[Advaita-l] shaDdarhana and other unorthodox schools

S Jayanarayanan sjayana at yahoo.com
Thu Jan 18 20:14:09 CST 2007

--- Abhilash Shastry <abhilash.shastry at yahoo.co.in> wrote:

> Sri Ram Garib wrote:
> > There is in fact a dominant view among philosophers
> > that questions whether India has produced any
> > philosophy at all! 
> This is outrageous! AFAIK Indian Philosophy has earned
> great admiration the world over. It is only some
> mischievous hindu haters who hold such views.

I too would like to know Ram Garib's source for stating that there
exists such a "dominant" view -- what is the reference for his tall
claim? After all, if it is such a widely prevalent view, surely he
can cite at least 5 independently published sources!

There *may* be a *minority* view, but even that is disputable. One
would have to assume that it is Ram's own personal view, flawed
though it may be.

It is quite meaningless to level the charge of "conformism" to Indian
philosophers alone. The vast number of Western philosophers generally
write in the context of a particular "tradition". There is the
"Classical tradition" that begins with the ancient Greek philosophers
-- Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. Then there is the "Cartesian
tradition" that was founded by Descartes and based on his writings.
Modern Western philosophy is split into the "Analytic tradition"
among the English-speaking countries, as opposed to the "Continental
tradition" in Germany and France. There are a number of Western
philosophers who do not specifically claim to follow a "tradition",
but that they belong to a particular tradition is implicit in their
writings. It is absolutely true that there is more *individualism* in
the writings of Western philosophers, but that is all. One cannot
dismiss a person's writings as being non-philosophical just because
he conforms to a tradition.

Besides, it is quite new to me that Western philosophers say that
India has not produced any philosophy. Here are some reasons to
suppose that the exact opposite is true:

1) Two important Western philosophers of the medieval era spoke
freely about the influence of Indian philosophy on their writings --
Schopenhauer and Voltaire.

2) Karl Jaspers, arguably one of the most important Western
philosophers of the 20th century, has written on more than one
occasion about Indian *philosophy*.

3) Will Durant, one of the greatest popularizers of philosophy,
writes in the preface of his immensely famous book "The Story of
Philosophy", about the most serious deficiency in the book:

"The worst sin of all -- though the critics do not seem to have
noticed it -- was the omission of Chinese and Hindu philosophy. Even
a "story" of philosophy that begins with Socrates, and has nothing to
say about Lao-tze and Confucius, Mencius and Chwang-tze, Buddha and
Shankara, is provincially incomplete."


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