From the back of the Book
Throughout the ages mankind has developed philosophies to explain the true nature of reality. Outstanding among these are the profound and varied systems of Indian philosophy, which provide a rich complement to the more empirical outlook of modern western philosophy. The Eastern orientation is becoming increasingly important in the West today, as investigations into the more subtle aspect of nature have revealed the inadequacy of some of the basis tenets of Western philosophy.
Many scholarly description s of Indian philosophy exist, but most are difficult for beginners to comprehend. Seven System of Indian Philosophy. Accurate and accessible, it is a straight foreword introduction survey. The reader who is already familiar with the system described - Buddhism, Nyaya, Vaisesika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta - will enjoy a refreshingly clear and lively treatment of these subjects. Seven System of Indian Philosophy is both an invaluable introduction and basic references to be turned to again and again.
Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D., is the Spiritual Director of the Himalayan Institute. He received his doctorate in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad in India, and a doctorate of Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. A disciple of Sri Swami Rama and lifelong practitioner of yoga and meditation, Pandit Tigunait is the author of eight books and numerous articles, and has given lectures throughout the world.
About the Author
As spiritual head of the Himalayan International Institute, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait, Ph.D., is the successor of Swami Rama of the Himalayas. A life-long practitioner of meditation, and a Sanskrit scholar, he has studied with various adepts and scholars in the time-honored guru/disciple lineage. He holds a doctorate in Sanskrit from the University of Allahabad in India, and a doctorate in Philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to having written ten books, Pandit Tigunait lectures throughout the world and is a regular contributor to Yoga International magazine.
The search and love for knowledge are as intrinsic to human nature as the drives for self preservation and social interaction. Form the time we first wonder at the colors and sounds about us to the moment we finally confront eternity with our last breaths we are occupied with the pursuit of understanding our environment ourselves and the nature of whatever reality may exist beyond. People essentially want to know and the basic questions of life why who whence whither and how tease even the staunchest materialist in the quiet moments of awe or the times of pressing injustice. To answer these questions there have evolved two great philosophies which are usually designated by the geographical divisions of east and west. The modern western approach addresses the problem from an objective, theoretical and pluralistic standpoint whereas the ancient eastern approach is more subjective experiential and holistic. The west looks outward to external data and the east turns inward to internal experience one method is based primarily on dialectics and discursive deductive speculation, while the other is based on introspection and direct intuitive insight.
The Eastern orientation is becoming increasingly important in the West as we begin to realize that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in most Western philosophies. As proponents of the Western approach investigate increasingly subtle aspects of reality, the basic assumptions of the two philosophies are becoming less divergent. The philosophy of Vedãnta long ago declared that the whole universe is Brahman—all-pervading Consciousness—and modern science is now beginning to come to the same conclusion, based on empirical data and inferential methodology. Quantum field theory and the theory of relativity are pointing toward the essential unity of all things, and the disciplines of physics and metaphysics ate thus finding common ground. In their search for an intellectually satisfying explanation of the nature of reality, modern Western scientists and philosophers are discovering and exploring the wisdom of the Asian world view. A similar transition from materialism to idealism is evident in the arts. The modern artist has shifted from literal replication to abstract interpretation and finally to nonobjective conceptualization. Many present-day creations bear a marked likeness to ancient yogic works of art in essence and in appearance because both are attempts to convey visual philosophical statements about the nature of certain aspects of reality. Psychology has of course also been in the forefront of the exploration into the nature of reality, and new sub disciplines—such as transpersonal psychology, the psychology of consciousness, and parapsychology—investigate subtleties of life beyond the mind. Studies such as these find few prototypes except in Eastern philosophy. As psychologists attempt to find solutions to the mental problems of life on deeper levels, large numbers of them are coming to esteem the ethical systems, practical techniques, and positive cosmology of Eastern philosophy.
Thus it is becoming increasingly apparent to Western thinkers that, as Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Much that we hug today as knowledge is ignorance pure and simple.” in the effort to discover what is true, more and more Westerners are investigating the Eastern approach as well as the Western approach. When one turns to Eastern philosophy as an aid to explore the nature of reality and consciousness, it is the Indian systems of philosophy that stand out as paramount, because Eastern philosophy essentially is Indian philosophy. The novice student may feel a bit perplexed, however, in beginning to study this different orientation due to the unfamiliar perspective it provides. This is understandable, because only a few Western philosophers (such as Plato, Augustine, and Berkeley) have described an idealistic framework such as that found in Indian philosophies. Foreign words and unique concepts may further puzzle beginners until they become more acquainted with the new territory.
Although many scholarly descriptions of Indian philosophy are available to clarify the philosophical models and explain the details of each school, the vast bulk of the subject matter and its precise intricacies are nonetheless difficult to assimilate. In response :o this problem, the present text provides a concise yet comprehensive basic outline of the major systems of Indian philosophy in a manner that is highly accurate and yet easily understandable. Sanskrit terms are provided for academic purposes, but one need not have any prior understanding of the field to comprehend the basic outlooks and tenets described in each school of philosophy.
The respect and interest that the learned author has for each system is apparent in the skill and enthusiasm with which he explains them. Having been trained in the scholarly Brahmin tradition since early childhood and having studied with various adepts and scholars, Pandit Doctor Tigunait has also attained an estimable academic reputation in his years of formal schooling. But is not a mere scholar, for the practical results of his love for is ledge and his ardent quest for truth are apparent in his life and personality. He is devoted mediator and thinker as well as a learned scholar and the teachings of the scriptures have been assimilated in their essence into the depths of his being. Thus he is eminently well suited to accomplish the difficult task of writing such a text which states profound philosophical concepts in a manner understandable to a novice while remaining in accord both with tradition and with strict academic standards. This text is a straightforward and definitive review that will satisfy the reader’s initial curiosity and eliminate confusion while piquing interst in and paving the way for further in depth study. This handbook will prove an invaluable introdcutio and basic reference for any student of eastern philosophy.
A year ago my Gurudeva asked me to write a book on Indian philosophy. This book was originally written as a textbook for the gradutate students in the Himalayan institute’s program in eastern studies and comparative Psychology. The purpose is to present the major systems simply and clearly so that beginning students can comprehend the concepts while at the same time offerings a depth of understanding that will be useful to scholars as well. I have tried my best to make this textbook a steeping stone to prepare students for further study of Indian philosophy as presented in more complex texts such as those by Radhakrishnan and Dasgupta.
In this review I have not included Carvatka and Jainism since their philosophical value is not as great as the other systems. Saivism saktism and Tantra will be covered separately in a later text. It should also be mentioned that I do not follow the footsteps of English writers in describing the Mimamsa system. Rather I directly present the theories and practices of this system form the original scriptures of the Mimamsa school. The methodology applied in this book is simple and explanatory it does not follow the traditional sastrartha style of prior and subsequent views.
I thank Dr. Arptia for looking into the manuscript carefully. Thanks are also due to Dr. Sudha Thornburg for giving her valuable time in taking dictation, John Miller for the index tot eh Book Larry Clark for edition Bandana for typing Janet Zima for design and illustration and Darlene Clark for typesetting I also express my affection and love to the students for whom this book was originally written.
Heart touching feelings are offered to my bellowed wife. Mera for preparing the rough draft of the manuscript and helping me to put together the manuscript.
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