Problem of Indian “Schools” of Philosophy

“The constant streaming in of the thoughts of others must confine and suppress your own;  and indeed in the long run paralyze the power of thought… The inclination of most scholar is a kind of fuga vacui or vacuum suction, from the poverty of their own minds,  which forcibly draws in the thoughts of others.. It is dangerous to read about a subject before we have thought about it ourselves.. When we read, another person thinks for us;  we merely repeat his mental process…so it comes about that is anyone spends almost whole day in reading, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking…experience of the world may be looked upon as a kind of text,  to which reflection and knowledge form the commentary. Where there is a great deal of reflection and intellectual knowledge,  and a very little experience, the result is like those books which have on each page two lines of text to forty lines of commentary.”

“School” signifies the similar interest and same thought processes that bounds individuals to a particular system. With the coming up of systems, the individual literally loses its intrinsic values and become a permanent part of some well established trends. For example, Shankara is known by advaitism, Dharmakirti is identified by Buddhism, Kapila is known by Samkhya school of Indian tradition, and Gautama is particularly identified by Nyaya traditions.

Indian school of philosophy is dominating quite well in the curriculum of Philosophy Education. While professionals are repeatedly putting the same idea in a course of structured Education, stream of students are floating in the same old trends as the past students used to do. It is a major drawback that new ideas or inclusion or criticism is not being thoroughly achieved in literature of the Indian school of Philosophy. We’re just scribbling down the ideas and principles of Indian schools in order to fit them into a neatly organized philosophical traditions. The egoism that rules within traditions, compelling people to live by old thought patterns, has caused more harm than producing any good. Imagine the anguish of a student pursuing philosophy in order to truly live and enjoy the journey and contribute something new to it, only to be met with roadblocks in the form of memorizing of large textbooks and hazy literatures. To make this tough journey easier, the student would rely on readily available translated texts, only to wander further from philosophy’s explicit objective of education.

I spent the majority of my Philosophy education learning complicated philosophical terms(written in Sanskrit) and multiple theories, but every year I find myself at the same basic level because I couldn’t really memorize the terms and later found them useless. The Sutras of Nyaya or Samkhya are referenced heavily to prove worthiness of a complicated write-ups. This is only making philosophy look more dull and incomprehensible. There are very few instances when a student of Ancient Indian Philosopher would intellectually criticize or appreciate individual thoughts and works of ancient Indian saints and Philosophers. The contemporary Indian Philosophy is much better because here we have taken ourselves from a rough journey of memorizing ancient texts to the intellectual trend of analysis of individuals thoughts.

The main purpose of this short criticism of boring pattern of Indian philosophical texts is to bring justification to the real idea of philosophy education. The memorizing of texts could make us a good learner but, it could never make us a good philosopher. The value of studying philosophy comes from thoroughly scrutinizing a particular thought, applying our own ideas to it, and embarking on this quest for truth to infinity. Just because a particular school of thoughts has claimed something to be true, doesn’t bring a full stop to individual journey of quest for truth.

The real achievement in studying the ancient philosophy is to understand what has made them to claim a particular patterns of thoughts. The real achievement is in questioning everything in Universe. Socrates has influenced the youth to this wonderful art, in a similar way, we should question every aspects of philosophy, to really get deeper into a aspects of philosophy. Just relying on secondary literature doesn’t bring sense as secondary literature is very problematic and corruptible. When we directly research on primary sources, then the ideas appear simpler and thoughts flourished into a higher quality one. Thus, philosophy could do wonders only when we study the methods of individual patterns of thoughts and make a meaningful contributions to it.

At last I would quote Schopenhauer words from Essays, “Books and Reading”; “Counsels and Maxims,” p.21

“The constant streaming in of the thoughts of others must confine and suppress your own; and indeed in the long run paralyze the power of thought… The inclination of most scholar is a kind of fuga vacui or vacuum suction, from the poverty of their own minds, which forcibly draws in the thoughts of others.. It is dangerous to read about a subject before we have thought about it ourselves.. When we read, another person thinks for us; we merely repeat his mental process…so it comes about that is anyone spends almost whole day in reading, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking…experience of the world may be looked upon as a kind of text, to which reflection and knowledge form the commentary. Where there is a great deal of reflection and intellectual knowledge, and a very little experience, the result is like those books which have on each page two lines of text to forty lines of commentary.”

Reference

The story of Philosophy by Will Durant

Author: Madhvi

A philosopher, Writer, Traveler, PhD Scholar, Vegan and pet-lover.

4 thoughts on “Problem of Indian “Schools” of Philosophy”

  1. In a response to a question asked to Osho in his final year MA external exam, his answer is to the point. It means the way of Osho is actually the way to experience ‘दर्शन’, only that can be the real philosophical education.
    Hi, I’m reading this book, and wanted to share this quote with you.

