Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Pankaj Jain, Rita Sherma, Madhu Khanna

Mahā-vākya

  • Aleksandar Uskokov
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-94-024-1036-5_98-1

Definition

A scriptural passage expressing finality of meaning. A meditational mantra for Advaita renunciants.

Introduction

Mahā-vākya is an idea which scholars of Hinduism use often but whose origin and precise meaning is rarely discussed. It is commonly taken to denote any short sentence signifying something important primarily but not necessarily from the Upaniṣads. For instance, Julius Lipner in his study of Rāmānuja says that both Śaṅkara and Rāmānuja erected their respective systems of Vedānta on the foundation of select statements from the Upaniṣads, mahā-vākyas, which served the roles of hermeneutic keys [6]. In a similar vein, Matthew Kapstein talks about Śaṅkara’s careful deployment of mahā-vākyas or passages derived from the Upaniṣads in his Upadeśa-sāhasrī as a way of structured teaching [4]. Further, Richard H. Davies says that Indian commentators often highlighted especially powerful statements in the Bhagavad-Gītā for special attention as mahā-vākyasor great utterances...

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References

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    Jha G (Trans) (1907) Ślokavārttika of Kumārila Bhaṭṭa. Asiatic Society of Bengal, CalcuttaGoogle Scholar
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    Clark M (2006) The Daśanāmī-Saṁnyāsis: the integration of ascetic lineages into an order. Brill, Leiden/BostonGoogle Scholar
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    Davies RH (2015) The Bhagavad-Gita: a biography. Princeton University Press, Princeton/OxfordGoogle Scholar
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    Kapstein M (2015) Interpreting Indian philosophy: three parables. In: Ganeri J (ed) The oxford handbook of Indian philosophy. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
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    Kocmarek I (1985) Language and release: Sarvajñātman’s Pañcaprakriyā. Motilal Banarsidass, DelhiGoogle Scholar
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    Lipner J (1986) The face of truth. State University of New York Press, AlbanyCrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    Jha G (Trans) (1933) Shabara-Bhasya, in three volumes. Oriental Institute, BarodaGoogle Scholar
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    Swami, G. (Trans) (1937) Eight Upaniṣads with the commentary of Śaṅkarācārya: volume two. Calcutta: Advaita AshramaGoogle Scholar
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleksandar Uskokov
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of South Asian Languages and CivilizationsUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA