Swami Medhananda (Ayon Maharaj)

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Programme in Philosophy
Ph.D., University of California at Berkeley, 2009

Swami Medhananda is Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Programme in Philosophy at Ramakrishna Mission Vivekananda Educational and Research Institute, Belur Math, West Bengal (India). His current research focuses on Vedāntic philosophical traditions, cross-cultural philosophy of religion, Indian scriptural hermeneutics, and the philosophies of Sri Ramakrishna, Swami Vivekananda, and Sri Aurobindo. He is a Section Editor for the International Journal of Hindu Studies, overseeing submissions in Hindu and Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion.

His second book, Infinite Paths to Infinite Reality: Sri Ramakrishna and Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion, was published by Oxford University Press in 2018. The book examines the philosophy of the nineteenth-century Indian mystic Sri Ramakrishna and brings him into dialogue with Western philosophers of religion, primarily in the recent analytic tradition. Sri Ramakrishna’s expansive conception of God as the impersonal-personal Infinite Reality opens up a new paradigm for addressing central topics in the philosophy of religion, including divine infinitude, religious diversity, the nature and epistemology of mystical experience, and the problem of evil.

He is editing The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Vedānta, which will be published in June 2020. He is also editing a Special Issue on “Hindu Theodicies” for the International Journal of Hindu Studies.

He is the author of The Dialectics of Aesthetic Agency: Revaluating German Aesthetics from Kant to Adorno (Bloomsbury, 2013; reviewed in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews and British Journal for the History of Philosophy). His articles have appeared in such journals as Philosophy East and West, Journal of Indian Philosophy, Journal of Religion, International Journal of Hindu Studies, Sophia, History of European Ideas, PMLA, and Journal of the History of Ideas.

He received his BA (2002) and PhD (2009) from the University of California at Berkeley. He was also a Fulbright Fellow at the Institut für Philosophie, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (2006-7) and a Visiting Student at Magdalen College, University of Oxford (2000-1).

For further information, please visit his academic website.


Infinite Paths to Infinite Reality: Sri Ramakrishna and Cross-Cultural Philosophy of Religion (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).
  The Dialectics of Aesthetic Agency: Revaluating German Aesthetics from Kant to Adorno (London and New York: Bloomsbury, 2013; paperback reissue, 2014).


The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Vedānta (London: Bloomsbury, forthcoming).

Special Issue on “Hindu Theodicies” in International Journal of Hindu Studies (forthcoming).


