The Affective Constitution of the Being: Parallels between Western Philosophy and Gauḍīya Vedanta

By Dr. Juan Diego Morales and Prof. Rodrigo Bravo Ruiz

In this article we advance a series of parallels, affinities, and continuities between contemporary Western Philosophy and the Gauḍīya Vedanta conception of the human affective constitution. In particular, we analyze the Gauḍīya Vedanta concept of the non-inherence of bhakti or divine devotion in the jīva or individual soul, and how it can be structured and understood from contemporary developments in Western philosophy regarding the dynamic, relational, embodied, and ecological nature of the human mind and identity, in the attempt of a dynamic and mutually enriching dialogue for both traditions.

In the Western world, the being is commonly thought and understood from the perspective of individuality. In a modern sense, individuality resonates with the concept of immanence: being from the depths of an inner essentiality that is brought into a world of interactions with beings that exist, likewise, in conditions of individuality and immanence. Some sectors of the Western thought’s history try to shape this thesis based on various criteria ranging from modern Cartesian dualism,1 to the more recent anthropological monism that is based on the positive, so called hard sciences.2 A first corollary of this position is that the experience of being starts off in individuality and eventually collides with other individualities.

It is important to emphasize that our contemporary Western culture rests on Cartesian epistemic bases that we have not yet been able to overcome, promoting a radical individualism as a discrete gloom underlying our thoughts, as a ghostly spirit spreading in a transversal way through every aspect of human life. Cartesian dualism promotes an irreconcilable fracture that affects the relationship between res cogitans and res extensa; between thought and action. Subjectivity and objectivity are thrown into two irrevocably antagonistic dimensions. Subjectivity prevails as a priority possibility before an alien and dehumanizing objectivity as an imaginary contracture that urgently needs to be removed, or at least drastically put away, from the subject’s sacred continent.

Much of the history and development of philosophy and culture of the last four centuries in the West can be understood as the attempt to overcome this kind of dualism. From its very formulation, René Descartes bewildered Western thought insofar as, using the Christian categories established both in the popular and scholarly culture of his time, he maintained an extreme and substantial ontological distinction between subjectivity and objectivity that his own disciples and successors, such as Elizabeth of Bohemia, Baruch Spinoza, G.W. Leibniz, Nicolas Malebranche, and practically all philosophy and science to this day have criticized and tried to overcome.3 At the same time, it is important to clarify that although Descartes is guilty of the substantial articulation of this difference, its origin goes back to the abysmal dichotomy that Greek philosophy established between the intellectual and theoretical operations only possible for the human as the only rational being, and the other instinctive or culturally inherited capacities of the layman and the other living beings.4

This dualistic and individualistic paradigm that establishes the basal criteria of the collective thought gives way to the elaboration of all those logical structures that sustain modern life, such as the idea of conceiving the individual from his/her own well-being and the unrestricted satisfaction of his/her needs that are put before and foreshadow any idea of community and historical transcendence. As simple as when we hear a statement like “first you, then others.”

As a second corollary of the Cartesian paradigm, we find the idea of the thought as the only guarantee of existence–cogito ergo sum5 the consciousness, deeply rooted within the psychic, suddenly becomes the only reliable reference. A third corollary is that identity arises as a consequence of the self-consecration of individuality without a foundational commitment to the environment. From this ontology, the interrelationships and their impact on the progressive construction of the self are adulterated, the idea of identity itself is perverted, usurping the potential of the context and denying its participation in the individuation processes, influences that we will try to falsify stealing its authorship and plunging us into a childish and whimsical authenticating delusion. To think in this way is to conceive the world from a principle of utility; we adorn ourselves with what pleases us, but we pretend to possess a sealed essence, as if we came to the world eternally without the chance to live eternity or to take a stand before it. It is thus proposed a closed vital structure, a printed manufacturing code without the possibility of claim. An existence determined by an essence, something that opposes the notion of free will as a basic existential background. A fourth corollary would be that, by denying the impact and influence of the environment on the evolution of identity, we are facing an ontology that is closed to new configurations. From that place, categories such as freedom, volition, and cognition lose their entire meaning.

