Philosophy and Theistic Mysticism of the Alvars

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Item Code: IDD369
Author: S.M.S. Chari 
Language: English
Edition: 2009
ISBN: 9788120813427
Pages: 283
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.7" x 5.7"
Weight 480 gm
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Book Description

From the Jacket

The god-intoxicated twelve Vaisnava Saints of South India popularly know as Alvars, who lived between fifth and eighth centuries A.D. represent a significant phase of Vaisnava Philosophy and Religion which provided a solid foundation for the development of the system of Visistadvaita Vedanta in the hands of Ramanuja and his illustrious successors. They have bequeathed a rich heritage for the posterity in the form of four thousand devotional Tamil hymns collectively known as Nalayira-Divyaprabandham, replete with philosophical and theological teachings. This book attempts to present these teachings as contained in the original hymns in a systematic manner against the background of the Vedanta as reflected in the Upanisads, Agamas and selected Vaisnava Puranas, without bringing the sectarian and theological views that come to be developed by the commentators in the post-Ramanuja period. Based on the original source material, the Philosophy and Mysticism of the Alvars is discussed, fully supported by textual authority, under six broad headings: Doctrine of the Ultimate Reality (paratattva), Doctrine of God (Isvara), Doctrine of the Individual Self (Jivatman), Doctrine of Sadhana, Doctrine of the Supreme Goal (parama-purusartha) and Theistic Mysticism. This volume makes available for the first time in English a comprehensive and authoritative exposition of the Philosophy and Mysticism of the Alvars. The book will be highly useful for the students of comparative religion for an in depth study of Vaisnavism in general and the Alvars in particular. 

About the Author

S.M. Srinivasa Chari (b. 1919) hails from an orthodox Vaisnava family in Mysore, South India. he has a brilliant academic record with an M.A. in Philosophy of the University of Mysore and Ph.D. from the University of Madras. He was a Research Scholar at the University of Madras and a fellow of Institute of Philosophy at Amalner in Maharashtra. He is a finished Sanskrit Scholar trained up by eminent traditional teachers. He has to his credit two Scholarly Works on Vedanta: Advaita and Visistadvaita - A study based on Vedanta Desika's Satadusani and Fundamentals of Visistadvaita Vedanta - A study based on Vedanta Desika's Tattvamukta-kalapa. 

Dr. Chari joined the Ministry of Education, Government of India, after the completion of his university career and worked in different capacities including the assignments at the Indian High Commission, London and Indian Embassy, Washington D.C. (U.S.A). He retired in 1976 as Joint Educational Adviser.

Dr. Chari has travelled widely. He has participated in International conferences and seminars abroad and lectured at University centers on aspect of Indian Philosophy and Religion.




Notes on Transliteration

List of Abbreviations


Chapter 1 Life and Works of the Alvars
                  The Dates of the Alvars
                  The Divine Origin of the Alvars
                  The Life and Compositions of the Alvars
                  The Classification of the Prabandhams

Chapter 2 The Doctrine of Ultimate Reality
                  The Philosophical Theory of Paratattva
                  Paratattva as Narayana
                  Paratattva as Sriyahpati

Chapter 3 The Doctrine of God
                  Divine Attributes
                  Divine Personality
                  Divine Incarnations
                  Divine Activities

Chapter 4 The Doctrine of Individual Self
                  The Nature of Jiva
                  Jiva and Human Bondage
                  Jiva and Isvara
                  The Concept of Bhagavata-sesatva

Chapter 5 The Doctrine of Sadhana
                  The Views of Nammalvar on Sadhana
                  The Theory of Bhakti-yoga
                  The Theory of Prapatti
                  Divine Grace and Sadhana

Chapter 6 The Doctrine of Supreme Goal
                  The Upanisadic Theory of Moksa
                  The Theological View of Moksa
                  The Theory of Kaivalya

Chapter 7 Theistic Mysticism
                  Meaning of Mysticism
                  Theistic Mysticism as Aspects of Bhakti
                  Philosophical Significance of Mysticism
                  Mysticism of Nammalvar
                  Mysticism of Tirumangai Alvar
                  Mysticism of Andal
                  Mysticism of Periyalvar
                  Mysticism of Kulasekaralvar

Chapter 8 General Evaluation and Conclusion
                  The Status of Divyaprabandham as Tamil Veda
                  The Tiruvaymoli as Vedanta
                  The Theory of Ubhaya-vedanta
                  The Influence of the Tamil Prabandhams on Ramanuja and his Successors
                  The Alvars and the Vaisnava Sects


Select Bibliography


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