Hinduism and Tribal Religions

Living Edition
| Editors: Jeffery D. Long, Rita D. Sherma, Pankaj Jain, Madhu Khanna


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


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


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...


Intermediate Sentence Referential Words Brahman Vedic Ritual Mutual Delimitation 
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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of South Asian Languages and CivilizationsUniversity of ChicagoChicagoUSA