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Ayon Maharaj
Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda University
  1. The Challenge of the Oceanic Feeling: Romain Rolland’s Mystical Critique of Psychoanalysis and His Call for a ‘New Science of the Mind’.Ayon Maharaj - 2017 - History of European Ideas 43 (5):1-20.
    In a letter written in 1927, the French writer Romain Rolland asked Sigmund Freud to analyse the “oceanic feeling,” a religious feeling of oneness with the entire universe. I will argue that Rolland’s intentions in introducing the oceanic feeling to Freud were much more complex, multifaceted, and critical than most scholars have acknowledged. To this end, I will examine Rolland’s views on mysticism and psychoanalysis in his book-length biographies of the Indian saints Sri Ramakrishna and Swami Vivekananda, which he wrote (...)
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  2. Swami Vivekananda's Vedāntic Critique of Schopenhauer's Doctrine of the Will.Ayon Maharaj - 2017 - Philosophy East and West 67 (4):1191-1221.
    Recently, there has been a burgeoning of interest in the relationship between Schopenhauer's philosophy and Indian thought.1 One major reason for this trend is the growing conviction among scholars that a careful understanding of Schopenhauer's complex—and evolving—engagement with Indian thought can help illuminate crucial aspects of Schopenhauer's own philosophy.2 The late nineteenth-century German scholars Paul Deussen and Max Hecker are widely acknowledged to be the pioneers in the field of Schopenhauer's relation to Indian thought. Deussen, thoroughly trained in both indology (...)
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  3. Kant on the Epistemology of Indirect Mystical Experience.Ayon Maharaj - 2017 - Sophia 56 (2):311-336.
    While numerous commentators have discussed Kant’s views on mysticism in general, very few of them have examined Kant’s specific views on different types of mystical experience. I suggest that Kant’s views on direct mystical experience differ substantially from his views on indirect mystical experience (IME). In this paper, I focus on Kant’s complex views on IME in both his pre-critical and critical writings and lectures. In the first section, I examine Kant’s early work, Dreams of a Spirit-Seer, where he defends (...)
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  4.  94
    "God Is Infinite, and the Paths to God Are Infinite": A Reconstruction and Defense of Sri Ramakrishna's Vijñana-Based Model of Religious Pluralism.Ayon Maharaj - 2017 - Journal of Religion 97 (2):181-213.
    This article argues that contemporary philosophers have unduly ignored Sri Ramakrishna’s pioneering views on religious pluralism. The Bengali mystic Sri Ramakrishna (1836-1886) taught the harmony of all religions on the basis of his own spiritual experiences and his diverse religious practices, both Hindu and non-Hindu. Part I reconstructs the main tenets of Sri Ramakrishna’s model of religious pluralism. Part II explores how Sri Ramakrishna addresses the problem of conflicting religious truth-claims. Part III addresses some of the major criticisms leveled against (...)
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  5.  77
    Toward a New Hermeneutics of the Bhagavad Gītā: Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, and the Secret of Vijñāna.Ayon Maharaj - 2015 - Philosophy East and West 65 (4):1209-1233.
    The Bhagavad Gītā has inspired more interpretive controversy than any other religious scripture in India’s history. The Gītā, a philosophical and spiritual poem of approximately seven hundred verses, is part of the ancient Sanskrit epic, the Mahābhārata. In the Gītā, the Lord Kṛṣṇa, who appears in the form of a charioteer, imparts spiritual teachings to the warrior Arjuna and convinces him to fight in a just war that entails the slaughter of many of Arjuna’s own relatives and loved ones. Śaṅkara, (...)
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  6.  75
    Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa’s Philosophy of Vijñāna Vedānta.Ayon Maharaj - 2017 - International Journal of Hindu Studies 21 (1):25-54.
    The philosophical teachings of Sri Ramakrishna, the nineteenth-century Bengali mystic, have been a source of lively interpretive controversy. Numerous commentators have interpreted Sri Ramakrishna’s views in terms of a particular philosophical sect, such as Advaita, Viśiṣṭāḍvaita, or Tantra. Militating against this sectarian approach to Sri Ramakrishna’s teachings, I argue that Sri Ramakrishna’s philosophy is best characterized as “Vijñāna Vedānta,” a resolutely non-sectarian philosophy—rooted in the spiritual experience of what Sri Ramakrishna calls “vijñāna”—that harmonizes various apparently conflicting religious faiths, sectarian philosophies, (...)
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  7.  61
    Yogic Mindfulness: Hariharānanda Āraṇya's Quasi-Buddhistic Interpretation of Smṛti in Patañjali's Yogasūtra I.20.Ayon Maharaj - 2013 - Journal of Indian Philosophy 41 (1):57-78.
    This paper examines Swami Hariharānanda Āraṇya’s unique interpretation of smṛti as “mindfulness” (samanaskatā) in Patañjali’s Yogasūtra I.20. Focusing on his extended commentary on Yogasūtra I.20 in his Bengali magnum opus, the Pātañjaljogdarśan (1911), I argue that his interpretation of smṛti is quasi-Buddhistic. On the one hand, Hariharānanda’s conception of smṛti as mindfulness resonates strongly with some of the views on smṛti advanced in classic Buddhist texts such as the Satipaṭṭhānasutta and Buddaghośa’s Papañcasūdanī. On the other hand, he also builds into (...)
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  8. Śrī Harṣa Contra Hegel: Monism, Skeptical Method, and the Limits of Reason.Ayon Maharaj - 2014 - Philosophy East and West 64 (1):82-108.
    This essay identifies salient points of affinity and divergence in the monistic metaphysics and skeptical methodologies of the German idealist Hegel and the Indian Advaitin Śrī Harṣa. Remarkably, both Śrī Harṣa’s Khaṇḍanakhaṇḍakhādya (c. 1170) and Hegel’s Phänomenologie des Geistes (1807) attempt to defend a monistic standpoint exclusively by means of a sustained critique of non-monistic philosophical positions. I will argue, however, that Śrī Harṣa and Hegel diverge sharply in their specific views on the powers and limits of philosophy and on (...)
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  9.  18
    Schopenhauer's Compass: An Introduction to Schopenhauer's Philosophy and Its Origins by Urs App. [REVIEW]Ayon Maharaj - 2017 - Philosophy East and West 67 (3):942-948.
    In the past several decades of scholarship on Arthur Schopenhauer, a cottage industry has emerged that investigates the relationship between Schopenhauer and Indian thought. Studies on Schopenhauer and Indian thought usually fall into one of three categories: comparative studies of Schopenhauer’s views and Indian philosophies such as Advaita Vedānta and Buddhism,1 studies on Schopenhauer’s reception of Indian thought,2 and studies examining the extent to which Indian sources might have influenced the development of Schopenhauer’s philosophical views.3 As early as 1816, Schopenhauer (...)
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  10.  59
    Infinite Paths to Infinite Reality: Sri Ramakrishna and Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion.Ayon Maharaj - forthcoming - New York, NY, USA: Oxford University Press.
    This book examines the philosophy of the nineteenth-century Indian mystic Sri Ramakrishna and brings him into dialogue with Western philosophers of religion, primarily in the recent analytic tradition. Sri Ramakrishna’s expansive conception of God as the impersonal-personal Infinite Reality, Maharaj argues, opens up an entirely new paradigm for addressing central topics in the philosophy of religion, including divine infinitude, religious diversity, the nature and epistemology of mystical experience, and the problem of evil.
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