About the Book
An attempt has been made to give a systematic presentation of post-Samkara dialectics of the Advaita- Vedanta. The main object of the dialectics as developed by the Neo- Vedantic teachers is to carry thought to perfection by a critical examination of the concepts and categories of the opposing sister schools.
The present volume comprises eight chapters bearing mainly on the epistemology of post-Samkara thought. Of eight chapters, the first three deal with the nature and validity of knowledge and the next five are concerned mainly with an explanation of appearance and its implication from the standpoint of epistemology. In the first chapter, nature of knowledge has been examined and analysed so as to bring out the problems involved therein. The second chapter deals with the important and unique Indian conception of self-luminosity of know- ledge-the problem of self-luminosity being studied from two sides The third chapter is concerned with the validity of knowledge, and deals mainly with the formidable arguments of the Navya-Nyaya school as represented by Gangesa in his . Tauva-cinuimani and discusses how the Mtmamsa and Vedanta schools refute the neo-Iogicians by their own dialectic. In the fourth chapter, Sriharsa's famous dialectic in the refutation of the Nyaya- vaisesika categories has been studied while the fifth and sixth chapters deal with Madhu- sudana's refutation of Vyasaraja's arguments against the Vedantic conception of the universe as unreal.
In these pages an attempt has been made to give a systematic presentation of post-Samkara dialectics of the Advaita- Vedanta. The work is substantially based upon my thesis approved for the Degree of Doctorate in Philosophy by the Calcutta University in 1933.
Advaita- Vedanta may be studied purely from a religious standpoint as an intuitive principle of realisation as well as conceptual dialectics. In the former aspect, it unfolds to us the highest art of life, brings solace in affliction and holds out a promise of self-realisation and transcendental bliss. It is also a science of thinking, abounding in philosophic boldness and in this respect it has exhibited the keenest logical subtleties and is on the same footing with the Science of Reasoning. Though the Vedantic teachers render allegiance to the infallibility of the Sruti, still, the free natural growth of Philosophic thinking has not been checked in the Vedanta literature. And in the history of the development of Vedantic concepts, the more we advance the more we are impressed by the diversity of thoughts, the complexity of concepts and the subtlety of reasoning. Advaitism in its later development has become the pyramid of conceptual construction. Contributions of Srlharsa, Citsukha and Madhusudana, open a new era in the domain of the Advaita- Vedanta and add a new page in the history of the development of monistic thought. Contributions of the Neo- Vedantic teachers have novel features which originate a new form of dialectology to test the growth of Vedantic concepts and thus make the system a living one in Indian Philosophy.
The main object of the dialectics as developed by the Neo- Vedantic teachers is to carry thought to perfection by a critical examination of the concepts and categories of the opposing sister schools so as to expose their untenability on the ground of their inherent contradictions and antinomies. This paved the way for the establishment of their own position on a sound logical basis which was made stronger still by a further dialectical refutation of the charges and criticisms that might conceivably be levelled by the opponents against their own position. The Neo- Vedantic dialectic has thus a twofold destructive-constructive aspect- refutation of the opponents' thesis and the establishment of the true Vedantic position by a refutation of its refutation by the opponent. In some teachers, the former, destructive or offensive, aspect is predominant while in others there is a harmonious combination of destruction with construction. Madhusudana in his Advaitasiddhi is mainly preoccupied with a refutation of Vyasaraja's Nyayamrta almost line by line and Srtharsa in his Khandanakhandakhadya is more busy in demolishing the Nyaya- Yaisesika categories than in propounding his own thesis. Citsukhacaryya however in his monumental Tattva-pradipika tries to hold the balance even between these two aspects. These three thinkers carry post- Samkara dialectic to the perfection and predominance it has reached in Indian thought. Hence in the present study these three remarkable dialecticians have come in for attention.
The present volume comprises eight chapters bearing mainly on the epistemology of post-Samkara thought. Of eight chapters, the first three deal with the nature and validity of knowledge and the next five are concerned mainly with an explanation of appearance and its implication from the standpoint of epistemology. In the first chapter, nature of knowledge has been examined and analysed so as to bring out the problems involved therein. This enables us to grasp the fundamental problem of Vedantic epistemology, and thus serves as an introduction to it. The second chapter deals with the important and unique Indian conception of self-luminosity of knowledge-the problem of self-luminosity being studied from two sides, viz., its nature and its validity, n J developing the definition, mainly following Citsukhacaryya an attempt has been made to show how by an inner dialectic movement, thought arrives at the most perfect definition of its object by discovering and discarding the inherent contradictions of inadequate definitions. With regard to the validity of the conception, it has been shown how Vedantic thinkers establish their position by a dialectical refutation of the opponent's arguments in such a perfectly Socratic manner as to lead gradually and inevitably to its establishment on an irrefutable logical basis. The third chapter is concerned with the validity of knowledge, and deals mainly with the formidable arguments of the Navya-Nyaya school as represented by Gangesa in his Tattva- cimamani and discusses how the Mtmamsa and Vedanta schools refute the nee-logicians by their own dialectic.
