Wednesday, 18 May 2022

Jacob Palaparambil, "Richard De Smet's Discovery of the Notion of 'Person' in Adi Sankaracarya's Advaita Vedanta," defence, 16 May 2022

Jacob Palaparambil's defence at the UPS, Rome. Scaria Thuruthiyil, 1st reader; Bryan Lobo, SJ, 2nd reader, Mauro Mantovani, 3rd reader. President: Andrea Bozzolo.

Most of the questions were about De Smet's interpretation of Sankara and its correctness, rather than about Jacob's interpretation of De Smet. 

Suggestions by Mauro Mantovani: (1) develop analogy, just as you have developed relation; (2) expand also on attributes; (3) read Gilles Emery, on q. 28 of the S.Th. 

He also said Thomas spoke of two notions of person, one suitable for the human person, the other for the divine persons. 

Bryan Lobo asked about person and reincarnation and moksa: without the body in moksa, is there a person or not? [But in Christian theology we have the same problem: is the separated soul a person, if person refers to the integrity of a being?]

He also asked about intuition: did De Smet speak about intuition? is there not an intuition at least in the mystical experience? that surely is not reasoning. [The Marechal tradition does not like the notion of intuition. and not Lonergan either. But one would have to examine De Smet's writings on the matter. He certainly wrote about the supreme experience.]

Saturday, 9 April 2022

Thomas Stephens and the Khristapurana: new items

The following items on Thomas Stephens and the Khristapurana were kindly signalled to me by Prof. Dr. S.M. Tadkodkar on 27 March 2022:

1). Amonkar, Suresh Gundu., Christ-Puraanna, (based on the version of Christian Puraanna (originally written by Father Thomas Stephens, 1616), which was edited by Joseph L. Saldhana, 1907) into Konkani language and Edited. Published by Directorate of Art and Culture,  Government of Goa, Panaji, Tiswadi, Goa, 2017, pages 1070, price Rs. 1600.00


2). Tadkodkar, S. M. "सुरेशबाब आमोणकारान केल्लें ‘ख्रिस्तपुराणा’चें कोंकणीकरण :संशोधनपर अणकाराचो आदर्श" ('Introduction') (पानांक V to XXVI), ख्रिस्तपुराण (पाद्री तोमास इश्तेव्ह,१६१६) : अणकार आनी सम्पादन, सुरेश गुण्डू आमोणकार, कला आनी संस्कृती संचालनालय, गोंय राज्य-शासन, पणजी-गोंय, २०१७, मोल रुपये एक सहस्र सशे, पानां १०७० ; 


3). Tadkodkar, S. M., पाद्री तोमास इश्तेव्हंचे मराठी भाषेतील ‘क्रिस्तपुराण’, (पृष्ठांक २९१-३१४), बीजग्रंथ आणि बीजग्रंथकार, (डॉ० मधुकर रामदास जोशी गौरवग्रंथ), सम्पादक : राम आर्वीकर, श्रीमंगेश प्रकाशन, नागपूर, २०१०, पृष्ठे २४०

I have added them at the end of the "Thomas Stephens: updated bibliography" on this blog.

see also:

• Barnes, Michael. "The first English Jesuit in India: The remarkable story of Thomas Stephens SJ." See 
• Chakravarti, Ananya. ‘Christ in the Brahmapuri: Thomas Stephens in Salcete’, in The Empire of Apostles: Religion, Accommodatio, and the Imagination of Empire in Early Modern Brazil and India, Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2018; pp 178-227. 
• Velinkar, J. Thomas Stephens: The First Englishman in India. CinnamonTeal Publishing, 2021. [Biography of Thomas Stephens.] 
• Naik, Pratap. "Fr Thomas Stephens SJ: A Visionary who mastered Konknni and Marathi in Goa. Mangalorean (26 October 2020, at 
• Fogg, Nicholas. Forgotten Englishman: Thomas Stephens and the Mission to the East. Gracewing Publication, 2021. 
• Falcao, Nelson. Contemporization of Fr. Thomas Stephens Kristapurana. Pratima Prakashan, 2019. 
• Melo, João Vicente. "Stephens: English exile, Jesuit priest, Marathi poet." See 
• Royson, Rachel Annie. Kristapurana: An Introduction. [Perhaps an online piece.] 
• Royson, Rachel Annie. In Search of the Kristapurana: A Journey Through Goa. [Perhaps an online piece.] 
• Schouten, Jan Peter. Chapter 3: A Foreign Culture Baptised: The Jesuits Roberto de Nobili and Thomas Stephens. In: Jan Peter Schouten, The European Encounter with Hinduism in India. Brill, 2020. pp. 40-59. DOI:

