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Books > Philosophy > Hindu > The Rope And The Snake: A Metaphorical Exploration of Advaita Vedanta
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The Rope And The Snake: A Metaphorical Exploration of Advaita 

Vedanta
The Rope And The Snake: A Metaphorical Exploration of Advaita Vedanta
Description

From the Jacket:

One of the popular metaphors employed in the pedagogical and didactic exposition of Advaita Vedanta is that of the rope and the snake. When asked: How can this world, characterized by diversity, be accounted for if the ultimate reality as Brahman is claimed to be one and unique? The answer given is: just as a rope can be mistaken for a snake, Brahman is mistaken for the universe.

This book argues that this metaphor is a good start but only a start in explaining the doctrines of Advaita Vedanta. In what is perhaps the first sustained and extended study of its kind it explores the utility versatility and occasionally even the inapplicability of the metaphor in the traditional as well as the modern study of Advaita.

About the Author:

Arvind Sharma is currently the Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at Mac Gill University, Montreal Canada. He has also taught in Australia at Brisbane and Sydney and in the USA at Boston and Philadelphia.

A leading historian of religion, he has also been acclaimed as one of the most significant Hindu thinkers since Radhakrishnan. His recent works include: A Hindu Perspective on the Philosophy of Religion (1991); The Experiential Dimension of Advaita Vedanta (1993) and the Philosophy of Religion and Advaita Vedanta: A Comparative Study of Religion and Reason (1995).

 

Preface

IT IS NOT an accident that the best-known work of Advaitic fiction in English, by Raja Rao, should have borne the title - The Serpent and The Rope. That metaphor is evocative of the entire worldview called Advaita and provocative of many insights. This book is an exploration-of that metaphor, or rather an exploration of Advaita Vedanta through that metaphor, in the hope that the metaphorical may serve as window onto the metaphysical.

While snakes on the loose (such as the cobra) and ropes rising in mid-air (as in the rope trick) have long captured the popular imagination of the West, Hindu thought has been fascinated by the fact that one could be mistaken for the other. On behalf of Advaita Vedanta it may even be claimed that the profound and cosmic secrets lie concealed in the mechanism involved in this simple misperception. It is the aim of this book to disclose them, as part and parcel of a soul-searching which in Advaita is as often a case of sole-searching.

CONTENTS
  Preface 9
1 Prolegomena: the Rope-Snake Metaphor in Mahayana Buddhism 13
2 The Rope-Snake Metaphor in Early Advaita 21
3 The Rope-Snake Metaphor in the Interface between Mimamsa and Advaita Vedanta 30
4 The Rope-Snake Metaphor in the Vivekacudamani and Beyond 34
5 The Rope-Snake Metaphor and Theories of Causation 40
6 The Rope-Snake Metaphor in Advaita Vedanta 46
7 P. T. Raju's use of the Rope- Snake Metaphor 58
8 The Rope-Snake Metaphor and the theories of Error 63
9 The Rope-Snake Metaphor and the Doctrine of Maya 75
10 The Rope-snake Metaphor in the Advaita-Bodha-Dipika 84
11 The Rope-Snake in the teaching of Ramana Maharsi 89
12 Some Metaphysical Issues and their Mataphorical Clarification 94
13 The serpent and the Rope in the Modern World 104
14 The Limits of Metaphorical Exploration 109
  Conclusion 123
  Notes 125
  Glossary 145
  Bibliography 147
  Index 151

Sample Pages











The Rope And The Snake: A Metaphorical Exploration of Advaita Vedanta

Item Code:
IDF767
Cover:
Hardcover
Edition:
1997
ISBN:
8173041792
Language:
English
Size:
8.7" X 5.7"
Pages:
149
Other Details:
Weight of the Book: 335 gms
Price:
$25.00   Shipping Free
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Vedanta

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From the Jacket:

One of the popular metaphors employed in the pedagogical and didactic exposition of Advaita Vedanta is that of the rope and the snake. When asked: How can this world, characterized by diversity, be accounted for if the ultimate reality as Brahman is claimed to be one and unique? The answer given is: just as a rope can be mistaken for a snake, Brahman is mistaken for the universe.

