Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The eighth century A.D. Indian thinker, Śaṅkara, was the greatest exponent of the Advaita Vedānta school (the non-dualistic school of vedānta). Śaṅkara's philosophical speculations are to be found in his commentaries on the prasthānas (the three scriptural sources of the vedānta darśana, namely the Brahmasūtras, the upanisads and the Bhagavad-Gītā). Śankara is not a systematic thinker and his thought proceeds only by means of the reasoned exegesis of scripture. Śaṅkara advocates, by means of this exegesis, an uncompromised non-dualism. Reality is Brahman, the one without a second, that which is, sat (being). This presents Śaṅkara with the problem of attempting to account for the plurality of the ship of Brahman experienced world, that is, the relationship of Brahman to the world.
The aim of this study is to clearly describe this relationship of this unity (Brahman) to the world of diversity. Śaṅkara utilizes two concepts, those of adhyāsa and nāmarūpa, as explanatory terms of this relationship. In this thesis these two concepts will be analysed in order to attempt to explain the relationship of Brahman of the world. Adhyāsa (superimposition) presupposes nāmarūpa (name and form), which is dependent upon vāc (speech). The operation of both these principles as explanations of this relationship are dependent upon Śaṅkara's understanding of the nature and funtion of vāc.
The question of the relationship of Brahman to the world of diversity is co-extensive with Śaṅkara's philosophical enterprise and metaphysical quest.
Both traditional and contemporary scholarship have largely neglected Śaṅkara's concern with vāc (speech, language), failing to appreciate, what I consider to be, the vital importance of vāc in his Advaita.
In terms of methodology, I have attempted to place the whole study within the context of Śaṅkara's own methodological distinctions, rather than apply Śaṅkara's categories to problems outside of his concerns or apply external methodological categories to Śaṅkara's thought.
Morris, Paul Martin, "Adhyāsa and Nāma-rūpa in the Advaita Vedānta of Śaṅkara" (1979). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 2758.