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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

S'vetaketu and Pravaha@na Jaibali Cha


In

the Upani@sads however, the position is entirely changed, and the centre of interest there is not in a creator from outside but in the self: the natural development of the monotheistic position of the Vedas could have grown into some form of developed theism, but not into the doctrine that the self was the only reality and that everything else was far below it. There is no relation here of the worshipper and the worshipped and no prayers are offered to it, but the whole quest is of the highest truth, and the true self of man is discovered as the greatest reality. This change of philosophical position seems to me to be a matter of great interest. This change of the mind from the objective to the subjective does not carry with it in the Upani@sads any elaborate philosophical discussions, or subtle analysis of mind. It comes there as a matter of direct perception, and the conviction with which the truth has been grasped cannot fail to impress the readers. That out of the apparently meaningless speculations of the Brahma@nas this doctrine could have developed, might indeed appear to be too improbable to be believed.

On the strength of the stories of Balaki Ga'rgya and Ajatas'atru (B@rh. II. i), S'vetaketu and Pravaha@na Jaibali (Cha. V. 3 and B@rh. VI. 2) and Aru@ni and As'vapati Kaikeya (Cha. V. 11) Garbe thinks "that it can be proven that the Brahman's profoundest wisdom, the doctrine of All-one, which has exercised an unmistakable influence on

the intellectual life even of our time, did not have its origin in the circle of Brahmans at all [Footnote ref 2]" and that "it took its rise in the ranks of the warrior caste [Footnote ref 3]." This if true would of course lead the development of the Upani@sads away from the influence of the Veda, Brahma@nas and the Ara@nyakas. But do the facts prove this? Let us briefly examine the evidences that Garbe himself

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[Footnote 1: Muir's _Sanskrit Texts_, vol. v. pp. 368, 371.]

[Footnote 2: Garbe's article, "_Hindu Monism_," p. 68.]

[Footnote 3: _Ibid._ p. 78.

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self has produced. In the story of Balaki Gargya and Ajatas'atru (B@rh. II. 1) referred to by him, Balaki Gargya is a boastful man who wants to teach the K@sattriya Ajatas'atru the true Brahman, but fails and then wants it to be taught by him. To this Ajatas'atru replies (following Garbe's own translation) "it is contrary to the natural order that a Brahman receive instruction from a warrior and expect the latter to declare the Brahman to him [Footnote ref l]." Does this not imply that in the natural order of things a Brahmin always taught the knowledge of Brahman to the K@sattriyas, and that it was unusual to find a Brahmin asking a K@sattriya about the true knowledge of Brahman? At the beginning of the conversation, Ajatas'atru had promised to pay Balaki one thousand coins if he could tell him about Brahman, since all people used to run to Janaka to speak about Brahman [Footnote ref 2]. The second story of S'vetaketu and Pravaha@na Jaibali seems to be fairly conclusive with regard to the fact that the transmigration doctrines, the way of the gods (_devayana_) and the way of the fathers (_pit@ryana_) had originated among the K@sattriyas, but it is without any relevancy with regard to the origin of the superior knowledge of Brahman as the true self.


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