Thursday, 22 December 2016

"But is Indian Thought really Philosophy?" (really, really)


It was probably a rhetorical question – “But is Indian Thought really Philosophy?” I suggest ‘eating the peach’ on that one. Try the opening sutra of the Kena Upanisad:

Willed by whom does the directed mind go towards its object? Being directed by whom does the vital force, that precedes all, proceed (towards its duty)? By whom is this speech willed that people utter? Who is the effulgent being who directs the eyes and ears?

2: Since He is the Ear of the ear, the Mind of the mind, the Speech of speech, the Life of life, and the Eye of the eye, therefore the intelligent men, after giving up (self-identification with the senses) and renouncing this world, become immortal.

In so far as these things can be known the Kena Up. is dated around about 500 B.C. which puts it in line with the Pre-Socratics and their physics and Heraclitus and his gnomic logoi. No one has ever disputed that they promulgated philosophy. In the Kena you have Self-Knowledge and Self-Identity, consciousness and the binding problem which continue to be an important part of Metaphysical speculation. What is perhaps different in Indian thought is that inquiry might lead to commitment. The immediate intuition that is Self-Realisation can lead to apodeictic justification or an intellectual reverse engineering. The analytically ‘trained’ will whinny and balk at that jump.

1 comment:

skholiast said...
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