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iMj SpS* __j 

Call No,J®+_ 

U.G.A 70. 









(Oxford University Press) 


(Mitid KitabSp Bombay) 




K(.; M.A. Madias and Oxford; D,LUt. (Howsw'i.j Cftwsa), 
Andhra, Agra, A l la ha bad, Palna and Lucknow; LL,J>. 
(ffoMoris Cdwsa) Benares, Ccyloti and London; O.L, Cal* 
eatta; Fellow of All Souls' College, Oxford; Hon, 

Fellow, Royal Asiatk Society, Bengal; Spaldbig Professor 
of Eastern Religions and Ethics, Oxford University. 

Bom September 5, iSSE\ educated. Madras Christian 
College; Assistant Professor of Philosophy, Presidency' 
College, Madras, 19*Professor of Philosophy, Presi¬ 
dency College, Madras, 1916-17; University Prof^sor of 
Philosophy, Mysore, 1918-21 ; George V Professor of Philo¬ 
sophy, Calcutta Univereity, 1921-31 and 1937-41: Vice- 
Chaacdlor, Andhra University, Waltair, 1931-36; Vice- 
Chancellor, Benares Hindu Univeisity, 1939-48; Upton 
Lecturer, Manchester College, Oxford, 1926 and I929—30; 
Haskell Lecturer in Comparative Religion, University of 
Chicago. 1926: Hibfacrt Lecturer, 1929; General President, 
Third Session of the Indian Philosophical Congress, Bom¬ 
bay, 1937; Chairman. Executive Coirawittee. Indian Philo¬ 
sophical Congress, 1925-37; President, Post-Graduate 
Council in Arts, Calcutta Univeisity, 1927-31 ; Professor of 
Comparative Rehgion, Manchester College, Oxford. 1929; 
President, All-Asia Hducation Conference, Benares, 1930; 
Member, International Committee of Intellectual Co¬ 
operation, League of Nations, Genei’a, 1931-39; Sir Sayaji 
Rao Gaekwad Professor of Indian Culture and Civilization, 
Senary Hindu University, since 1941; Nirmalendu Ghosh 
Lecturer in Comparative Religion, Calcutta Univeraity, 
1937; Kamala Lecturer, Calcutta University, 1942; Presi¬ 
dent. Executive B*>ard, Unesco, Paris, 1949; Chairman, 
Universities Commission. Government of India, 1948-49; 
India's Ambassador to U.S.S.R., 1940- ; President 
Indian P.E.N., 1949, 





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Even were there no special circumstances to make it a memoTable 
occasion, the sixtietli birthday of Professor Kadhakrishnan could 
not easily be passed without notice by his friends and admirers. 
Here is an opportunity, not to be missed, to extend congratula¬ 
tions to one who is beloved and respected all over the world, to 
express gratitude for his leadership in the past, and to wish him 
many years of rewarding achievement in the broader Aelds of 
philosophical reflection and human service which he can now 
more freely explore. 

But this occasion is memorable in a distinctive way. In the 
light of the anxious and stirrii^ events that are now- tumbling 
after each other on the world scene, and the ominous fear that 
civilization may not be able to survive much longer its radical 
disunity, Radhakrishnan's achievement takes on a momentous 

To be sure, the immediate threat of wholesale destruction 
arises not from the cultural cleavage betw'ecn East and West, but 
from the hostile split within the Westem wnrld itself, together 
with the tragic inability of the members of that world to tolerate 
diversity and to Gn\'ision any other than a violent solution of the 
rivalry now sharply precipitated. But to any comprehensive and 
long-nmge view it is dear that if the V^est manages to avoid this 
impending self-destruction it W'ill be because a principle has come 
to prevail whose most important application will teach beyond 
the impassioned divergences within the Occident. That principle 
is that, instead of expressing to the limit our unprecedented 
capacity for mutual destruction, we shall each allow the other to 
exist in his own way and gradually increase our insight for the 
w'ise ordering of life by learning from one another's partial suc¬ 
cesses in the vast enterprise of living. In this direction lie not 
only our possible salvation in the present crisis and the beginning 
of real strength of the United Nations, but the gradual emergence 
of a w'orld-perspective W'hich will bind together in harmony of 
mutual understanding the Orient and the Occident, with their 
sharply diverse solutions of the problem of life. 

