A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1 eBook

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It may not be out of place to mention here that though the karmas of man are constantly determining him in various ways yet there is in him infinite capacity or power for right action (anantavirya), so that karma can never subdue this freedom and infinite capacity, though this may be suppressed from time to time by the influence of karma.  It is thus that by an exercise of this power man can overcome all karma and become finally liberated.  If man had not this anantavirya in him he might have been eternally under the sway of the accumulated karma which secured his bondage (bandha).  But since man is the repository of this indomitable power the karmas can only throw obstacles and produce sufferings, but can never prevent him from attaining his highest good.

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CHAPTER VII

THE KAPILA AND THE PATANJALA SA@MKHYA (YOGA) [Footnote ref 1].

A Review.

The examination of the two ancient Nastika schools of Buddhism and Jainism of two different types ought to convince us that serious philosophical speculations were indulged in, in circles other than those of the Upani@sad sages.  That certain practices known as Yoga were generally prevalent amongst the wise seems very probable, for these are not only alluded to in some of the Upani@sads but were accepted by the two nastika schools of Buddhism and Jainism.  Whether we look at them from the point of view of ethics or metaphysics, the two Nastika schools appear to have arisen out of a reaction against the sacrificial disciplines of the Brahma@nas.  Both these systems originated with the K@sattriyas and were marked by a strong aversion against the taking of animal life, and against the doctrine of offering animals at the sacrifices.

The doctrine of the sacrifices supposed that a suitable combination of rites, rituals, and articles of sacrifice had the magical power of producing the desired effect—­a shower of rain, the birth of a son, the routing of a huge army, etc.  The sacrifices were enjoined generally not so much for any moral elevation, as for the achievement of objects of practical welfare.  The Vedas were the eternal revelations which were competent so to dictate a detailed procedure, that we could by following it proceed on a certain course of action and refrain from other injurious courses in such a manner that we might obtain the objects we desired by the accurate performance of any sacrifice.  If we are to define truth in accordance with the philosophy of such a ritualistic culture we might say that, that alone is true, in accordance with which we may realize our objects in the world about us; the truth of Vedic injunctions is shown by the practical attainment of our

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[Footnote 1:  This chapter is based on my Study of Patanjali, published by the Calcutta University, and my Yoga philosophy in relation to other Indian Systems of thought, awaiting publication with the same authority.  The system has been treated in detail in those two works.]

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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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