The criticism that some philosophical positions establish to this way of thinking will try to emphasize a relational paradigm6 as the original nucleus that promotes the phenomenon of being, its identity constitution, and its relationships with other beings. A genetic notion of the being that comes from a network of relationships, which arises from a world made up of interactions, oriented to the permanent nourishment and diversification of such connections and their by-products. In principle, we come from a relationship between man and woman to a world provided with cultural elements, languages, knowledge, worldviews, which have been elaborated in a co-constructive, not individual or fragmented way. From this place it is more accurate to speak of an intersubjective world than a subjective experience of being.

Based on the relational paradigm, existentialism promotes the idea that identity is not determined by an ontological structure nor the exclusive patrimony of the individual. Identity arises from the conjunction of individual and environment. The individual, rather than having an environment, constitutes it, and the environment, with all its categories, in turn constitutes him/her. Understanding this point requires a thorough investigation of the nature of consciousness. Franz Brentano7 was one of the pioneers in the approach to consciousness as something that does not rest in itself, introducing the concept of intentionality – in tendere.8 Consciousness tends towards something that is outside itself, tends towards the other and, ultimately, towards the whole. Consciousness does not assert itself by experiencing itself, it always seeks to get out, it tends towards something that goes beyond it. When Max Scheler9 states that “man has a vocation to eternity,” he undoubtedly did it from the inspiration that the fact of experiencing himself gave him about the possibility of always being something more than himself. Edmund Husserl establishes phenomenology10 precisely to try to make a deep investigation regarding everything that is beyond consciousness and how it will permanently will be inclined towards transcendence, starting from the fact that everything that is perceived, collected, and signified constitutes only one series of infinitesimal data that provides clues to an ineffable totality which turns out to be the only place to which it is worth going.

From this place the famous Sartrean sanction is established: existence precedes essence.11 In contrast to classical essentialism, in general terms existentialism proposes that the being is becoming, is a project, an everlasting movement that is enriched by the vicissitudes of time, by the encounter with new possibilities, by the permeability of its nature in contrast to other natures. An entity that is more a continuous “being,” an unfinished metamorphosis with appetite for the present; a lifetime promotion of new versions. It would be enough to remember the Sartrean concept of being-for-itself12 and savor the empowerment that is reborn at the idea of perceiving ourselves as decisional, situational, and relational beings.

It was Spinoza who long before affirmed that the human is sub specie aeternitatis, that is, ruled under the aspect of eternity. An idea that is perceived as a descendant of the Abrahamic religions’ creationism. A predecessor criterion of this concept is that of creatio ex nihilo, or the creation from nothing, a nothing that cannot arise except by the grace of a generative power that will imprint its same qualities on its work –  in the image and likeness – in calculated proportions and under their own rules of authorship. Spinoza imprints on his concept a defining character since, more than a description of the being, what he certainly does is define the individual on the basis of a model that is subordinated to certain divine categories that attribute him/her eternity but not authenticity.

As part of his constant efforts to emancipate philosophy and religion from dialectical formalities and militarizing dogmas, Søren Kierkegaard,13 the knight of subjectivity, claims his right to savor his own destiny from the immediacy of experience, rejects any theological prescription that don’t allow him to participate in the mystery and penitent character of anxiety as a presupposition of freedom.14 From that place he advocates an acentrism or rhizome,15 namely, the unfolding of thought and the search of the being from a structure that is alien to the ontological framework established by the ancient clerical exegesis as the only way to live an authentic Christian life. Thinking from the outside does not imply denying a religious and/or philosophical life or its respective historical presuppositions; thinking from the outside implies placing the accent on personal experience as a determining factor of spiritual life, in connection with a chosen referential framework under the seal of a self authentication. In this way, it is established that individual experience is relevant both in its inherent richness as in its extrinsic possibilities.

