A Source Book in Indian Philosophy

A Source Book in Indian Philosophy

Copyright Date: 1957
Pages: 720
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    A Source Book in Indian Philosophy
    Book Description:

    Features significant works from the Vedic and Epic periods, the Heterodox and Orthodox systems, and contemporary Indian thought.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6506-2
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-viii)
    (pp. ix-xiv)
    Charles A. Moore
  3. Table of Contents
    (pp. xv-xvi)
    (pp. xvii-xxxi)

    At the very outset, it should be emphasized that Indian philosophy has had an extremely long and complex development, much more complex than is usually realized, and probably a longer history of continuous development than any other philosophical tradition. While the historical perspective is undoubtedly of immense importance in the study of such a tradition, it is impossible to present an exact historical survey of this development. Because of the Indians’ lack of concern for chronology, many of the details of the chronological sequence of the writings either are lost or no record of them was kept. In a sense,...

      (pp. 3-36)

      Whatever may be the truth of the theory of the racial affinities of the Indian and the European peoples, there is no doubt that Indo-European languages derive from a common source and illustrate a relationship of the mind. The oldest Indo-European literary and philosophical monument is theŖg Veda. The name Veda, signifying wisdom, suggests that the road which the Vedic sages traveled was the road of those who seek to understand. The questions they investigate are of a philosophical character: “What god shall we adore with our oblation?”¹ “Who verily knows and who can here declare where it was...

      (pp. 37-96)

      The Upaniṣads are the concluding portions of the Vedas and the basis for the Vedānta philosophy, “a system in which human speculation seems to have reached its very acme,” according to Max Müller. The Upaniṣads have dominated Indian philosophy, religion, and life for nearly three thousand years. Though remote in time from us, the Upaniṣads are not remote in thought. The ideal which haunted the thinkers of the Upaniṣads—the ideal of man’s ultimate beatitude, the perfection of knowledge, the vision of the real in which the religious hunger of the mystic for direct vision and the philosopher’s ceaseless quest...

    • Introduction
      (pp. 99-100)

      The Epic Period derives its name from the two epics, theRāmāyaṇaand theMahābhārata.TheRāmādyaṇadeals with the conflict of the Āryans with the then natives of India and of the penetration of the Āryan culture. TheMahābhāratarecords the conflict between two claimants to the throne, and besides reflecting the culture of the age the story is said to symbolize the struggle between the forces of good and evil. Though the events related in the epics belong to an earlier period, the composition of the epics belongs to the Epic Period, which had its origin about the...

      (pp. 101-163)

      TheBhagavad-gītāis a religious classic rather than a philosophical treatise. It is set forth not as a metaphysical system thought out by an individual thinker or school of thinkers but as a tradition which has emerged from the religious life of mankind. As the colophon indicates, theBhagavad-gītāis both metaphysics and ethics,brahmamdyāandYoga-śāstra,the science of reality and the art of union with reality.

      TheGītāderives its main inspiration from the Upaniṣads and integrates into a comprehensive synthesis the different elements of the Vedic cult of sacrifice, the Upaniṣadic teaching of the AbsoluteBrahman,the...

      (pp. 164-171)

      . . . Abstention from injury, truthfulness of speech, justice, compassion, self-restraint.

      Procreation (of offspring) [with] one’s own wife, amiability, modesty, patience,—the practice of these is the best of all religions as said by... Manu himself....

      Refusal to appropriate what is not given, gift, study (of scriptures), penance, abstention from injury, truth, freedom from wrath, and worship of the gods in sacrifices,—these are the characteristics of virtue.

      Abstention from injury, by act, thought, and word, in respect of all creatures, compassion, and gift [charity], constitute behavior that is worthy of praise.

      That act or exertion by which others...

      (pp. 172-192)

      There are four great aims of human life,dharmaor righteousness,arthaor wealth, kāma or enjoyment, andmokṣaor spiritual freedom. The literature ofdharmadeals with law and custom governing the development of the human individual and the proper relations of the different groups of society. TheCode of Manu,a metrical work of 2,685 verses, deals with religion, law, custom, and politics. The author is familiar with Vedic literature and refers to previous teachers and traditions ofdharma. The book discusses certain philosophical topics and offers solutions based on the Sāmkhya and the Vedanta, but its aim...

      (pp. 193-224)

      One of the four aims of human effort isarthaor material advantage which includes political and economic power. TheArtha-śāstrais a treatise on politics and diplomacy. Its author, Kautilya, the minister of the first Mauryan emperor, gives us an account of the law and administration of the Magadha empire. The work is dated 321–296 B.C.

      Kauṭilya refers to the views of five different schools on subjects of polity. While both Dharma-and Artha-śāstras deal with man in society, the former deals with social life from the standpoint of religion and moral order, and the latter from that of...

      (pp. 227-249)

      This system assumed various forms of philosophical skepticism, logical fatalism, and religious indifferentism. Its origins can be traced as far back as the Ŗg Veda. It is mentioned in the Epics as well as in the Dialogues of the Buddha. Even theBhagavad-gītā¹ refers to it.

      The main work on the system, the Bṛhaspati Sūtra (600 B.C.), is not available, and we have to reconstruct the doctrines of materialism from statements of the position and criticism of it found in polemical and other works.

      The doctrine is called Lokāyata, as it holds · that only this world (Ioka) exists and...

      (pp. 250-271)

      The Jainas are the followers of Vardhamāna (Mahāvīra) (599 B.C.–527 B.C.), who systematized the doctrine of the threetīrthaṅkaras(founders of the path), Rṣabha, Ajitanātha, and Ariṣtanemi (all of ancient date, mentioned in theƴajur Veda).

      The Jaina system does not accept the authority of the Veda. It commends the truth of its system on the ground of its accordance with reality.

