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প্রস্থানভেদঃ (Prasthānaveda)

The present work is a commentary by Madhusudana Saraswati on a part of Śivamahimāstotra (Hymns to the glory of Śiva) written by Puṣpadanta. In this commentary, Madhusudana talks about eighteen disciplines of knowledge. All the āstika and nāstika systems of knowledge could be included in the eighteen disciplines and all these systems of knowledge, either directly or indirectly, aimed at determining the nature of god. According to Madhusudana, even the philosophy of art written by Bharata aims at worshiping god. Madhusudana argues that one could talk about three fundamental prasthānas viz. ārambhavāda, parināmavāda and vivartavāda. We start our intellectual journey from ārambhavāda and then through pariṇāmavāda reach vivartavāda. It is only in vivartavāda that one realizes that the world is a vivarta of Brahmaṇ. The varieties of prasthānas have been created only to cater to the needs of people of various inclinations.