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Self, Society and Value: Reflections on Indian Philosophical Thought

Self, Society and Value: Reflections on Indian Philosophical Thought
$31.00
Item Code: IDI125
Author: Shashiprabha Kumar
Publisher: Vidyanidhi Prakashan
Edition: 2005
ISBN: 8186700544
Pages: 206
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details: 5.6"X 8.5"
Preface
I am pleased to present this volume in the form of a collection of my research articles, several of which were written originally as presentations for various seminars or conferences, national as well international. These papers are in fact a result of my endeavour to understanding and explain certain basic ideas of India's philosophical thought, the main area of my study and research over a period of last three decades. What is intended here is not any particular philosophical position or critique of key concepts from a highly intellectual standpoint but a genuine desire to grasp, comprehend and convey the essence of Indian philosophical thought. There is neither a claim of comprehensive coverage nor of any novel interpretation in these articles; just a freshness of presentation is attempted herein and that too for my own inner satisfaction. Hence I have chosen to call them 'Reflections' rather than 'Essays' or 'Studies'. It must also be mentioned here that the articles contained in this volume do not directly deal with specific issues of Indian philosophy but delve deep into some underlying ideas and inherent notions which are foundation in nature and central in character to Indian philosophical in general.

As far as the thematic aspect of the book in hand is concerned, I must that it might appear as loosely joined multicoulered beads on a single string. Although the titles of articles seem to be diverse and different, yet there is an inherent consistency which is unique to the India way or thinking. The same has been brought out in the very first article of the volume which is divided in three sections, namely: Self, Society and Value Which I have also used as the title of the book. Accordingly, out of the fourteen articles, at least five are based on the Vedic sources and deal mainly with the nation of Self, While three articles pertain to the concepts relating to society and the remaining six Indian philosophical thought.

Usually it is held that Indian philosophy does not discuss moral issues, but this is far from the truth as will be clear towards the end of this book. There is no denying the fact that Indian philosophy is holistic and integral in nature, it is not theoretically oriented to social or individual morality but intrinsically woven with an urge to move ahead and rise higher in life. This inner impulse is essentially expressed to be good and noble and shuns whatever is evil and ignoble. It is, therefore, quite in consonance with this idea that the basic philosophy of life in Indian view is not only concerned with analyzing the technical details in a 'logical' manner, but also takes an 'axiological' approach to life's fundamental questions. It is hence applied rather than speculative in its basic thrust. This aptitude of Indian philosophy has been stated more eloquently and systematically in the last six articles of the present volume.

In my earlier book entitled Facets of Indian Philosophical Thought, I had ventured upon Veda Vedanta, Vaisesika and Mimamsa systems. Here again, I have been selective in choice of topics and could not cover each and every aspect of Indian philosophical thought. In the present collection, I have not only included certain articles based on Veda, Upanisad and Bhagavadgita but also tried to cover Vedanta, Vaisesika and yoga, besides be taken as representative of Indian philosophical thought and not exhaustive.

Still, if these essays can generate even a minimal interest in the minds of a few selected readers for going deeper into the study of Indian Philosophy, I will deem my effort to be amply rewarded.

From the Jacket

"Written with clarity, these reflections represent a useful introduction to some of the varied philosophical treasures that exist in our tradition. The word philosophy itself comes from the Greek, meaning 'love of wisdom', and any attempt to throw light upon our vast and varied tradition of wisdom is to be welcomed. Indeed a re-articulation and reaffirmation of our philosophical roots is an important continuing exercise."

Dr. Karan Singh

The present volume is a collection of fourteen on various aspects of Indian philosophical thought which do not directly deal with specific issues from an analytical standpoint but delve deep into some underlying ideas of Indian modes of thinking.

The chapters included here are based on Veda, Upanisad, Bhagavadgita, Vedanta, Vaisesika and Yoga, besides Jaina and Buddhist systems of Indian tradition. Although the titles or the topics might apparently seem to be diverse or different, yet there is an inherent consistency, which is unique to the Indian philosophical thought. The same has been brought out in these articles on three broad aspects, i. e., Self, Society and Value.

Dr. Shashiprabha Kumar , Chairperson, Special Centre for Sanskrit Studies, JNU, is an acclaimed Sanskrit scholar, wellversed in classical Indian philosophy. Before joining JNU, she taught at the department of philosophy, University of Delhi; department of Sanskrit at Maitreyi College, New Delhi and R. G. Post Graduate College, Meerut. More than twenty research scholars have obtained M. Phil./Ph.D. under her guidance.

Dr, Shashiprabha has fourteen books to her credit and has contributed more than sixty research papers to reputed journals and edited volumes. She has participated in several International Conferences and National seminars besides lecturing in India and abroad.

Recipient of Sri Ramakrishna Sanskrit Award (Word Education Foundation, Canada, 2003) for her distinguished and outstanding contribution to Sanskrit research and teaching and Shankar Puraskar (K. K. Birla Foundation, New Delhi, 1998) for her first book entitled Vaisesika Darsana mein Padartha- Nirupana, she has own many other prestigious awards and fellowships.

As a founder and managing trustee of Nihsreyasa, a private trust for propagation of Indian philosophy and culture, she is trying her best towards culture, she is trying her best towards transmitting the treasure of wisdom stocked in Sanskrit sources.

Contents
Forewordv
Acknowledgementsvii
Prefaceix
1Nature of Human Existence1
2The Ultimate Goal of life18
3Ethical Concepts in the Vedas26
4Eschatological in the Katha Upanisad34
5Ontological Quest from Veda to Vedanta47
6Vedic Yajna: From Ritual to Spiritual59
7Svarajya: The Vedic Vision76
8Guru-Sisya Relationship in Vedic Education90
9Significance of Sadhanacatustaya in Vedanta108
10Bhakti in the Bhagavadgita126
11Moral foundations of Social Order in Vaisesikasutras137
12Obligations towards Others149
13Ahimsa in Jaina Ethics and Patanjala Yoga162
14Roots of Chinese Buddhistic Values in Indian thought172
Index187

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