About the Book:
This study of Hinduism developed out of a dissatisfaction with the usual approaches to the vast collection of ideas and practices known as "Hinduism". There is an understandable tendency of both Western and Indian scholars to force Hinduism into Western molds. Although Indian intellectuals currently point to the inappropriateness of Western academic and rational categories, a heavier use of untranslated Sanskrit does not constitute a solution. Author concludes that the difficulty lies in the analysis of Hinduism either as a religion or as a philosophy. Those who take the religious approach regard Hinduism as pantheism, or henotheism, or theism; those who take the philosophical approach discover monism or dualism, rationalism or intuitionism, naturalism or idealism. But either analysis still seems to miss the heart of Hinduism.
Hinduism is sadhana,, a discipline for the actualizing of human potentialities. The existential flavor of Hindu sadhana so pervades the entire corpus of its writings and practices that existentialism has never arisen as protest movement against essentialism. This is suggested in the ambiguous manner of describing Hinduism as a philosophical religion or a religious philosophy. The more sadhana which seeks to guide man to integration, to spiritualization, and to liberation. The goal of this sadhana is Atmansidhi;; that perfection in is not a static fulfillment, for man is essentially active. Man's nature is a becoming not a being. Hence the human ideal is perfecting, not perfection. The concept of reincarnation is the Hindu way of asserting there are no temporal nor developmental limits to this perfecting. The secret of secrets at last disclosed in the Mahabharata is that there is not status superior to man.
About the Author:
The author was a graduate of Hastings college, McCormick Theological Seminary, and the University of Iowa and was Professor of Philosophy at Ohio University.
A complete list of those who helped write this book would include persons ranging 'from the members of the 79th Congress who passed Public Law 584 (The Fulbright Act) to bearers Abdul, Kasi, and Babulal who sent me off each morning in India with shoes polished and body sustained with a warm breakfast. My indebtedness is here expressed to only a few, but it is symbolic of my gratitude to many.
What I owe to my "co-author" I shall intimate in the words of the Mahabharata: "When one sets out for a strange land one's wife is one's trusted companion." Thanks are due to the U.S. Department of State and to the U.S. Educational Foundation in India for two research grants (1958-59, 1965-66), to Ohio University for the Distinguished Professor Award which made possible a third trip to India and for a Baker Award for study at the British Museum, to the Vice-Chancellor of Visva-Bharati University and the members of the Centre for Advanced Study in Philosophy for a Visiting Professorship (1968) and for the opportunity to present some of the material of this book in ten public lectures, to the members of the Santiniketan asrama for their patience in listening to a mleccha and for their suggestions, to librarians at the Indian National Library in Calcutta, at Santiniketan, and at the Library of the British Museum, and to the many helpful people at The Ohio University Press.
I have borrowed ideas and phrases from three previously published articles of mine: "Two Forms of Tolerance," The Visvabharati Quarterly, Vol. 26, No.2, Autumn 1960, pp. 162-169; "Hinduism as Sadhana, Ohio University Review, Vol. 9, 1967, pp. 44-52; "The Self as Discovery and Creation in Western and Indian Philosophy," East-West Studies on the Problem of the Self, edited by P. T. Raju and Alburey Castell, The Hague; Martinus Nijhoff, 1968, pp. 163-176. Permissions have been granted for reprinting from the following materials:
Deben Bhattacharya, trans. Love Songs of Vidyapati. (London: George Allen & Unwin, 1963); Charles E. Gover, trans. The Folk Songs of Southern India. (Madras: The South India Saiva Saddhanta Works Publishing Society, 1959); J. S. Hooper, trans. Hymns of the Alvars. (Calcutta: Association Press, 1920); Nicol Macnicol. Psalms of Maratha Saints. (London: Oxford University Press, 1919. Calcutta; Association Press, 1919); Swami Nikhilananda, ed. Self Knowledge, An English Translation of Sankara-Charya's Atmabodha. (New York: Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center, 1946); Kishitimohan Sen. Mediaeval Mysticism of India. (London: Luzac & Co., 1936): Rabindranath Tagore. Gitanjali. (New York: Macmillan, 1916).
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