Irrespective, however, of whether this principle succeeds in 


winning enaugh persuasive power to avert the catastrophic vio¬ 
lence that hangs over us. it has already quietly brought about a 
significant Iransfomaation in the attitudes of inteUectual leaders 
in both the East and the West. If such a calamity has to come^ 
this transformation will go on still more rapidly among the sur¬ 
vivors, be they many or few. And in it the thinker honoured in 
the present volume has been an outstanding pioneer. 

Less than a century ago there was no serious eagerness for a 
shared understanding between East and West except among 
grammarians and philologists ^ together with a few nnusually 
broad-minded missionaries. Indeed, what concern existed was apt 
to be pretty closely limited to the special problems which con¬ 
fronted thinkers in the field of historical sdiolarship- But since 
then a notable change has taken place ^ and its tempo has been 
steadily increasing. The East has come to realize that for the 
presentation of its own values, and for assuring them a broader 
and stabler base. Western science must be mastered. It seeruSi 
moreover, that this mastery is not merely a technical matter but 
must include the philosophy of science, as Western thought has 
developed it. The %Vest has begun to re-ali^ that there are spiritual 
depths in the Orient w'hich it has not yet plumbed, and that if 
these were understood a way could be found to overcome its 
frantic competiti^-eness and achieve the inner and outer peace it 
has hitherto lacked. Here there is a growing, though still weak* 
concern to appreciate the phUosophies which interpret life and 
experieiice from the point of viexv of these deeper lessons. This 
con^rn is spreading not only among those whose dominant 
interest is religion but also among philosophic minds, both within 
and without academic circles. A general comprehension is being 
achieved that while the Occident has taken the lead in the intel¬ 
ligent exploration of physical nature, to the end that it may l^e 
made the most effective possible servant of htnnar^ needs, it is the 
Orient that has taken the lead in the intelligent exploration of 
human personality, with regard to its tremendous moral, social, 
and metaphysical potentiaUties. Thus far, each half of the world 
has been poorer through failure to share what the experience and 
insight of the other half have to offer. What b needed, it is now 
more and more dearly perceived, is a wdder and profounder 
pooling of human resources and the philosophical interpretations 
which clarity the way in which they have been disclosed in each 
of the w'orld*s cultures, so that no man may any longer miss 


participating in the promising vaJucs that any man in any part of 
the world has made available. 

That this situation has appeared, and has become as hopeful as 
it is. is largely due to Radhakrtshnan’s genius, understanding, 
energy, and undiscouraged endeavour. Heir of the great Indian 
tradition, and fully convinced of its essential validity and chal* 
lenging significance to the rest of the world, he mastered likewise 
the Occidental perspective so that he could see things the way a 
Westerner does and appreciate how the Western mind works. As 
a result of this Ejmthesis of attitutles and cultural approaches, the 
books which he has written have a value all their own to the 
Western enquirer into Indian thought. They open wide the door 
to an appreciation of the general orientation in which the Indian 
philosophical distinctions arise and have meaning. They enable 
the Occidental thinker to catch the inner spirit of Indian phtlo* 
sophy. The two volumes of Radhakrishnan's Indian Philosophy 
will long remain a landmark as an interpretation of the Indian 
mind to the West from this standpoint. It provided exactly what 
was needed as a foundation, on which more detailed historical 
exactitude can he secured as Western thinkers become ready for 
it. The difficult problem in intellectual understanding is to appre¬ 
hend the gemus of a distinctive way of feeling and thinking as a 
whole, and such apprehension can be mediated effectively only by 
one who, like Radhakrishnan, has absorbed both perspectives and 
hence make either intelligible, in terms of the thought foims, to 
the other. 

It is Radhakrishnan’s finn conviction that the essential spiritual 
truth of all religions and cultures is the same, and that it is pos¬ 
sible and necessary for each to understand, tolerate and admire 
the other's. He says: "My religious sense did not allow me to 
speak a rash or profane w'ord of anything which the soul of man 
holds and has held sacred. This attitude of respect for all creeds, 
this elementary good manners in matters of spirit, is bred into the 
marrow of one’s bones by the Hindu tradition, by its experience 
of centuries." But for him, "religion is not a creed or code but an 
insight into reality." Religion is the life of the inner spirit, and 
philosophy must lead us to a spiritual view of the universe. An 
idealist \dew of life is an absolutist view of spirit. It is the affirma¬ 
tion of the primacy of the spiritual values. And whenever he 
speaks of the absence of the religious motive m modem civnliza- 
tion, he means the lack of the spiritual note, and makes no refer- 


once, even in intention, lo any defiominationai religion. The 
primacy of spiritual values, the lack and necessity of the spiritual 
note in modcin mrilization^ the logical mG\itability of a spiritual 
ahsolutism in philosophy, the undeniable truth of our inner life 
or spirit—this is the ever-recurring theme of practicaily aU his 
books and iectur^. He beHev^es that the philosophies of the East 
in general, and of India in particular, have, from the beginnings 
upheld the spiritxial tradition. 

