God and Being: Rāmānuja's Reconciliation of Metaphysics and Devotion

Monday 6 September 2021 (17:00-18:30)
Glass globe reflecting a tree and a village in countryside

Global Philosophy of Religion Public Lecture Series

Professor Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad

Distinguished Professor of Comparative Religion and Philosophy, Lancaster University


In his commentary on the Bhagavad-Gītā, the great 11th-century thinker of Śrīvaiṣṇavism, Rāmānuja, seeks to mediate between two demands that he sees arising from reading this sacred text. There is the metaphysics of the Vedānta (the interpretation of the ancient Upaniṣads), which seeks to explain reality – the ground of all existence, the divine, human and other creatures, and the world - through the absolute principle of brahman. There is also the devotional call to surrender in trust to a loving God, made by Kṛṣṇa/Viṣṇu in the text. The first seeks to provide an all-encompassing account of Being, while the second focuses on the intense relationship with a God who escapes understanding through metaphysics. In this lecture, I will outline Rāmānuja’s exegesis, with suggestions for its bearing on modern and contemporary Christian approaches to the puzzle of God and Being.

Chakravarthi Ram-Prasad is a Fellow of the British Academy and Distinguished Professor of Comparative Philosophy and Religion, Department of Politics, Philosophy and Religion, Lancaster University. His most recent book is Human Being, Bodily Being: Phenomenology from Classical India, Oxford University Press, 2018.

The lecture will be chaired by Dr Jonathan Duquette, the Postdoctoral Fellow in Hindu Philosophy of Religion based at the University of Birmingham supporting the Global Philosophy of Religion Project.

**This public lecture was made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and the Global Philosophy of Religion Project at the University of Birmingham. The opinions expressed in this lecture are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of these organisations**.

The Global Philosophy of Religion Project is a major initiative that aims to make the philosophy of religion a truly global field. The project is supported by funding from the John Templeton Foundation and the Dynamic Investment Fund (DIF) at the University of Birmingham.