When the body does not fall: Śaṃkara, Sureśvara and Ānandagiri on living while liberated

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Abstract

Many Advaita Vedāntins hold that full liberation occurs at the moment of realising the identity of self and Brahman from the śruti texts. The ‘living while liberated’ one then continues to exist until the fall, that is next death, of the body. Through a close reading of the commentaries of Śaṃkara, Sureśvara and Ānandagiri, I explore the problems this notion creates and the commentarial strategies deployed to deal with these. I argue that, while Śaṃkara’s pedagogical concern generates a solution to the problem of apparently continuing false cognitions which is based on memory, Sureśvara’s agenda leads him to ignore this possibility and dismiss the post-liberation existence of false cognitions entirely. Ānandagiri, unlike Sureśvara, develops Śaṃkara’s insight that such ‘false cognitions’ are mere semblances, but, due to his post-Citsukha intellectual context, also ignores memory in his solution.

Bibliographical metadata

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of Hindu Studies
Volume9
Issue number1
Early online date19 Apr 2016
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016

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