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The Indian Mind
Erica Fink 09/13/2018 07:13 AM CST


India’s philosophy has predominantly animistic character. However, this feature and not so grand political structure or social organization of the country gave India the opportunity to resist the ravages of time and vicissitudes of history. Numerous intrusions and the internal strife put Indian civilization on the brink of ruin many times. Greeks and Scythians, Persians and Mongols, French and British took turns trying to overwhelm it, but India was never completely subdued. Even now, the former flame of its spirit still burns. Throughout all its history, India lived in the name of one thing: it fought for truth against error. The history of Indian thought proves that there always were endless quests of mind that remains controversial and true.

Charles A. Moore managed to create the book about the controversial Indian mind with several unusual features. Firstly, the book contains the actual texts of Vedas, Upanishads, Gita and many others. In addition, it gives an opportunity to get a good understanding of the Indian culture from primary sources that were translated exactly without losing the main idea. Secondly, this book explains not only some philosophy features, but also economics, politics and so on. The book includes original works Arth Shastra by Kautilya (Chanakya), who is known as an outstanding Indian economist/politician. One can also find the episodes from the famous Karma Yoga and Bhagvat Gita, which proves the book’s versatility. Another very important point is that the work about the controversial Indian mind sums up all vital features of the dissimilar Indian philosophies such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Charvaka and Jainism. Here the author mentions the central similarities of Indian thought and teaches how to undertake the Indian philosophy. For this purpose, he suggests deeper understanding of the history, politics and philosophy of the country.

Indian philosophy is a set of philosophical theories of all Indian thinkers, ancient and modern. Some believe that the Indian philosophy is synonymous for the Hindu philosophy. Actually, this would be true in the case if the word "Hindu" was understood only in the geographical sense - as a resident of India. However, since the word "Hindu" means a follower of Hinduism, that is, certain religious beliefs, then such identification would be wrong and misleading. The writer finds along with the account of the views of orthodox Hindu thinkers certain lighting on the positions of atheistic and materialistic philosophical schools. Moore also includes in his work the studies of such unorthodox thinkers as Buddhists and Jains in the writings of the old orthodox Hindu philosophers.

Here Charles A. Moore emphasizes that Indian philosophy is different due to the striking outlook which testifies to its continued effort to find the truth. Although there are many different schools, which points of view are very much different from each other. Each school tried to explore the views of all others, before coming to a certain conclusion, and carefully weigh their arguments and objections.

Religion in India is like a rational synthesis, which during the development of its philosophy continues to absorb new ideas. By its nature, the Indian religion is flexible and based on the experience; it tries to keep up with the progress of thought. Often expressed criticisms that Indian thought is transferring its center to intelligence and putting philosophy in place of religion only proves the rationalistic character of religion in India. The unusual character and interaction of religious thought with philosophical mind are reflected in the Moore’s description of the issue.

Here the author underlines a close connection between philosophical mind and everyday life of the people that make Indian religion alive and effective. Religious issues always stimulated the development of philosophical thought. Indian mind has long struggled with the questions about the nature of the deity, the purpose of life and respect of the individual soul to the universal soul. Although philosophy in India, as a rule, is not completely free from the religious speculation, religious forms do not interfere with the discussion of philosophical questions. Both are not mixed.

However, specialists critic the book because of the one flaw concerning the Aryan Invasion. The point is that here the author mentions that Aryans did not live in India and settled there around 2000 B.C. Nevertheless, it is known that this theory has several versions and is presented differently by many contemporary scholars. Most of them are sure that Aryans always lived in India and were its native inhabitants. However, no evidence can be found until now.

Summarizing, it should be underlined that the controversial nature of the Indian mind can be found in a character of Indian philosophy that led to the formation of a special method of philosophical consideration. Before formulating own theory, the philosopher must first establish a point of view of his/her opponents. The establishment of opponent’s arguments should be the initial point of view. It is followed by its retraction and, finally, the presentation of evidence and position of this philosopher, which is therefore called the subsequent point of view or output. The comprehensive Indian philosophy, tolerance of some schools of its thought in relation to the other, had a positive result because due to such a wise approach, each philosophical system adopted a reasonable and complete form. Therefore, each system becomes encyclopedic in its approach to different ideas. No wonder, therefore, that many problems of the modern Western philosophy have already been considered in Indian philosophy.

If this article appealed to you, check the article about Globalization and Romantic Listening out!

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