The first chapter demonstrates the socio-political, geographical and racial causes for the formation of human thinking, followed by a chapter on what philosophy is and the nature of Indian philosophy. The Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Grta, and about five schools of Vedanta, including Kashmir Saivisim were discussed at length in three different chapters. Another three chapters deal with Caracas, Jainism and Buddhism; and one on Sathkhya and Vagesika.
This book is unique in the sense that it contains a review in the conclusion; and M.N. Roy has evaluated the philosophical heritage in its introduction. M.N. Roy has remarked that the "chapters are of great importance methodologically, and as such constitute the more valuable part of a commendable work of scholarship."
It is useful as a reference book for students and scholars as well as general readers interested in understanding the evolution of ancient Indian thought, and broadens the horizons of their knowledge of Indian philosophy.
Professor Satchidananda Murty is the most thought-provoking philosopher of our times, whose books on Indian philosophy, culture, religion -particularly Vedanta - contains an instructive and penetrating analysis. Four Indian universities, including the Banaras Sanskrit University have conferred on him the Hon. D. Lit., apart from Wittenberg University in Germany, Scoria University of Bulgaria, Russian Academy of Sciences, and People's University of China.
One can appreciate this work, if one is familiar with Bertrand Russell's History of Western Philosophy and the history of India, through which one can learn that life and thought are invariably interconnected with polity and persons, economy and environment. The sections of this text were originally chapters, but now have been rearranged in accordance with the popular pattern of writing Indian philosophy. In this edition no single sentence has been added, however too many references and complex narratives have been reduced. As a whole a few sentences here and there in a chapter or two in the entire text have been deleted; thus the original text has been kept alive, both in spirit and content.
The first chapter demonstrates the socio-political, geographical and racial causes for the formation of human thinking, followed by a chapter on what philosophy is and the nature of Indian philosophy. The Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad-Gita, and about five schools of Vedanta, including Kasmira-Saivism were discussed at length in three different chapters. Another three chapters on Carvakas, Jainism and Buddhism; and one on Samhita and Vaisesika were dealt with; however this book does not contain any chapter or section on the systems of Nyaya, Yoga and Mimamsa . Probably Professor Murty might have been influenced by the writings of Max Muller, Paul Deussen and Garbe, assuming that the Mimamsa as scriptural exegesis of the ritualistic portion of the Vedas, Yoga as a form of discipline of meditation, and Nyaya as the science of logic, have little philosophy.
When the philosophical circles throughout the world are being swept away by the cyclone of epistemological analysis, and the tsunami of metaphysical speculations, the "Andhra University Philosophical Studies" series reoriented to the traditions of Socrates and Sankara, which were initiated by S. Radhakrishnan and P.T. Raju at Andhra University followed by K. Satchidananda Murty, with the motto "Global Understanding with Vedantic Spirit" wherein the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies inculcates in its curriculum ethics, social ideals and culture values, embodied both in secular society and religious thought. As such Evolution of Indian Philosophy is the eighth volume in the "Andhra University Philosophical Studies Series," which was started a few years ago.
The foreword written by Professor A.R. Wadia from Baroda and the introduction by honourable M.N. Roy written from Defraud respectively on 20th and 30th April in the year 1952 reveal the method and spirit in which the book is written. This book is dedicated to Professor V.S. Krishna , the then Vice-Chancellor of Andhra University. Having been directed by Professor Murty for our doctoral researches on Vedanta and Buddhism, and being associated as his younger colleagues in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, we feel proud in presenting to the seekers of truth, the insights of Professor K. Satchidananda Murty with reference to the evolution of philosophy in India. In this context, we are thankful to Professor K. Ramesh of the Department of IRPM in Andhra University, the youngest son of Professor K. Satchidananda Murty for permitting us to undertake the second edition. We are grateful to Shri Susheel K. Mittal, Director of the D.K. Printworld for publishing this under the "Andhra University Philosophical Studies" series.
But in ancient India, philosophy revolted against religion. The philosophical heritage of India has still to be discovered and properly evaluated. A philosophical reaction is the outstanding feature of the intellectual life of India, which is dominated by religious revivalism - a vain attempt to rationalize the irrational.
By her own effort, India never emerged from the intellectual twilight of her Middle Ages, which followed the downfall of Buddhism. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, individual religious reformers preached devotionals which would dispense with the priestly-intermediary between God and his devotees. But their influence was local and transitory. India experienced neither a Renaissance nor a Reformation. The intellectual stagnation lasted until the middle of the nineteenth century, when a faint echo of the modern rationalist and liberal thought reached India, to disturb it partially. During the latter half of the century, the intellectual life of the country was influenced by a number of men who preached revolt against religious orthodoxy, intellectual parochialism and social injustice. There was no great philosopher amongst them. They were social reformers. None of them thought of going behind the twilight of the Middle Ages in search of India's philosophical heritage. The attitude of the more advanced amongst those forerunners of an Indian Renaissance towards her past was negative. They drew inspiration from the West and held that India as a whole must do the same in order to emerge from medievalism.
Unfortunately, the impact of modern Western thought came in the wake of the British conquest. It made some headway until discontent and then hatred against the foreign political rule became the predominating passion of the educated classes. Then all Western influence was decried as denationalizing materialism to be opposed and rejected in favour of the spiritual genius of Indian culture. Speculative thought of any kind had been for centuries eclipsed by priestly bigotry, superstitious ritualism and practice of social injustice, such as the caste system, untouchability, etc. which passed as religion. In that atmosphere, the democratic simplicity of Christianity had a strong appeal not only for the victims of social injustice, but also for many liberal intellectuals.
A movement of religious reform and of revival of the spiritualist philosophy of India were the reaction to that process of the disintegration of an intellectually stagnant society. Return to the pristine purity of Vedic ritualism was the religious reform advocated. The orthodoxy of the reformers was more bigoted than the current variety. Such a reactionary movement being incapable of meeting the situation, the modern prophets of India's spiritual mission, who sought to provide a philosophical sanction for a religious revivalism, reinforced it. It was discovered in the post-Buddhist scholastic theology, which had expounded Vedanta as the quintessence of the philosophical thought of ancient India.
Book's Contents and Sample Pages
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