Though Radhakrishnan is never tired of emphasizing the need 
of a spiritual foundation for our social structure, and of reviving 
spiritual values in contemporary hfe, he is not unaware of the 
social inequalities and maladjustments still existing in some of the 
countries of the world. The disadvantages of the present status of 
women in society and the glaring contrasts of poverty and wealth, 
the loss of humajibtic touch and motive in the petrified forms of 
traditional reUgions—these also have not escaped his notice^ 
Quite often, he stresses the need for bringing the spiritual insight 
of ancient religions into closer contact uith the pressing problems 
of OUT mundane life. He ^mtes: "Religion must establish itself as 
a rational way of living. If ever the spirit is to he at home in this 
w'orld and not merely a prisoner or fugitive, secular foundation 
must be laid deep and preser^'ed worthily. Religion must express 
itself in reasonable thought, fruitful action, and right social 
institutions." But by religion he does not mean Hinduism, Buddh¬ 
ism, Islam or Christianity. As lor Tagore, "'orthodox religion, 
whether as dogma or ritual, means almost nothing to him/' 

Radhakrishnan writes towards the end of his Indian Philosophy : 
"The problem facing Indian philosophy tchday is whether it is to 
be reduced to a cult, restricted in scope and with no application 
to the present facts^ or whether it is to be made ahve or real, so 
as to become what it should be. one of the great formative ele¬ 
ments in human progress, by relating the immensely increased 
knowledge of modem science to the ancient ideals of Indian 
philosophers. All signs indicate that the future is bound up with 
the latter alternative." He says that modem Western civiliration 
is based upon the three Greek ideals of rationalist philc^phy* 
humanist ethics, and nationalist politics. But there is an ideal 
higher than the three, namely, the life of spirit. Man cannot be 
understood adequately and be analysed exhaustively in terms of 
reason alone, or physiological structure alone, or society alone^ or 
even in terms of all the three together. There is something deeper 


in him, his inner life, the life of the spirit, from which aJl the 
three derive their being, which gives them their meaning, and in 
the light of which they have to be understood and interpreted. 
The Platonic and T^eoPlatonic philosophies were not uninSu- 
enced by Eastern spirituality. But in the former, which has 
continu^ to exercise its influence on the philosophies of the 
West up to the present, and started their grand philoscphical 
tradition, the spiritual note is not the dominant one and one will 
not be far from the truth if one says that it plays a secondary 
role. And Neo-Platonism has been ignored by many Western 
academical philosophers as too mystical and even superstitious, 
Radhakrishnan thinks that the Western tradition contains three 
main currents, the Graoco-Roman, the Hebrew and the Indian. 
To the first are due the elements of rationalism, hunranism and 
authoritarianism; to the second, the elements of moral idealism, 
devotion to a personal God and otlier-worldliness; and to the 
third, the elements of the sense of the iDdw'clIing God and the joy 
of the union with him as the supreme universal spirit. But most 
of these elements, except the rational and the humanist, have 
gradually ceased to be active forces in the life of the West; and a 
philosophy of life, which is to be adequate to our contemporary 
life, with its one-sided development of science, and of chauvinistic 
nationalism and other political philosophies, each claiming to be 
the onlv correct form of humanism, should harmoniously incor¬ 
porate amd blend the truths of all the factors, under the guidance 
of the supreme spiritual principle. The problem of reconciling and 
synthesizing East and West is really the problem of reconciling 
and synthesizing these different trends of thought and modes of 
life, which, in varying permutations and combinations, formed 
different and often conflicting traditions both in the East and the 

