Sunya Purusa: Bauddha Vaisnavism of Orissa
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Short DescriptionsThe book makes a fascinating study of the unique philosophical tradition revolving around the concept of the Sunya Purusa — the ineffable, indescribable and non-dual Reality — that originated in medieval Orissa. Examining a range of philosophies, it throws light on the theories of this rare school of Vaisnavism that was Vaisnavite in form but Buddhistic in essence.
This pioneering study of the indigenous philosophical tradition of Orissa which evolved between the 15th — 16th century ce brings into limelight the wonderful syncretism of Buddhism and Vaishnavism, traditions that are generally considered philosophically antithetical. A deep metaphysical quest underlies the enquiries and analyses of this assimilative tradition and is epitomized in the works of the philosopher-poets of Orissa in the concept of the Shunya Purusha — the ineffable, indescribable and non-dual reality. This is a unique concept that encompasses within its fold the idea of Jagannatha (the Vaishnavite deity of Puri) as Shunya. The author explores the whole range of Indian philosophical heritage including Vaishnavism, Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta, Yoga, and Natha tradition to bring out the highpoints of this rare philosophical tradition. She, very competently, throws light on the philosophical theories/concepts of Bauddha Vaishnavism — Vaishnavic in form but Buddhist in spirit. The book is a valuable guide on this distinctive Orissan Vaishnava tradition to all students and scholars of Indian religion and philosophy.