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Structuring Advaita Dialectic - A Study of Sri Harsha's Khandanakhanda Khadyam and Naisadhiya Charitam

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Item Code: NAX872
Author: Francis A.P.
Publisher: Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla
Language: English
Edition: 2019
ISBN: 9789382396697
Pages: 396
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 610 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

Structuring Advaita Dialectic: A Study based on Sriharsa's Khandanakhandakhadyam (KKK) and Naisadhiyacaritam (NC) is a scholarly attempt in the field of studies to restructure the Advaita dialectics against the background of the ideal set forth by the triumvirate of Advaita dialectics viz.

Sriharsa, Citsukha and MadhusadanaSarasvati.

It is a study of Sriharsa's two texts: Khandanakhandakhadyam and Naisadhiyacaritam. The first is a philosophical text and the second is a mahakdvya, a piece of literary art. Both these texts are known, in the tradition, as highly intellectual compositions.

Starting from the identity and philosophical lineage of Sriharsa, the study proceeds through the structuring of Advaita at the hands of Sriharsa, taking into account the philosophical, methodological and aesthetic dimensions intertwined very well. The trajectory of the constructive advaitic agenda of Sriharsa is visualized both in Khandanakhandakhadyam and Naisadhiyacaritam. It reaches the acme with the brief sketch of the post Sriharsa developments in This book will be of great interest to researchers and scholars of Sanskrit, Advaita , and Buddhists. and Indologists and Eastern philosophical and religious traditions in general.


About the Author

Dr. Francis A.P. is Professor at the Dept. of Sanskrit- in Sree Sankaracharya University of Sanskrit, Kalady, Ernakularn, and Kerala. After securing his Post Graduate studies in Sanskrit, and History from Kerala University, Trivandrum, he pursued PhD in Sree Sankaracharya University, Kalady in 2000 and then Vidyavaridhi (equal to PhD.) from Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, New Delhi in 2005. He was selected for UGC Research Award in 2012. He was awarded the prestigious Post Doctoral Fulbright -Nehru Senior Research Fellowship in 2012-2013 in the University of California, Berkeley, USA. He visited several universities in India and travelled to many countries such as Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France and Israel for invited talks and presenting papers in international conferences. He taught Sanskrit, Indian Philosophy and Buddhism several years in Pontifical Institute, Always and Paurastya Vidyapitharn, Kottayam.

He was Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advance Study, Rashrapathi Niwas, Shimla, H.P., from 2004-2007. He published several articles and papers in the national and international journals and books. Preface The present work is the outcome of my post-doctoral research at Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, India. It deals with the contribution of Sriharsa, the philosopher-poet of 12th century CE to Pedantic dialectic. A confluence of strong lineages of extra-Advaitic systems like Nyaya, Buddhism, Mimamsa etc., entering most harmoniously, though negatively, into the mosaic of Advaitic theories is most discernibly exhibited in the works of Sriharsa. I attempt in this work to structure Sriharsa's dialectic.

During my sojourn at the IIAS, I inquired into the dialectic and technique of Sriharsa's structuring of Advaita against the back- ground of these systems. In the process, I have been helped and supported by many a person and many an institution; their part has been indispensable in the shaping of this work, although mentioning them by name is beyond scope here.

I am deeply indebted to the former Chairmen of IIAS: D. P. Chattopadhyaya, G. C. Pandey and Balchandra Mungekar; the former and present Directors of IIAS: Bhuvan Chandel, Peter Ronald D'Souza and Chetan Singh; and the former and present Vice Chancellors of Sri Sankara University, Kalady: K. N. Panikkar and J. Prasad. I would like to specially mention the blessings of my revered Guru in the works of Sriharsa and Doctoral Guide (Sanskrit-), namely, Prof. B. Subbarayudu of Rashtriya Sanskrit Sansthan, Puri Campus; and of P. C. Muraleemadhavan and M. M. Vasudevan Potty, who were the guides of my first doctoral work (Sankara and Aquinas).

Enriched by the Advaita Dialectic of Sriharsa=-the greatest negative dialectician and poet of the Advaita tradition-from within the Presidential Halls of Wisdom of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, I offer the fruit of my research to Indologists and Advaitins the world over.



It is a matter of great pleasure to write a few words on this work entitled "Structuring Advaita Dialectic" of Francis A. P.

