Stephen Thompson


Thesis title:

The concept Om & the four Mahavakya in the Vedanta literature as means of dispelling avidya with particular reference to Anubhuti's tippanam on the Agamaprakaranam of Mandukya -Gaudapdiya with Sankara's bhasya,to be translated by myself for the first time into English.

Supervisor:

Professor Gavin Flood

Research:

The concept of Om & the four Mahaavaakya in the Vedaanta literature as means of dispelling avidyaa with particular reference to Anubhuutisvaruupaacaarya’s Ttippan-am on the Agama Prakarana of Maan-duukya-Gaudapadiya with SZanmkarabhaas-ya , twelve verses of the Maan-duukya along with the 29 verses of this first chapter of Gauddapaada’s Kaarikaa & its major text, one of the four Mahaavaakyaani , ayam aatmaa brahma signifying the identity of the supreme Self with the inner Self. The supreme – Self termed Brahman, and the inner-self AAtman. & consider his contribution to the Vivaran-a school of Vedaanta with Brahman itself as the locus and content of both maayaa or avidyaa. The supreme self is the essential nature of IIszvara and the inner –Self is the essential nature of Jiva. To realize the identity of the two or the non-distinction of the one from the other, the Maan-duukya prescribes meditation on the syllable OM. The thesis will consider the Paan-inian etymology of this most famous symbol and the uses of it found in the ten major Upanisads. It will also include etymological analysis of the words in the 12 verses of the Upanisad and the 29 verses of Gaudpada, giving both dhaatus and pratyayas in accordance with the Paninian system with a view to facilitating penetration of the text, and considering to what extent etymological analysis follows the four stages of speech, from vaikhari , through madhyamaa and paszyanti to paraa vaak is a reflection of the four dimensions of consciousness outlined in the Maan-duukya Upanis-ad. In this connection it deals with the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep which comprise Maayaa or avidyaa, and the Reality,Turiya. One of Anubhuutisvaruupaacaarya’s major contributions to Advaita would be his views regarding avidyaa or Maayaa which accounts for the seeming diversification as the supreme lord, the individual soul and the phenomenal world as appearances of Brahman. In contrast some Advaitins draw a distinction between Maayaor avidyaa , like Bharatitrtha in the Pancadasi. Anubhuutisvaruupaacaarya following the vivaran-a school by referring to ajn[aana or avidyaa as parts of maayaa considers them as identical. Gauddapaada, wrote or compiled the Maan-duukya Kaarikaa . The Maan-duukya Kaarikaa is the earliest extant systematic treatise on Advaita Vedaanta, The first chapter AAgama-prakaran-a deals with the three states of waking, dream and deep sleep and concludes that AAtman which is referred to as Turiya is the witness of the three states. The major text of the Maan-duukya Upanis-ad - ayam aatmaa brahma signifies the Identity of the supreme self and the inner self. To realize the non-distinction of the one from the other, the Maan-duukya Upanis-ad prescribes meditation on the syllable OM.

In essence the thesis here proposed will seek to critically evaluate its significance in dispelling ignorance, primarily through the first translation into English of Anubhuutisvaruupaacaarya’s Ttippan-am.and its relation to Om the four mahavakyas, aham brahma asmi, tattvam asi, prajn[aanam brahma & ayam aatmaa brahma and possible connections with the four levels of speech. 

Selected Publications:

2009, 'Karaka or Six Characters in search of the Author!, THE ANNUAL SANSKRIT REVIEW, INTERNATIONAL SANSKRIT EXAMINATION RESOURCE SOCIETY

2009, The Vyakarana Mahabhasya of Patanjali on Panini III.1 (Ahnikas1 to 6 ), Text, Translation into English with introduction and technical notes pp.659, MOTILAL BANARSIDASS DELHI

2010 ‘What is the concept of Pratyaya?’, THE ANNUAL SANSKRIT REVIEW, INTERNATIONAL SANSKRIT EXAMINATION RESOURCE SOCIETY, No.2 AUGUST 2010

2015 WORLD SANSKRIT CONFERENCE : ANUBHUTISVARUPACARYA’S, TIPPANAM ON MANDUKYA –GAUDAPADIYA WITH SANKARA’S BHASYA

2016 SANSKRIT TRADITION &MODERN WORLD : MANCHESTER UNIVERSITY: ‘ANUBHUTISVARUPACARYA’S, TIPPANAM ON MANDUKYA –GAUDAPADIYA WITH SANKARA’S BHASYA, AN ASSESMENT OF HIS CONTRIBUTION TO VEDANTA’

Other research interests:

Vyakarana(Paniniyan), Vedic and Vedantic Sudies (especially Sankara on Upanisads and Bhagavad Gita), Ayur Veda and spoken Sanskrit; A Sanskrit etymological dictionary of the language of the Gita and the Principal Upanishads; A Sanskrit-English Ayurvedic dictionary for students; Parallels between the New Testament (especially St John) and the Upanishads. 

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