix to it vish ista which means modified non dualism. So essentially the monitor is going to accept the basic at Vedic principle of Shankara, but he's going to modify it. And that modification is extremely important for our our study in this class. Non dualism is still the determining factor for Ramanujan. He is going to fully accept monism. However he is going to modify it by embracing differentiation and particularity. This is the way I call it, the Aristotelian thrust. He's going to find a way to reconcile plurality in his monism particularity differentiation. That's very, very important to Ramana, as we will see. I want to quote from Amartya Sen here. I didn't put this on every head, but it's I just I love Ramana or they write because they they write with such force. Today we don't write that way. We're always so careful, you know, we're always qualifying everything. And we've we haven't really learned to write the way they wrote or they haven't learned the way we write.
I don't know how you look at it, but they attack their opponents. We just I mean, absolutely all guns blazing amidst the sun, As he said, this is when he talks about Shankar's inability to embrace differentiated particularity. He describes Shankar's philosophy as, quote, This is actual magic quote, a fictitious foundation of altogether hollow and vicious arguments from one whose intellect is dark and it has no insight into the meaning of words and sentences to imagine. Say that somebody read This is not like your typical ETS where, you know, with the greatest respect, you know, my dear colleague, blah, blah, blah, you know this guy, you know, can you write it saying, you know, your intellect is dark and you don't even know the meaning of words in sentences? I mean, this is not something that no one's ever called. My arguments hollow and vicious. It's another world. But the real question that we have to ask, obviously, is how do you reconcile monism or non dualism? What I would say, but I'm using the Western terminology here. How do you reconcile monism or non dualism with ramanujan's enthusiastic embrace of particulars? That is the real big question. If you can answer that question, then you'll be in great shape. The way he answers that is to recast what it means to talk about Brahman. What he does is he argues that Brahman is a personality. Which comprehends within himself all plurality. This is what he calls monism of the different. This is a one essence with internal differentiation. So if you look at my body as representing Brahman in his philosophy, he'll take the entire world. He'll take you and the worshipers and idols and everything else, and he'll place it inside the body of Brahman.
So you have all the particularities of the world are now placed inside of Brahman. So we have only one essence, the only one Brahman Brahmans. All there is. But inside Brahman there is the world of particularity. Brahman is the only reality, but the absolute is inclusive of particulars in all their infinite variety. So he affirms that Brahman is the only reality. But he also affirms that the absolute is inclusive, not exclusively. Shankara says its exclusive. The particularities are ultimately relegated to Sigona, which is illusory. Its Maya. But he's affirming the particulars in all their infinite variety. This is a much warmer, warmer kind of philosophy than we find in Shankara. Therefore, Monisha rejects. Then there Gooner said do not distinction absolutely rejects their goodness. Again, a distinction. He says that this is a false dichotomy which is so central to Advait ism. But he sees that the manifold qualities of Brahman are merely inside of Brahman. All the attributes are united into one absolute in this phrase from the upon Shahid's end of the game, there was one without a second. We looked at this particular phrase in the upon a shot. This one of our Malakas Shanker interprets this as a reference to Laguna. In the beginning there was one Brahman without a second. The second would be all the lower Sedona realities that are there. So there's only one reality Brahman. Everything is either identified with Brahman or called illusory or called Miya. Okay. He takes the same phrase and interprets it very differently. For a manager, he says, Yeah, this this is this text is true. But rather than dismissing the particulars, all the attributes are united in one absolute. And so they are either in a UN manifested state or a manifested state.
But all this is occurring inside the body of Brahman. So Brahman is going to be identified with. Is Vara not separated? Absolute Brahman is ist Vara. Whereas Shankara would say that absolute Brahman is not as far that. SIGONA Absolute Brahman is only no good. You cannot speak of Brahman, though it's not consistently held in one of his writings. But Shankara never refers to Brahman. That, to my knowledge, offhand, as he only is it, or as the absolute or the assigned, he has to return that always in personal terms. Ramanujan referred to it as he, and that's a very important difference with a God. Is it or a he? Ramanujan is much more infusing personality into the ultimate supreme being in a way that is unthinkable in the Shankara system. So once you abolished the near goona signal distinction, then of course you have to ask, well then what can we know about Brahman? What can we say about Brahman? He's going to open the door for a lot more insight because he equates is far out with Brahman. He argues that rather than trying to put a tension between knowledge of God and all other knowledge of statements as some kind of adverb, just some kind of ignorance, instead it can actually be true knowledge because there is a subject and there is an object. For Shankara, there is only subject. There is no object. And that is another nice way of summarizing Shankara monism For Shankara, he is only concerned with Brahman, a subject Ramana is concerned with subject and object. What is the relationship between the ultimate to the worshiper? What is the relationship between the eternal reality with the world? That's very, very important to Ramanujan. For example, he says A sentence in the upon shots, for example, is a combination of words which denote something.
