From the Jacket:
This volume summaries what we know of early Advaita Vedanta upto the Samkara's pupils, Suresvara, Padmapada, Totaka and Hanstamalaka. An analytical introduction by the editor introduces the reader to the concepts utilized by Gaudapada, Samkaracarya and Mandana Misra in expounding and defending the Advaita view. This is followed by summaries of all the authentic Advaita works of these authors, together with those of Suresvara and Padmapada as well as a number of other works which have been attributed to Samkara, Totaka and Hastamalaka. This volume is divided into two parts and is enriched with an elaborate Introduction discussing briefly the history of the school its theories of value, language and relations and its metaphysics and epistemology.
About the Author:
Karl H. Potter is Professor of Philosophy and south Asian Studies at the University of Washington, and is General Editor of the present series, which attempts to summarily present the thought of all the great philosophical systems of India.
This volume, the third in the Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, is the first of those devoted to the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta. It covers the writings of Gaudapada, Samkaracarya, Mandana Misra and Samkara’s pupils: Suresvara, Padmapada, Totaka, and Hastamalaka (the last according to traditional authorities only).
The remarks offered in the preface to volume two in this series relating to the general intent of the Encyclopedia apply to this volume and others to follow. To review briefly: this volume is intended, not as a definitive study of the works summarized, but as an invitation to further philosophical attention to them. The plan has been to make available the substance of the thought contained in these works, so that philosophers unable to read the original Sanskrit and who find difficulty in understanding and finding their way about in the translations (where such exist) can get an idea of the positions taken and arguments offered. The summaries, then, are intended primarily for philosophers and only secondarily for Indologists, and certain sections of the works have been omitted or treated sketchily because they are repetitious or deemed less interesting for philosophers, though they may be of great interest to Sanskritists. I might also add that the summaries are not likely to make interesting consecutive reading; they are provided in the spirit of a reference work. It is hoped, on the other hand, that the editor’s Introduction will provide a readable account of some of the pertinent features of Advaita Vedanta for those hitherto unacquainted with that system of thought.
Preparation of this volume has been assisted materially by the gracious assistance provided by several agencies and individuals. The Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Depart men of State, represented by Ms. Evelyn Barnes, kindly provided the project a generous grant in PL-480 rupees to cover preparation of this and other volumes. This grant made possible contacts with Indian colleagues and provided honoraria for a number of the summaries here included. The grant has been administered through the American Institute of Indian Studies, which has provided generous assistance in easing administrative details connected with the gathering of summaries, in arranging editorial travel and consultation, and in providing secretarial assistance and supplies. I wish especially to thank Pradip R. Mehendiratta and Edward C. Dimock for their good offices. In 1975 I received a fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies through the Joint Committee on South Asia of the American Council of Learned Societies and Social Science Research Council that enabled me to make use of the unparalleled collections at the India Office Library and British Museum in London, without which opportunity a number of the summaries could not have been completed and much scholarly information could not have been conveyed or alluded to through references.
I wish to thank James Settle of the American Council of Learned Societies as well as the authorities and staff members at the libraries mentioned. Finally, there are several individual scholars who are probably not aware of the extent of their contribution to this volume through their helpful and provocative conversation with me over the years in connection with Advaita. I wish especially to record my appreciation and debt to Anthony J. Alston, Daniel H. H. Ingalls, T. R. V. Murti, and Allen W. Thrasher for sharing their scholarship and thought with me. I am, needless to say, responsible for all misinterpretation of the materials that have crept into what follows.
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