    “मैं विद्यार्थी था। मेरे जो शिक्षक थे, उनका मुझसे अति प्रेम था। एम. ए. की अंतिम परीक्षा, उन्होंने मुझे कहा कि खयाल रखना, जो किताबों में लिखा है वही लिखना; रत्ती-भर इधर-उधर की बात मत करना। तुम्हें गलत भी मालूम पड़े, तो भी वही लिखना जो किताबों में लिखा है। मुझे जानते थे कि मैं वही लिखूंगा जो मुझे ठीक लगता है। मैंने वही लिखा भी जो मुझे ठीक लगता है। मगर परीक्षा में जो लिखा गया था, वह तो उन्होंने किसी तरह सम्हाल लिया। फिर एक मुखाग्र परीक्षा भी थी अंतिम। उसमें तो उन्होंने मुझे बहुत समझाया, कि अब तो दूसरे विश्वविद्यालय के शिक्षक आ रहे हैं; अब मेरे हाथ में बात नहीं है। अब तो तुम ठीक वही कहना जो किताब में लिखा है, नहीं तो मैं भी कुछ सहायता नहीं कर सकूंगा। वे शिक्षक आये; अलीगढ़ विश्वविद्यालय के दर्शनशास्त्र के प्रधान थे, बुजुर्ग थे। उन्होंने मुझसे पहला ही प्रश्न पूछा कि भारतीय दर्शन की क्या विशिष्टता है? मैंने उनसे कहा कि दर्शन भी भारतीय और अभारतीय हो सकता है? मेरे प्रोफेसर मेरे पास ही बैठे थे, वे मेरी टांग में टांग मारने लगे कि तुम्हें जवाब देना है, तुम्हें सवाल नहीं पूछना है। जब मैंने उनकी टांग की कोई फिक्र न की तो वे मेरा कुर्ता खींचने लगे। तो मैंने अलीगढ़ से आये हुए प्रोफेसर को कहा कि मैं बहुत अड़चन में हूं; मैं आपका उत्तर दूं कि मेरे प्रोफेसर टांग में टांग मारते हैं, मेरा कुर्ता खींचते हैं, मैं इनकी फिक्र करूं? मेरे शिक्षक तो बहुत घबड़ा गये। उन्होंने कहा: यह भी कोई कहने की बात थी! मैंने कहा कि भारतीय दर्शन और गैर-भारतीय दर्शन, ऐसा भेद हो नहीं सकता; दर्शन तो दर्शन है। दर्शन का अर्थ है दृष्टि। तो फिर जीसस की हुई कि कृष्ण की, भेद क्या होगा? सफेद चमड़ीवाला देखे कि काली चमड़ीवाला देखे, भेद क्या होगा? चमड़ी से कुछ आंखों के रंग बदल जायेंगे, देखने के ढंग बदल जायेंगे? जिन्होंने पश्चिम में भी देखा है उन्होंने वही देखा है जो पूरब में देखा है। हेराक्लाइटस ने वही देखा जो बुद्ध ने देखा। पाइथागोरस ने वही देखा जो पार्श्वनाथ ने देखा; जरा भी भेद नहीं है। और जिन्होंने भिन्न-भिन्न देखा, वे सब अंधे हैं। आंखवालों ने एक ही देखा। तो मैंने उनसे पूछा: अगर दर्शनशास्त्र में आंखवालों की ही गिनती करो तो कभी भी, कहीं भी, किसी ने देखा हो तो एक ही बात देखी है। और अगर अंधों की भी गिनती करते हो, तब तो फिर हिसाब लगाना बहुत मुश्किल हो जायेगा। पर अंधों की गिनती दर्शनशास्त्र में होनी ही नहीं चाहिए, दर्शनशास्त्र में तो सिर्फ द्रष्टाओं की गिनती होनी चाहिए। मेरे प्रोफेसर को तो पक्का हो गया कि यह परीक्षा गयी! मगर अलीगढ़ से आये उन बुजुर्ग को बात बहुत जमी। उन्होंने कहा: मैंने कभी सोचा ही नहीं था इस तरह कि यह भेद ठीक नहीं है। हमने तो मान ही लिया है कि भारतीय दर्शन, पाश्चात्य दर्शन…। तुम्हारा उत्तर किताब का तो नहीं है, मगर उत्तर सही है।” (from “मरौ हे जोगी मरौ – Maro He Jogi Maro (Hindi Edition)” by Osho .)

    Start reading it for free: https://amzn.in/cIg4zcX

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed! The categorisation (western philosophy & Indian Philosophy) is only meant for understanding purpose. Those who know this look beyond the boundaries and find the whole truth.

      You have explained very beautifully the entire concepts of osho. With your permission, I would like to share this analysis to other platforms so that others could understand this basic fact and could eradicate the differences we all have created altogether.

      Like

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