Eastern and western Philosophy

Buddhi is the basis of all knowing, willing and feeling

In Western philosophical writings the functions of the conscious mind are commonly divided into Knowing, Willing and Feeling. The Vedanta usually adopts a different classification, and there is a risk of confusion unless this is clearly recognised. Suppose that...

Spinoza and the spiritual quest.

“ After experience had taught me that all things which frequently take place in life are vain and futile ... I determined at last to enquire whether there might be anything which might be truly good and able to communicate its goodness ... whether I might discover and...

Chuang Tzu on Perfect Happiness

The philosophy of this brilliant thinker of China does not start with pessimism like that of the Upanishads or of Shakyamuni Buddha. Chuang Tzu does not find the world a net to imprison the soul, or think human life to be a soul dragging a corpse along with it. He...

Chuang Tzu’s Political Philosophy

Like his master, Chuang Tzu advocates anarchism, and exposes the futility of all restrictions imposed by others. He is so confident of the innate purity and goodness of human nature that he refuses to tolerate any imposition of law on man. For the evolution of Tao, it...

Chuang Tzu and Confucius

At the same time as Chuang Tzu started the propagation of his mystical philosophy, Mencius, pupil of the grandson of Confucius, was popularising the thought of his great master. His wonderful eloquence, great controversial ability and dignified behaviour silenced his...

Chuang Tzu on Happiness

Happiness has been the goal of the philosophy of India, China and Japan. “ How can I go beyond the Ocean of misery ? ” is the starting point of Buddhism. The great sage Kapila opens his Sankhya system of philosophy with the statement : “ Elimination of the three kinds...

Chuang Tzu’s Conception of Tao

To follow Chuang Tzu’s thought, it is necessary to understand his conception of Tao which forms the pivot on which the whole of his philosophy hinges. Tao has been translated as “ Way ” or “ Path.” But this is misleading. Here is Chuang Tzu’s definition of Tao. “ Tao...

What is religion?

It always begins with the life of a man, or it may be a group of men, apparently human, yet endowed with superhuman vision. Some, like Jesus and Sri Krishna, speak as if they were God Himself ; others, like Moses and Mahomet, as if they were prophets of God. Common to...

Is the philosophy of Adwaita a philosophy of escape?

The term philosophy has a wide range of meaning and is used to cover a number of quite different mental activities. Western philosophy may be broadly and very roughly summed up as the attempt to approach truth through the medium of the sense-perceptions and the...

Reality and appearance in Advaita Vada

It was the duty of a classical Vedantic commentator to explain all the texts of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedanta Sutras as forming a single consistent body of doctrine. But some Upanishadic texts ascribe forms to the Absolute, while others deny that...

Eckhart’s theory of the soul

The writings and recorded sermons of Meister Eckhart (71260-1327), besides being a potential source of inspiration to anyone trying to tread the mystic path, are a precious witness to the fact the Christian revelation, for all its alleged “uniqueness”, is susceptible...

Preliminaries to the study of Vedanta

The philosophy that lies behind that particular form of Yoga which is propagated in this journal is known as Vedanta. The term “Vedanta” originally meant “the Upanishads,” and later it came to mean the whole body of work as setting forth Upanishadic doctrine in a...

The Witness Consciousness – Sakshi

Many people must have had the experience of stopping the alarum clock in the morning and then immediately falling asleep again and being caught up in a harassing dream. One is desperately trying to get to work on time and everything is going wrong. First one finds...

Mandana Mishra’s theory of nescience

Mandana Mishra was a contemporary of Shri Shankara. He wrote on Mimamsa, on Upanishadic Absolutism and on another form of Absolutism derived from the speculations of the grammarians on the creative power of the word. His chief contribution to Upanishadic Absolutism...

Was Aristotle a mystic?

Aristotle is of particular interest to us. His intellectual genius dominated our civilization for two thousand years and influences our thought even today. His logic is still taught in the Universities. Many of his philosophical ideas, systematized and elaborated by...

The religious teaching of Seneca and Epictetus

When Christianity came into the world, the way had, in a sense, been prepared for it. If you come to think of it, no religion could so rapidly have spread as Christianity spread in the Roman Empire unless it spoke a language which men understood. Its message in fact,...

Two philosophical objections to Non-Duality

The philosophy called Advaita, which means “ the theory of non-duality ” found its most complete and systematic exposition in the writings of the great Indian philosopher and yogi, Shri Shankaracharya. It holds that there is a single spiritual reality underlying the...

A Christian misconception of Indian spiritual culture

In his book called ‘Indian Thought and its Development’, the great philanthropist Albert Schweitzer made a critical examination of Indian spiritual culture and finds little good in it. His knowledge of Indian spiritual literature is impressive in its range, but he...

Mysticism and Reality

The philosophy of Yoga is neither idealistic nor realistic. Idealism sees mind in nature ; realism sees nature in mind. There is a third system which is more realistic, more practical and more idealistic than either of these, and it is mysticism. Yogis adhere to the...

What exactly does the word knowledge mean ?

To many it means an aggregate of that which has been learnt by hearsay and experience. It is clearly opposed to, and in fact dispels, ignorance. Both “ I know ” and “ I don’t know ” are conditions of which one is conscious, and it is in the nature of man to try to...

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