The lecture will highlight some of the basic features of contemporary vedantin writer Satchidanandendra Saraswati’s advaita vedānta as presented in his magum opus Vedānta Prakriyā Pratyabhijñā(The Method of the Vedānta). Elaborating on Śaṅkarācārya’s postulation of the Upanișads as ‘secret knowledge’ or ‘secret instruction’ (rahasya-upadeśa), Satchidanandendra Saraswati posits a sort of apophatic mystagogy that seeks to reinstate upaniṣadic thinking (vicāra-tarka) as a rigorous rational discipline understood as a ‘device of imagination’ (kalpita-upāya) acceptable only on account of its results, viz., self-realisation (anubhūti). Described as a systematic process of deliberate superimposition of attributes followed by their retraction (adhyāropa-apavāda), upaniṣadic thinking aims at eliminating the various manifestations of the fundamental and recurrent error of objectifying the ultimate Reality (ātman/brahman). It is described as the culminating ladder of a tri-phasic reasoning that includes, in its two initial stages, avirodha-tarka – a set of arguments ‘proving’ the plausibility of upaniṣadic ‘theses’ – and mīmāṃsā-tarka – a set of exegetical arguments ‘proving’ the purportful centrality of the sentences of non-difference (mahāvākya) in the Upaniṣads. Eliminative reasoning constitutes, finally, the fundamental nature of upaniṣadic thinking and the basic tool of a transformative philosophy that ensures the eradication of ignorance as the root cause of human suffering and the concomitant realization of one’s ever-present non-dual nature (ātman/brahman).
Prof. Loundo is Coordinator of the Center for the Study of Religions and Philosophies of India (NERFI). NERFI is an integral part of the Postgraduate Program of Religious Studies (PPCIR) of the Federal University of Juiz de Fora (UFJF), state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. It was started in 2010 and is officially registered as a national research group at the National Scientific Research Council (CNPq.), Brazil. In addition to its core group based at UFJF, NERFI has also developed an interdisciplinary network of research collaborators from various universities in Brazil, covering areas such as Philosophy, Social Sciences, Linguistic, Mass Communication and Psychology. Prof. Loundo is a Ph.D. in Indian Philosophy from Mumbai University; an M.A. and M.Phil. in Philosophy from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; and a Postgraduate Diploma in Sanskrit from Mumbai University. His recent publications include: What´s Philosophy After All? The Intertwined Destinies of Greek Philosophy and Indian Upanisadic Thinking (Barcelona, 2011); An Anthology of Hindi Poetry (Rio de Janeiro, 2010); The Seashore of Endless Worlds: Rabindranath Tagore’s Encounters with Latin America (Belo Horizonte: 2011); The Apophatic Mystagogy of the Upanișads in Satchidanandendra Saraswati’s Advaita Vedanta (Juiz de Fora, 2011); Poetry and Soteriology in India: The Devotional Lyricism of Jayadeva’s Gita-Govinda (Campinas: 2011); Bhartrhari’s Nondual Linguistic Ontology (sabda-advaita-vada) and The Semantics of Sanskrit Middle Voice (atmanepada) (Bangalore, 2010);Ritual in Vedic Tradition: Openness, Plurality and Teleology (João Pessoa, 2012);Tropical Dialogues: Brazil and India (Rio de Janeiro: 2009).