A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 1

Surendranath Dasgupta
A History of Indian Philosophy,
Vol. 1

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Title: A History of Indian Philosophy, Vol. 1
Author: Surendranath Dasgupta
Release Date: July 20, 2004 [EBook #12956]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

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nikhilam anujachittaM jñânasûtrair [email protected] sajabhiva kusumânâM
kâlandhhrair vidhatte/ sa laghum api mamaitaM prAchyavijñânatantuM
[email protected]â modatâM mai [email protected]îtvâ//
May He, who links the minds of all people, through the apertures of
time, with new threads of knowledge like a garland of flowers, be

pleased to accept this my thread of Eastern thought, offered, though it
be small, with the greatest devotion.


First Edition: Cambridge, 1922

The work and ambition of a life-time is herein humbly dedicated with
supreme reverence to the great sages of India, who, for the first time in
history, formulated the true principles of freedom and devoted
themselves to the holy quest of truth and the final assessment and
discovery of the ultimate spiritual essence of man through their
concrete lives, critical thought, dominant will and self-denial.

The vowels are pronounced almost in the same way as in Italian, except
that the sound of a approaches that of o in bond or u in but, and _â_
that of a as in army. The consonants are as in English, except c, ch in
church; [email protected]_, [email protected]_, [email protected]_ are cerebrals, to which English t, d, n
almost correspond; t, d, n are pure dentals; kh, gh, ch, jh, [email protected]_,
[email protected]_, th, dh, ph, bh are the simple sounds plus an aspiration; _ñ_ is
the French _gn_; [email protected]_ is usually pronounced as ri, and _s'_, [email protected]_ as

The old civilisation of India was a concrete unity of many-sided
developments in art, architecture, literature, religion, morals, and
science so far as it was understood in those days. But the most
important achievement of Indian thought was philosophy. It was
regarded as the goal of all the highest practical and theoretical activities,
and it indicated the point of unity amidst all the apparent diversities

which the complex growth of culture over a vast area inhabited by
different peoples produced.
It is not in the history of foreign invasions, in the rise of independent
kingdoms at different times, in the empires of this or that great
monarch that the unity of India is to be sought. It is essentially one of
spiritual aspirations and obedience to the law of the spirit, which were
regarded as superior to everything else, and it has outlived all the
political changes through which India passed.
The Greeks, the Huns, the Scythians, the Pathans and the Moguls who
occupied the land and controlled the political machinery never ruled the
minds of the people, for these political events were like hurricanes or
the changes of season, mere phenomena of a natural or physical order
which never affected the spiritual integrity of Hindu culture. If after a
passivity of some centuries India is again going to become creative it is
mainly on account of this fundamental unity of her progress and
civilisation and not for anything that she may borrow from other
countries. It is therefore indispensably necessary for all those who wish
to appreciate the significance and potentialities of Indian culture that
they should properly understand the history of Indian philosophical
thought which is the nucleus round which all that is best and highest in
India has grown. Much harm has already been done by the circulation
of opinions that the culture and philosophy of India was dreamy and
abstract. It is therefore very necessary that Indians as well as other
peoples should become more and more acquainted with the true
characteristics of the past history of Indian thought and form a correct
estimate of its special features.
But it is not only for the sake of the right understanding of India
that Indian philosophy should be read, or only as a record of the past
thoughts of India. For most of the problems that are still debated in
modern philosophical thought occurred in more or less divergent forms
to the philosophers of India. Their discussions, difficulties and
solutions when properly grasped in connection with the problems of
our own times may throw light on the
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