Suganya Anandakichenin (EFEO, Pondichéry)

Exploring South Indian Vaiṣṇavism through texts in Tamil and Maṇipravāḷa

  • Time: Tue, Thu and Fri in April and May 2016, 10:00-12:00 (exceptions: Tue 5.4: 9--11; Fri 29.4: 9--11; Tue 3.5: 9--11; Tue 10.5: 9--10)
  • Venue: Institut für Kultur- und Geistesgeschichte Asiens (IKGA)
  • Organisation: Elisa Freschi and Marion Rastelli


The Śrīvaiṣṇava school of theology developed in South India from the second half of the first millennium throughout the second millennium of our era and until today. It is a monotheistic school revering Viṣṇu as the supreme God and it has produced an extended corpus of philosophical, theological and poetical texts. Among the many challenges involved in their study is the fact that it presupposes two cultural horizons, the one of Sanskrit systematic treatises and the one of Tamil devotional poetry, by the poet-saints Āḻvārs. This duality also implies that one needs to master at least two languages, namely Sanskrit and Tamil. On top of that, many commentaries to Tamil devotional poems and independent theological treatises were composed in a further variety of Tamil, a learned and highly Sanskritised form of Tamil called Maṇipravāḻa. During the workshop we will discuss easy texts in Tamil and Maṇipravāḷa. No thorough knowledge of Tamil is needed, although acquaintance with the Tamil script is a requirement.


Dr Suganya Anandakichenin is a post-doc researcher at the EFEO institute in Pondichéry.

Additional meetings

In addition to the "main" workshop, we will meet also on Monday morning (9.30--11.30) to read further Tamil devotional poetry. On Wednesday (14--16) we will read texts in Sanskrit (by Yāmuna and Vedānta Deśika) relating to God's omniscience and his yogipratyakṣa (leading: E.Freschi). On Friday (14.30--16.30) we will read Vedānta Deśika's Pāñcarātrarākṣā (in Sanskrit) (leading: M. Rastelli). For our Pāñcarātrarākṣā reading, we will read a section in which Vedānta Deśika discusses if a prapanna (a person practicing prapatti) also has to follow the pañcakālavidhi. You find an edition of the PRR here: Pāñcarātrarākṣā (Madras 1942)

The passage that we read starts on p. 55, line 5.