The Advaitic Theism of The Bhagavata Purana

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The Advaitic Theism of the Bhagavata Purana 'can be considered as the most significant study of the Purana in its deeper principles....None of the other studies have such interpretative insight into this scripture or into its place in the larger context of India's thought traditions.' - Dr. Thomas Berry, Riverdale Center of Religious Research, New York

Within a compass of eight chapters of this volume the author makes a close examination of the fundamental tenets of Bhagavata Purana. By penetrating analysis he shows how as a unified scripture Bhagavata Purana combines Vedantic non-dualism and Vaisnava devotionalism; and how the Bhagavata non-dualism accommodates the reality of the universe and of the individual selves in it within the all-encompassing reality of Brahman. According to the author, this wonderful blending of devotionalism and non-dualism in the Bhagavata Purana finds its expression in the worship of Krsna as transcendent and supreme deity by all Vaisnavas.

Discussion and delineation throughout the chapters single out 'each of the major forces' determining 'the religious structure of the Bhagavata which has a significance and meaning for the study of religion beyond that of situating a scriptural text within a religious history'.

The present scholarly work will be of special appeal to the students of Indian religion and philosophy. It will also find place in the bookselves of the general reader interested in Indian history and culture.

About the Author :

Daniel P. Sheridan studied at St. John's and Fordham universities in New York, and graduated in Theology and History of Religions. He has written a number of scholarly research papers. Some of them were published in Purana (Varanasi), Horizons (Villanova), Studies in Formative Spirituality (Pittsburgh), Anima (Pennsylvania), The Journal of Religion (Chicago), and The Thomist (Washington D.C.)

Dr. Sheridan is Associate Professor of the History of Religions at Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana.

CONTENTS

Foreword by Thomas Berry vii
Chapters
I. INTRODUCTION 1
The Bhagavata Purana 2
Unity and Date 4
Authorship and Provenance 7
Puranic Genre 12
Contents of the Bhagavata 14
Method of Redaction Criticism 15
II. THE NON-DUALISM OF THE BHAGAVATA 17
The Supreme Person 17
The One and the Many 20
The Absolute 'With' and 'Without' Qualities 24
Non-dualism and the Self 28
Bhagavan's Creative Energy 31
Energy As Power (sakti) 34
Yogic Energy 35
Illusion and Bondage 38
Non-dualism and Pluralism 39
III. THE SAMKHYA OF THE BHAGAVATA 42
IV. THE IDENTITY OF BHAGAVAN 52
Krsna Over Visnu 52
The Four Ages 53
The Questions of the Sages 55
Bhagavan Krsna 57
Manifestations of the Divine: The Avatara 59
The Cosmic Manifestation (gunavatara) 62
The Presiding Manifestations (vyuha) 63
The Play Manifestations (lilavatara) 65
V. DEVOTION: THE REALITY OF BHAGAVAN 71
The Forms of Devotion 71
Characteristics of Devotion 79
The Ninefold Practice of Devotion 81
Yoga and Knowledge 85
Superiority of Devotion 90
Liberation 92
VI. DEVOTION: THE REALITY OF THE DEVOTEE 97
The Alvars 97
Ecstatic Devotion 100
The Ecstatic Play (rasalila) 102
Allegory and Eroticism 107
Separation 113
VII. INTERPRETATIONS OF THE BHAGAVATA 118
Madhva 118
Vallabha 123
The School of Caitanya 129
Summary 134
VIII. THE RELIGIOUS STRUCTURE OF THE BHAGAVATA 136
Non-dualism and Difference-in-Identity 136
The Bhagavata's Difference-in-Identity 140
IX. CONCLUSION 144
Appendix 149
Bibliography 151
Index of Texts cited and Quoted 161
Index of Names and Texts 165
Index of Subjects 167


Item Code: IDF059
Cover: Hardcover
Edition: 1986
Publisher: Motilal Banarsidass Publishers Pvt. Ltd.
ISBN: 8120801792
Size: 9.0" X 5.5"
Pages: 182