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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Unity in Indian Sadhana philosophical


style="text-align: justify;">ideal blessedness and quiet of self-realization is indeed the fundamental fact from which not only her philosophy but many of the complex phenomena of the civilization of India can be logically deduced. The sorrow around us has no fear for us if we remember that we are naturally sorrowless and blessed in ourselves. The pessimistic view loses all terror as it closes in absolute optimistic confidence in one's own self and the ultimate destiny and goal of emancipation.

Unity in Indian Sadhana (philosophical, religious and ethical endeavours).

As might be expected the Indian systems are all agreed upon the general principles of ethical conduct which must be followed for the attainment of salvation. That all passions are to be controlled, no injury to life in any form should be done, and that all desire for pleasures should be checked, are principles which are almost universally acknowledged. When a man attains a very high degree of moral greatness he has to strengthen and prepare his mind for further purifying and steadying it for the attainment of his ideal; and most of the Indian systems are unanimous with regard to the means to be employed for the purpose. There are indeed divergences in certain details or technical names, but the means to be adopted for purification are almost everywhere essentially the same as those advocated by the Yoga system. It is only in later times that devotion

(_bhakti_) is seen to occupy a more prominent place specially in Vai@s@nava schools of thought. Thus it was that though there were many differences among the various systems, yet their goal of life, their attitude towards the world and the means fur the attainment of the goal (_sadhana_) being fundamentally the same, there was a unique unity in the practical sadhana of almost all the Indian systems. The religious craving has been universal in India and this uniformity of sadhana has therefore secured for India a unity in all her aspirations and strivings.




Many scholars are of opinion that the Sa@mkhya and the Yoga represent the earliest systematic speculations of India. It is also suggested that Buddhism drew much of its inspiration from them. It may be that there is some truth in such a view, but the systematic Sa@mkhya and Yoga treatises as we have them had decidedly been written after Buddhism. Moreover it is well-known to every student of Hindu philosophy that a conflict with the Buddhists has largely stimulated philosophic enquiry in most of the systems of Hindu thought. A knowledge of Buddhism is therefore indispensable for a right understanding of the different systems in their mutual relation and opposition to Buddhism. It seems desirable therefore that I should begin with Buddhism first.

The State of Philosophy in India before the Buddha.

It is indeed difficult to give a short sketch of the different philosophical speculations that were prevalent in India before Buddhism. The doctrines of the Upani@sads are well known, and these have already been briefly described. But these were not the only ones. Even in the Upani@sads we find references to diverse atheistical creeds [Footnote ref 1]. We find there that the origin of the world and its processes were sometimes discussed, and some thought that "time" was the ultimate cause of all, others that all these had sprung forth by their own nature (_svabhava_), others that everything had come forth in accordance with an inexorable destiny or a fortuitous concourse of accidental happenings, or through matter combinations in general. References to diverse kinds of heresies are found in Buddhist literature also, but no detailed accounts of these views are known. Of the Upani@sad type of materialists the two schools of Carvakas (Dhurtta and Sus'ik@sita) are referred to in later literature, though the time in which these flourished cannot rightly be discovered [Footnote ref 2]. But it seems

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