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AdvaitaA Contemporary Critique$
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Srinivasa Rao

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780198079811

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198079811.001.0001

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The Ātman-Brahman Inquiries

The Ātman-Brahman Inquiries

(p.150) Chapter 12 The Ātman-Brahman Inquiries

Srinivasa Rao

Oxford University Press

The inquiries into Ātman and Brahman and the declaration of their identity in the Upanisads has vital implications for Advaita which Śankara’s commentators completely miss and misunderstand. While the Ātman-inquiry into the inner essence of man used a device of exclusion (like the body is not Ātman etc.), the Brahman-inquiry into the source of the universe did not use it. But yet, whatever was being excluded from Ātman (like the body, senses, mind, etc.) in the first inquiry went on being included under Brahmanin the second, so that ultimately these two inquiries brought under themselves just everything existing in the universe. Therefore when their identity was discovered, non-duality emerged as the only truth. But, missing this completely, the commentators hypostatize ignorance into a beginningless “second entity” and create every possible problem within a perfect doctrine of non-duality.

Keywords:   Ātman, Brahman, Upanisads, Śankara, non-duality, ignorance

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