The study of Vedas has been an ongoing endeavor for centuries with various interpretations made to understand their essence. A commentary by Sri Aurobindo on Rigveda discussed in his book "The Secret of the Veda" is considered to provide a deeper understanding of the teachings of the Vedas in a contemporary context, as it removes difficulties posed by the ancient form of Sanskrit and interpretations done over different times and contexts. This recomprehension of the Vedas aims to change the perception (...) of the Vedas from being a collection of nonsensical hymns to a more insightful and profound collection of teachings, drawing upon the works of modern scholars of Sanskrit. In this text, we aim to encapsulate the interpretation of Sri Aurobindo in a chapter form so that it becomes accessible to the general audience. (shrink)
In his adventurous monograph in comparative philosophy, The Origins of Philosophy in Ancient Greece and Ancient India, Richard Seaford offers to explain why philosophy, which on his account originated in the sixth century BCE separately in both Greece and India, took such a similar form in both cultures.
Agamben is slowly entering the English academy. This review shows how Agamben's understanding of poetry can and should inform the eschatological nature of the lyric. The review does its cultural work by rethinking poetry and the poetic impulse. The book under review by Claire Colebrook and Jason Maxwell, prepare us for messianic times and shows how Agamben critiques the Spinozist-Marxist project. This book's weaknesses lie in Agamben's hubris in glibly going on to write on Hinduism. & Colebrook and Mason have (...) been excused for not bothering with the religion of a poorer nation than theirs. After all, this reviewer never said that Hinduism is India's state religion. Leave it to others to state that. LOL. Agamben's onto-theology is brought out in this review as has been by Colebrook and Maxwell. (shrink)
A prevailing view among specialists is that Indian philosophy "proper" can only be philosophy written in Sanskrit and a few other Prakrits (any of the several Middle Indo-Aryan vernaculars formerly spoken in India), in a doxographical style, and along more or less clearly drawn scholastic lines. As such, it encompasses the entirety of speculative and systematic thought in India up to the advent of British colonial rule in the 19th Century. Minds Without Fear challenges this dominant view of the history (...) of Indian philosophy, arguing that Indian philosophy produced in English during the Raj does not mark a radical departure from its indigenous cultural forms so much as their appropriation in the service of intercultural philosophy. While necessarily politically fraught (given the status of English as the language of colonial power), the new vernacular becomes a vehicle for Enlightenment ideas of rationality and scientific progress, and serves as a new "scholarly metalanguage" in the formation of a modern Indian philosophical canon. (shrink)
The above problem is discussed with the use of the example of selected canonical Upanishads. The analysis starts with a fragment from the Mundaka Upanishad : “When he [ brahman ] that is both high [ para ] and low [ apara ] is seen”. In my opinion, this very conjoining of the absolute and relative reality, which is considerably rare in the canonical texts, requires in-depth analysis. In the discussed texts, the para / apara dimensions of reality are strictly (...) correlated with the states of consciousness in which they are experienced. Thus, in my discussion, I also consider whether all yoga adepts have always been talking about experiencing the four states of consciousness. I discuss the terms which denote the para and apara dimensions as well as the question whether the text indicates their hierarchy and, if this is the case, in what contexts and in what respect. I refer to the canonical Upanishads which belong to the Atharvaveda lineage, i.e. to Prashna, Mundaka, and Mandukya. (shrink)
Śankara did not comment on the first s ū tra in his Brahmas ū trabh āṣ ya, which was a common practice in such cases; rather, he started by defining two terms: ‘superimposition’ and ‘ignorance’, in a special introductory chapter known to a wider audience as Adhy ā sabh āṣ ya. The question arises as to why he deemed it necessary to precede his commentary to the initial s ū tra with these additional elucidations. Bh ā mat ī, Vācaspati Miśra’s (...) commentary on Mah ā s ū trabh āṣ ya, seems to shed some light on the problem. According to the doctrine of advaita, the phrase ‘desire to know Brahman’ in the first s ū tra seems prima facie to have no meaning. Thus, the introductory commentary is an explanation of an idea of Brahman which is foreign to advaita. (shrink)
I argue that, in one sense, collective wisdom can save civilization. But in a more important sense, collective wisdom should be understood as a form of civilization, as the result and expression of a moral civilizing-process that comes about through the creation and transmission of collective interpretations of human experience and human nature. Collective wisdom traditions function in this manner by providing an interpretation of what it means to be human and what thoughts, skills, and actions are required to live (...) a successful human life at the most general level of analysis. Collective wisdom can have a civilizing effect on individuals, and indirectly on societies, by providing a type of orienting framework for understanding the proper relationship between the self, others, and the world. Such traditions in effect provide a “blueprint” for the successful human life as such, by providing guidance on thought and action, on what is appropriate to think, feel, desire, and do in theoretical and practical contexts. A wise individual will be a 