A Journey into the Pathways of Philosophy

By Dr. N C Ramanujachary

Page 1  2  5  6 

Page 4


(Wisdom as ultimate of human development and progression)  

 The systems of philosophy are available as ‘aphorisms’, they can be understood only with the assistance of commentaries that are elaborate, confusing, sometimes contradictory, combating with commonsense to that extent the main import of the texts is lost sight of.

The 6 systems are again studied in twins of three sets. Samkhya&Yoga, Nyaya & Vaiseshika  and Mimamsa& Vedanta. Kapila, Patanjali, Gautama, Kanada, Jaimini and Badarayana Vyasa are indicated as the progenitors of these systems respectively.

Samkhya and Yoga systems speak about the hierarchy of the Principles (Tattwas) that proceed from the effects of Purusha on Prakriti and support the experiences of dream and waking consciousness. Nyaya and Vaiseshika systems speak of cosmology and Logic. They treat the data of waking consciousness from the point of view of waking consciousness itself. Mimamsa and Vedanta speak of the fourth state of consciousness (Turiya) and the transcendental non-dual Principle, Brahman. Mimamsa indicates deep thought, consideration, reflection and exposition. Poorva mimamsa is the ritualistic part while the Uttara-later- Mimamsa is Contemplation upon Brahman. The other and popular name for the second is Vedanta, normally understood as the end of Wisdom but strictly analyzed means the inner core or the esoteric wisdom as such.

Each of the systems is studied and elaborated in greater detail by the later scholars. Vachaspati Mishra (841 AD) did a coordinated study of Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Nyaya; while Udayana in the 10th Century made similar studies upon Nyaya and Vaiseshika.  Sarvadarshana Siddhanta Samgraha and Sarvadarsana Samgraha are later presentations epitomizing all the systems and teachers.

Coming to far later periods of time, we have Gauranga who worked on the Bhakti systems, Sri Ramakrishna who combined Bhakti-Jnana and Karma, Sri Ramana who suggested the Inquiry as to ‘who am I?’, Sri Aurobindo who talked of Integral yoga, H P Blavatsky’s thought on ‘Esoteric Philosophy and the outer expressions in Universal brotherhood of humanity’, J Krishnamurti on the mission of making man ‘absolutely and unconditionally free.’ New Age has brought in many outpourings of philosophic expressions. But we see the East-West divide in most of them while Blavatskian thought and that of  J Krishnamurti have a common appeal to the Universality.

In the context of Indian Philosophy, we have many names and concepts and yet the central stress or focus of all of them happens to be the same. All paths lead to the same goal, and each individual has to find out for him/herself that which appeals to him/her most. Bhakti (Love and Devotion), Jnana (Wisdom and Understanding), Karma (Service to humanity, the sub-human groups included) are 3 distinct paths and yet all the three are One. This approach has gained good ground.

There are certain other prominent characteristics that are developing currently:

 1.      Concept of Divinity in relation to Humanity must be understood well.

2.      There can be no Anthropomorphism or Deification.

3.      Transfer of Person to Precept, Behavior to Belief and Performance to Promise.

4.      Union with the universal Soul in a Mystic manner.

5.      Begin with understanding the Unseen, fuse it with the seen which is invariably the projection of the Unseen.

6.      Return to the Ritual. Search into the Sacredness.

7.      Occultism and Mysticism getting fused for the ultimate benefit of Humanity.

 Philosophy is a subject of disgust and vexation to some for the simple reason that it consists of Khandana Mandana, too much argumentation, logic, deductions and inductions. It does not provide ready made answers to the problems of life but one has to labor to obtain them. Philosophy, in fact, wants each person finds his/her own solutions for the problems, arrives at conclusions however temporary they are. Data available is to be considered as 'hypothesis' or 'postulate.'

Indian schools take Vedas and Vedic knowledge as the basis/ starting point of philosophic thought. There are also schools rejecting the Vedic standards. (Pramaana)eg. Charvaka, Buddhism and Jainism. Schools not altogether rejecting Veda Pramana are divided into 2 classes. 1. Schools directly connected and correlated to Vedic theories. And 2. Schools based on independent thinking e.g. Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaiseshika.

Samkhya system has no god in the beginning. It was a later introduction. Thus we have 2 schools of samkhya, namely Sa-Ishwara and Nirishwara samkhya.

Concept of God is a basic/preliminary topic of study in any system. We may now look into how this topic had developed into different branches of thinking.  The existence or otherwise of god has come to be a debatable point, no two points converging into one. He is described as One without the Second (adwiteeya) while some ignore his reference altogether. Philosophy did not need his presence for its substantiation but the Religion is too often woven round him. Indian system of philosophy, the principal thought of the Land, Adwaita school, has no God in a name and form. Samkhya as we said had no god, but it was Yoga sutras again that introduced the concept of god. they named him and also indicated that he provides the medium for persons to reach him back. The yoga texts contain and carry many Buddhist terms in them.

God is a Principle (Tatwa) for some while he is an Entity (Person) for some. He is Abstract and Concrete too. Para-brahman or Param-atma are terms indicative of him but in the other thought he cannot be 'anthropomorphized.' He creates, designs, superintends, guides, oversees, sustains and progresses/advances the manifestation, including the Man.

Once certain 'duties and responsibilities' are assigned to God by the human thought, a sort of reciprocal attitude or Barter system has begun to sprout. 'Commercialization' of spiritual factors/focus has begun. Degradation and degeneration of human thought as such has begun with this.

'The idea of god is not an innate but an acquired notion.  -- The god of the theologians is simply an imaginary power, a power which has never yet manifested itself. Our chief aim is to deliver humanity of this nightmare, to teach man virtue for its own sake, and to walk in life relying on himself instead of leaning on a theological crutch, that for countless ages was the direct cause of nearly all human misery.' Wrote a master of the wisdom.

Man desires to be prosperous, would like to continue in that state of prosperity all the time and thus invented the idea of 'Immortality.' This can be a section of thought. With this thought, his relationship with everything around changes and the forts of selfishness and self-centeredness get built. Evil makes a beginning this way. Again, according to the same master of the wisdom, ' Evil has no existence per se and is but the absence of good and exists for him who is made its victim. It proceeds from two causes, and no more than good is it an independent cause in nature. Nature is destitute of goodness or malice; she follows only immutable laws when she either gives life and joy; or sends suffering (and) death, and destroys what she has created. Nature has an antidote for every poison and her laws a reward for every suffering. ---- The real evil proceeds from human intelligence and its origin rests entirely with reasoning man who dissociates himself with nature. Humanity, then, alone is the true source of evil.'  Ethics, social conduct/contract and collective good are omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence. Psychological realms have way to the awakening faculty "Buddhi" and ultimately make one a part of the whole, the nature. One who is apart, comes to be 'a part.' Unity/ togetherness/ Oneness of everything in manifestation is the fundamental law in Nature. In the Indian concepts and theories this is mentioned as "Dharma", literally meaning 'holding all together.'


Page 1  2  5  6