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Desnitskaya E. Ātman as Substance in the Vākyapadīya and Beyond // Philosophy East and West. Volume 71, Number 2, 2021. P. 287–308.


The “Dravyasamuddeśa” is a chapter of Bhartṛhari’s Vākyapadīya (VP) that considers substance (dravya) to be the referent of all words and the ultimate essence of all phenomena. In the first kārikā of this chapter (VP 3.2.1) Bhartṛhari lists several synonyms of dravya, with Ātman being the first among them. It follows from Helārāja’s commentary that each member of this list is the central concept of some philosophical tradition—Ātman in particular belongs to the Advaitavādins. Being a traditional commentator, Helārāja could not have cared less for the chronology, but approaching his explanation critically one may wonder what particular form of Advaita he might have in mind and whether Bhartṛhari, who flourished circa the fifth century C.E., could have been familiar with this teaching. Moreover, there is another question that may arise with respect to this kārikā and Helārāja’s explanation: what generally is the reason to identify Ātman with substance? ...

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Keywords


Ātman
Bhartṛhari
Indian philosophy
Vākyapadīya

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