Therefore, words have meaning. If a child sees a cow and a child says there is a KAL, it must be identified with some reality, some association which is manifested as cow or dog or cat, whatever. What he would say is there's a KAL. This Kal reflects some kind of qualities. Kal ness, we might call it. I don't know. It's a kind of a platonic way of looking at it. But essentially he's asking what is the relationship between this idea of Kal that Shankara says is all there is Brahman, this kind of concept? And basically Shanker wants to sever the tether between a cow and this idea of KAL. I mean, you could say Brahman or the idea of God, but I'm just trying to use a practical example of this. He's saying, How do you know what Kal this is like except by looking at a cow. So he's trying to redirect the discussion to say that Shanker is wrong. By severing these two, we have to reunite the particulars with the universals because the only way to understand a universal is to examine the particulars. And so the only way to know what God is like is by understanding the particulars of how God has manifested himself. Whereas Shanker can say all that is illusory. That is not going to give us any knowledge about God, because Shanker is only concerned with subject. Ramana is a concern with subject and object. How are people who worship God? What can we learn about God from people who worship God? What's relatively non dualism and differentiation? This is the kind of dilemma that Ramanujan is trying to explore. Yes, monitor them. Do more with the of the cosmic apologies. He's much more positive with that because to me, that's what I call homology is showing the relationship between particular the universal and that's classic.
I mean I think that we've seen consistent in the past like thought. So yes, he will make a big deal of that. And part of what people who study both of these writers have argued is that Shankara tends to reinterprets text. He looks very narrowly at a particular word, and he interprets according to kind of his theological grid. Ramanujan is much more looking at the overall context of the passage, and so he's actually looking at a little broader scope about the punch shards and what the punch as a whole teaches in certain the whole book. So he's a much more contextual thinker, and so he's bringing in a lot more of the particulars than Shankar is a little more narrow approach. Waterman is essentially comes to is that there are five qualities or attributes which define Brahmin. The five defining attributes of Ramanujan's writings are here before you. This is what he calls the Divine Oneness. That is the nature of God is known by this kind of what. This is what we call a society. This is what we know about God in himself, the society of Brahman. Just briefly, he accepts the conception of Satya or the fact that Brahman possesses unconditional being that distinguishes him from all non intelligent matter, which is subject to change and alteration. He also affirms that Brahman is knowledge. This can be checked, but he typically will actually focus more on the term John now, which is the term we've already used for knowledge in our own knowledge or even consciousness. Enlightened souls are released from bondage of common rebirth can never know true knowledge because we have we're bound up by our. True karma recognizes the reality of God, and we recognize our place in it.
He says that God could be known as infinite on a to that God is free from all limitations of place, time and so forth, particular substantial natures and so forth. He distinguished in the eye of the worshiper and the thou of the absolute. And so even when he talks about Tort Tomasi, he says, Thou art. That does not mean thou equals that. And he talks about the relationship of what does it mean to talk about thou art that how in what way do we identify with Brahman? As we'll see later, he argues that this identification is a relational identification, not identification, where we are lost in the absolute net. Tinetti for Ramanujan means there is nothing more exalted than Brahma in nature or in attributes. So you cannot compare God's attributes to human attributes, but it does not mean that God is without attributes. He has to defined attributes. He accepts the conception of Ananda Bliss. This text and Brahma Sutra, where he says Brahman is a being full of bliss. He accepts that in all of his writings he talks about Brahman as and will acquire purity also can mean statelessness without stain. The main point of this is that all of this involves serious, lengthy discussions in Ramanujan. But basically the idea is that we now have clearly defined attributes, which he relates everything to in his writings. So this is a breakthrough from what we've seen. And Shankar, these are defining qualities, defining attributes. Sankaran says that the highest Brahman is near good and without qualities. The manager says, no, we can identify defining qualities of Brahman. Let us actually give you some text from RAM a feel for it. He says. Tex would speak of Brahman, quote, Qualities do not point to a lower level so Guna they point upward to Brahmans defining qualities. So everything is related to these five qualities, but they're not reduced to Sigona.