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dc.contributor.advisorRiekert, S. J. P. K.
dc.contributor.advisorVerster, P.
dc.contributor.authorSukdaven, Maniraj
dc.date.accessioned2015-11-25T11:21:34Z
dc.date.available2015-11-25T11:21:34Z
dc.date.issued2013-01
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11660/1923
dc.description.abstractEnglish: Advaita Vedanta, as a philosophy, is also known as radical non-dualism and therefore cannot accommodate a concept such as an Avatara. The concept Avatara can best be described, yet not comprehensively in the English language, as ‘incarnation’. Although the teaching of this philosophy was not established by Shankara, one could confidently admit that he firmly established it as a philosophy to be reckoned with. Advaita Vedanta, being a philosophy focused on radical non-dualism, in that it states: There is none other than the Absolute Brahman, could not conceive of any other than Brahman. This being is so, the world and everything in it, including humans and Avatara should never exist; yet in the philosophy of Shankara it does ‘exist’, albeit at an empirical level. This is possible because of the following arguments presented by Shankara in support of an empirical reality.  The first argument is based on the understanding of what reality is. According to Shankara, the understanding and testing of reality is based on the criterion of truth. For something to be true it has to have an element of non-contradiction and has to survive through the three periods of time: past, present and future. In other words it must be immutable and permanent. For Shankara, Brahman is the only reality (paramarthika) and everything else is false: it is neither real nor unreal (e.g. the world and everything in it).  The relationship between Brahman and the empirical world can be described by the term vyavaharika. This relationship is similar to an example of a rope and a snake. In this example, the rope appears as a snake for one that views this from a distance. Yet when one gets closer, one realises that it is not a snake but a rope. It can therefore be said that the snake was a superimposition on the rope. The rope was real but the snake was false. From afar the snake looked real but is in reality unreal or not real. Similarly Shankara explains the relationship between the world and Brahman. The world is a superimposition on Brahman. Upon correct knowledge, the world disappears and only Brahman remains. The world, one can therefore say, is an illusion.  This illusion according to Shankara is brought about by Maya and is related to terms such as: appearance, ignorance, superimposition, power, deception and falsehood. For Shankara this is the principle of becoming and appearance through which the absolute non-dual Brahman becomes diversified and manifold.  The state in which Brahman is therefore consciously associated with Maya to create the universe is called Ishvara (god). This causes an ontological dilemma for the status of Maya. The best way for Shankara to define Maya was to say that it is neither existent nor non-existent. If Maya was existent, then his philosophy of absolute non-dualism becomes questionable because there would be another reality. If non-existent, then the empirical world would not exist. To resolve this dilemma Shankara posits the idea of two levels of truth which includes two aspects of Brahman, Nirguna Brahman (Absolute Brahman) and Saguna Brahman (Brahman with attributes (Ishvara) or one could say ‘a superimposed Brahman’).  Ishvara (Saguna Brahman), being the ‘superimposed Brahman’ has other aspects emanating from it. According to Shankara the three most important emanations are Brahma (creator), Vishnu (preserver) and Shiva (destroyer). The Brahmasutras have also confirmed that there were other gods created as well.  With this creation of the world, other created beings were responsible for the preservation of dharma (duties) in this world. When adharma began to overpower dharma, something had to be done to bring stability in the world. For this reason, Vishnu incarnated himself as Krishna. This incarnation became better known in Hinduism as Avatara.  It was necessary for Shankara to concede to the Avatara notion, because many of his followers worshipped an aspect of Ishvara. His theory was that the worship (bhakti) of other gods and deities was simply a means to moksha, but cannot directly attain moksha. The purpose for bhakti was a way to prepare the devotee to be purified so as to acquire knowledge, which, according to Shankara, removes Maya (veil of ignorance) thus liberating the jiva from bondage to attain Brahman realisation or moksha.  Finally, in considering and understanding radical non-dualism, this research has proven that, within his philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, Shankara is forced to incorporate and utilise the concept of Avatara within the ambits of the Hindu religious tradition. This then constitutes the finding of this research.en_ZA
