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Sankara The Teacher: Message And Style

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H A R V A R D   U N I V E R S I T Y
Department of Sanskrit and Indian Studies

Series on "Indian Society through the Ages"

Winter  2011
Lecture VII

"Sankara the Teacher: Message and Style"
Haesook Ra
Harvard University


Sankara (c. 8th CE) is a well known Indian non-dualistic philosopher. He is considered one of India's greatest philosophical and religious thinkers, and his works, mainly commentaries on Indian scriptures, are among the outstanding classics in Indian literature. Ra studied his relatively unknown commentary on the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad, and discovered that our appreciation of his non-dualistic message benefits from a rhetorical study because it opens our eyes to the beauty of the author's compositional style. Ra argues that Sankara's commentary on the Brhadaranyaka Upanisad is not a spontaneous and haphazard unfolding of his ideas but is carefully produced with a planned architecture. The method turns out to be a serious pedagogic strategy designed to persuade the readers to accept the theological message that the author wishes to communicate.

Speaker bio: Born in South Korea, Haesook Ra studied Buddhism in Korea and Japan, and has been studying Hinduism in the United States.  She passed her doctoral defense last November, with the dissertation on Sankara's commentary on Brhadaranyaka Upanisad.

Sunday, January 9, 2011, 3:00 PM
Hall A, Harvard University Science Center
1 Oxford Street, Cambridge

URL: http://www.fas.harvard.edu/sanskrit/outreach.html
Contact: Dr. B. Misra 617-864-5121

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