The dialectic of the empirical and transcendental standpoints elucidating corresponding aspects of Reality forms the central point in the Jaina, Buddhist and the Vedanta philosophy. Kundakunda, Nagarjuna and Gaudapada, the pioneers of the Jaina, the buddhist and the Vedanta philosophy respectively employed the dialectic of two standpoints for the first time. Sankaracarya, the chief exponent of Advaita Vedanta, has also recourse to this dialectic. The present work is the reconstruction and reinterpretation of the philosophy of the above authors on the basis of their theories of the twofold dialectic and Reality. In fact, any approach, which aims at a direct and intuitive apprehension or vision of Reality, presupposes that Reality or Truth has two aspects-empirical and transcendental, which can be comprehended and expressed through the respective' two standpoints. It is a meeting ground of all philosophies based on actual experience, If this fact is disregarded, philosophy, a love of wisdom, would turn into a love of jargon!
The book is documented with Bibliography and Index.
The present work is the published form of my doctoral thesis 'Which was approved for the 'Gurudeva Ranade-Damle Prize' by the University of Poona in 1980.
At the outset, I express my deep sense of gratitude to my parents, late Shri Motichand Laxmichand Shah a and Shrimati Sonubai Motichand Shaha, who inspired me for philosophical studies. My father was a staunch Kundakundite following Jnanamarga propogated by a great Jnanamargin Revered Kanajiswami, while my mother happens to be a devotee of an equally great Karmayogin late Acharya Shantisagar. This dialectical antinomy between the Jnanamarga and the Karmamarga created further interest in me for the philosophical quest in my early age.
It was my father who initiated me in the philosophy of Kundakunda. Kundakunda deepened my faith in the value of spiritual life. Further, I was fortunate to receive guidance from many saintly persons belonging to different schools of philosophy and sects of religion, who inspired me not only by their thought but also by their saintly living. Their association widened my intellectual horizon and developed a spirit of catholicity in me. Consequently, I turned to Vedanta and Buddhism also.
I must acknowledge the deep debt of gratitude which I owe to my revered teacher late Dr. Hiralal Jain, ex-Director, Research Institute of Prakrit, Jainology and Ahimsa, Vaishali (Bihar), who instilled in me a critical outlook towards philosophical problems. My thanks are also due to my teacher Dr. Nathmal Tatia under whose guidance I continued my study of Kundakunda's philosophy in 1959.
The credit for reviving my interest in the doctoral study goes to Prof. S.S. Barlingay. It is largely because of him that I could complete the work in the present form.
I am indebted to my relatives, colleagues and friends who helped me in one way or the other. I must mention specifically my wife Mrs. Shaila Shaha, Dr. Shiv Kumar and late Dr. (Miss) Chitrarekha V. Kher for helps of more or less personal nature. I am also obliged to Rev. Dr. Carri who went through the typed script of the present work and offered valuable suggestions. Lastly. my thanks are also due to Shri Shamlal Malhotra, Prop. Eastern Book Linkers, for his keen interest in publishing the present work.
Subject and Its Importance :
The present work, as the title suggests, undertakes a comprehensive study of the dialectic of the two standpoints, viz., the empirical and the transcendental, and their application to the explanation of the empirical and transcendental aspects of Reality. It is the reconstruction and reinterpretation of the philosophies of Kundakunda, Nagarjuna, Gaudapada and Sankara on the basis of their theories of the twofold dialectic and Reality. The dialectic of the two standpoints elucidating Reality at two levels, forms the central point in the Jaina, the Buddhist and the Vedanta philospphy, Kundakunda, Nagarjuna, and Gaudapada, perhaps breathing the same philosophical atmosphere prevailing in the early centuries of the Christian era, are the pioneers of the Jaina, the Buddhist and Vedanta philosophy respectively. It is interesting to note that all of them were born and brought up probably in the southern-most part of India (of course, there is difference of opinion regarding the domicile of Gaudapada). They applied the dialectic of the two standpoints, probably for the first time, to synthesize and to evaluate the canonical literature and the doctrines of their own schools. Sankaracarya, the chief exponent of Advaita Vedanta, has recourse to this dialectic while propounding his philosophy of Monism. And similar is the case with others. This makes it obligatory to study in detail the nature of this dialectic and its application to the explanation of Reality. Such a study would reveal that the employment of this dialectic brought them strikingly close to one another although their distinct philosophical background divided them in so far as the doctrinal matters were concerned. Their differences led them to conceptualize various theories and to evolve technical terms enveloping them. The critical, comparative and comprehensive study of the dialectic and its application to the explanation of Reality is, therefore, of immense value for the understanding of the philosophy of the afore-said philosophers.
The dialectic of the two standpoints and its application to the theory of Reality at two levels is a prominent feature of the Buddhist Jaina and Advaita Vedanta philosophy. It can certainly be said that the idea originated very early, glimpses of which can be found in the canonical literature of the Jainas, the Buddhists and the Upanisads. Kundakunda, Gaudapada and Sankara are the chief exponents of such a theory as they effectively utilized the dialectic in their scheme of explanations of empirical and transcendental experiences. It is evident to them that the intuitive experience of the Transcendental Reality cannot be explained on the basis of empirical experience only and vice versa. This obliges them to have recourse to a twofold dialectic. Besides, when a superior place is granted to the intuitive facts of experience, it becomes further imperative to reconcile the two planes of Reality. These philosophers have done so in the light of their own philosophical stand-points. Therefore, it is necessary to deal with the similarities and dissimilarities in the mode of use of the dialectic of the two standpoints by these philosophers.
Any approach to Reality based on Metaphysics, Ethics and Mysticism, which combines intellect, will and feeling, and which aims at a direct apprehension or vision of Reality, must take cognizance of the fact that Reality or Truth has two aspects -empirical and trans-empirical or transcendental. These two aspects are not merely conceptual, but also ontological, epistemological, logical and axiological. They are related to each other. It does not mean that Reality is a mechanical synthesis of these two aspects. As far as our thought and verbal expression go, we are aware of them. However, these two universal aspects of Reality are only distinguishable but not separable. In India the great prophets like Mahavira, Buddha and Krsna, the ethico-religious philosophers like Kundakunda, Nagarjuna, Gaudapada and Sankara have implicitly or explicitly acknowledged the phenomenal (vyavaharika) and noumenal (paramarthika) aspects of Reality and preached their doctrines having recourse to the distinction of the mundane and the ultimate Truth. At the same time they contend that though Reality Consist of these two facets, it cannot be exhausted by them. It transcends them. The actual, direct, and non-dual experience is and all distinctions, but when one attempts to philosophize or communicate the experience of Reality in terms of rational, logical or epistemological statements, the doctrine or the dialectic of the stand points is a must for him. In Western philosophy also we have parallel concepts of N on-being and Being in Parmenides, lion and Truth in Plato. Appearance and Reality in Bradley, Intellect and Intuition in Bergson, which are the counters of the doctrine of the twofold dialectic and Truth of Reality.
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