The compound “Hindu philosophy” is ambiguous. Minimally it stands for a tradition of Indian philosophical thinking. However, it could be interpreted as designating one comprehensive philosophical doctrine, shared by all Hindu thinkers. The term “Hindu philosophy” is often used loosely in this philosophical or doctrinal sense, but this usage is misleading. There is no single, comprehensive philosophical doctrine shared by all Hindus that distinguishes their view from contrary philosophical views associated with other Indian religious movements such as (...) Buddhism or Jainism on issues of epistemology, metaphysics, logic, ethics or cosmology. Hence, historians of Indian philosophy typically understand the term “Hindu philosophy” as standing for the collection of philosophical views that share a textual connection to certain core Hindu religious texts (such as the Vedas), and they do not identify “Hindu philosophy” with a particular comprehensive philosophical doctrine. -/- Hindu philosophy, thus understood, not only includes the philosophical doctrines present in Hindu texts of primary and secondary religious importance, but also the systematic philosophies of the Hindu schools: Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Sāṅkhya, Yoga, Pūrvamīmāṃsā and Vedānta. In total, Hindu philosophy has made a sizable contribution to the history of Indian philosophy and its role has been far from static: Hindu philosophy was influenced by Buddhist and Jain philosophies, and in turn Hindu philosophy influenced Buddhist philosophy in India in its later stages. In recent times, Hindu philosophy evolved into what some scholars call “Neo-Hinduism,” which can be understood as an Indian response to the perceived sectarianism and scientism of the West. Hindu philosophy thus has a long history, stretching back from the second millennia B.C.E. to the present. (shrink)
Perception is sensory awareness. Cognition is reflective awareness. Consciousness is awareness-as-such. In Indian psychology, as represented by Samkhya-Yoga and Advaita Vedanta systems, consciousness and mind are fundamentally different. Reality is the composite of being (sat), knowing (cit) and feeling (ananda). Consciousness is the knowledge side of the universe. It is the ground condition of all awareness. Consciousness is not a part or aspect of the mind. Mind is physical and consciousness is not. Consciousness does not interact with the mind, the (...) brain or any other physical objects or processes. Nor does it have any causative role in mental activity. Hence the existence of consciousness does not interfere or upset the apparently closed physical system. Mind in this view is the interfacing instrumentality that faces consciousness on one side and the brain and the rest of the physical world on the other. Mind is closely connected with the different systems of the brain. In normal perceptions, the mind takes the forms of objects via the channels of the sensory system and the processes in the brain. The forms themselves are non-conscious representations of the world of objects. The mental forms (vrittis) become conscious experiences in the light of the purusha. The vritti in sensory form is perception and with the reflection of the purusha it becomes cognition. All conscious perceptions are therefore cognitions. (shrink)
In South Asia, the period between 1100 and 1300 CE was a particularly prolific time for theorists from India's three main indigenous religions - Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism - to articulate their views on the face-to-face gift encounter. Their gift theories shaped a cosmopolitan sensibility that shared ethical and aesthetic values that reached across regional, sectarian, and religious boundaries. This book explores the ethical and social implications of unilateral gifts of esteem, offering a perceptive guide to the uniquely South Asian (...) contributors to theoretical work on the gift. (shrink)
Contemporary consciousness studies, where it is not explicitly religious, is mostly physicalist. Theories of self and consciousness in classical Hindu thought can easily be seen to contribute to religious issues in consciousness studies. But it is also the case that there is much in that that can be useful within broadly physicalist parameters of study as well. The Mīmāṃsā and Nyāya schools, while having (nonphysicalist) soteriological goals for the metaphysical self, nonetheless provide theories of its relationship with consciousness that (...) allow for interpretative strategies that can make their theories relevant to a broadly physicalist study of consciousness. Advaita Vedānta cannot be so interpreted, but its inquiry into the nature of consciousness can provide material for a fundamental critique of the project of objectifying consciousness. (shrink)
Following H. T. Colebrooke's 1824 'discovery' of the Hindu syllogism, his term for the five-step inference schema in the "Nyāya-sūtra," European logicians and historians of philosophy demonstrated considerable interest in Indian logical thought. This is in marked contrast with later historians of philosophy, and also with Indian nationalist and neo-Hindu thinkers like Vivekananda and Radhakrishnan, who downgraded Indian rationalist traditions in favor of 'spiritualist' or 'speculative' texts. This article traces the role of these later thinkers in the origins (...) of the myth that Indian thought is spiritual and arational. The extent to which nineteenth-century European philosophers were aware of Colebrooke's 'discovery' is documented, and then their criticisms of the Hindu syllogism and its defense by orientalists like Ballantyne and Müller are examined. (shrink)