      Its scheme of the universe is said to be grounded in logic and experience.

      Its central features are its realistic classification of being, its theory of knowledge with its celebratec¹ doctrines ofsyādvādaandsaptabhangī,and its...

      (pp. 272-346)

      Buddhism had a history of a thousand years in India and, as the centuries rolled by, its doctrines varied. The teaching of the Buddha, the Hīnayāna (early) and the Mahāyāna (later) forms, and the several specific schools constitute the history of Buddhism.

      The Buddha takes up some of the thoughts of the Upaniṣads and gives to them a new orientation. The Buddha is not so much formulating a new scheme of metaphysics and morals as rediscovering an old norm and adapting it to the new conditions of thought and life.

      His Four Noble Truths are that there is suffering, that...

    • Introduction
      (pp. 349-355)

      The age of Buddha [563–483 B.C.] represents the great springtide of philosophic spirit in India. The progress of philosophy is generally due to a powerful attack on a historical tradition when men feel themselves compelled to go back on their steps and raise once more the fundamental questions which their fathers had disposed of by the older schemes. The revolt of Buddhism and Jainism, even such as it was, forms an era in the history of Indian thought, since it finally exploded the method of dogmatism and helped to bring about a critical point of view. For the great Buddhist...

      (pp. 356-385)

      Of the six systems of thought which arose in this period, the Nyāya and the Vaiśeṣika systems represent the analytic type of philosophy. The history of the Nyāya literature extends over twenty centuries and the long history of the thought and the vast amount of significant literature¹ in this one system is typical of all the systems. The distinctive character of the Nyāya philosophy is its critical examination of the objects of knowledge by means of the canons of logical proof. Systems of Hindu thought generally accept the fundamental principles of the Nyaya logic. The physical and meta physical views...

      (pp. 386-423)

      This system takes its name from “viśeṣa” (particularity); it emphasizes the significance of particulars or individuals, and is decidedly pluralistic. The Vaiśeṣika is mainly a system of physics and metaphysics. It adopts a sixfold classification of the objects of experience (padārthas): substance, quality, activity, generality, particularity, and inherence, to which later Vaiśeṣikas added a seventh, non-existence. We find that three of these (substance, quality, and activity) possess real objective existence and we can intuit them; the others (generality, particularity, and inherence) are the products of intellectua discrimination. They are logically inferred, not directly perceived.

      Reality consists of substances possessed of...

      (pp. 424-452)

      This system is notable for its theory of evolution, which is accepted by many other Indian systems, and for the reduction of the numerous categories of the Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika systems to the two fundamental categories ofpuruṣaandprakṛti,subject and object. All experience is based on the duality of the knowing subject,puruṣa,and the known object,prakṛti. Prakṛti(usually translated “Nature”) is the basis of all objective existence, physical and psychical. As the changing object, prakṛti is the source of the world of becoming. In it all determinate existence is implicitly contained. It is pure potentiality. It...

      (pp. 453-485)

      The wordyogahas become well known in the West, though its different meanings and its deeper significance and purpose are not well understood. For Patañjali (2nd century B.C.), the founder of the Yoga system and the author of the basic text, theƴoga Sūtra, yogais discrimination between subject and object,puruṣa(self or spirit) andprakṛti(Nature), which means the establishment of the self in its purity.ƴoga,according to Patafijali, is a methodical effort to attain perfection, through the control of the different elements of human nature, physical and psychical.

      The main interest of Patañjali is not...

      (pp. 486-505)

      The central problem of this system is the investigation ofdharma,duty, especially as it is stated in the Vedas. It sets forth some important philosophical speculations, though they are subservient to its main practical interest.

      As the Vedas are the main source ofdharmathey are said to be eternally valid. The Vedas are not the work of God. They are uncreated, and the seers apprehend and transmit them. Elaborate discussions about sounds, words, and meanings are to be found in Mīmāmsā works—in the course of studies or demonstrations of the validity and eternality of the Vedas.


      (pp. 506-572)

      The Vedānta philosophy, in one or another of its forms, is closely bound up with the religion of India. While Jaimini’s Pūrva Mῑmāṁsā deals with the karmakāṇḍa or the duties enjoined by the Veda Baādarāyana’s Uttara Mīmṁsā or the Vednāta (between 500 and 200 B.C.) deals with the religious and philosophical speculations of the Upanisads. The two together form a systematic account of the contents of the Veda. TheVedānta Sūtradeals with Vedānta or the final aim of the Veda. It is also called theBrahma Sūtra,since it deals with the doctrine ofBrahman,and theSārīraka Sūtra,...

      (pp. 575-609)

      Sri Aurobindo (Arabinda Ghose, 1872–1950) was widely accepted as the gieat mystic-philosopher of present-day India. Attained by mystical insight and expressed in brilliant literary and rational form, the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo constitutes a point of view which he considers to be original Vedānta but which stands in strong opposition to the Advaita Vedanta of Śaṁkara on several basic issues.

      His synthetic doctrine is one which calls for the universal expression of the Absolute in, and the development of the Absolute through, a series of grades of reality from matter up to the absolute spirit. Sri Aurobindo rejects categorically...

      (pp. 610-637)

      Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888–) is a versatile genius, universally recognized and acclaimed for his remarkable ability as teacher, lecturer, scholar, and administrator, as philosopher, statesman, and India’s cultural ambassador throughout the East and the West. His deep learning, his brilliant style, and his absolute tolerance have brought him recognition not only as the greatest living interpreter of Indian philosophy, religion, and culture, but also as an original and creative thinker of the first order. In essence, his philosophy is absolute idealism, but in a form and with a dynamic character which, instead of nullifying the great richness of the many facets...

    (pp. 638-642)
    (pp. 643-670)
  12. INDEX
    (pp. 671-684)