In academic circles Mahadevan and Advaita are synonyms. A practical Advaitin by training and temperament, T.M.P. Mahadevan enriched the Vedic tradition through analysis, explanation, and interpretation of Advaita in all his writings and lectures. The Advaitin who attracted his attention from the beginning was Sankara. It is through Sankara that he surveyed pre-Sankara, post-Sankara and contemporary Advaita. To him, Advaita is not only the summum bonum, but also the paradigm in terms of which he examined other philosophical systems, Indian and non-Indian. He interpreted the culture and philosophy of India not only to his own people, but also to academics and non-academics outside India. His numerous writings noted for their depth and range help us to understand the theory and practice of Advaita.
This monograph is a comprehensive study and interpretation of the writings of Mahadevan who was both an academic and a spiritual man. Among the builders of Indian philosophy, he was certainly one.
About the Author:
A specialist in Advaita, Phenomenology, and Existentialism, R. Balasubramanian was Director, Radhakrishna Institute for Advanced Study in Philosophy, University of Madras, for a number of years. He has also Chairman of Indian Coucil of Philosophical Research. His publications include: Personalistc Existentialism of Berdyaev (1970); The Taittiriyapanisad-bhasya-vartika of Suresvara (1974, 1984); A Study of the Brahmasiddhi of Mandanamisra (1983); The Tradition of Advaita, ed. (1994); and Primal Spirituality of the Vedas: Its Renewal and Renaissance (1996).
About the Series:
The Philosophical concepts and categories associated with Sankhya, Vaisesika, carvaka, Jaina, and Bauddha systems are as old as the Vedas. However, the formulation of different systems must have taken place later on. Unfortunately, we do not know about the historical development of these ideas prior to the systematic presentation of them in the form of sutras (aphorisms) which serve as the basic text for each of these schools. Because of the brevity of the sutras, it is difficult to understand the sutra-work without the help of a commentary. Then came the commentaries and sub-commentaries of various kinds on the texts, all of them being interconnected starting from the basic sutra text. Texts, both expository and polemical, were written defending the basic doctrines of each system and also criticizing the views of other systems; and these texts are also commentaries.
A commentary is much more than an exegesis. It is also creative while doing the work of interpretation. The text taken up for interpretation has a context or horizon of its own; the interpreter, too, has a horizon of his/her own. The interaction between the two horizons is a basic element in every kind of interpretation. This interaction between the two horizons, which goes on whenever a text is explained, "enriches" the text and makes it both purportful and purposive. So a commentary is as much original as the text it is commenting on. Indian philosophy was built and developed, strengthened and shaped by the commentarial tradition.
Contemporary Indian philosophy, academic as well as non-academic, have enriched the tradition in several ways. Like classical commentators, they are "builders" of Indian philosophy in the two areas of pure and applied philosophy. The monographs in this series called "Builders of Indian Philosophy" are intended to elucidate and highlight their contribution to Indian Philosophy.
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