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Ways to Truth : A View of Hindu Tradition
Ways to Truth : A View of Hindu Tradition
Description
Back of the Book

In India, there has long been a tendency to emphasize the spoken word, which is passed on alive from an individual teacher to each individual student. But, through the development of modern media, more use is now made of the written word which records information externally, in institutions that have been industrially, socially and culturally organized.

How then can we understand the Hindu tradition as alive today with its ancient emphasis upon the spoken word and the living individual? That is the question, which this book investigates. Accordingly, it asks for a broader understanding of history, which would allow for a rightful accounting of the Vedas and of other oral learning.

Through its continued emphasis upon the living word, the Hindu tradition asks for a deeper understanding of reasoned enquiry. Such reasoning does not work primarily through mechanical instruments in the restricted way than modern physics does. Instead, it works essentially through a reflective investigation of our living faculties, which are thus cultivated and clarified.

The goal of truth is not here sought through an institutional consensus; but rather as a common ground, which is approached quite differently through different personalities and institutions of culture.

Ananda Wood, as his name suggests, is one of those people with a rather mixed background. He was born and brought up in India, studied mathematics at King's College, Cambridge, and went on to a Doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. After completing his university education, he returned to India, where he has now settled down to concentrate on a long-standing interest, in the modern interpretation of Advaita philosophy. He is currently a moderator on the Advaitin e-group at yahoo.com. And most of his books and articles may be accessed at: http://www.advaitin.net/Ananda

Preface

This book is one of many attempts to make to some sense of Hinduism as a living tradition, which is now joining into a globalization world. The particular attempt is centered on the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, so it provides only one of many points of view. Each view has its insights to contribute for a general audience, including those who might see things quite differently.

A general reader will notice that diacritical marks are often used, to transliterate words that come from Sanskrit. These marks show how to pronounce the Sanskrit letters, as indicated roughly in the footnote below. The reader need not worry too much about this, because English equivalents are provided repeatedly, to help avoid the need for Sanskrit terms.

In the end, it doesn't really matter whether Sanskrit terms are used or avoided. What matters is a willingness to investigate beliefs and assumptions that are taken blindly for granted, by force of unexamined habit, in one's own language and ideas and attitudes.

Contents
Prefaceix
Part 1- Learning from the Past
HISTORY AND LEARNING AMONG HINDUS
Living History 1
'Heard' and 'Remembered' Text2
By Word of Mouth4
Traditional Authority6
An Individual Emphasis7
SOCIETY AND CASTE
Social Classes - Jati and Varna9
Brahmins17
Ksatriyas19
Vaisyas20
Sudras21
Outcastes22
Renunciation25
CHANGING VIEWS OF EARLY INDIA
When and Where?28
Horses and Immigrations29
Knowledge and Travel30
Energy and Inner Light32
Vedic Texts and Archaeology33
The Current Immigration Picture35
Time-scales of History37
Another Picture, from Old Riverbeds39
Encoded Knowledge40
Uncertain Pictures42
History and Living Knowledge43
FOUR AIMS
Kama- Desire46
Artha-Wealth47
Dharma-Well founded Order47
Moksa-Freedom50
Part 2 - Authority and Power
CREATION IN THE VEDAS
Subjective and Impersonal 53
A Skeptical Creation Hymn55
Looking In61
REBIRTH AND DISSOLUTION
The Mantra 'Om'64
Krama Srsti - Cyclic Cosmology67
Karma - Transmigration and Psychology71
Yugapat Srsti- Creation All at Once75
Differing Accounts78
NATURE'S MANIFESTING LIFE
Personal Ego and Impartial Objectivity80
Illuminating Consciousness82
Knowing and Doing84
Expressive Energy88
Living Kinship90
The Self in Everyone93
THREE QUALITIES
Natural Activity96
Transcending Ground98
Arjuna's Fear101
FIVE LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE
The Traditional Five Elements103
A Comparison with Modern Physics106
Reflecting Back to Ground109
World and Personality111
YOGIC DISCIPLINE
Control of Mind116
Training of Character121
Altered States128
Undying Truth131
Detachment from Personality
Karma Yoga133
Personality and Self 136
Establishment in Truth141
Part 3 - Learning and Enquiry
SOUND AND SEEING
The Sense of Sound149
Vibration and Light151
Shining Out154
Chanting and Enquiry156
Learning from Source159
LEVELS OF EXPRESSION
The Science of Language161
Differences and Knowledge164
Three Levels165
The Essence of Speech168
Levels and Ground170
LANGUAGE AND TRADITION
Freedoms of Choice184
Intensive Use186
Poetic Ambiguity188
Objective Analysis189
Reflective Questioning190
Changing Times198
SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
Sasana - Traditional Instruction201
Vidyas - Branches of Learning 206
Darsanas - World Views214
APPROACHING TRUTH
Sat - Existence223
Cit - Consciousness225
Ananda - Happiness228
An Afterword - For a Globalizing World
TRADICTION AND THE LIVING INDIVIDUAL
Individual Centering231
Reconciling Different Views233
Personal and Individual237
Ancient and Medieval Institutions240
Free-Thinking Individualism244
Academic Institutes and Living Knowledge247
Bibliographic References255
Index
General Index257
Index of Quoted Passages268

Ways to Truth : A View of Hindu Tradition

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2008
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8124604398
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269
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Back of the Book

In India, there has long been a tendency to emphasize the spoken word, which is passed on alive from an individual teacher to each individual student. But, through the development of modern media, more use is now made of the written word which records information externally, in institutions that have been industrially, socially and culturally organized.

