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Contemporary Indian Philosophy

Contemporary Indian Philosophy


Item Code: IDJ698

by Basant Kumar Lal

Hardcover (Edition: 1999)

Motilal Banarsidass
ISBN 8120802608

Size: 8.5" X 5.5"
Pages: 366
Price: $25.00
Discounted: $18.75   Shipping Free
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This work has been undertaken just to negate the impression that contemporary India does not have a philosophy of its own. In fact, sincere attempts have not been made to present Contemporary Indian Philosophy in the mould of academic philosophy. This is a fact that contemporary Indian thinkers are true to their tradition, but attempts have not been made to highlight such constructive aspects of their thought that bear the mark of original thinking and insight. Their attitude to-words tradition, is 'reverential', and therefore. They appear to be tradition-tied and dogmatic. Tradition, at times, does become a source of dogmatism in philosophical thinking, but this also is true that a complete and radical breaking away from tradition is impossible. Those who wish to do so become 'homeless' and start looking towards other sources for inspiration. The philosophy that they produce becomes derivative a kind of moon-light philosophy. Therefore, what is needed is to re-think the thoughts of the contemporary Indian thinkers emphasizing both the points of repetition and those of original thinking. The present work claims to serve that purpose in its own modest way.

The work is mainly expository; at times, reflection or critical comments have been made, but they have been made with the sole intention of clarifying some of the complex concepts. For a faithful exposition of a thought or a point of view, its appreciation is necessary, and in order to appreciate a thought-system it is essential to establish some kind of identification with it. That is why the exposition throughout is somewhat sympathetic, even when objections are raised and difficulties apprehended, they serve the purpose of helping the understanding of a difficult notion or an idea.

In India today there are two distinct currents of philosophical activities flowing almost side by side. One is the kind of philosophy in which both the intellectuals and philosophical activity that is purely academic and somewhat 'professorial'. This work has not given due regard to the latter although thinkers like K. C. Bhattacharya and Radhakrishnan can be said to be the representatives of this group. But it is possible to develop a comprehensive view of the philosophical activities and are being pursued in the universities of India by the teachers and students of philosophy, that of course will be a major work in itself and hence will deserve a separate treatment.

The attempt to arrange these thoughts in an academic and systematic manner met with an initial difficulty - the difficulty regarding the selection of topics. Naturally, only such topics were selected which appeared to be 'philosophical' and which, taken together, could give a comprehensive picture of a thought-system.

The work includes roughly the thinkers of the twentieth century with the sole exception of Swami Vivekananda, whose philosophical activities were confined to the late second half of the nineteenth century.

This work does not claim to be fully comprehensive as some of the contemporary Indian thinkers have not been included in it. That is chiefly on account of the fact that any attempts to reduce their thoughts into the academic models of philosophy will necessarily involve repetitions.

My thanks are due to M/S Motilal Banarsidass for consenting to publish the work. I am particularly grateful to Shri Jainendra P. Jain who took personal interest in the project and inspired me to expedite the work.


