Is gnosis enough? The path to liberation-while-living in Vidyāraṇya’s Advaita Vedānta

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Dr. James Madaio
Date: October 18, 2018
Time: 2:00pm to 3:00pm

The Advaita Vedāntic path to liberation is often characterized as being constituted by, and as culminating in, gnosis or advaitic awakening. In his fourteenth century work the Jīvanmuktiviveka, Vidyāraṇya, however, argues for a broader conception of Advaita Vedāntic sādhana, which revolves around the problem of post-gnosis obscurations. In this paper I examine Vidyāraṇya’s understanding of the causes of post-gnosis hindrances and how they inform his articulation of two stages of renunciation and their corresponding disciplinary schemes and liberative results. I also explore the way in which Vidyāraṇya situates the Jīvanmuktiviveka‘s yogic approach in relation to his Śaṃkarite sampradāya.

Dr. James Madaio is a research fellow at the Oriental Institute of the Czech Academy of Sciences in Prague. He is also a fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and Associate Editor of the Journal of Hindu Studies. He received his doctorate degree from the Religions and Theology department at the University of Manchester. He was a postdoctoral fellow at New Europe College in Bucharest, affiliated researcher at the Kuppuswami Sastri Research Institute in Chennai, and a lecturer at the Honors College at the University of Maryland, College Park.