How then can we understand the Hindu tradition as alive today with its ancient emphasis upon the spoken word and the living individual? That is the question, which this book investigates. Accordingly, it asks for a broader understanding of history, which would allow for a rightful accounting of the Vedas and of other oral learning.

Through its continued emphasis upon the living word, the Hindu tradition asks for a deeper understanding of reasoned enquiry. Such reasoning does not work primarily through mechanical instruments in the restricted way than modern physics does. Instead, it works essentially through a reflective investigation of our living faculties, which are thus cultivated and clarified.

The goal of truth is not here sought through an institutional consensus; but rather as a common ground, which is approached quite differently through different personalities and institutions of culture.

Ananda Wood, as his name suggests, is one of those people with a rather mixed background. He was born and brought up in India, studied mathematics at King's College, Cambridge, and went on to a Doctorate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. After completing his university education, he returned to India, where he has now settled down to concentrate on a long-standing interest, in the modern interpretation of Advaita philosophy. He is currently a moderator on the Advaitin e-group at yahoo.com. And most of his books and articles may be accessed at: http://www.advaitin.net/Ananda

Preface

This book is one of many attempts to make to some sense of Hinduism as a living tradition, which is now joining into a globalization world. The particular attempt is centered on the philosophy of Advaita Vedanta, so it provides only one of many points of view. Each view has its insights to contribute for a general audience, including those who might see things quite differently.

A general reader will notice that diacritical marks are often used, to transliterate words that come from Sanskrit. These marks show how to pronounce the Sanskrit letters, as indicated roughly in the footnote below. The reader need not worry too much about this, because English equivalents are provided repeatedly, to help avoid the need for Sanskrit terms.

In the end, it doesn't really matter whether Sanskrit terms are used or avoided. What matters is a willingness to investigate beliefs and assumptions that are taken blindly for granted, by force of unexamined habit, in one's own language and ideas and attitudes.

Contents
Prefaceix
Part 1- Learning from the Past
HISTORY AND LEARNING AMONG HINDUS
Living History 1
'Heard' and 'Remembered' Text2
By Word of Mouth4
Traditional Authority6
An Individual Emphasis7
SOCIETY AND CASTE
Social Classes - Jati and Varna9
Brahmins17
Ksatriyas19
Vaisyas20
Sudras21
Outcastes22
Renunciation25
CHANGING VIEWS OF EARLY INDIA
When and Where?28
Horses and Immigrations29
Knowledge and Travel30
Energy and Inner Light32
Vedic Texts and Archaeology33
The Current Immigration Picture35
Time-scales of History37
Another Picture, from Old Riverbeds39
Encoded Knowledge40
Uncertain Pictures42
History and Living Knowledge43
FOUR AIMS
Kama- Desire46
Artha-Wealth47
Dharma-Well founded Order47
Moksa-Freedom50
Part 2 - Authority and Power
CREATION IN THE VEDAS
Subjective and Impersonal 53
A Skeptical Creation Hymn55
Looking In61
REBIRTH AND DISSOLUTION
The Mantra 'Om'64
Krama Srsti - Cyclic Cosmology67
Karma - Transmigration and Psychology71
Yugapat Srsti- Creation All at Once75
Differing Accounts78
NATURE'S MANIFESTING LIFE
Personal Ego and Impartial Objectivity80
Illuminating Consciousness82
Knowing and Doing84
Expressive Energy88
Living Kinship90
The Self in Everyone93
THREE QUALITIES
Natural Activity96
Transcending Ground98
Arjuna's Fear101
FIVE LEVELS OF EXPERIENCE
The Traditional Five Elements103
A Comparison with Modern Physics106
Reflecting Back to Ground109
World and Personality111
YOGIC DISCIPLINE
Control of Mind116
Training of Character121
Altered States128
Undying Truth131
Detachment from Personality
Karma Yoga133
Personality and Self 136
Establishment in Truth141
Part 3 - Learning and Enquiry
SOUND AND SEEING
The Sense of Sound149
Vibration and Light151
Shining Out154
Chanting and Enquiry156
Learning from Source159
LEVELS OF EXPRESSION
The Science of Language161
Differences and Knowledge164
Three Levels165
The Essence of Speech168
Levels and Ground170
LANGUAGE AND TRADITION
Freedoms of Choice184
Intensive Use186
Poetic Ambiguity188
Objective Analysis189
Reflective Questioning190
Changing Times198
SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
Sasana - Traditional Instruction201
Vidyas - Branches of Learning 206
Darsanas - World Views214
APPROACHING TRUTH
Sat - Existence223
Cit - Consciousness225
Ananda - Happiness228
An Afterword - For a Globalizing World
TRADICTION AND THE LIVING INDIVIDUAL
Individual Centering231
Reconciling Different Views233
Personal and Individual237
Ancient and Medieval Institutions240
Free-Thinking Individualism244
Academic Institutes and Living Knowledge247
Bibliographic References255
Index
General Index257
Index of Quoted Passages268
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