Guru-śiṣya-saṃbandha: The Structure of Faith in the Śaṅkaran Vedānta Religious Tradition

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Prof. Yoshitsugu Sawai
Date: October 30, 2018
Time: 2:00pm to 3:00pm

This lecture focuses on the Śaṅkaran Vedānta religious tradition of Śṛṅgeri in contemporary Indian society. In India, Śaṅkara, whose date is about 700-750, was a famous Indian philosopher who advocated the advaita (non-dual) Vedānta philosophy. At the same time, he has been traditionally believed to be the founder of this religious tradition whose center is located in Śṛṅgeri. In this lecture, I would like to clarify the “relationship of a teacher with his disciples” (guru-śiṣya-saṃbandha) as one of the main characteristics of this religious faith. In this religious tradition, there is such a relationship at the dimension of the saṃnyāsins (world-renouncers) and at that of lay adherents. In particular, I will focus on the relationship between the Jagadguru (a world teacher) and his disciples, whether they are saṃnyāsins or lay people. From the perspectives of religious studies, my lecture aims to explore the nature of the two kinds of faith, i.e., the religious commitments of saṃnyāsins and lay adherents.

Prof. Yoshitsugu Sawai is Professor of the History of Religions and former Dean of the Faculty of Human Studies at Tenri University (Japan), as well as Advisor of the Japan Association of Religion and Ethics. He is the author of The Faith of Ascetics and Lay Smartas: A Study of the Sankaran Tradition of Srngeri (Sammlung De Nobili).