A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1 by Surendranath Dasgupta (1922)

front page Forums Social and Cultural Discourse A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1 by Surendranath Dasgupta (1922)

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • Author
  • #126883

    THE old civilisation of India was a concrete unity of many-sided developments in art, architecture, literature, religion, morals, and science so far as it was understood in those days. But the most important achievement of Indian thought was philosophy. It was regarded as the goal of all the highest practical and theoretical activities, and it indicated the point of unity amidst all the apparent diversities which the complex growth of culture over a vast area inhabited by different peoples produced. It is not in the history of foreign invasions, in the rise of independent kingdoms at different times, in the empires of this or that great monarch that the unity of India is to be sought. It is essentially one of spiritual aspirations and obedience to the law of the spirit, which were regarded as superior to everything else, and it has outlived all the political changes through which India passed.

    The Greeks, the Huns, the Scythians, the Pathans and the Moguls who occupied the land and controlled the political machinery never ruled the minds of the people, for these political events were like hurricanes or the changes of season, mere phenomena of a natural or physical order which never affected the spiritual integrity of Hindu culture. If after a passivity of some centuries India is again going to become creative it is mainly on account of this fundamental unity of her progress and civilisation and not for anything that she may borrow from other countries. It is therefore indispensably necessary for all those who wish to appreciate the significance and potentialities of Indian culture that they should properly understand the history of Indian philosophical thought which is the nucleus round which all that is best and highest in India has grown. Much harm has already been done by the circulation of opinions that the culture and philosophy of India was dreamy and abstract. It is therefore very necessary that Indians as well as other peoples should become more and more acquainted with the true characteristics of the past history of Indian thought and form a correct estimate of its special features.

    [See the full post at: A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1 by Surendranath Dasgupta (1922)]


    A History of Indian Philosophy

    A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1 by Surendranath Dasgupta

    A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 2 by Surendranath Dasgupta

    A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 3 by Surendranath Dasgupta

    A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 4 by Surendranath Dasgupta

    A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 5 by Surendranath Dasgupta 


    Sanatana Dharm

    The word dharma does not have an English equivalent, although righteousness can be an approximate word to convey what dharma stands for. Dharma denotes the power or process of sustaining human life in all situations, in fortune and misfortune, favor and disfavor, prosperity and adversity. This power is truly applicable to the mind and intelligence, not to anything else in the human personality. [The Science of the Rishis]



    Aryabhatta was the greatest astronomer and mathematician of ancient India. He was described by the later astronomer Bhaskaracharya: 

    Aryabhatta is the master who, after reaching the furthest shores and plumbing the inmost depths of the sea of ultimate knowledge of mathematic, kinematics, and spherics, handed over the three to the learned world.

    He developed theories that were “discovered” many centuries later by Western scientists. He was the first to gift algebra to the world. He cites his date of birth with astonishing accuracy in his famous work, Aryabhatiya: “When sixty times six years and three-quarters of a yuga had elapsed of the current yuga, I had passed twenty-three years since my birth.” This means that in the year of Kali Yuga 3600, he was twenty-three years old. The Kali year 3600 corresponds to 499 CE. So he was born in the year 476 CE in Pataliputra, modern Patna in Bihar, where the famous university of Nalanda was located.

    Aryabhatta was designated as the head of this university where a special observatory existed for studying astronomy. He was known as Ardubarius in Europe in the Middle Ages. Though he wrote two books, only the Aryabhatiya has survived. It deals with astronomy and mathematics and is the first Indian text to record the most advanced astronomy in the history of ancient science. Some of his findings:

    • The value of pi = 3.1416; this is the same as we use today. Yet even this value he calls aasaana or approximate.
    • Two methods of computing the sine table.
    • The theory of solving indeterminate equations.
    • The earth is spherical and it rotates. The period of one sidereal rotation of
      the earth in Aryabhatiya is given as 23 hours, 56 minutes and 45.1 seconds.
    • The modern value is 23 hours 56 minutes and 45.091 seconds.
    • He determined the length of the solar year from the heliacal risings of some bright stars at an interval of 365 and 366 days. According to him the year is 365 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, 29.64 seconds! This value of the solar year is nearer to the modern value than that of Ptolemy. Based on his own observations, his astronomical constants differ from those of other astronomers and are more accurate than those of previous astronomers. The epicycles of the planets given by earlier astronomers, including Ptolemy, are fixed in value. Those given by Aryabhatta vary from place to place and
      yield better results.
    • He gave the correct method for calculating the celestial latitude of both superior and inferior planets. 
    • His book is perhaps the earliest text on astronomy to use the radian measure of 3438 units for the radius of the circle.
    • He was the first to describe the true cause of lunar and solar eclipses—that they were due to the shadow of the earth and moon. He also said that the moon was inherently without light but was illuminated by the sun.
    • His theory of the earth’s rotation and orbit round the sun was expressed a thousand years before Copernicus put forward his heliocentric theory. [The Science of the Rishis-Vanamali]

    Six systems of Hindu philosophy

    Historically speaking, there are six systems of Hindu philosophy that accept the Veda as their main source of valid knowledge about spiritual matters. These systems are known as darshanas. In Sanskrit, darshana means a “point of view” or “a method of looking.” It is interesting to see how scientific many of these ancient systems were. The founders of these systems were great rishis in their own right, who had a deep insight into the workings of nature; hence they can be called scientists. They photographed truth from various angles as it were, accepting the fact that truth is many-faceted.

    1. The Sage Gautama is the founder of the Nyaya philosophy, which deals
    with logic and reasoning. In fact, all Hindu logic is derived from his work.

