Unity and its Concrete Multitudes

Exploring Hindu Philosophy - Ankur Barua

Ankur Barua [+-]
University of Cambridge
Ankur Barua is University Senior Lecturer in Hindu Studies in the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. He holds a PhD in theology and religious studies from the University of Cambridge. His published books include The Brahmo Samaj and its Vaiṣṇava Milieus: Intersections of Hindu Knowledge and Love in Nineteenth Century Bengal (2021) and The Vedāntic Relationality of Rabindranath Tagore: Harmonizing the One and its Many (2018).


We begin our ontological explorations with the Nyāya and the Vaiśeṣika systems. According to them, not only an everyday object such as a cup but also the absence of this cup is a kind of “thing”. We work our way towards Advaita Vedānta, as systematised by Śaṃkara. According to Advaita, empirical distinctions are, in the ultimate analysis, misconceptions associated with our state of worldly ignorance. The unitary source, foundation, and telos of everything in the world is not an empirical object. In contrast, Vaiśeṣika has a down-to-earth feel: the world with its manifold differences is robustly real. Moreover, it is meaningful to say that medium-sized objects in our environment have mind-independent existence.

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Barua, Ankur. Unity and its Concrete Multitudes. Exploring Hindu Philosophy. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. Jan 2023. ISBN 9781800502703. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=42875. Date accessed: 05 Dec 2022 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42875. Jan 2023

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