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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Footnote 2 Samannaphala sutta


become so without any cause. Nothing depends either on one's own efforts or on the efforts of others, in short nothing depends on any human effort, for there is no such thing as power or energy, or human exertion. The varying conditions at any time are due to fate, to their environment and their own nature [Footnote ref 1]."

Another sophistical school led by Ajita Kesakambali taught that there was no fruit or result of good or evil deeds; there is no other world, nor was this one real; nor had parents nor any former lives any efficacy with respect to this life. Nothing that we can do prevents any of us alike from being wholly brought to an end at death [Footnote ref 2].

There were thus at least three currents of thought: firstly the sacrificial Karma by the force of the magical rites of which any person could attain anything he desired; secondly the Upani@sad teaching that the Brahman, the self, is the ultimate reality and being, and all else but name and form which pass away but do not abide. That which permanently abides without change is the real and true, and this is self. Thirdly the nihilistic conceptions that there is no law, no abiding reality, that everything comes into being by a fortuitous concourse of circumstances or by some unknown fate. In each of these schools, philosophy had probably come to a deadlock. There were the Yoga practices prevalent in the country and these were accepted partly on the strength of traditional custom among certain sections, and partly by virtue of the great spiritual, intellectual and physical power which they gave to those who performed them. But these had no rational basis behind them on which they could lean for support. These were probably then just tending towards being affiliated to the nebulous Sa@mkhya doctrines which had grown up among certain sections. It was at this juncture that we find Buddha erecting a new superstructure of thought on altogether original lines which thenceforth opened up a new avenue of philosophy for all posterity to come. If the Being of the Upani@sads, the superlatively motionless, was the only real, how could it offer scope for further new speculations, as it had already discarded all other matters of interest? If everything was due to a reasonless fortuitous concourse of circumstances, reason could not proceed further in the direction to create any philosophy of the unreason. The magical


[Footnote 1: _Samannaphala-sutta_, _Digha_, II. 20. Hoernle's article on the Ajivakas, E.R.E.]

[Footnote 2: _Samannaphala-sutta_, II. 23.]


force of the hocus-pocus of sorcery or sacrifice had but little that was inviting for philosophy to proceed on. If we thus take into account the state of Indian philosophic culture before Buddha, we shall be better able to understand the value of the Buddhistic contribution to philosophy.

Buddha: his Life.

Gautama the Buddha was born in or about the year 560 B.C. in the Lumbini Grove near the

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