The Rise of Śivādvaita Vedānta
This chapter situates Appaya’s Śaiva works within his broader intellectual oeuvre and career. It introduces Appaya’s central work of Śivādvaita Vedānta, the Śivārkamaṇidīpikā, and explains how its composition established him as a great advocate of Śaiva religion in early modern India. It contextualizes Appaya’s work within the intellectual and religious milieu of the Vijayanagara empire, drawing attention to polemical debates between theologians of Vedānta and the rise in power of Śrīvaiṣṇava religion in Appaya’s time and place. This chapter offers a brief description of the five chapters of the book, and introduces its core argument, namely that Appaya’s Śivādvaita Vedānta work aimed to challenge, for the first time, the interpretation of Vedānta held by tenants of Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta, the dominant Vaiṣṇava school of philosophical theology in Appaya’s time.
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