Abstract A distinction which is often rehearsed in some strands of Christian writing on the ‘Eastern’ religions, especially Hinduism, is that while they are full of ‘mythological’ fancies, Biblical faith is based on the solid rock of ‘historical’ truth. I argue that the sharp contours of this antithesis are softened when we consider two issues regarding the relation between ‘myth’ and ‘history’. First, the decades–long attempts to separate the ‘historical’ facts about Jesus Christ from the interpretive elements in the Biblical (...) narrative highlight the presence of ‘mythical’ imagination in Christian thought. Second, a comparative study of the Christian understanding of Jesus Christ as the Incarnate God and the Hindu conception of avatāras reveals a highly significant set of differences and analogies, and shows how the supposed equivalences between ‘historical as real’ and ‘mythological as unreal’ need to be reformulated. Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-15 DOI 10.1007/s11841-011-0260-6 Authors Ankur Barua, Department of Philosophy, St Stephen’s College, Delhi, India Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527. (shrink)
The dramatic title Against a Hindu God: Buddhist Philosophy of Religion in India, while accurate enough in some respects, does not do justice to this subtle, densely argued, technically demanding, and often astonishingly wide-ranging book by Parimal Patil. The traces of the doctoral thesis that it was in a previous life are still there, evident in the concern to explain methodology to inquisitorial examiners and the reluctance to let any footnote go by if it can possibly be included. That (...) said, it is a powerfully realized book. Against a Hindu God is structured in such a way as to gradually focus in on the subject of the core third chapter that gives the book its name, Ratnakīrti’s argument in the .. (shrink)
This paper argues that Weber ought to be read as a comparative ethicist who brings his German intellectual inheritance, especially Schopenauer and Nietzsche, to a dialogue with ethical traditions in India and China. It shows that Weber not only had a supple understanding of the tensions within Hindu ethics, his own account of value often closely corresponds to Hindu axiology and was enriched by an encounter with it.
Abstract. The introduction of English as the medium of instruction for higher education in India in 1835 created a ferment in society and in the religious beliefs of educated Indians—Hindus, Muslims, and, later, Christians. There was a Hindu renaissance characterized by the emergence of reform movements led by charismatic figures who fastened upon aspects of Western thought, especially science, now available in English. The publication of Darwin's On the Origin of Species in 1859 was readily assimilated by educated Hindus, (...) and several reformers, notably Vivekananda and Aurobindo, incorporated evolution into their philosophies. Hindu scientists such as Jagadish Chandra Bose were also influenced by Darwinian evolution, as were a number of modern Hindu thinkers. The results of an investigation into the religious beliefs of young Indian scientists at four centers were also summarized. The view that “what goes around comes around” appears increasingly to be open to doubt. Many educated Indians, not only Hindus, are raising more probing questions that call for deeper dialogues between science and religion, especially about what each believes it means to be truly human. (shrink)
Hindu ethical studies, as a discipline distinct from religious and philosophical studies and as a field of descriptive ethics within comparative ethical studies, is a relatively recent venture. Scholars have focused upon classical Sanskritic texts for the basis of their studies, ignoring, for the most part, the rich source of commentaries on Hindu scriptures that form what Smith has called "the cumulative tradition." Furthermore, the most urgent need in the field of Hindu ethical studies is to establish (...) definitional and methodological clarity. Putting aside problems of method for later consideration, this paper explores the richness and variety of sources for the study of Hindu ethics and emphasizes the importance of integrating the study of theoretical ethics with the "lived" moralities that continue to dominate Indian society. (shrink)
Instead of searching through Hindu sources for appropriate insights into the questions related to "playing God" in biomedicine, the author seeks rather to understand why some Hindus at least are not inclined to ask such questions. Using examples from the r vai ava sect of south India, the author shows how r vai ava Hindus focus primarily on character formation and the practice of the virtues encoded in the classical texts, thereafter leaving it to the individual to "act as (...) he or she will" in the world outside the community – a world which is neutral vis à vis religious values, neither governed by such values nor able to instigate the adjustment of religious values to fit changing times. The question then becomes, "What do modern ethicists have to learn from the moral discourse of the r vai ava community?" Keywords: "playing God", r vai ava, Hinduism, virtue CiteULike Connotea Del.icio.us What's this? (shrink)
