‘Srīkaṇṭhācāryair eva sa panthā darśitaḥ’: Historiographical remarks on the Śivādvaita Vedānta corpus

Location: OCHS Library
Speaker: Dr Jonathan Duquette
Date: November 12, 2015
Time: 2:00pm to 3:00pm

In the course of the sixteenth century, the South Indian scholar Appaya Dīkṣita (1520-1593) composed a number of works devoted to the exegesis and promulgation of a Śaiva-leaning school of Vedānta—Śivādvaita Vedānta—whose origins he traces to Śrīkaṇṭha’s Brahmamīmāṃsābhāṣya. One of Appaya’s concerns in his elaborate reconstruction of the school is to situate Śrīkaṇṭha vis-à-vis other Vedānta theologians, and at times to show that Śrīkaṇṭha was the first among them to have proposed certain key ideas. In this lecture, I wish to reflect on this question through contextualizing the Śivādvaita interpretation of the ānandamayādhikaraṇa in the Brahmasūtra. I will discuss Śaṅkara’s and Rāmānuja’s interpretations on the same, and shall present evidence that points to another important participant in this scholarly discussion: the Vīraśaivas. As such, this lecture will also lay the basis for a forthcoming study of the Vīraśaiva Śivādvaita tradition and its hitherto uncharted role in the formation of Śrīkaṇṭha’s school.

Dr Jonathan Duquette is a scholar of South Asian religions whose work concentrates primarily on the history of late medieval and early modern Sanskrit intellectual traditions in India. After completing his Ph.D. in Montreal in 2011, Dr. Duquette was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Hamburg, Leiden University, Kyoto University and the University of Oxford, where he currently pursues his research as a Newton International Fellow on the history and literary corpus of Śivādvaita Vedānta. Trained initially as a physicist, Dr. Duquette also nourishes an interest for the interaction between natural sciences and religions as well as for recent developments in philosophy of science and comparative philosophy. He has published articles in Journal of Indian Philosophy, Numen, Zygon and Philosophy East and West, and was also co-editor for a felicitation volume collecting essays on South Asian religions.