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Acknowledgments One of the fundamental arguments of this book is that philosophy, as well as academic work in general, is not the result of solitary reflection , but rather is generated and produced through an active engagement with other people. Nowhere have I learned this more profoundly than in the process of researching and writing this book. This work has emerged out of the conversations, discussions, debates, and arguments I have had with my supervisors, teachers, colleagues, students, friends, and family members during the past several years. I would first like to thank my father, who passed away before this book was completed. I dedicate this work to him. I would also like to thank my doctoral supervisors, Ted Proferes and Daud Ali, both of whom offered incisive comments and invaluable suggestions to earlier drafts of this work. I also thank my examiners , Julius Lipner and Cosimo Zene, both of whom offered extremely important feedback that has assisted me in transforming my doctoral thesis into this book. In addition to my supervisors, my colleague Simon Brodbeck has been particularly helpful by providing me with detailed written responses to an earlier draft. A number of people in the Department of the Study of Religions at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) have been significant sources of help, inspiration, and support. In particular I would like to mention Peter Flügel, Paul Gifford, Sîan Hawthorne, Douglas Osto, Alexander Piatigorsky, Vena Ramphal, Tadeusz Skorupski, PaulFran çois Tremlett, Simon Weightman, and Ronit Yoeli-Tlalim. I would like to offer special thanks to the late Julia Leslie for her enthusiastic encouragement. I am also grateful to my students at SOAS and Birkbeck, whose questions and insights contributed greatly to this work. I am deeply indebted to Pushpa Kale for reading the Upani∑ads with me in Sanskrit while I was studying for an academic year in xi Pune. A number of other people were welcoming and supportive during that year: Saroja Bhate, M. A. Mehendale, Steven Lindquist, Jane Hobson, and Laurie Patton. I would never have been interested in the Upani∑ads in the first place if I had not spent a formative year of my life in India in 1991– 92 with the University of California Education Abroad Program. I am grateful to Gerald Larson who organized this program and who was the supervisor for my first paper on Indian philosophy. And I would like to give a special thanks to my dearest friends, with whom I had the pleasure of sharing this wonderful experience: Suanne Buggy, Lawrence Manzo, Jed Olson, Jasmine Sharma, and Joseph Sorrentino. Thanks to them for being there when it all started, and their love and support ever since. I am indebted to Ilona Schäfer and Nicole Wolf, and to Susan Clark for reading an earlier draft. I would like to offer a special thanks to my dear friend Nakissa Etemad for proofreading a recent draft and for offering feedback as a “first reader.” I thank Wendy Doniger, Nancy Ellegate, Judith Block, Marilyn Semerad, and the staff at SUNY for all their help and support during the publication process; and I thank Sona Datta for suggesting the cover art and the British Museum for kindly lending permission to use it. Finally, and most of all, I thank my family: my wife, Yulia; my son, Harrison; and my mother, Mary. Writing this book would not have been possible without their unceasing love, support, and encouragement. xii Acknowledgments ...


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