Putting the lens on the philosophy and psychology of the last decades, we can witness the development of anti-Cartesian positions under the idea that mind and human identity, in its different rational, cognitive, emotional and experiential aspects, are fundamentally active, embodied and ecological; in the sense that their existence and nature necessarily depend on the existence, nature and dynamics of the body, the activities, and the basic interactions of the agents with their physical and biological environment and with other agents, with their social and cultural world.16

Ludwig Wittgenstein17 and Gilbert Ryle18 are also authors who propose an anti-Cartesian conception of mind and identity that can serve as a Western philosophical framework from which we can understand the spiritual dialectics conceived by the Gauḍīya Vedanta school. Wittgenstein considers that all human complex phenomena such as language, theoretical knowledge, intellectual thought, etc., emerge from basic activities, from the basic ways in which the human being interacts with his/her physical and social environment. To understand language, for example, this philosopher introduces the concept of language-game, the specific symbolic activities that individuals (even non-human animals with communication)19 develop in particular contexts and for specific purposes; practices that are fundamentally characterized by their implicit normativities that allow the coordination of their users for the development of joint activities and the satisfaction of their varied objectives. As Wittgenstein shows, the normativity of language games and, indeed, the intrinsic normativity of all mental phenomena, consists of practices that emerge as non-premeditated and not explicitly agreed interactions, as forms of practical knowledge that don’t require a theoretical reflection to achieve their purposes.

In a similar sense, Ryle shows that everyday action is intelligent, intentional, and rational, with independence of any explicit discourse, regardless of whether or not the normativity that regulates it is made explicit by our thought or language. In fact, thought, desire, emotion, and knowledge are ways of acting that carry their own embodied logic, that is, in the practice, in the dynamics of the bodies in interaction with their physical and social environments. In particular, all types of knowledge, this author argues, must be understood as different kinds of know-how, as different experiential ways of facing the physical and social world, where the theory only constitutes one of these practical possibilities within a whole range of epistemological possibilities.

Precisely, Boaventura de Sousa Santos20 articulates the concept of ecologies of knowledges to describe the entire range of knowledges accessible to human beings, within which the theoretical and scientific knowledge is just one of its many components. And we can say that it is precisely because knowledge is essentially practical and because it has innumerable expressions that allow us to access the world and solve our problems in various ways, that we can have an objective, multiple, and complementary approach to the world as a whole, and to the spiritual reality in particular. In this same sense and following Mircea Eliade,21 for example, Guillermo Páramo22 articulates shamanic knowledge as a series of specialized practices and techniques that allow its practitioners to access levels of reality that cannot be experienced through common states of consciousness.

But the Eastern philosophies, in their different aspects, also overcome the Cartesian dualism of an individualistic and predetermined identity. In general terms, these philosophies consider that both the body and the physical world are expressions of states of consciousness that are ontologically deeper and that, therefore, there is no metaphysical dichotomy between the “internal” and the “external.”23 Additionally, for these perspectives24 all beings in the universe are necessarily connected in a network of interdependent and co-determining global and holistic interactions. Beyond that, these worldviews affirm an intrinsic connection between the psychological nature and identity of individuals and their physical and social surroundings.

In particular, the Gauḍīya Vedanta philosophical system maintains that the level of knowledge and spiritual development of an individual (jīva) depends on the daily corporal, mental, and spiritual practice (sādhana) that he/she voluntarily performs, which is carried out in a physical and social environment, in necessary interaction with other individuals (a sangha), who permeate their own values, interests, worldviews, and goals. From an atheist and agnostic level of consciousness, to one of initial, advanced, liberated, and post-liberated devotee, the levels or stages of spiritual knowledge correspond to, because are constituted and fed by, a type of voluntary practice in a particular physical and social context.

For both Gauḍīya Vedanta and Western anti-Cartesian philosophy the individual is free to decide which practices and influences dynamically determine his/her inner identity. The Gauḍīya Vedanta considers that the individual’s action is jointly determined by external physical, social, and spiritual factors and by his/her own internal will that in such a context finally decides his/her final course. Following the Bhagavad-gita (18.14), Vrindaranya dasi in this regard comments:

Thus according to our body, senses, and life airs, a certain range of activities is available to us: we are able to perform certain actions not others. For example, we may be able to walk or swim, but we can’t fly in the sky as a bird does or travel through time. Our activities are also defined by the framework of life on planet Earth, and so too does our nation of birth mold us, as different nations have different laws, customs, and predispose us to certain biases and ways of seeing. Last but hardly least, our will requires God’s sanction in order that it be fulfilled. Will as we may, not a blade of grass moves without God’s permission.25

Furthermore, individual action can increase its freedom to a maximum degree that touches perplexity. According to the Gauḍīya Vedanta philosophical system, as far as the soul raises his/her consciousness his/her freedom increases, since he/she becomes aware of his/her necessary dependence on his/her environment, which entails an increase in his/her desire to lovingly reciprocate towards it. In fact, according to this perspective, the ultimate goal of an individual’s existence as a spirit soul is prema bhakti or pure love for the whole, for the Absolute or God – for Sri Krishna and his eternal associates.

