Vaisesika Catuhsutri: A Historical Perspective

Vaisesika Catuhsutri: A Historical Perspective

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Item Code: IHL418
Author: S. Sankaranarayanan
Publisher: The Adyar Library and Research Centre
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 8185141452
Pages: 58
Cover: Paperback
Other Details 8.5 inch X 5.7 inch

Practise dharma? (dharmam cara) is the command of the scripture. But what is dharma? How to identify it? And what is its definition? These were the questions that seem to have been confronting the great Indian thinkers of the yore. Sage Kanada of pre-Buddhist era, the founder of the Vaisesika realistic school of philosophy, was perhaps the first to offer a definition: ‘Dharma is that which is the means to attain prosperity and liberation’. He also put forward the thesis that t the knowledge of six categories (sat padarthah) taught in the Vaisesikadarsana is also dharma. The historical forces that might have led to the above idea were taken up for a brief study in a research paper published in the Adyar Library Bulletin, vol. 65 (2001). It is now felt that this paper should reach a wider circle of the students interested fin the history of ancient Indian ideas. Hence the same is republished as no. 56 in the Adyar Library Pamphlet Series.

From the Flap

In ancient India, people were intensely desirous of knowing what Dharma is. For, they were aware: ‘Dharma is the foundation of the entire universe; for solace the creatures take refuge in one who is firmly rooted in Dharma; one drives away sin by means of Dharma; everything rests on Dharma. Hence the great men declare Dharma as the highest’ (Mahanarayana Upanisad). The Vaisesikasutra of Kanada was one among the early authorities to offer a definition of Dharma in clear terms.

Back of the Book

The Adyar Library and Research Centre was founded in 1886 by Henry Steel Olcott, first President of the Theosophical Society, for research in Eastern Civilization, Philosophy and Religion. Its aim is to promote understanding among the peoples of the world through knowledge of the higher aspects of their respective cultures.

The collections of the Library consist of about 18,000 manuscripts, containing about 45,000 works, both palm-leaf and paper, and some 2,00,000 printed volumes. The manuscripts are mostly from India and in Sanskrit. The printed books include old and rare Indological works and also a fine collection of books on the different religions and philosophies, in Sanskrit, English, and various other languages, eastern and western; and volumes of important Indological journals.

Brahmavidya, the Adyar Library Bulletin is being published since 1937, presenting studies on religion, philosophy and various aspects of Sanskrit and other oriental literature as well as editions of ancient texts and translations.


Preface v
Problems and Limitations2
Dharmapramanasutram: First Interpretation 28
Second Interpretation 34
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