This book argues that this metaphor is a good start but only a start in explaining the doctrines of Advaita Vedanta. In what is perhaps the first sustained and extended study of its kind it explores the utility versatility and occasionally even the inapplicability of the metaphor in the traditional as well as the modern study of Advaita.

About the Author:

Arvind Sharma is currently the Birks Professor of Comparative Religion at Mac Gill University, Montreal Canada. He has also taught in Australia at Brisbane and Sydney and in the USA at Boston and Philadelphia.

A leading historian of religion, he has also been acclaimed as one of the most significant Hindu thinkers since Radhakrishnan. His recent works include: A Hindu Perspective on the Philosophy of Religion (1991); The Experiential Dimension of Advaita Vedanta (1993) and the Philosophy of Religion and Advaita Vedanta: A Comparative Study of Religion and Reason (1995).

 

Preface

IT IS NOT an accident that the best-known work of Advaitic fiction in English, by Raja Rao, should have borne the title - The Serpent and The Rope. That metaphor is evocative of the entire worldview called Advaita and provocative of many insights. This book is an exploration-of that metaphor, or rather an exploration of Advaita Vedanta through that metaphor, in the hope that the metaphorical may serve as window onto the metaphysical.

While snakes on the loose (such as the cobra) and ropes rising in mid-air (as in the rope trick) have long captured the popular imagination of the West, Hindu thought has been fascinated by the fact that one could be mistaken for the other. On behalf of Advaita Vedanta it may even be claimed that the profound and cosmic secrets lie concealed in the mechanism involved in this simple misperception. It is the aim of this book to disclose them, as part and parcel of a soul-searching which in Advaita is as often a case of sole-searching.

CONTENTS
  Preface 9
1 Prolegomena: the Rope-Snake Metaphor in Mahayana Buddhism 13
2 The Rope-Snake Metaphor in Early Advaita 21
3 The Rope-Snake Metaphor in the Interface between Mimamsa and Advaita Vedanta 30
4 The Rope-Snake Metaphor in the Vivekacudamani and Beyond 34
5 The Rope-Snake Metaphor and Theories of Causation 40
6 The Rope-Snake Metaphor in Advaita Vedanta 46
7 P. T. Raju's use of the Rope- Snake Metaphor 58
8 The Rope-Snake Metaphor and the theories of Error 63
9 The Rope-Snake Metaphor and the Doctrine of Maya 75
10 The Rope-snake Metaphor in the Advaita-Bodha-Dipika 84
11 The Rope-Snake in the teaching of Ramana Maharsi 89
12 Some Metaphysical Issues and their Mataphorical Clarification 94
13 The serpent and the Rope in the Modern World 104
14 The Limits of Metaphorical Exploration 109
  Conclusion 123
  Notes 125
  Glossary 145
  Bibliography 147
  Index 151

Sample Pages











Post a Comment
 
Post Review
  • Hindu and Vedic texts have long taught through metaphor, of which the metaphor of the rope and the snake being one of those prominent. This is a slim volume, but there is no better explanation of Vedanta which is so comprehensive yet brief and concise. The metaphor involves the simple misperception of the rope for a snake. What are the implications of this misperception? This is what this book is about.

    The qualities which make this such an excellent book originate from the power of the metaphor itself in Hindu thought as much from its ability to explain a wide array of teachings in Vedanta.

    Everyone agrees: Ignorance is mistaking a rope for a snake. The various schools disagree as to the extent of that error. Nihilistic Buddhism believes that the appearance of the rope as a snake is error. Idealistic Buddhism believes that the appearance of the snake is error but the belief is real. Samkhya believes the error is a mixture of real and unreal elements. Advaita Vedanta holds that the error is a temporary condition cured by discrimination. Ramanuja holds that error is the appearance of a real object (rope) as an unreal object (snake).