  1. “‘A Great Adventure of the Soul’: Sri Aurobindo’s Vedāntic Theodicy of Spiritual Evolution,” International Journal of Hindu Studies (forthcoming).
  2. “Śiva jñāne jīver sevā: Reexamining Swami Vivekananda’s Practical Vedānta in the Light of Sri Ramakrishna,” Journal of Dharma Studies 2 (2020), 175-87.
  3. “Panentheistic Cosmopsychism: Swami Vivekananda’s Sāṃkhya-Vedāntic Solution to the Hard Problem of Consciousness,” in Godehard Brüntrup, Ludwig Jaskolla, and Benedikt Paul Göcke, eds., Panentheism and Panpsychism: Philosophy of Religion Meets Philosophy of Mind (Brill Mentis, forthcoming).
  4. “Why Sri Aurobindo’s Hermeneutics Still Matters: Philology and the Transformative Possibilities of Scripture,” in Rita Sherma and Arvind Sharma, eds., Hermeneutics and Hindu Thought: Volume II (Springer, forthcoming).
  5. “Sarvamukti: Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan’s Aporetic Metaphysics of Collective Salvation,” Philosophy East and West 70.1 (January 2020), 136-54.
  6. “Seeing Oneness Everywhere: Sri Aurobindo’s Mystico-Immanent Interpretation of the Īśā Upaniṣad,” in Ayon Maharaj, ed., The Bloomsbury Research Handbook of Vedānta (forthcoming).
  7. “Asminnasya ca tadyogaṃ śāsti: Swami Vivekananda’s Interpretation of Brahmasūtra 1.1.19 as a Hermeneutic Basis for Samanvayī Vedānta,” in Rita Sherma, ed., Vivekananda: His Life, Legacy, and Liberative Ethics (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, 2019).
  8. “‘Infinite Paths, Infinite Doctrines’: Perry Schmidt-Leukel’s Fractal Approach to Religious Diversity from the Standpoint of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Tradition,” in Paul Knitter and Alan Race, eds., New Paths for Interreligious Theology: Perry Schmidt-Leukel’s Fractal Interpretation of Religious Diversity (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis, 2019), 100-114.
  9. “Hard Theological Determinism and the Illusion of Free Will: Sri Ramakrishna Meets Lord Kames, Saul Smilansky, and Derk Pereboom,” Journal of World Philosophies 3.2 (Winter 2018), pp. 24-48.
  10. Swami Vivekananda’s Vedāntic Critique of Schopenhauer’s Doctrine of the Will,” Philosophy East and West 67.4 (October 2017), pp. 1191-1221.
  11. The Challenge of the Oceanic Feeling: Romain Rolland’s Mystical Critique of Psychoanalysis and His Call for a ‘New Science of the Mind,’” History of European Ideas 43.5 (2017), pp. 474-493.
  12. Kant on the Epistemology of Indirect Mystical Experience,Sophia 56.2 (June 2017), pp. 311-336.
  13. “‘God Is Infinite, and the Paths to God Are Infinite’: A Reconstruction and Defense of Sri Ramakrishna’s Vijñāna-Based Model of Religious Pluralism,” Journal of Religion 97.2 (April 2017), pp. 181-213.
  14. Śrī Rāmakṛṣṇa’s Philosophy of Vijñāna Vedānta,” International Journal of Hindu Studies 21.1 (2017), pp. 25-54.
  15. Toward a New Hermeneutics of the Bhagavad Gītā: Sri Ramakrishna, Sri Aurobindo, and the Secret of Vijñāna,” Philosophy East and West 65.4 (October 2015), pp. 1209-1233.
  16. Śrī Harṣa contra Hegel: Monism, Skeptical Method, and the Limits of Reason,” Philosophy East and West 64.1 (January 2014), pp. 82-108.
  17. Yogic Mindfulness: Hariharānanda Āraṇya’s Quasi-Buddhistic Interpretation of Sṃrti in Patañjali’s Yogasūtra I.20,” Journal of Indian Philosophy 41 (2013), pp. 57-78.
  18. Why Poetry Matters: The Transpersonal Force of Lyric Experience in Ezra Pound’s The Pisan Cantos,” Arizona Quarterly 66.4 (Winter 2010), pp. 71-92.
  19. Roy, Ayon. “Hegel contra Schlegel; Kierkegaard contra de Man,” PMLA 124.1 (January 2009), pp. 107-126.
  20. Roy, Ayon. “The Specter of Hegel in Coleridge’s Biographia Literaria,” Journal of the History of Ideas 68.2 (April 2007), pp. 279-304.
  21. Roy, Ayon. “Postmodern Convexity and Hegelian Dialectics in Ashbery’s ‘Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror,’” Gingko Tree Review 4.1 (2007), pp. 25-46.
  22. Roy, Ayon. “In seinem Anderen bei sich selbst zu sein: Toward a Recuperation of Hegel’s Metaphysics of Agency,” Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 11.1 (Fall 2006), pp. 225-255.
  23. Roy, Ayon. “From Deconstruction to Decreation: Wallace Stevens’ Notes toward a Poetics of Nobility,” Wallace Stevens Journal 29.2 (Fall 2005), pp. 249-262.



Review of Urs App’s Schopenhauer’s Compass, Philosophy East and West 67.3 (July 2017), pp. 942-948.

Harold Sjursen

Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D., New School for Social Research

Harold Sjursen, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Global Ethics at New York University, will teach at RKMVERI for one semester per academic year and also supervise student theses. He studied with Hannah Arendt and Hans Jonas and is completing a book on the philosophy of Hans Jonas. His current research focuses on global philosophy, Chinese philosophy, history of philosophy, global ethics, and the philosophy of science and technology. For more details, please visit his academic website.

At present, the Programme in Philosophy has these two faculty members, but we plan to recruit more faculty in the near future.