Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)



First Advisor

Dr. Robert Sattelmeyer - Chair


In The Theology of Râmânuja, John Braisted Carman carefully examines the south Asian philosopher Râmânuja’s concepts of the Supreme Person, and the relational dynamics between the Supreme Person and the devotee. Carman sees in Râmânuja’s discussion of the master (úesî)/servant (úesa) relationship the most important understandings concerning the hierarchy between the Supreme Person and the devotee. Carmen argues that in this devotional relationship there is a point at which the distinction between the master and the servant is dissolved, and mutual dependence is revealed. This paper focuses on the point where the roles in the relationship between the divine and the devotee are reversed. In this reversal the master takes on the role of the servant and the servant the master. It is argued here that this role reversal is the action that illuminates the ultimate dissolution of the hierarchy that Râmânuja recognizes and results in spiritual empowerment for the devotee.