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Matthew Dasti

Sri Ramanuja on Karmayoga

Sri Ramanuja is one of the great teachers of karmayoga, the discipline which unites action and contemplation. In his commentary on the Bhagavad-gita, Ramanuja argues that karmayoga is essential for all yogins, and is especially important in preparing oneself for higher practices of bhakti. I have translated the following commentary, which provides insight into a central feature of karmayoga, seeing oneself as an instrument of God. Elsewhere, Ramanuja describes that the self has agency (kartritva) which is under God’s will. But here, he stresses seeing God as the agent or doer of all actions. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Matthew Dasti

A Review of Stephen Phillips’ Yoga, Karma and Rebirth

Stephen Phillips is a leading scholar and interpreter of classical Indian thought amongst professional academic philosophers. His work has ranged from a study of Sri Aurobindo’s conception of Brahman to a fairly technical translation and commentary upon the epoch-making epistemological text Tattvacintamani by the Nyaya master Gangesha Upadhyaya. His recent release Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy (Columbia University Press) is, in one sense, something of a departure for Phillips. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Matthew Dasti

New Yoga Sutras Translation

Those who are familiar with Edwin Bryant know him to be both a scholar and a serious yoga practitioner. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (North Point Press 2009) is the product of both sides coming together in a wonderful way. I do not think it is an overstatement to say that the publication of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali should be greeted by widespread enthusiasm and gratitude by the community of persons who are interested in India’s yoga traditions. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Matthew Dasti

The World as the Body of God

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Sri Ramanuja
, the great theistic Vedantin, provides a model of the relationship between the world and God which sees the world as God’s body. I thought we could explore that notion here.

In Bhagavad-gita 10.20 Krishna says

I am the self, Arjuna, dwelling in all beings.

In his commentary on this text Ramanuja suggests that a self relates to a body in three ways. First, it supports a body. The self is suporter (adhara), while the body is supported (adheya). Second, it controls a body. The self is controller (niyatri) while the body is controlled (niyamya). Finally, a self is the purpose-giving end which is served by a body. Here, the self is the principal (sheshin) and the body, the accessory (shesha). CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Matthew Dasti

Creation, Karma, and Intelligent Design in Nyaya and Vedanta

vishnu shesha 4The phrase “intelligent design” gets a lot of currency these days, from both its champions and foes. Its proponents contend that the organized structure found within the universe indicates an intelligent cause whereas its opponents claim that undirected natural processes are enough. I have heard some people claim that the notion of intelligent design is merely an attempt to repackage Christian creationism in a respectable way. But, this is clearly false. It’s a Hindu notion as well. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Kaustubha das

Indirect Perception Of Brahman in the Bhagavad-gita

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The Bhagavad-gita’s chapters are replete with references to the discernment of the wise. Contrasts in perception are drawn between the yogi of disciplined mind who sees the truth, and those bewildered by ego who chase the illusions of this world.

But how does one’s vision shift from seeing stones and gold as vastly different, to seeing them as the same? How can one view friends and enemies with an equal eye? How does one perceive God within this world, a recurrent theme in the Gita?

Matthew Dasti’s paper Indirect Perception of Brahman in the Bhagavad-gita uses a contemporary account of indirect seeing to examine religious experience within the Bhagavad-gita. It was originally delivered at the Seventeenth Annual Congress of Vedanta, held at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, September 20-23, 2007.

Kaustubha das

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Matthew Dasti

More Thoughts on Ritual

Ramanuja TwotoneI want to continue the conversation about ritual with Michael and Kaustubha (link 1, link 2). The basic idea which is being discussed seems to be that in bhakti, the purpose of religious ritual is fully realized. Without the spirit of devotion and, as Michael stressed, the proper mindfulness about the purpose of ritual, it seems to degenerate into a kind of mere cultural language; a way people who identify with this or that meta-narrative tend to act in certain circumstances. CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE »

Matthew Dasti

Meditation as Sacrifice

Translations from the Svetasvatara Upanisad and the Bhagavad-gita

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Matthew Dasti

“A Person is Made of Desire”

A Translation of Brihadaranyaka Upanishad 4.4.5-6 (Madhyandina Recension)
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