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Introduction




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Hindu Books > Hindu Scriptures > The Vedanta - Sutras > Introduction

THE VEDANTA-SUTRAS

WITH THE COMMENTARY BY

RAMANUJA

TRANSLATED BY

GEORGE THIBAUT

PART III

Sacred Books of the East, Volume 48

Oxford, the Clarendon Press

[1904]

INTRODUCTION

Page1

In the Introduction to the first volume of the translation of the 'Vedanta-Sutras with Sankara's Commentary' (vol. xxxiv of this Series) I have dwelt at some length on the interest which Ramanuga's Commentary may claim--as being, on the one hand, the fullest exposition of what may be called the Theistic Vedanta, and as supplying us, on the other, with means of penetrating to the true meaning of Badarayana's Aphorisms. I do not wish to enter here into a fuller discussion of Ramanuga's work in either of these aspects; an adequate treatment of them would, moreover, require considerably more space than is at my disposal. Some very useful material for the right understanding of Ramanugu's work is to be found in the 'Analytical Outline of Contents' which Messrs. M. Rangakarya and M. B. Varadaraga Aiyangar have prefixed to the first volume of their scholarly translation of the Sribhashya (Madras, 1899).

The question as to what the Sturas really teach is a critical, not a philosophical one. This distinction seems to have been imperfectly realised by several of those critics, writing in India, who have examined the views expressed in my Introduction to the translation of Sankara's Commentary. A writer should not be taxed with 'philosophic incompetency,' 'hopeless theistic bias due to early training,' and the like, simply because he, on the basis of a purely critical investigation, considers himself entitled to maintain that a certain ancient document sets forth one philosophical view rather than another. I have nowhere expressed an opinion as to the comparative philosophical value of the systems of Sankara and Ramanuga; not because I have no definite opinions on this point, but because to introduce them into a critical enquiry would be purposeless if not objectionable.

The question as to the true meaning of the Sutras is no doubt of some interest; although the interest of problems of this kind may easily be over-estimated. Among the remarks of critics on my treatment of this problem I have found little of solid value. The main arguments which I have set forth, not so much in favour of the adequacy of Ramanuga's interpretation, as against the validity of Sankarakarya's understanding of the Sutras, appear to me not to have been touched. I do not by any means consider the problem a hopeless one; but its solution will not be advanced, in any direction, but by those who will be at the trouble of submitting the entire body of the Sutras to a new and detailed investigation, availing themselves to the full of the help that is to be derived from the study of all the existing Commentaries.




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