Mind, Morals, and Make-Believe in the Mokṣopāya (Yogavāsiṣṭha)
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A wide-ranging analysis of the Mokṣopāya, the Indian literary classic that teaches through storytelling how to enjoy an active, successful, worldly life in a spiritually enlightened way.
In the Mokṣopāya (also known as the Yogavāsiṣṭha), an eleventh-century Sanskrit poetic text, the great Vedic philosopher Vasiṣṭha counsels his young protégé Lord Rāma about the ways of the world through sixty-four stories designed to bring Rāma from ignorance to wisdom. Much beloved, this work reflects the philosophy of Kashmir Śaivism. Precisely because all worldly pursuits are dreamlike and fiction-like, the human soul must first come to an experience of non-dualistic, mind-only metaphysics, and after attaining this wisdom, promote moral activism. Engaged Emancipation is a wide-ranging consideration of this work and the philosophical and spiritual questions it addresses by philosophers, Sanskritists, and scholars of religion, literature, and science. Contributors allow readers to walk with Rāma as his melancholy and angst transform into connectivity, peace, and spiritual equipoise.
Christopher Key Chapple is Doshi Professor of Indic and Comparative Theology at Loyola Marymount University. He is the author or editor of many books, including Yoga and the Luminous: Patañjali's Spiritual Path to Freedom and Reconciling Yogas: Haribhadra's Collection of Views on Yoga, both also published by SUNY Press. Arindam Chakrabarti is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa. His books include Mahābhārata Now: Narration, Aesthetics, Ethics (coedited with Sibaji Bandyopadhyay).