This essay introduces central features of classical Hindu reflection on the existence and nature of God by examining arguments presented in the Nyāyamañjarī of Jayanta Bhatta (9th century CE), and the Nyāyasiddhāñjana of Vedānta Deśika (14th century CE). Jayanta represents the Nyāya school of Hindu logic and philosophical theology, which argued that God’s existence could be known by a form of the cosmological argument. Vedānta Deśika represents the Vedånta theological tradition, which denied that God’s existencecould be known by (...) reason, gave primacy to the revelatory texts known as the Upanisads, and firmly subordinated theological reasoning to the acceptance of revelation. Jayanta and Deśika are respected representatives of their traditions whose clear, systematic positions illumine traditional Hindu understandings of “God” and the traditional Hindu debates about God’s existence and nature. Attention to their positions highlights striking common features shared by Hindu and Christian theologies, and offers a substantial basis for comparative reflection on the Christian understanding of God’s existence and nature, and the roles of reason and revelation in knowledge of God. (shrink)
In the 13th and 14th centuries CE the Śrīvaiṣṇava Hindu community of south India struggled to integrate the traditional values of the older brahmanical hierarchical system with the devotional egalitarianism that had come to the fore with fresh force in the Tamil vernacular tradition in the 7th and 8th centuries and thereafter. One of the most vexed aspects of this integration pertained to caste, and whether devotionalism foreclosed a continuation of traditional caste distinctions: do divine love and grace mandate (...) radical egalitarianism? Śrīvaiṣṇava theologians were divided on the issue, some more conservative, some more radical in their rhetoric about continuity and change. Yet, as this essay argues, none were willing to go to the extremes either of dismissing caste structures entirely or of entirely subordinating devotion to caste. New values were to take primary place, while old norms were to be reinterpreted and given new meanings. Analyzing well-known examples from the tradition they argued instead a balance between norms and exceptions, treating violations of caste as occasions to glorify the power of devotion but without predicting the end of caste altogether. Attention to this case sheds light on caste and devotion in the Hindu context, the nature of ethical debate in India, and consequently too ways in which rhetoric functions more widely in ethical analysis. (shrink)
Abstract I respond to three articles about my book, Hindu Theology and Biology, from David Gosling, Thomas Ellis, and Varadaraja Raman. I attempt to clarify misconceptions about Hindu intellectual history and the science and religion dialogue. I discuss the role of Hindu theologies in the contemporary world in response to the three articles, each of which highlights important areas of future research. I suggest that Hindu theology should be a critical discipline in which Hindu authors (...) are interpreted in their own terms and in conversation with contemporary authors. I argue that Hinduism and science can find an intellectual space between New Atheism (which denies the intellectual value of religion) and Neo-Hinduism (which neglects the critical discourse within the history of Hindu thought). (shrink)
Abstract While much has been written about science and the Abrahamic religious traditions, there is little about the Hindu tradition and science. We examine two recent authors who have explored the relationship between the two, in one case across the full spectrum of Indian history, and in the other with a specific focus on the Bhāgavata Purāṇa, a ninth- to eleventh-century CE document centered on the Lord Krishna. These two publications are compared with a symposium of articles by scientists (...) and scholars of the Hindu tradition that consider both science and religion heuristically in terms of “knowing the unknowable.” Each contribution explores this concept in accordance with the scientific or religious topic's internal self-understanding, without any cross-fertilization (“cherry picking”) across the boundaries. Finally, we consider the author's own approach, which is intermediate between the previous mentioned in that it reviews the work of Hindu scientists who shaped the course of their research in accordance with their Vedāntic beliefs. These include Satyendra Nath Bose, who collaborated with Einstein on his quest for a unified field theory, and gave his name to a class of fundamental particles called bosons. (shrink)
To investigate reasoning about family honour, 128 first generation (mean age = 27.2 years) and second generation Hindu Indian-American adults (mean age = 24.7 years) were presented hypothetical scenarios in which male or female protagonists defied common Hindu customs (e.g., arranged marriage, intra-religion marriage and premarital sexual abstinence). Questions assessed beliefs about customs, connections to family honour and socio-moral orientations towards honour violations. Both generations perceived intra-religion marriage and premarital sexual abstinence to function for group identity-related reasons, such (...) as preserving Hindu culture and maintaining Hindu identity. First generation participants judged defiance of marital and abstinence traditions in moral terms more often than second generation participants (mainly for female protagonists). Justifications for moral judgements referenced damage to group identity, including family image, Hindu identity and cultural preservation. Implications for theories of moral psychology are discussed. (shrink)
Review of Pankaj Jain, Dharma and Ecology of Hindu Communities Sustenance and Sustainability Content Type Journal Article Pages 1-2 DOI 10.1007/s11841-011-0286-9 Authors Rita Roy Chowdhury, Dept. of Philosophy, Vivekananda College for Women, (Residence) 56, M.C.Garden Road, Kolkata, 700030 West Bengal, India Journal Sophia Online ISSN 1873-930X Print ISSN 0038-1527.