'civilized' individual in this moral sense, an individual who is properly habituated and educated so as to now reflectively endorse and desire thinking and acting in virtuous ways. However, this understanding of collective wisdom and civilization is in many ways today controversial and met with justified critiques and skeptical criticisms. To defend this way of approaching and answering our question against these critiques, I turn to ancient wisdom traditions from ancient India, China, and Greece as paradigms for understanding exactly how collective wisdom can achieve the end of civilizing humanity. Based on this analysis, I sketch the outlines of a revitalized ancient wisdom tradition able to civilize individuals today, but such a tradition must be updated to reflect the advancement of modern natural science and to meet the demands of living in our diverse, pluralistic, and globalized world. (shrink)
The Upaniṣads, as one of the trilogy of principal Vedāntic texts, the oldest and the most fundamental of them, have exposed a more or less detailed discussion on dreaming, taking it whether as the factual object of their discourse or as a symbol. However, there has been a debate between different schools of Vedāntic philosophy about oneirology, science of dreams and their interpretation, discussion of nature of the dream state, its reality and unreality. This paper, after a short study of (...) oneirology in the Vedas and Upaniṣads, examines argumentations of four great philosophers of different Vedāntic schools, Gauḍapāda, Śaṅkara, Rāmānuja, and Madhva, pertaining to dreams. (shrink)
While acknowledging a certain affinity between his own thought and the Vedanta concept of a world-soul or universal spirit, Josiah Royce nevertheless locates this concept primarily in what he terms the Second Conception of Being—Mysticism. In his early magnum opus, The World and the Individual, Royce utilizes aspects of the Upanishads in order to flesh out his picture of the mystical understanding of and relationship to being. My primary concern in the present investigation is to introduce some nuance into Royce’s (...) conception of Indian thought, which may then serve to suggest similar possibilities for nuance for Royce’s conception of the Absolute. I will attempt to do in two primary ways: first, I will consider Royce’s use of Indian thought via the Upanishads in explicating his second historical conception of Being. I will then turn briefly to Emerson’s poem ‘Brahma’ and the Bhagavad Gita to see if a certain reversal that occurs in both places problematizes Royce’s depiction of the universal spirit in Indian thought as well as opens up new possibilities for Royce’s own Absolute. (shrink)
Apūrvaṃ vyākaraṇakauśalam ity āstām: “let it remain an example of unprecedented grammatical skill” — thus sarcastically remarks the Dvaitin commentator Jayatīrtha on Śaṅkarācārya’s sleight of hand to turn written saṃbhūti into asaṃbhūti at one of the many difficult turns the Īśa Upaniṣad has in store for his strictly monistic stance. But Jayatīrtha’s own master Madhva is renowned in his own right for his “unprecedented skill” in conjuring up whole unattested smṛti passages to corroborate his interpretations. Indeed, more specimens of “unprecedented (...) skill” are displayed in turn by each of the great bhāṣyakāras of the three conflicting schools — Advaita, Dvaita and Viśiṣṭādvaita — on this Upaniṣad, which on account of its extreme pithiness is singularly suited to demonstrate the length dārśanikas are willing to go to make an authoritative text square each with his own preconceived philosophical outlook. A most telling example of the preemptive force of world-views on actual theoretical practice in the Indian context. (shrink)
Truth and reality are not the same. Truth is experience of reality. Reality is perception of outside physical world and mental phenomenon. Truth is absolute and must be the same for every one though expressions may differ. But Reality is relative to the mental makeup and capacity of the individuals.
Exposition of Advaita based on selections from the Vedāntaparibhāsā by Dharmarājādhvarindra, 17th cent., Yatīndramatadīpikā by Śrīnivāsadāsa, 17th cent., and Śrībhāsya by Rāmānuja, 1017-1137; with profuse quotations.
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Description: The Vedantasutra of Badarayana is one of the great philosophical works of India. It deals with those fundamental questions concerning man's existence, that still remain an enigma despite all attempts of eminent philosophers and religious leaders both past and present, of this world at unravelling its mysteries. The teachings of the Vedas, the doctrines of contemporary philosophers and the purport of important passages from Upanisads are its subject-matter. It is at once a repository of all earlier knowledge, a genesis (...) for further philosophical speculation and an evaluating scale for new metaphysical ideas. Its scope being universal and timeless, Badarayana resorted to a terse and aphoristic style for compressing a vast body of knowledge into such brief statements that could easily be memorized. The sutras are something more than an aphorism; for each, though brief to the point of being obscure, is so pregnant with meaning that interpretation has become difficult and resulted in the growth of an unending line of commentators, both Indian and foreign, spanning centuries from Sankara the earliest, passing through Bhaskara, Ramanuja, Madhva, Srikantha, Nimbarka, Sripati, Vallabha, Suka, Baladeva to Radhakrishnan the latest. This book, known as the Govinda Bhasya, is the commentary of Baladeva, who was a disciple of Sri Caitanya the famous Vaisnavite saint of Bengal. Its approach is theistic and based on the teachings of Madhva and Caitanya. The English translation is faithful to the original. (shrink)