    2. Kannada is the founder of the Vaisheshika school, the first ancient school in
    the world to deal with atomism. He decreed that the world is composed of
    atoms long before the atomic theory was even thought of. He talks of anus
    (atoms) and paramanus (molecules). Vaisheshika makes use of Nyaya
    logic, and these two schools are closely connected.

    3. The great sage Kapila is the founder of the Samkhya philosophy, which
    postulates Reality as being dual, Prakriti and Purusha or Nature and Spirit.
    He postulates that the world is made up of the five great basic elements. To
    these were added many others, making up a total of twenty-four cosmic
    principles. The basics of the Samkhya system were later used by both Yoga
    and Vedanta.

    4. Patanjali, the founder of the Yoga school, was the greatest psychologist
    known to the world. He taught the various methods of mind control like
    meditation and breath control, which are still used by all those who wish to
    attain liberation. Samkhya and Yoga are always connected.

    5. Mimamsa is differentiated into two schools, one of which is known as
    Purva Mimamsa, which was founded by the sage Jaimini. It stresses the
    efficacy of that portion of the Vedas that advocates yajnas and other rituals.

    6. Uttara Mimamsa is another name for Vedanta, the path of wisdom taught in 
    the Upanishads. There are three schools of Vedanta, each having its own
    teacher or guru. Adi Shankara is the founder of Advaita Vedanta, which is
    the most famous of all the schools. He says that Reality is One alone and is
    called Brahman. This is known as monism. Ramanuja is the founder of the
    Visishtadvaita school of qualified monism. Madhvacharya is the founder of
    the school known as Dvaita or dualism.

    Knowledge, scriptures, and discourses cannot disclose the cause of life. Do thou search for the wisdom of existence in the eternal reality that unites life. [MUNDAKA UPANISAD]

    SOURCE: The Science of the Rishis-Vanamali


    Hinduism has always reflected a universal tradition of inner knowing.

    THE outer aspects of Hinduism are important and quite extraordinary in their own right. They add to Vedanta a culture, way of life and most importantly, sacred arts and sciences that can bring this inner vision of unity into all that we do. These outer aspects of Sanatana Dharma need not be discarded as irrelevant,
    though they may need to be reformulated and updated according to our world today.

    This is not to say that Hinduism or even Vedanta is the sole representative of any universal tradition. A universal tradition cannot be owned by anyone or reduced to any region of the globe. The beauty of Hinduism is that it is a religion that allows a universal perspective to flow through it. Hinduism is a tradition of spiritual search without barriers that accepts all true aspiration regardless of name or form. It places experiential spirituality above outer beliefs, dogmas or creeds.

    Dharmic traditions that emphasise natural law, meditation and Yoga practices leading to enlightenment or Self-realization. Dharmic traditions seek to know the truth of things and do not set forth any dogma. Indigenous and tribal religions, with their connection to natural law, have affinities with Dharmic teachings as they similarly regard all life as sacred.

    Dharmic traditions differentiate human behaviour into dharmic and adharmic, actions that further the truth and those that promote ignorance and illusion. There is no division of humanity into dharmic and adharmic souls because our soul or inner nature is inherently dharmic. Our soul or inner being is our dharma. The difference is between those who know their true nature and those who do not. Knowledge or ignorance is a capacity of all human beings, and we must all strive to move from the ignorance to the knowledge.

    Culture also refers to how we live, the field created by our thoughts, feelings and actions. This is called ‘Samskriti’ in Sanskrit, like the term for the language itself. It refers to constant introspection and contemplation leading to an inner transformation. To reach a higher state of awareness, we must cultivate a lifestyle that supports it, with daily practices to bring consciousness into all that we do. Dharma as a way of life is a higher type of culture, a culture of consciousness, not our ordinary cultural practices that that bind us to the outer world.

    The Divine Immortal Fire gives power to the Gods, so
    the Eternal Dharmas cannot be violated.
    Rigveda III.3.1.

    SOURCE: What Is Hinduism? A Guide for the Global Mind
    David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri)


    What Is Hinduism?

    The very word Hinduism is misleading. The word was coined by the British as an umbrella term, referring to any and all forms of religion in India, many of which share few if any common features. It was used to describe all sorts of beliefs and practices, from simple nature worship to the most highly sophisticated ritual and philosophical systems.

    Hinduism is a vast religious tradition, encompassing various and contradictory strands and ideas. It has usually defied all the usual strategies for categorization and classification. There is no founder, no definitive scripture, no centralized authority, no single supreme god, no creed of essential beliefs, and no heresy. Thus, it would be more accurate to think of the religion as Hinduisms rather than Hinduism, since this would reflect the rich diversity one encounters.

    The most recent period in the development of Hindu religious traditions is marked by the emigration of Indians to America. Many Indians have settled abroad seeking education or to pursue specialized careers. They have established centers of Hindu worship, like the temple Aurora, to serve the needs of the Indian community, including the need to pass on a sense of Hindu identity to their children. Yet despite their efforts to preserve their traditions and culture, their very presence in a different society is causing changes in their religious lives. American society has made certain traditions more difficult to preserve. For example, the community often celebrates religious festivals on the weekend following the traditional festival day, since this is when people have more spare time. Life in American society and the influence of American values have also made it difficult to conform to certain traditional patterns.

    The traditional requirement that Hindus marry within their jati has been assailed both by the American emphasis on the importance of a “love marriage” and by the potential shortage of suitable partners. In the same way, certain dietary restrictions become harder to maintain but have greater complexity. A Hindu in America must decide not only if he or she should simply avoid eating beef but also whether to avoid any place where beef is served.

    [The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism (2 Vol Set)]

Viewing 7 posts - 1 through 7 (of 7 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.