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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 620 pages of information about A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1.

care to write any new works upon them.  In the history of the growth of any system of Hindu thought we find that as time went on, and as new problems were suggested, each system tried to answer them consistently with its own doctrines.  The order in which we have taken the philosophical systems could not be strictly a chronological one.  Thus though it is possible that the earliest speculations of some form of Sa@mkhya, Yoga, and Mima@msa were prior to Buddhism yet they have been treated after Buddhism and Jainism, because the elaborate works of these systems which we now possess are later than Buddhism.  In my opinion the Vais’e@sika system is also probably pre-Buddhistic, but it has been treated later, partly on account of its association with Nyaya, and partly on account of the fact that all its commentaries are of a much later date.  It seems to me almost certain that enormous quantities of old philosophical literature have been lost, which if found could have been of use to us in showing the stages of the early growth of the systems and their mutual relations.  But as they are not available we have to be satisfied with what remains.  The original sources from which I have drawn my materials have all been indicated in the brief accounts of the literature of each system which I have put in before beginning the study of any particular system of thought.

In my interpretations I have always tried to follow the original sources as accurately as I could.  This has sometimes led to old and unfamiliar modes of expression, but this course seemed to me to be preferable to the adoption of European modes of thought for the expression of Indian ideas.  But even in spite of this striking similarities to many of the modern philosophical doctrines and ideas will doubtless be noticed.  This only proves that the human mind follows more or less the same modes of rational thought.  I have never tried to compare any phase of Indian thought with European, for this is beyond the scope of my present attempt, but if I may be allowed to express my own conviction, I might say that many of the philosophical doctrines of European philosophy are essentially the same as those found in Indian philosophy.  The main difference is often the difference of the point of view from which the same problems appeared in such a variety of forms in the two countries.  My own view with regard to the net value of Indian philosophical development will be expressed in the concluding chapter of the second volume of the present work.

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CHAPTER II

THE VEDAS, BRAHMANAS AND THEIR PHILOSOPHY

The Vedas and their antiquity.

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