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Sankaracarya's (Shankaracharya's) Concept of Relation

Sankaracarya's (Shankaracharya's) Concept of Relation
Item Code: IDD317
Author: Sara Grant
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
Edition: 1999
ISBN: 8120815971
Pages: 219
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 8.9" x 5.8"

From the Jacket

Albert the Great observed in the thirteenth century that "philosophers have always argued about questions of relation," but very few philosophers in East or West have made a systematic enquiry into the nature of relation as such. One possible reason for this is the extremely elusive character of relation, which is to an objective reality in its own right, but simply represents reference-to-another. Moreover it is grasped only by the intelligence, whereas we easily limit ourselves to the level of sense and imagination and reify it into a "third something..."

This minime ens quality of relation was intuitively perceived by Sankara. The present study of his use of relational terms, based on a through examination of the Sanskrit texts, not only presents a challenge to the widespread tendency to reduce relation to the field of logic and semantics, ignoring its metaphysical significance: it also suggests that the tradition of Advaita as presented by Adi Sankara could provide the much-needed non-threatening metaphysical foundation for a better mutual understanding between the participants in the great inter-cultural, inter-disciplinary and inter-faith encounter of the post-modern era.

About the Author

Sara Grant, of Scottish descent and a member of the Society of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, read Literae Humaniores at Oxford and came to India in 1956 to teach philosophy at Sophia Collage, Bombay. She obtained a doctorate in Indian Philosophy from Bombay University and later taught in the Department of Indian Studies in the Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune. She is a member of the Indian Theological Association, and her Teape Lectures, "Towards an Alternative Theology: Confessions of a Non-dualist Christian," given in Cambridge in 1989, were published in Indian by the Asian Trading Corporation, Bangalore, in 1991. She has also contributed research papers to a number of seminars, journals and Festschrifts.






  1. General Orientation
  2. Sources
  3. Note on Sankara's Terminology


  1. Introduction
  2. Sankara's Approach to Reality
  3. The Nature of True Knowledge
  4. The Means of Knowledge
  5. Sankara's Metaphysic


  1. Relation in Indian Philosophy
  2. Sankara and Relation
   (i) Key Terms
  (ii) Relational Terms used by Sankara
     (1) Sambandha
     (2) Samyoga
     (4) Svarupa
     (5) Tadatmya
          The Tadatmya relation of Atman and jiva
          The Tadatmya texts which do not explicitly refer to Atman-Brahman or the jiva
          The Vakyavrtti or "Exposition of the Sentence"
          Examination of the Tadatmya texts in the light of the Bhaglaksana principle of interpretation
          Tadatmya and upadhis
          The Relation of the upadhis to Atman-Brahman
 (iii) Conclusion
3. The Concept of Non-Reciprocal Relation
   (i) The Nature of Relation
  (ii) The Structure of Relation
 (iii) The Foundation
 (iv) Real Relations
  (v) Logical Relations
 (vi) Non-reciprocal Relations
4. Sankara and Aquinas


  1. The Advaitins
  2. The Visistadvaitins


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