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.
understanding.  It is only when a man rises to the highest pinnacle of moral glory that he is fit for aspiring to that realization of selfhood in comparison with which all worldly things or even the joys of Heaven would not only shrink into insignificance, but appear in their true character as sorrowful and loathsome.  It is when his mind has thus turned from all ordinary joys that he can strive towards his ideal of salvation.  In fact it seems to me that a sincere religious craving after some


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.

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