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Books > Philosophy > The Self as the Seer and The Seen: A Phenomenological Hermeneutic Study
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The Self as the Seer and The Seen: A Phenomenological Hermeneutic Study
The Self as the Seer and The Seen: A Phenomenological Hermeneutic Study
Description
Preface

When I was absorbed in the existentialist philosophy of Sartre many years ago, I realized that I should study in depth the phenomenology of Husserl and the metaphysics of Heidegger; and then I concentrated on the discipline of hermeneutics as expounded by Gadamer. The Continental philosophy as practiced by Sartre, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Derrida, and Levinas contains a fusion of existentialism, phenomenology, metaphysics, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. Bracketing the theoretical assumptions, phenomenology gives a description of the experience of consciousness at different levels. It helps us to understand consciousness as it is lived and experienced. This is what the Mandükya Upanisad does. The metaphysics of being as formulated by Heidegger brings out the limitations of ontology, theology, and logic. The Heideggerian concept of ‘Beyond onto-theo-logy” reinforces the Advaita concept of Nirguna-Brahman. It is through hermeneutics that we have to understand not only the value of tradition and texts, but also how they are transmitted from generation to generation. A careful study of the Indian tradition will reveal to us the presence of all these trends in the writings of the great masters. The terms such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, deconstruction, etc. are no doubt new in the Indian context, but the techniques which are involved in them were made use of by the classical Indian philosophers. That is why I have been saying in my lectures that “the new is in the old, and the old can sit comfortably with the new”.

I have shown in some of my writings the application of the methods of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. I have been looking for an opportunity to apply these techniques to the writings of Sankara. When Sree Sankara Senior Fellowship was awarded to me, I decided to undertake a phenomenological and hermeneutic study of the Drg-drsya viveka and Atma-bodha of Sankara. I chose the former for its epistemological importance, and the latter for its metaphysical significance. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the authorities of the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit for granting me this valuable fellowship which enabled me to undertake this project. I must mention in this connection the encouragement, support, and appreciation that I have received from Professor K.S. Radhakrishnan from time to time, for which I am thankful to him.

I had the opportunity to share my views, as I give shape to them in my scripts, with two of my valuable colleagues, Professor V.K.S.N. Raghavan and Professor S. Panneerselvam. They went through my script and responded to my views and arguments. I am grateful to them for their suggestions and support.

One of the difficult parts of the academic exercise is the preparation of the script. A bad habit of the academics is their indulgence in frequent revision of their scripts, and this revision which goes on till the final draft of the script tests the patience and endurance of the one who is putting it through the computer. Jayanthi always enjoys her work, as I do. It is with great understanding that she prepared the final version of the work, for which I am thankful to her. Where I am, what I do, and how I do, are the concern of my children. By “over-seeing” my work almost everyday, they have extended their support which helped me a lot.

Foreword

Sri Sañkara, a poet, philosopher, activist and a sannyasin of the first order, never needs an introduction to the intellectuals world over, who are interested in Indian tradition and culture. It was he who exposed the vibrancy of the rational content of Indian tradition and rejuvenated it, capable to meet the challenges of the changing times through his commentaries on the Prasthanatraya, authentic manuals and great poetic compositions. He could liberate knowledge from the conceptual prisons created by the tradition-bound customary practitioners who seldom came across with the sparks of the rational spirit of Indian thought. It was he who was instrumental to the establishment of centers of learning in the southern, northern, eastern and western parts of India for the transmission of the essence of our tradition to make the cultural and geographic integration of this great country a reality.

The only University in this country that is named after such a great personality has got the responsibility to provide opportunity to scholars to interpret and reinterpret his works with academic precision and gravity to rejuvenate the spiritual, religious and philosophic life-patterns of India. Hence the University instituted “Sree Sankara Senior and Junior Fellowships”. The Sree Sankara Senior Fellowship is meant to be awarded to a first rate scholar of high repute, and the University is blessed with the selection of a scholar like Dr. R. Balasubramanian for the first Sree Sankara Senior Fellowship. Dr. Balasubramanian, who is a committed Advaitin, well versed in Indian as well as western philosophical systems, has authored authentic works on Indian thought and has got more than fifty years of teaching/research experience in Philosophy to his credit.