According to this school, since loving is maintaining a reciprocal service interaction, the individual soul in prema bhakti comes to lovingly conquer and control the Absolute, which entails a maximum degree of freedom that culminates in an apparent paradox: the divine abode, Vrindavana, is adorned with unlimited desire trees that instantly satisfy any personal desire, and yet the greatness of its inhabitants is that they don’t want anything for themselves, only for the satisfaction of their environment and Krishna as its source and origin. Thus, according to the Gauḍīyas, in the realm of the highest degree of freedom, the only desire is to be a slave to the others’ desires.  

But the process of awakening consciousness that culminates in love for God, for the whole or the Absolute, cannot be walked individually. Bhakti is a set of divine emotions that are accessed through the development of different stages of a practice (sādhana) in interpersonal interaction (sādhu-saṅga). Emotions that, finally, will be constituted by the same type of practice (sādhana bhakti) in such a context (sādhu-saṅga), but with the highest degree of refinement. 

And it is in this sense that the Gauḍīyas affirm that bhakti, love and devotional service to God, comes from bhakti itself: its practice (sādhana bhakti) in interaction with the spiritual teachers (in sādhu-saṅga) produces its same result (sādhya), namely, this same kind of practice in the same interpersonal interaction, only with higher and higher degrees of awareness. Let us delve into this Gauḍīya statement about the affective constitution of the individual jīva or soul. According to this philosophy, God maintains a peculiar ontological relationship of simultaneous unity and difference26 with his three main energies: māyā-śakti or external, material energy, which consists of the material world that produces the souls’ illusion of seeing the world and the others souls as objects for the own selfish enjoyment; svarūpa-śakti or internal energy, which consists of the internal love of God himself and the souls with whom he eternally shares that affective interaction, the souls that have eternally possessed prema bhakti or the highest type of devotional service for Krishna; and taṭastha-śakti or the individual souls who are in a marginal position, being attracted by māyā-śakti or, in the best case, by svarūpa-śakti, the souls with divine love. That bhakti comes from bhakti in this sense means that a jīva can only achieve such a set of divine emotions in contact with those who already have them, in sādhu-saṅga or affective interaction with the sādhus (sages),27 the gurus (spiritual teachers)28 and, therefore, following their values, interests, worldviews, and purposes.29

We have seen that, according to Western anti-Cartesian philosophy, our identity is dynamically constituted by our practices and interactions with the world. But our own identity, as people, as human beings in the most valid sense of the word, beings with moral, political, rational, and spiritual values, is only logically possible in society, in interaction with other people.30 A teacher, for example, only has such an identity to the extent that she is a member of a particular community and relates in specific ways with other individuals. It is the interaction with other people (her students, fellow teachers, etc.) that makes her a teacher, and a good or bad teacher. And it is precisely this fact that constitutes the foundation of the Gauḍīya’s idea that bhakti can only appear in a person’s life in his/her interaction with a bhakta, that is, with someone who already has such realization. As people we have a great diversity of possibilities for our psychological and spiritual development, and we ourselves choose where to direct such development, what practices to cultivate, in which surroundings to interact, and with what kind of people to create intimate ties. 

The Gauḍīya Vedanta holds that since the individual jīva is an expression of God himself,31 then by his/her very nature he/she has eternal existence and knowledge and, therefore, can even experience the bliss of brahmānanda; that is, the joy of experiencing himself/herself in internal and homogeneous connection with the universe as a whole, in the line of the goals proposed by Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta. Interestingly, this experience of impersonal liberation in Brahman or Nirvana would be achieved by the jīva as his/her material (māyā-śakti) and spiritual (svarūpa-śakti) environments disappear, by being freed from any external influence that allows him/her to define his/her own notion of individuality, immersing him/her in an experience of homogeneity with the whole. And it is in this sense that the Gauḍīya Vedanta affirms that only when the jīva enters into intimate connection with a particular environment, with those individuals who have pure love for God, and so he/she practices, receives their instructions and their influence, and therefore step by step develops his/her own inner being in a very specific direction of spiritual understanding, it is that he/she can realize his/her full potential of existence, knowledge, and happiness.