Introduction: Characteristics of Contemporary Indian Philosophy xi-xxi
ISwami Vivekananda 1-46
Life. The influences that shaped his philosophy. His metaphysical standpoint. Reality and God. Proofs for God's existence. Some other characters of God. Nature of the world: the Cosmos. The Doctrine of Maya. Nature of Man. The Physical nature of Man. The Spiritual nature of Man. Freedom and Karma. Destiny of the Soul: Realisation of Immortality. Evidences in its favour. Nature of the Liberated. Ways of Realisation: The way of Knowledge (Jnanayoga). The way of Devotion (Bhakti-marga). The way of Action (Karma-marga). The way of Psychology (Raja-yoga). A final note on the four kinds of Yoga. Religion, its nature. Religion as a necessary aspect of life. Origin of Religion, Nature of Religion. Nature and Ideal of Universal Religion.
IIRabindranath Tagore 47-90
Introduction. General Philosophical standpoint. Reality and God. Proofs for God's existence. Creation. Doctrine of Maya. Degrees of Reality. Nature of Man. (i) The finite-infinite nature of man (ii) The finite aspect of man (iii) The Infinite aspect of man's nature (iv) Soul and Body. Nature of Religion. Human Destiny. The Problem of Evil. Ways of Realisation: (i) Soul-consciousness and self-consciousness. (ii) The ways: Realisation in Love. Realisation in Action. Realisation of Beauty. Realisation of the Infinite. Tagore's Humanism.
IIIMahatama Gandhi 91-137
Life. Influences that shaped his Thought. God and Truth. Truth is God. Proofs for the existence of God. Some other characters of God. Nature of the world. Nature of Man. Karma and Rebirth. Non-violence. The technique of Ahimsa: Satyagraha. Requirements of a Satyagrahi. Kinds of Satyagraha. Philosophy of End and Means. Religion and Morality: (i) What is Religion (ii) the way of Religion (iii) attitude towards living Religions (iv) Attitude towards Hinduism. Morality: (i) Religion and Morality (ii) what is Morality? (iii) The Cardinal Virtues. Social and Political Ideas: (i) Society. (ii) The natural classes or the Varnas (iii) Bread Labour (iv) Equality of wages (v) Labour, Capital and the Doctrine of Trusteeship (vi) The economic basis of Society (vii) against too much of Industrialisation (viii) Men and Women in Society (ix) Nature of his Political Ideas (x) Political Freedom: Swaraj (xi) The State and the Individual (xii) Decentralisation (xiii) Ideal State and Sarvodaya (xiv) Education (xv) Swadeshi, Nationalism, Internationalism.
IVSri Aurobindo 158-222
Life. The Philosophical Background. The Two Negations. Reality - Saccidananda. The Pure Existent. The Consciousness-force. The delight of Existence: Bliss. Nature of Creation. The world-process: Descent or Involution. Maya and Lila. Ascent or Evolution. The four Theories of Existence. Nature of Man. Rebirth and the Law of Karma. Ignorance, its origin and nature. The Sevenfold Ignorance. The Supermind. The triple status of the Supermind. The triple transformation. Gnostic Being and Divine Life; (i) Nature of the Gnostic Being (ii) types of Gnostic Being (iii) Personality of the Gnostic Being. The Divine Life. Integral Yoga, its nature. How is it integral
VKrishnachandra Bhattacharya 223-256
Life. General Character of his Thought. Concept of Philosophy: (i) Theoretic consciousness (ii) its four grades, Science, Philosophy of the object, Philosophy of the Spirit, Philosophy of Truth. Theory of knowledge. Negation as the basis of his philosophy. Notion of Subjectivity: (a) The subject and the object (b) further analysis of subjectivity (c) A summing up. Progressive realization of the Subject's freedom. Concept of the Absolute and its alternation.
VIS. Radhakrishnan 257-302
Life. Nature of his philosophy. Nature of the Ultimate Reality. The Absolute or the Brahman. Absolute and God. World. Nature of the Soul. The finite aspects of man. The Infinite aspect of Man's nature True nature of the Soul. Some other characters. Are souls one or many ? The Doctrine of Rebirth. Human Destiny. The Way of Realisation, Religion, its nature. Religious Experience. Essence of Religion. The Way of Religion. An element of Mysticism. Different ways of knowing Inadequacy of Sense experience. Inadequacy of Intellectual Cognition, Intuition and Senseimpression. Intuition and Intellect. Nature of Intuitive Apprehension.

VIISir Mohammad Iqbal 303-334
Life. General Introduction. Nature of Intuition. Objections against Intuition considered. Nature of the Self. Nature of the World as an Ego. God. On the traditional proofs for the existence of God. God as the Supreme Ego. Attributes of God. Knowledge, Omnipotence, Eternity, Immanence and Transcendence. Human Destiny. Importance of Prayer.
Bibliography 335-341
Index 342-345
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