Śrimanta Śaṅkardeva: An Advaitin or A Visistādvaitavadin?

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Dr. Junashmita Bhuyan


Śrimanta Śaṅkardeva is the leader of the Vaiṣṇava Bhakti Movement in North-East India. He propounds a unique system of philosophy named, ‘Ekaśaraṇa-Harināma-Dharma’. Śaṅkardeva’s religious teachings are based on the fundamental principles of the Vedāntic tradition. He is influenced (it seems) by the Visistādvaita philosophy of Rāmānujacārya and made certain changes by removing idol worship from the path of devotion. There are several places where he also speaks the language of an Advaitin; hence it’s difficult to categorize his philosophy under one domain. This paper is an attempt to trace the philosophical ideologies of Śaṅkardeva and to throw light on the impact of the Vedānta philosophy on Bhaktivāda. Particular efforts are made to distinguish that Śaṅkaradeva’s philosophy is the outcome of the Vedānta philosophy or it may refer as a distinct self-directed philosophy of Śaṅkardeva. Besides, this paper would closely examine the areas of agreement and disagreement between Śaṅkardeva and the two chief Vedāntic exponents, Śaṅkarācārya and Rāmānujacārya.

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