Thus, we see that for much of Western philosophy as well as for the Gauḍīya Vedanta system our deepest identity can only exist, improve, and reach its highest level of development from the basis of a personal practice that is carried out within a social and intersubjective context, through a personal interaction with those who from the outside make possible the creation of our innermost reality.

  1. Descartes, René (1641): Meditations on First Philosophy, in which the existence of God and the immortality of the soul are demonstrated, in: The Philosophical Writings Of Descartes, 3 vols., translated by John Cottingham, Robert Stoothoff, and Dugald Murdoch (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988). []
  2. On this idea see, for instance, Winch, Peter (1958): The Idea of a Social Science and Its Relation to Philosophy. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press International, Inc. Habermas, Jurgen (1972): Knowledge and Human Interest. Boston: Beacon Press. Taylor, Charles (1985): Philosophical Papers: Volume 2, Philosophy and the Human Sciences. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Bishop, Robert C. (2007): The Philosophy of the Social Sciences. New York: Continuum. []
  3. On this issue see, for instance, Robinson, Howard (2020): “Dualism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2020/entries/dualism/>. []
  4. See, for instance, Dewey, John (1929): The Quest for Certainty, a Study of the Relation of Knowledge and Action. London: George Allen & Unwin Ltd. Ryle, Gilbert (1949/2009): The Concept of Mind. New York: Routledge. Rorty, Richard (1979): Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature. Princeton: Princeton University. For the idea of nonhuman animals as rational see, for instance, Hurley, Susan and Nudds, Matthew (eds.) (2006): Rational Animals? New York: Oxford University Press, and Bermúdez, J. L. (2003): Thinking without Words, Oxford, Oxford University Press. []
  5. Famous Cartesian aphorism whose meaning is I think therefore I exist, which implies that thought is independent of reality, constituting a gap between subject and world. []
  6. See, for instance, Whitehead, A.N. (1929 [1985]): Process and Reality, (Gifford Lectures 1927–28), New York: Macmillan. Corrected edition, David Ray Griffin & Donald W. Sherburne (eds.), New York: The Free Press, and Martínez, Yaqui (2017): Psicoterapia Existencial. México: Círculo De Estudios En Psicoterapia Existencial. Volumen 1, cap. 4. []
  7. See, for instance,  Huemer, Wolfgang (2019): “Franz Brentano”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/spr2019/entries/brentano/>. []
  8. In=towards, tendere=tended. Tended or tending towards. []
  9. See, for instance, Davis, Zachary and Anthony Steinbock (2019): “Max Scheler”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Spring 2019 Edition), Edward N. []
  10. See, for instance,  Beyer, Christian (2020): “Edmund Husserl”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2020 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2020/entries/husserl/>. []
  11. For a further development of this principle we suggest the book Sartre, Jean-Paul (1946/2007): Existentialism is a Humanism, tr. Carol Macomber, New Haven: Yale. []
  12. The for-itself is the self-determined being as a function of its decisional nature. It is the category that supports the idea of the being as becoming. []
  13. See, for instance, McDonald, William (2017): “Søren Kierkegaard”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2017 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL = <https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2017/entries/kierkegaard/>. []
  14. Kierkegaard defines anxiety as “dizziness of freedom;” see, for instance, Grøn, Arne (2008): The Concept of Anxiety in Søren Kierkegaard, translated by Jeanette B.L. Knox, Macon: Mercer University Press. []
  15. See, for instance, Mambrol, Nasrullah (2017): “The Philosophical Concept of Rhizome,” in: Literary Theory and Criticism, April 26 (2), https://literariness.org/2017/04/26/the-philosophical-concept-of-rhizome/ []