His is a study of Sriharsa's two texts: KhandanakhandakhAdyam (KKK) and Naisadhiyacaritam (NC). The first is a philosophical text and the second is a mahdkAvya, a piece of literary art. Both these texts are known, in the tradition, as highly intellectual com- positions. The KKK is the composition of the genre of vedam (iii. In vaidanta, it is said that the writer engages himself in mere refutation of opponent's views without giving his own views (svapaksa- sthapana-bhawna-para-para-dosa-pradarsana-para- verdantly; that is, 'a vaidanta variety of argument is that which is interested in showing faults in the opponent's arguments without any interest in establishing one's own position'. The form of dialectic is mentioned in the list of sixteen entities mentioned in the first sutra of Gautama's Nyayasatras.

Sriharsa has presented mainly the Naiyayikas as his opponent and systematically refutes all basic positions of Nyaya variety of Realism in order to hint towards the acceptance of Advaitic Idealism indirectly. The form of argument does not commit directly to any position, but one has to indirectly guess what the arguer is interested in. Sriharsa drives through this mode of discourse towards the position of Advaitic Idealism in which universal consciousness is accepted to be the Ultimate Reality.

This consciousness is of the nature of self-awareness, the veryBeing. It is because of such Universal Being, there is illumination of everything (yasya bhasa sarvam idam vibhata. It is like the Sun which does not require any lamp for its illumination (sva-prakasai unlike the Naiyayikas who accept anuvyavasaya to illumine a vyavasaya or jnana.

While the Naiyayikas accept the locus of jnana, that is, the sub- stance as the atman, the Advaitins acceptjnana (that is, caitanya or consciousness) itself as the atman. All arguments of Sriharsa point towards that position.

The greatest problem for such a position is that it cannot be an object of discourse. Once it is accepted that the Reality is that unchanging Truth or Consciousness or Bliss (sat or cit or ananda) which is without a second and which is beyond the reach of mind and language, how to talk about it? How to initiate any debate on it? How to prove it? To whom should it be proved? As a matter of fact, it does not require any proof. It is self-illuminating. Therefore it can simply be experienced. The expression for such an experience is the Upanisadic statements. Therefore, those Upanisadic statements alone can be presented as the proof. Since one cannot point out to anything as identical with the Brahman because there is nothing other than that, the only course left is to deny the identity of everything with That saying not this, not this and so on (neti, neti ... ). In such a Monistic presupposition, debate is forced to take the shape on veranda which simply says 'what you save is not the Fact.' Then. what is the Fact?




Swami Vivekananda has said that India was saved twice from materialism--once by Lord Buddha and a second time by Sri Sankara through his philosophy of Advaita . World teachers of Sri Sankara's eminence never cease to be relevant in any period of human history; they go on influencing world thought. That is the reason why even today Sri Sarikara and his doctrine, the Advaita, is being studied and written upon.

Dr. Francis is my friend and colleague who worked under my guidance for his doctoral degree at Sree Sankaracharya University, Kalady. He is an enthusiastic young scholar with large amount of curiosity in the field of his study. He has taken much pain when he has undergone the work of comparing Sri Sankara and St. Thomas Aquinas for his PhD thesis. In seminars and serious academic deliberations, he used to interfere by applying his dialectics on various philosophical systems.

As evidenced from the present work, the development of dialectics in Indian philosophy, especially in Advaita , has been purely epistemological rather than ontological.

The development of dialectics in Indian philosophy is yet to be probed into. The most important question concerning dialectic in Advaita is this. Can dialectics be related to Advaita ? The answer is in the affirmative. Why? The most general reason in one of the fundamental principles of dialectics itself, namely, that of universal connection. There is nothing unrelated to other things in this world. This rule is applicable to the world of ideas also. The usual practice followed in philosophy to brand one system as dialectical or metaphysical is to take into account the attitude of system to the constitution of fundamental ontological reality: a philosophy which accepts the dialectical reality of the fundamental ontological principle, whether it be idea or matter, it is called a dialectical system. Beginning of the dialectical method in Indian philosophical literature can be described in the dialogues of the Upanishads, which form one major set of the basic texts of the system of Advaita. The success of Sankara in appealing to the minds of the so called great men was partly due to his employment of an appropriate dialectical method.

It is very interesting to note how Sri Francis has explored the entire literature of Sriharsa namely Khandanakhandakhadyam and Naisadhiyacaritam, from the point of view of dialectics. Sriharsa differs epistemologically from Kumarilabhatta, the raamsakha, and Sri Sankara, the Advaita. This knowledge is very important for critical understanding of Sriharsa's approach to the whole problem. Sri Sailkara accepts three pramanas but the later advaitas accepted six pramdnas that of Kumarilabhatta.

But Sriharsa, the sceptic Advaita, does not accept any of the pramanas. He accepts only the ultimate reality. Here the author states that Sriharsa has undertaken his distinction of knowledge and sources of knowledge. It is said that this is a less conscious aspect of Sriharsa's work.

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