    How is the error removed? Everyone agrees that ignorance is overcome by discrimination. The schools of Buddhism, Vedanta, however, vary as to the means and extent of discrimination and fundamental reality of either the rope and the snake.

    The classical Vedanta of Sankara teaches that you cannot tell a person mistaking a rope for a snake, "Don't be afraid." You must give that person the information to distinguish what is true knowledge, what is the rope and what is the snake. A rope may still be viewed as a snake, but that person knows the difference between the two. The Vivekacudamani, a hybrid of Vedanta with Hatha Yoga, holds that maya, ignorance, is destroyed with the realization of Brahman.

    The rope-snake metaphor is useful in discussing the nature of reality, especially with respect to Brahman.

    The Yogacara school of Buddhism believes that while perceiving a rope at twilight and believing it to be a snake is illusory and the essence of ignorance, the underlaying reality of that image nonetheless exists. The Madhyama ("Middle Way") school focuses on the unreality of the rope and affirms the reality of the snake. The Chandrakirti school teaches that both the rope and the snake are illusory.

    Classical Vedanta believes that the rope is the substratum, ultimate reality, the snake the appearance of that reality, and relative to the snake, the rope is not real. Together, the rope and the snake is what is super-imposed on that relationship.

    While it has its faults and limitations, this book is a stimulating, enlightening read.
    by JAMES KALOMIRIS on 14th Feb 2015
  • Hindu and Vedic texts have long taught through metaphor, of which the metaphor of the rope and the snake being one of those prominent. This is a slim volume, but there is no better explanation of Vedanta which is so comprehensive yet brief and concise. The metaphor involves the simple misperception of the rope for a snake. What are the implications of this misperception? This is what this book is about.

    The qualities which make this such an excellent book originate from the power of the metaphor itself in Hindu thought as much from its ability to explain a wide array of teachings in Vedanta.

    Everyone agrees: Ignorance is mistaking a rope for a snake. The various schools disagree as to the extent of that error. Nihilistic Buddhism believes that the appearance of the rope as a snake is error. Idealistic Buddhism believes that the appearance of the snake is error but the belief is real. Samkhya believes the error is a mixture of real and unreal elements. Advaita Vedanta holds that the error is a temporary condition cured by discrimination. Ramanuja holds that error is the appearance of a real object (rope) as an unreal object (snake).

    How is the error removed? Everyone agrees that ignorance is overcome by discrimination. The schools of Buddhism, Vedanta, however, vary as to the means and extent of discrimination and fundamental reality of either the rope and the snake.

    The classical Vedanta of Sankara teaches that you cannot tell a person mistaking a rope for a snake, “Don’t be afraid.” You must give that person the information to distinguish what is true knowledge, what is the rope and what is the snake. A rope may still be viewed as a snake, but that person knows the difference between the two. The Vivekacudamani, a hybrid of Vedanta with Hatha Yoga, holds that maya, ignorance, is destroyed with the realization of Brahman.

    The rope-snake metaphor is useful in discussing the nature of reality, especially with respect to Brahman.

    The Yogacara school of Buddhism believes that while perceiving a rope at twilight and believing it to be a snake is illusory and the essence of ignorance, the underlaying reality of that image nonetheless exists. The Madhyama (“Middle Way”) school focuses on the unreality of the rope and affirms the reality of the snake. The Chandrakirti school teaches that both the rope and the snake are illusory.

    Classical Vedanta believes that the rope is the substratum, ultimate reality, the snake the appearance of that reality, and relative to the snake, the rope is not real. Together, the rope and the snake is what is super-imposed on that relationship.

    While it has its faults, this book is a stimulating, enlightening read.
    by James Kalomiris on 7th Feb 2015
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