A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy

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The aim of this work has been to give a clear, comprehensive and critical account of the various systems of Indian philosophy. The book will be found useful by all those who want a clear and accurate exposition of the development of Indian philosophical thought in one volume which is neither too small nor too big. On almost all fundamental points the author has either quoted from the original texts or referred to them to enable the interested reader to compare the interpretations with the texts. Throughout the exposition of the different systems which involve criticism and evaluation, the author has tried to be fair and impartial to them and to present many difficult and obscure points in a clear and correct manner. Ignorance of Indian philosophy, especially of Buddhism and Vedanta, is still profound and has given rise to uninformed or ill-informed accounts and misleading criticisms. It has been the aim of the book to remove such misconceptions. Honest difference of opinion in interpretation is legitimate in philosophy, but it does not entitle us to impose our own preconceived notions on a system which are repelled by its original texts. The work is only an outline of a vast subject and has no pretensions of completeness.

The present treatise is a critical study of different systems of Indian Philosophy based on original sources and its principal value lies in their interpretation. On almost all fundamental points the author has quoted from the original texts to enable the reader to compare the interpretations with the text. The book opens with a survey of Indian philosophical thought as found in the Vedas, the Upanishads and Bhagavadgita. It proceeds to the study of Materialism, Jainism and Early Buddhism, Sunyavada, Vijnanavada and Svatantra Vijnanavada. It expounds on the tenets of the six systems of Indian Philosophy with special reference to Sankara, the pre-Sankara and the post-Sankara Vedanta, and the essentials of Buddhism and Vedanta in comparison and contrast. It discusses the doctrines of Vedanta as interpreted by Ramanuja, Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha, Caitanya and Aurobindo. It also contains a clear exposition of Saiva Siddhanta, Kashmir Saivism and Sakta Schools.

Professor Dr Chandradhar Sharma is a well-known name in the area of philosophy. He enjoys an international reputation as an eminent scholar of Indian and comparative philosophy. After serving Banaras Hindu University for twelve years he was invited to the Chair of Philosophy at the University of Jabalpur which he occupied for about twenty years. He has been a Visiting Professor at the U.S.A., U.G.C. and the University of Allahabad.

His other works in English include ‘Dialectic in Buddhism and Vedanta’ and ‘The Advaita Tradition in Indian Philosophy’ and in Hindi, ‘Bharatiya Darshan: Alochan Aur Anushilan’ and ‘Pashchatya Darshan’.

 

   Preface

My main aim in this work has been to give a clear, comprehensive and critical account of the various systems of Indian philosophy. It is hoped that the book will be found useful by all those who want a clear and accurate exposition of the development of Indian philosophical thought in one volume which is neither too small nor too big. I shall feel amply rewarded if it arouses a genuine interest in Indian philosophy.

The work is based on my study of the original sources and on my lectures to the post-graduate classes the Banaras Hindu University for a number of years and I must accept responsibility for the interpretations. On almost all fundamental points I have either quoted from the original texts or referred to them to enable the interested reader to compare the interpretations with the texts. Throughout the exposition of the different systems which involves criticism, and evaluation, I have tried to be fair and impartial to them and to present many difficult and obscure points in as clear and correct a manner as I could. Ignorance of Indian philosophy, especially of Buddhism and Vedanta, is still profound and has given rise to uninformed or ill-informed accounts and misleading criticisms. It has been my aim to remove such misconceptions. Honest difference of opinion in interpretation is legitimate in philosophy, but it does not entitle us to impose our own preconceived notions on a system which are repelled by its original texts. The work is only an outline of a vast subject and has no pretensions of completeness.

In the chapters dealing with Mahayana Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta, I have incorporated substantial material from my thesis on ‘Dialectic in Buddhism and Vedanta’ approved for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by the University of Allahabad. I have also incorporated some relevant material here and there from my thesis on “The Reign of Dialectic in Philosophy - Indian and Western’ approved for the degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of Allahabad.

It is a pleasure to acknowledge my obligations to the eminent scholars whose works have been a source of help and inspiration to me. I have derived much help from the works on Indian philosophy by Dr S. N. Dasgupta, Prof. M. Hiriyanna and Dr S. Radhakrishnan.

I am deeply obliged to Prof. A. C. Mukerji (retired Professor of Philosophy, at Allahabad University) for his kind help and affectionate encouragement. I record my profound obligations to Prof. R. D. Ranade, Prof. H.D. Bhattacharyya and Dr Amaranatha Jha who are no more with us now.

This work under the title A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy was published in 1960 by Rider & Company of the Hutchinson Publishing Group Ltd., London. Its American edition under the title Indian Philosophy: A Critical Survey was brought out in 1962 in ‘University Paperbacks’ by Barnes and Noble, Inc., New York. The Publishers of this work in India are Motilal Banarsidass, Delhi. It is a pleasure to know that the work has been very well received and has run into several editions and imprints.

 

Contents

Preface ii
I The Vedas and the Upanisads 13
2 Bhagavadgita 32
3 Materialism 40
4 Jainism 48
5 Early Buddhism 69
6 Shunyavada 84
7 Vijnanavada 108
8 Svatantra-Vijnanavada 124
9 Sankhya 149
10 Yoga 169
11 Vaishesika 175
12 Nyaya 191
13 Purva-Mimamsa 211
14 Pre-Shankara Vedanta 239
15 Shankara Vedanta 252
16 Post-Shankara Vedanta 290
17 Buddhism and Vedanta 318
18 Ramanuja Vedanta 335
19 Other Schools of Vedanta 372
(i) Madhva Vedanta 372
(ii) Nimbarka Vedanta 375
(iii) Vallabha Vedanta 377
(iv) Mahaprabhu Chaitanya 380
(v) Sri Aurobindo 381
20 Shaiva and Shakta Schools 386
(i) Shaiva Siddhanta 386
(ii) Kashmira Shaivism 388
(iii) Shakta Schools 390
Bibliography 393
Index

405


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