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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

But untrue from that point of view


[Footnote

2: Historically the doctrine of momentariness is probably prior to the doctrine of _arthakriyakaritva._ But the later Buddhists sought to prove that momentariness was the logical result of the doctrine of _arthakriyakaritva_.]

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would answer, "yes, this is true from this point of view, but untrue from that point of view, while that is also true from such a point of view and untrue from another." But such an answer cannot satisfy the mind which seeks to reach a definite pronouncement, an absolute judgment.

The main departure of the systems of Jainism and Buddhism from the sacrificial creed consisted in this, that they tried to formulate a theory of the universe, the reality and the position of sentient beings and more particularly of man. The sacrificial creed was busy with individual rituals and sacrifices, and cared for principles or maxims only so far as they were of use for the actual performances of sacrifices. Again action with the new systems did not mean sacrifice but any general action that we always perform. Actions were here considered bad or good according as they brought about our moral elevation or not. The followers of the sacrificial creed refrained from untruth not so much from a sense of personal degradation, but because the Vedas had dictated that untruth should not be spoken, and the Vedas must be obeyed. The sacrificial creed wanted more and more happiness

here or in the other world. The systems of Buddhist and Jain philosophy turned their backs upon ordinary happiness and wanted an ultimate and unchangeable state where all pains and sorrows were for ever dissolved (Buddhism) or where infinite happiness, ever unshaken, was realized. A course of right conduct to be followed merely for the moral elevation of the person had no place in the sacrificial creed, for with it a course of right conduct could be followed only if it was so dictated in the Vedas, Karma and the fruit of karma (_karmaphala_) only meant the karma of sacrifice and its fruits-temporary happiness, such as was produced as the fruit of sacrifices; knowledge with them meant only the knowledge of sacrifice and of the dictates of the Vedas. In the systems however, karma, karmaphala, happiness, knowledge, all these were taken in their widest and most universal sense. Happiness or absolute extinction of sorrow was still the goal, but this was no narrow sacrificial happiness but infinite and unchangeable happiness or destruction of sorrow; karma was still the way, but not sacrificial karma, for it meant all moral and immoral actions performed by us; knowledge here meant the knowledge of truth or reality and not the knowledge of sacrifice.

Such an advance had however already begun in the Upani@shads

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which had anticipated the new systems in all these directions. The pioneers of these new systems probably drew their suggestions both from the sacrificial creed and from the Upani@sads, and built their systems independently by their own rational thinking. But if the suggestions of the Upani@sads were thus utilized by heretics who denied the authority of the Vedas, it was natural to expect that we should find in the Hindu camp such germs of rational thinking as might indicate an attempt to harmonize the suggestions of the Upani@sads and of the sacrificial creed in such a manner as might lead to the construction of a consistent and well-worked system of thought. Our expectations are indeed fulfilled in the Sa@mkhya philosophy, germs of which may be discovered in the Upani@sads.


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