Rethinking Advaita Within the Colonial Predicament: The Subject as Freedom and the ‘Confrontative’ Philosophy of K. C. Bhattacharyya (1875–1949)

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Pawel Odyniec
Date: November 15, 2018
Time: 2:00pm to 3:00pm

In this talk I will examine the distinctive way in which the prominent Indian philosopher Krishnachandra Bhattacharyya (1875–1949) engaged with Advaita Vedānta during the terminal phase of the colonial period. I propose to do this by looking, first, at ways in which Krishnachandra understood the role of his own philosophizing within the colonial predicament. I will call this his agenda in ‘confrontative’ philosophy. I shall proceed, then, by sketching out the unique manner in which this agenda was successfully carried out through his engagement with the Advaitic notion of self-knowledge and articulated in his The Subject as Freedom (1930).

Pawel Odyniec is a Ph.D. candidate in Indology at the Department of Linguistics and Philology, Uppsala University, Sweden. He has worked on several eminent Indian philosophers of the twentieth century and their reinterpretations of the classical Advaita Vedānta with particular attention to the concept of liberating knowledge. His research interest is in the area of Indian philosophy/theology, from classical to modern, in its Sanskrit, Hindi, and English sources which he addresses from a perspective that combines philosophy, philology, and history of ideas. Over the past few years, he has been teaching Introduction to Indian Philosophy and has been assisting in teaching Sanskrit and Hindi.