Veṅkaṭanātha (Vedāntadeśika), whose dates are traditionally given as 1268–1369 CE, is one of the most important representatives of the Viśiṣṭādvaita Vedānta tradition after the figure of Rāmānuja. Veṅkaṭanātha’s ex­tensive oeuvre includes texts in Sanskrit, Maṇipravāḷa, Tamil and Prakrit. Well known for having systemized the teachings of Rāmānuja, his works also refer to the teachings of Rāmānuja’s followers, which he examines and sometimes criticizes. Likewise, he picks up the teachings of the Āḻvārs, the authors of the Four Thousand Heavenly Verses (NālāyiratTivyappirapantam), dealing with them in a number of works written in Maṇipravāḷa. Finally, his teachings are also important for developments after his time, because they formed the starting point for the formation of the Vaṭakalai School.

Within the framework of this project, Veṅkaṭanātha’s work is being explored in several ways. One focus is the systematic presentation of his teachings, above all his teachings on God Viṣṇu-Nārāyaṇa and the soul, to which he dedicates individual chapters or longer sections in his Sanskrit works Nyāyasiddhāñ­jana, Tattvamuktākalāpa, Paramatabhaṅga and Rahasyatrayasāra. In addition to this systematic presentation, relevant text passages on the topics of God and soul are being translated and examined with regard to how these teachings developed within the tradition of Veṅkaṭanātha’s own school, as well as in the critical debates with the teachings of other schools (Advaita Vedānta, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṃkhya). Another focus is the still little researched parallels between Veṅkaṭanātha’s school and the tradition of the Madhva Vedānta, especially the extensive reception of the teachings of Rāmānuja and Veṅkaṭanātha by Madhva’s disciple Jayatīrtha (1365–1388), as well as by Vyāsatīrtha (1460–1539).

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