Contents

1Preface vii
Forewordix
1The Tradition and texts of Sankara 1
2The Seer and the Seen: A Phenomenological study 38
3Adhyasa Centre Life 69
4From Empricial Pluralism to Transcendental Non Dualism 110
5Moral and Spiritual Discipline 162
6Liberation and the Liberated in life 205
Select Bibliography 239
Index244

The Self as the Seer and The Seen: A Phenomenological Hermeneutic Study

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Edition:
2008
Publisher:
Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit
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Pages:
257
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Preface

When I was absorbed in the existentialist philosophy of Sartre many years ago, I realized that I should study in depth the phenomenology of Husserl and the metaphysics of Heidegger; and then I concentrated on the discipline of hermeneutics as expounded by Gadamer. The Continental philosophy as practiced by Sartre, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer, Derrida, and Levinas contains a fusion of existentialism, phenomenology, metaphysics, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. Bracketing the theoretical assumptions, phenomenology gives a description of the experience of consciousness at different levels. It helps us to understand consciousness as it is lived and experienced. This is what the Mandükya Upanisad does. The metaphysics of being as formulated by Heidegger brings out the limitations of ontology, theology, and logic. The Heideggerian concept of ‘Beyond onto-theo-logy” reinforces the Advaita concept of Nirguna-Brahman. It is through hermeneutics that we have to understand not only the value of tradition and texts, but also how they are transmitted from generation to generation. A careful study of the Indian tradition will reveal to us the presence of all these trends in the writings of the great masters. The terms such as phenomenology, hermeneutics, deconstruction, etc. are no doubt new in the Indian context, but the techniques which are involved in them were made use of by the classical Indian philosophers. That is why I have been saying in my lectures that “the new is in the old, and the old can sit comfortably with the new”.

I have shown in some of my writings the application of the methods of phenomenology, hermeneutics, and deconstruction. I have been looking for an opportunity to apply these techniques to the writings of Sankara. When Sree Sankara Senior Fellowship was awarded to me, I decided to undertake a phenomenological and hermeneutic study of the Drg-drsya viveka and Atma-bodha of Sankara. I chose the former for its epistemological importance, and the latter for its metaphysical significance. I take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the authorities of the Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit for granting me this valuable fellowship which enabled me to undertake this project. I must mention in this connection the encouragement, support, and appreciation that I have received from Professor K.S. Radhakrishnan from time to time, for which I am thankful to him.

I had the opportunity to share my views, as I give shape to them in my scripts, with two of my valuable colleagues, Professor V.K.S.N. Raghavan and Professor S. Panneerselvam. They went through my script and responded to my views and arguments. I am grateful to them for their suggestions and support.

One of the difficult parts of the academic exercise is the preparation of the script. A bad habit of the academics is their indulgence in frequent revision of their scripts, and this revision which goes on till the final draft of the script tests the patience and endurance of the one who is putting it through the computer. Jayanthi always enjoys her work, as I do. It is with great understanding that she prepared the final version of the work, for which I am thankful to her. Where I am, what I do, and how I do, are the concern of my children. By “over-seeing” my work almost everyday, they have extended their support which helped me a lot.

Foreword

Sri Sañkara, a poet, philosopher, activist and a sannyasin of the first order, never needs an introduction to the intellectuals world over, who are interested in Indian tradition and culture. It was he who exposed the vibrancy of the rational content of Indian tradition and rejuvenated it, capable to meet the challenges of the changing times through his commentaries on the Prasthanatraya, authentic manuals and great poetic compositions. He could liberate knowledge from the conceptual prisons created by the tradition-bound customary practitioners who seldom came across with the sparks of the rational spirit of Indian thought. It was he who was instrumental to the establishment of centers of learning in the southern, northern, eastern and western parts of India for the transmission of the essence of our tradition to make the cultural and geographic integration of this great country a reality.

The only University in this country that is named after such a great personality has got the responsibility to provide opportunity to scholars to interpret and reinterpret his works with academic precision and gravity to rejuvenate the spiritual, religious and philosophic life-patterns of India. Hence the University instituted “Sree Sankara Senior and Junior Fellowships”. The Sree Sankara Senior Fellowship is meant to be awarded to a first rate scholar of high repute, and the University is blessed with the selection of a scholar like Dr. R. Balasubramanian for the first Sree Sankara Senior Fellowship. Dr. Balasubramanian, who is a committed Advaitin, well versed in Indian as well as western philosophical systems, has authored authentic works on Indian thought and has got more than fifty years of teaching/research experience in Philosophy to his credit.

Contents

1Preface vii
Forewordix
1The Tradition and texts of Sankara 1
2The Seer and the Seen: A Phenomenological study 38
3Adhyasa Centre Life 69
4From Empricial Pluralism to Transcendental Non Dualism 110
5Moral and Spiritual Discipline 162
6Liberation and the Liberated in life 205
Select Bibliography 239
Index244
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