As part of the international webinar series on Different facets of Sankaradeva Studies, organised by the Society for Srimanta Sankaradeva, the eighth webinar was held on 21st August 2022. Delphic Council of North East India was also associated with it. Dr Ananya Barua, Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Hindu College, University of Delhi was the resource person. She delivered a lecture on "Sankaradeva and Spinoza: a philosophical comparison". The webinar was moderated by Dr. Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, author and scholar of Sankari culture.
Dr Ananya Barua made an attempt to draw a conceptual comparison philosophically between the mystical quest of Srimanta Sankaradeva and the rational quest of Spinoza. She explored the East-West dichotomy, and how to bridge the dichotomies in a harmonious way. She also discussed the methodology of dialogical hermeneutics.
Dr Barua further attempted to understand the role of God without religion, and the other, who is deeply soaked in the spirituality of Bhakti tradition. She referred to the question of whether one could be both a genuine Adavitin and an authentic Bhakta. The creative dialogue between the two, and the triumph of Bhakti over Jnana were some of the interesting aspects of her presentation. She stressed that Spinoza’s philosophy was a continuation of Srimanta Sankaradeva’s philosophy.
Several scholars and eminent persons including Prof Archana Barua, Retired Faculty of IIT Guwahati, Ashok Singh from Delphic Council of Jammu & Kashmir, and Swapnanil Barua, President of Delphic Council of North East India attended the webinar. Prof Archana Barua took an active part in the deliberations and said that the philosophy of Geeta was relevant in this discussion.
Dr Sanjib Kumar Borkakoti, in his comments, said that Srimanta Sankaradeva was a pioneer in combining paths of devotion and knowledge. The saint equated Brahma and Ishwara, which was an unprecedented phenomenon. Dr Borkakoti said that Spinoza proceeded in the same line of thought as he preached love for absolute being. That Srimanta Sankaradeva was a guiding light for a philosopher like Spinoza was a notable feature.