Sunday, 20 February 2022

Richard De Smet archival material

De Smet material sent Daniel De Smet (Brugge - Belgium), February 2022 (inserted into Annotated Bibliography):
  1. “Christianity and Sankaracarya.” St. Thomas Christian Encyclopedia of India. Copy of typescript, 68 pp. (more or less - there are more, actually, because of uneven numbering, and unnumbered pages containing footnotes).
  2. “The Dynamics of Contemplation according to Shankaracarya.” Comunicazione per lo [sic] Congresso di Semiotica del Testo Mistico. Prof. Giuseppe de Gennaro, Università dell’Aquila, Telefax 0862/432113. On letterhead of Casa Scrittori, Via dei Penitenzieri, 20 – 00193 Roma. 11 pp typescript. 
  3. “A Mirror for Provincials.” For Ignis. Dt. 28.10.90. Letterhead of Istititum Historicum Societatis Iesu / Istituto Storico della Compagnia di Gesù, Via dei Penitenzieri 20, 00193 Roma. Typescript of 3 pp. 
  4. [Biodata.] typescript of 1 p. 
  5. “Publications of Dr. Richard V. De Smet, Ph.D. S.J.” typescript of 3 pp.

Friday, 29 October 2021

De Smet, Discovery of the Person, video in Portuguese

 dear Scott,

good morning to you!
one of my young friends, currently engaged in a PhD on Person in De Smet, found this video. do you know anything about it? are you behind it? just curious. keep well.


Scott Randall Paine,

Hi Ivo,
      Ultimately you are behind it, since you shared with me a PDF of Brahman & Person, which I recently shared with one of my philosophy students. He is also a translator, so made a provisional spoken Portuguese translation of parts of the book available on youtube. Maybe we can find a publisher who will pay him to translate and bring out the whole book here in Brazil. I'd love to see De Smet better known.

the video: 

A Descoberta da Pessoa - Richard De Smet, 16 sep 2021

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

George van Driem, University of Bern


Dear Father Coelho,

I saw your blog instalment of 2010 and wondered whether you might still have a PDF file of the following document, which I believe you made available at that time, but the link has been broken in the intervening decade.

Joseph L. Saldanha. 1907. The Christian Puránna of Father Thomas Stephens of the Society of Jesus, A Work of the 17th Century, reproduced from manuscript copies and edited with a Biographical Note, an introduction, an English Synopsis of Contents and Vocabulary (4th edition). Bolar, Mangalore: Simon Alvares, Esq.

I wish you good healthy and safety in these perilous times.

Many thanks in advance,

Prof. Dr. George van Driem
University of Bern

Dear Dr George,

sorry, I saw this just now.
here you are, the pdf of the Saldanha version...
I would be happy to know more about your work and interest in the KP.

27 Jan 2021, 14:41
to me
Dear Father Ivo,

Thank you so much.

As for my own research, all of my publications are downloadable from my university webpage (except for some of the books).

Many good wishes from snowy Bern,


Thursday, 21 January 2021

Sankara's jivatman

Jins Joseph, 16.01.2021
Jins Joseph

16 Jan 2021, 10:37 (5 days ago)
to me
Hi Father,
Greetings. Hope this mail finds you well.
I am Jins Joseph from Divyadaan. We had met last year when you were here. I am doing my MPh dissertation on Sankara's concept of jivatman. 

I am now confused about the post-mortem existence of jivatman. What is De Smet's interpretation? Does he interpret Sankara as accepting a post-mortem existence for jivatman or is he of the view that the jivatman merges into Brahman after death. (Some passages from Sankara seems to suggest merging -- See for example, Ch. Up. Bh. VI. 14. 2 and BSB IV. ii. 16.)

Is the non-dualistic interpretation compatible with the merging of soul in Brahman after death?

Is there any article of De Smet where he deals with the post-mortem existence of jivatman?

I am aware that you are a very busy person; however, any help you could render me would be much appreciated.

Thanking you  in advance and awaiting your reply,
Cl. Jins Joseph sdb
Divyadaan, Nashik.

Ivo, 21.01.2021
Dear Jins,
you are at the very heart of the troubled interpretations of Sankara! It is not an easy question to answer in a few words.
let me begin by expressing what De Smet thinks. 

For him, Sankara is not a world-denying illusionist. The vyavaharika world is not an illusion like the son of a barren woman. but it is not Real in the same way as Brahman-Atman is Real. it has a relative, non-svayambhu, dependent reality. 
part of that world is the jivatman. so the same applies to jivatman: a dependent reality, that does not "disappear" after death! 

Where would you find De Smet saying this?
see Understanding Sankara (US) pp. 291-92, and the whole article in general. 
keep in mind what DS says about Sankara: his aim was not to create a complete metaphysics; his aim was to help attain liberation. it is a practical, religious, mystical aim. (see US p. 10)
i remember studying one passage where Sankara is asked: what happens to the jivatman after one has realized Brahman? and he refuses to answer: "If you have become jivan-mukta, you will not ask." that is the mystical answer! 

My suggestion: better to see the larger picture than to concentrate too narrowly on certain texts.
the larger picture: how to interpret Sankara: mayavadin or nondualist? 
I very much tend to accept DS' way of understanding Sankara's nondualism. you will find my reasons in the introduction to US, and perhaps in the life of De Smet published some time back in Divyadaan. 

all the best Jins! it's a great topic!