Western intellectual history has benefited from a rich and sophisticated conversation between theology and science, leaving us with centuries of scientific and theological literature on the subjects. Yet the Hindu traditions are virtually unused in responding to the challenging questions raised in the science and religion dialogue. This book replies to the sciences by drawing from an important Hindu text called the Bhāgavata Puraṇa, as well as its commentaries, and philosophical disciplines such as Saṁkhya-Yoga. -/- One of the (...) greatest challenges facing Hindu traditions since the nineteenth century is their own self-understanding in light of science and technology. Hoping to establish the conceptual foundations for a mutually beneficial dialogue between the Hindu Theologies and the Western Sciences, Jonathan B. Edelmann faces that challenge directly. Since so much of the Hinduism-science discussion is tangled in misconstrual, Edelmann clarifies fundamental issues in each tradition, for example the definition of consciousness, the means of generating knowledge and the goal of knowledge itself. He argues that although Darwinian theory seems to entail a materialistic view of consciousness, the Bhāgavata's views provide an alternative framework for thinking about Darwinian theory. Furthermore, Edelmann argues that objectivity is a hallmark of modern science, and this is an intellectual virtue shared by the Bhāgavata. Lastly, he critiques the view that science and religion have different objects of knowledge (that is, the natural world vs. God), arguing that many Western scientists and theologians have found science helpful in thinking about God in ways similar to that of the Bhāgavata. (shrink)
Comparative philosophy of religions -- Disciplinary challenges -- A grammar for comparison -- Comparative philosophy of religions -- Content, structure, and arguments -- Epistemology -- Religious epistemology in classical India: in defense of a Hindu god -- Interpreting Nyāya epistemology -- The Nyāya argument for the existence of Īśvara -- Defending the Nyāya argument -- Shifting the burden of proof -- Against Īśvara: Ratnakīrti's Buddhist critique -- The section on pervasion: the trouble with natural relations -- Two arguments -- (...) The section on the reason property -- The section on the target property -- Is Īśvara the maker of the world? -- Language, mind, and ontology -- The theory of exclusion, conceptual content, and Buddhist -- Epistemology -- The theory of exclusion -- What exclusion is not -- Semantic value -- Ratnakīrti's inferential argument -- Jñānaśrīmitra's three questions -- Ratnakīrti's world: toward a Buddhist philosophy of everything -- An inventory of mental objects/images -- The contents of perception -- The contents of inferential/verbal awareness -- Nonexistence, existence, and ultimate existence -- The Īśvara-inference, revisited -- Who created the world? -- The values of Buddhist epistemology -- Foundational figures and foundational texts -- The soteriological significance of epistemology -- Jñānaśrīmitra on epistemology as pedagogy -- Ratnakīrti's framework of value -- Religious reasoning as religious practice. (shrink)
After a brief discussion of Hindu views on abortion as reflected in classical Hindu philosophical and religious texts, this article examines, from an interdisciplinary perspective, current social attitudes towards abortion among lower-income Hindu women in Calcutta and attempts to identify the reasons for the striking disparity between traditional and modern Hindu views. Does Hindu dharma have the regulatory power it wielded in the past? What accounts for the changing face of mores in urban centers like (...) Calcutta? These and related issues are the focus of this essay. (shrink)
Presenting biographies of such influential thinkers as Dayanand, Ramakrishna, Vivekananda, Keshub Chandra Sen and Gandhi, this work includes enthralling extracts from key writings of modern Hindu thinking. It will be of special interest to students and scholars of religion, classical philosophy, and Indian literature, as well as to anyone interested in Hinduism.
This is a translation of the chapter on perception by Kumarilabhatta's magnum opus, the Slokavarttika , which is one of the central texts of the Hindu response to the criticism of the logical-epistemological school of Buddhist thought. It is crucial for understanding the debates between Hindus and Buddhists about metaphysical, epistemological and linguistic questions during the classical period. In an extensive commentary, the author explains the course of the argument from verse to verse and alludes to other theories of (...) classical Indian philosophy and numerous other technical matters. Notes to the translation and commentary go further into the historical and philosophical background of Kumarila's ideas. The book provides an introduction to the history and the development of Indian epistemology, a synopsis of Kumarila's work and an analysis of its argument. It is a valuable contribution to the field of Indian philosophical studies. (shrink)
After tracing the development of the doctrines of avatāra and incarnation, the two are compared and contrasted. Some nuanced differences are: (1) Avatāras descend repeatedly, while Christ comes only once. However, we must also reckon with the Second Coming of Christ and the possibility of many incarnations. (2) The avatāra is real but perfect because it is made of "pure matter," while the incarnation is imperfect. (3) Avatāras have different purposes and, unlike the incarnation, not every Avatāra grants salivation. The (...) two concepts are not so incompatible as may appear at first, yet the differences spring from the contrasting worldviews of the respective religions. The two beliefs can also be mutually complementary. (shrink)