dc.description.abstractAfrikaans: Advaita Vedanta, as ʼn filosofie, word ook as radikale nie-dualisme beskou en kan derhalwe nie ʼn konsep soos ʼn Avatara akkommodeer nie. Die begrip Avatara sou die duidelikste, hoewel nie volledig nie, as ‘inkarnasie’ beskryf kon word. Alhoewel die leerstellinge van hierdie filosofie nie deur Shankara begrond is nie, kan dit tog bevestig word dat hy dit as ʼn filosofie om mee rekening te hou, deeglik vasgelê het. Advaita Vedanta as filosofie fokus op nie-dualisme daarin dat dit die volgende stelling onderskryf: Daar is geen ander as die Absolute Brahman, geen ander as Brahman kan bedink word nie. Omdat dit so is, moes die wêreld en alles daarin, met inbegrip van /insluitende die mense en avatare, nooit bestaan het nie; tog in die filosofie van Shankara ‘bestaan’ dit wel, ten minste op empiriese vlak. Dat dit moontlik is, word deur Shankara ter ondersteuning van ʼn empiriese werklikheid met die volgende argumente vasgelê: • Die eerste argument berus op die begrip van die werklikheid. Shankara is van mening dat die begrip en toetsing van die werklikheid op die kriterium van waarheid berus. Om waar te wees, moet ʼn element van nieteenstrydighede voorkom en moet dit deur die drie periodes van tyd, naamlik verlede, hede en toekoms voorkom. Met ander woorde, dit moet onveranderlik en permanent/blywend wees. Vir Shankara is Brahman die enigste werklikheid (paramarthika) en is alles anders vals: nog werklik, nog onwerklik (bv. die wêreld en alles daarin) • Die verhouding tussen Brahman en die empiriese wêreld kan deur die term vyavaharika beskryf word. Hierdie verhouding is vergelykbaar met die voorbeeld van ʼn tou en ʼn slang. In hierdie voorbeeld kom die tou soos ʼn slang voor wanneer iemand wat dit van ver af beskou, maar sodra ʼn mens egter nader kom, is dit duidelik dat dit nie ʼn slang nie maar wel ʼn tou is. Dit is dus moontlik om te beweer dat die slang ʼn superponering van die tou was. Die tou is werklik maar die slang vals. Van ver af lyk die slang werklik, maar is in werklikheid onwerklik of nie-werklik. Op dieselfde wyse verduidelik Shankara die verhouding tussen die wêreld en Brahman. Die wêreld is ʼn superponering op Brahman. Met die ware kennis verdwyn die wêreld en slegs Brahman bestaan. Die wêreld is dus om dit so te stel, ʼn illusie. • Volgens Shankara word hierdie illusie deur Maya voortgebring en hou verband met terme soos voorkoms, onkunde, superponering, mag, misleiding en valshede/leuens. Vir Shankara is hierdie die beginsel van wording en verskyning waardeur die absolute nie-dualistiese Brahman diversifieer en menigvuldig word. • Die staat waarin Brahman bewustelik met Maya geassosieer word om die heelal te skep, word Ishvara (god) genoem. Dit veroorsaak ʼn ontologiese dilemma vir die status van Maya. Shankara is van mening dat die beste manier om Maya te definieer, is om te bevestig dat dit nóg bestaan, nóg nie bestaan nie. Indien Maya bestaan, sou sy filosofie van absolute niedualisme bevraagteken kon word, omdat daar ʼn ander werklikheid sou bestaan. Indien dit nie bestaan nie, dan sou die empiriese wêreld ook nie bestaan nie. Om hierdie dilemma te oorkom, stel Shankara die idee van twee vlakke van die waarheid voor wat twee aspekte van Brahman insluit, naamlik Nirguna Brahman (Absolute Brahman) en Saguna Brahman (Brahman met eienskappe (Ishvara) of ʼn sogenaamde ‘gesuperponeerde Brahman’). • Ishvara (Saguna Brahman), synde die gesuperponeerde Brahman beskik oor ander eienskappe wat daaruit voortkom. Shankara is van mening dat drie belangrikste uitvloeisels Brahma (skepper), Vishnu (onderhouer) en Shiva (verwoester) is. Die Brahmasutras het ook bevestig dat daar ander gode wat ook geskep het, bestaan. • Met die skepping van hierdie wêreld was ander geskape wesens verantwoordelik vir die bewaring van die dharma (pligte) in hierdie wêreld.af
dc.language.isoenen_ZA
dc.publisherUniversity of the Free Stateen_ZA
dc.subjectSoulen_ZA
dc.subjectJivaen_ZA
dc.subjectMokshaen_ZA
dc.subjectMayaen_ZA
dc.subjectVishnuen_ZA
dc.subjectIshvaraen_ZA
dc.subjectBrahmanen_ZA
dc.subjectAvataraen_US
dc.subjectAdvaita Vedantaen_ZA
dc.subjectShankaraen_ZA
dc.subjectHinduismen_ZA
dc.subjectHindu Philosophyen_ZA
dc.subjectAdvaitaen_ZA
dc.subjectThesis (Ph.D. (Religion Studies))--University of the Free State, 2013en_ZA
dc.titleAn investigation of the notion of Avatara in the philosophical systems of Shankaraen_ZA
dc.typeThesisen_ZA
dc.rights.holderUniversity of the Free Stateen_ZA


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