In the fourth chapter, Srtharsa's famous dialectic in the refutation of the Nyaya- Yaisesika categories has been studied while the fifth and sixth chapters deal with Madhusudana's refutation of Vyasaraja's arguments against the Vedantic conception of the universe as unreal. Epistemology of illusion or Adhyasa has been discussed in the seventh chapter where an attempt has been made to study the monistic theory of illusion or super-imposition in a comparative way by analysing different theories of illusion advanced by the sister schools of Indian Philosophy. The last chapter deals with Nescience or Avidya and the famous anupapattis of Ramanuja and the charges of Madhva have been examined and an effort has been made to show how the Advaita-teachers refute their opponents by their irresistible dialectics and finally establish their own position on the bedrock of irrefutable logic.
I owe an apology to students of modem philosophy for my following the logical technique of original authors whose views have been represented by me in this book. This will, I am afraid, give an undesirable impression of scholasticism, the days of which are irrevocably past. But a twofold consideration led me to run the gauntlet of criticism. In the first place I wanted to present to the modem scholar the growth of dialectics in orthodox Vedanta with all its strength and purity and in the second place I was apprehensive that to make an attempt to present the arguments of these old dialecticians in the current philosophical terminology might serve to give a wrong version of our ancient thought. The temptation of using the terminology of European Philosophy was too great for me; but I mustered courage enough to shun the risk of presenting a distorted account. I preferred to leave the old philosophers speak for themselves in their own forceful diction with all their terminological resources and I could not dare to put a modern garb on them, because I do not possess the skill and art which will make our ancient thinkers appear in a modern role. It is too much to expect that highly technical works like those I have followed as my model can be made easily intelligible and popular. These speculations have got an appeal and interest for the select few and I shall deem my labours amply rewarded if the present endeavour serves to create an interest in the Indian philosophical speculations in circles of scholars whose knowledge of Sanskrit is not equal to tackling the original texts. I had all along counted on the indulgence of my prospective readers and I appeal to them to tread the tangled path of ancient dialectics with me with patience and sympathy and to treat with indulgence and charity of heart the deficiencies and drawbacks which are inevitable in a pioneer attempt.
The branch of study, which forms the subject-matter of the present volume, has not as yet received any clear and systematic exposition on the lines attempted here. Post-Samkara dialectic as exemplified by Madhusudana, Srfharsa and Citsukha, it is suggested, will not compare unfavourably with the best products of the Western thought as represented by Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, Fichte's Theory of Knowledge and Hegel's Logic. Without any claim to completeness and comprehensiveness of discussion the humble writer has only made an attempt to throw some light and focus attention on a subject so vast and complex. The hope, however, is entertained that in future, labour of competent scholars will serve to complete the edifice the foundation of which is sought to be laid here-a long-felt desideratum of Vedantic epistemology.
1 shall be failing in my duty if I do not take this opportunity to place on record my deep sense of gratitude to Raja Prafullanath Tagore of Pathuriaghata, the enlightened Zemindar of Idilpur Pergana, my native place, and Babu Rukmininath Dutt Chaudhury, Zemindar of the Hatkhola Dutt family, Calcutta, but for whose munificence and ungrudging financial help I could not dream of completing my University education. Mr. Dutt has all along been an elder brother to me and I am not paying a conventional compliment to him in saying that without his encouragement and exhortation I would not have thought of carrying researches in Indian Philosophy and if there is even the slightest merit in my researches the credit belongs entirely to him as my patron, friend, philosopher and guide. I must offer my sincerest thanks to my esteemed friends and colleagues, Prof. Gopalchandra Bhattacharjee, M.A., Professor of Philosophy, B. M. College, Barisal, and Dr. Satkari Mookerjee, M.A., Ph.D., Lecturer, Calcutta University, for their ungrudging help and co-operation and valuable suggestions for the improvement of both language and thought of my present work in the manuscript.
I take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to my Professor, Dr. M. N. Sarkar, M.A., Ph.D., now Professor of Philosophy, Presidency College, for the encouragement and helpful suggestions he so affectionately extended to me in connection with my researches. I must also record my sense of obligation to Prof. Sir S. Radhakrsnan, Kt., M.A., D.Litt., Vice-Chancellor, Andhra University, for his kind patronage and encouragement. Finally, I am highly indebted to Dr. S. N. Dasgupta, M.A., Ph.D., I.E.S., Principal, Sanskrit College, for his loving encouragement and sympathy and for the opportunity he gave me to discuss with him my difficulties and problems and his weighty suggestions for the improvement of the work.
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