Nondual metaphysics: connections between Shankara's Advaita Vedanta and the thought of René Guénon

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Freihaut, Forrest D.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Arts and Science
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept of Religious Studies
This thesis analyzes the metaphysical interpretations of Shankara and René Guénon and the methods they promote regarding spiritual realization. Shankara was an 8th-century Indian spiritual teacher whose method and teachings were associated with Advaita Vedanta, a philosophic tradition originating from Upanishadic texts. René Guénon (1886 -1951) was a French philosopher who pioneered the Traditionalist school of thought. Guénon’s interpretation of reality argued an all-pervading unitive metaphysic principle that shares notable similarities with Shankara’s Advaita Vedanta. Through comparative exegesis, this thesis demonstrates that Shankara and Guénon share significant parallels in certain aspects, such as their conceptualization of ultimate reality and their views on the role of the guru. Additionally, this analysis reveals stark contrasts found among their works, such as their differing emphasis on theory and their views on initiation and lineage. In addition to analyzing their interpretations of reality, this study offers insights into Shankara and Guénon’s respective lives and unique positions in history. The intention of this thesis is to contribute to a deeper understanding of the similarities and differences between Shankara and René Guénon and provide valuable insights into their approaches to spiritual realization and how they conceptualize reality.
Advaita Vedanta , Rene Guenon , perennial philosophy , Traditionalist School , Shankara , Hindu metaphysics , Brahman , Atman , nondual consciousness , nondual realization