About the Book:
The Essentials of Indian Philosophy provides a concise, connected account of Indian philosophy, and interpretation and criticism are provided within the limits of the volume. An introductory chapter summarises Vedic religion and philosophy, and then Indian thought is considered in chapters dealing respectively with the early post-Vedic period and the age of the systems. A brief historical survey accompanies each natural division of the subject, in addition to an exposition of its theory of knowledge, ontology and practical teaching. A glossary of Sanskrit terms and a good subject index are provided.
IT is now some years since my Outlines of Indian Philosophy
was published, with the intention chiefly of providing a
handy text-book for students in our Universities. A simpler
and shorter account of the subject is required for the general
reader, and the present attempt is to meet that requirement.
It is hoped that the book will be found suitable for the purpose,
and that it will receive the same welcome as was generously
accorded to its predecessor.
The subject-matter of the two books being identical, there
is naturally a certain likeness between them; but it will be
seen that no portion of the earlier volume has been verbally
reproduced here. The present work, in accordance with the
aim kept in view in writing it, leaves out many of the details
included in the previous one. The difference between them,
however, does not consist merely in these omissions: There is
also variation in the treatment of some topics, as, for instance,
in the first two chapters dealing with early Indian thought.
At least in two cases, again, there are important additions. In
the earlier book, Buddhism was dealt with in reference to two
stages of its growth. There is a third phase, representing the
doctrine as it was originally taught by Buddha; and a brief
resume of it, as it has been reconstructed by scholars in recent
years, also finds a place here. Similarly, the account of the
Vedanta has been amplified by the inclusion of the Dvaita
system of it. In treating of such a subject as Indian Philosophy,
it is difficult to avoid the use of Sanskrit terms; but their
number appearing in the body of the work has been reduced
as far as possible, and a Glossary is provided to help the reader
in finding out their meanings readily.
I have utilized in the preparation of this book two of my
articles contributed to the Aryan Path, and another to the
Heritage of Indian Culture (published by the Ramakrishna
Mission). I am grateful to the editors of these publications for
their courtesy in permitting me to do so. Specific references
to the articles are given at the appropriate places in the Notes
appended at the end. I wish to record my feeling of indebtedness
to the late Dr. J. E. Turner of the University of Liverpool for
his kindness in reading the book in typescript and for his
valuable suggestions. Finally, I desire to express my deep
gratitude to Professor S. Radhakrishnan for the kindly interest
which he has always taken in my work. It is no exaggeration
to say that, but for his help and encouragement, neither this
book nor the previous one would have been written.
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