The Tattvadīpikā (An Illumination of Reality) is an unpublished Vedāntic work written by Baladeva Vidyābhūṣaṇa (ca 1700-1793), a prominent Bengali Vaiṣṇava author in the early modern period. The manuscript is held in the library of the Maharaja Sawai Man Singh II Museum in Jaipur (Manuscript #5693 in Gopal Bahura’s Literary Heritage of Rulers of Amber and Jaipur). The work is not widely circulated among Bengali Vaiṣṇavas, and its existence was practically unknown till the catalogue of the library was published in 1976. This suggests that the work was probably written exclusively for Jaisingh II (1688-1743), a famous Rajput king of Jaipur Baladeva worked for, who was known for his keen interest in Hindu Theology.
The text is primarily concerned with a refutation of other schools of thought such as Buddhism, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṅkhya, and Advaita Vedānta, providing us with an excellent insight into the intellectual climate in early modern North India. This reading class aims to introduce students with an intermediate knowledge of Sanskrit to the style of theological debate in Sanskrit writings as well as to the methodology of editing a text based on a manuscript.
Dr Kiyokazu Okita is Assistant Professor at The Hakubi Center for Advanced Research, Kyoto University, Department of Indology, Faculty of Letters, Kyoto University.