  16. See Ryle, Gilbert (1949/2009): The Concept of Mind. New York: Routledge. Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1953/2001): Philosophical Investigations, 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, Somerset: Blackwell Publishing. Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1969): On Certainty. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. Varela, F., Thompson, E. & Rosch, E. (1991): The Embodied Mind: Cognitive Science and Human Experience. MIT Press. Clark, A., and Chalmers, D. (1998): “The Extended Mind.” Analysis 58.1: 7-19. Noë, Alva (2004): Action in Perception. The MIT Press, Cambridge. Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2014): Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2018): The End of the Cognitive Empire: The Coming of Age of Epistemologies of the South. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Gallagher, Shaun (2020): Action and Interaction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. []
  17. Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1953/2001): Philosophical Investigations, 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition, Somerset: Blackwell Publishing. Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1969): On Certainty. Oxford: Basil Blackwell. []
  18. Ryle, Gilbert (1949/2009): The Concept of Mind. New York: Routledge. []
  19. See DeGrazia, David (1994): “Wittgenstein and the Mental Life of Animals”, in: History of Philosophy Quarterly, Vol. 11, No. 1, pp. 121-137. []
  20. Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2014): Epistemologies of the South: Justice against Epistemicide. Boulder: Paradigm Publishers. Santos, Boaventura de Sousa (2018): The End of the Cognitive Empire: The Coming of Age of Epistemologies of the South. Durham and London: Duke University Press. []
  21. Eliade, Mircea (1951/1974): Shamanism: Archaic Techniques of Ecstasy. Trans. W.R. Trask, Bollingen Seríes LXXVI. Princeton: Princeton University Press. []
  22. Páramo, Guillermo (2004): “Lógica paraconsistente y el mito chamánico”, en: Chamanismo. El otro hombre, la otra selva, el otro mundo. Instituto Colombiano Antropología e Historia. Bogotá. []
  23. See this common assumption that runs through Eastern philosophies in, for example, Capra, Fritjof (1975): The Tao of Physics. Boulder: Shambhala Publications. []
  24. Interestingly, the same is true for Amerindian philosophies. See, for instance, Grim, John (2001): “Cosmology and Native North American Mystical Traditions,” Théologiques, 9 (1), 113–142. Dudgeon, Roy (2008): Common Ground. Eco-Holism and Native American Philosophy. Morrisville: Lulu Press. Shroff, F. (2011): “We Are All One: Holistic Thought-Forms within Indigenous Societies, Indigeneity and Holism”. Counterpoints, 379, 53-67. []
  25. Vrindaranya dasi (2017): “How Free Are We?” in: Harmonist. URL:  https://harmonist.us/2017/05/how-free-are-we/ []
  26. Achintya-bheda-abheda tattva or the inconceivable (by mere empirical and rational methods) unity and difference between the Absolute and his energies. On this topic see, for instance, chapter XI of Kapoor, O.B.L. (1976): The Philosophy and Religion of Sri Caitanya. New Delhi: Munshiran Manoharlal Publishers Pvt Ltd. []
  27. “Sādhu” means beautiful and also has the word “sat” in it: true, genuine, so a sādhu is someone who lives for the real, the truth. []
  28. Literally “guru” means heavy. “Gu-kāraścāndhakāraḥ syāt ru-kāras teja ucyate, ajñāna nāśakaṁ brahma gurur eva na saṁśayaḥ.” “The syllable ‘gu’ signifies darkness-ignorance and ‘ru’ signifies light. Therefore, it is undoubtedly true that self-effulgent Para-brahma, whose light removes darkness-ignorance, is Guru.” (Viśvasāra-tantra) []
  29. About the Gauḍīya Vedanta’s thesis according to which bhakti only comes from bhakti itself see, for instance, the series of articles by Swāmī Padmanābha (2020) in Harmonist. URL: https://harmonist.us/2020/09/bhakti-jiva-1/ []
  30. What is already affirmed, but not articulated to its final consequences by Aristotle himself; see Aristotle (2013): Aristotle’s Politics, Second Edition, Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Book I: 1252a / 1253a. For an embodied perspective of this idea see, for example, Gallagher, Shaun (2020): Action and Interaction. Oxford: Oxford University Press. []
  31. The Vedantic counterpart to the Christian idea of “in the image and likeness of God.” []


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