Radhakrishnan, in his various works, has presented the main 
objective of a world philosophy as a philosophy of life. In fact, he 
calls his book in which he gives his own view's, Att Idinlist Vieiv of 
Life^ His main interest is in life and its problems, not so much in 
the logical and cosmological questions of jud^ent, causation, 
space and time. He says in his address at the Sixth rnternational 
Congress of Philosophy (1926): “We arc not so much in need of a 
keen analysis of particular problems, as those of essence and 
existence, sense and perspectives, or a pragmatic insistence on 
mcthodolog>' and on the futility of metaphysics, interesting as 


they all are> but philosophy in the larger sense of the term, a 
spiritual view of the universe, broad-based on the results of 
sciences and aspirations of humanity/‘ Not that he does not 
recognize that even a spjrituaJ philosophy or any other philosaphy 
of life must have its logical, cosmological and epistemobgical 
doctrines, which have to be systematically developed. But as a 
pioneer in the field of comparative philosophy, with his insight 
into the deeper motives behind different phiosophical traditions, 
he has been more anxious to develop a view-point for a compre¬ 
hensive philosophy of life than to work out its details beforehand, 
more concerned to point out the guiding principles than to apply 
them in detail. This should be the work of the nest generation of 
philosophers, W'ho will not but be impressed by the immensity 
and importance of the task. His main and central teaching is that 
the spiritual should be given primacy; and reason and humanism, 
or science and man, should be e.xplained in the light of the spirituah 
The true Absolute is the spirit: our attempt to turn reason into 
an absolute has ended in some of the unhuman and inhuman 
results of science; and a similar of mam as an absolute 
has led to convicting political philosophies and conVagratlons. 
A true understanding of man requires viewing him from the stand¬ 
point of the spiritual. 

These conclusions are reached by Radhakrishnan after a com¬ 
parative estimate of the Eastern and the Western philosophical 
traditions. He has been known throughout the world as a liaison 
officer between East and The editors have thought it fitting 
therefore that this volume should be devoted to studies in com¬ 
parative philosophy mainly, in the hope that it would mark the 
begimujig^ in all countries, of a new line of philosophical actmty^ 
which would ultimately result m a systematic and hannonious 
S3iithesis of East and West. Some tw'o or three essays are not 
explicit comparisons, but independent sjmtheses, the approach to 
which is made from both Eastern and Western philosophies. And 
both kinds of essa3‘S arc of a piece with the life-work of Radha- 
krishnan. Professor Hinman, in his Presidential Address to the 
American Philosophical Association, selected for treatment 'Two 
Representative Idealists: Bosanquet and Radhakrishnan,'' To be 
mentioned along w^ith Bosanquet is a right recognition. And 
Radhakrishnan's lecture at the British Academy, ki the ^“Master 
Mind'' Series, on ‘'Gautama: the Buddha" was acclaimed as a 
lecture "on a master mind by a master mind/" It is right that this 


volume with a purpose be associated with the name of a master 
mind, a name which not only is maUcnably connected with the 
renaissance in India and an awakening of the West to the spirittml 
values of the East, but will also equally inalienably be associated 
with the new line of intellectual acti\'ity directed towards a 
philosophical synthesis of East and West, contributing, in its own 
way, to the growth of the world community* 

The editors intended to present the volume to Hadhakrishnan 
on September 5^ 1948, when he completed his stictieth year, which 
is an auspicious event according to Hindu tradition. But it was 
thought also that contributors should be selected from oil over 
the world. Due to long distances, inadequate facilities for corre¬ 
spondence for some time after the war, unsettled conditions in 
some parts of the world hke the civil war in China, and some 
other difficulties, much delay was caused in contacting scholars 
and thinkers. The editors therefore found it difficult to carry out 
their project according to programme. But the high purpose of 
the volume, it is hoped, wiii justify presenting it, even after the 
due date^ to one w'hose life is devoted to the cause of philosophy 
and international understanding. 



Nine of the opening pages were originally occupied 
by a contribution by Mr. B. K. Mallik which was 
proofed under the heading of "Foreword.” Subse- 
quentlyj at the request of Professor Sir S. Radha- 
If Hshn an Mr. Mallik‘s paper was given the new title 
of "Radhakrishnan and Indian Civilization" and is 
now included later in the volume. We are giving 
this explanation for the benefit of Librarians and 
others, who might justifiably consider that certain 
pages have been left out of the beginning of the book. 


The following arc sojne of the important publications by Pro¬ 
fessor Radhakrishnart and about him:— 

Works by Professor Raditakrishnan 

Th^ Philosophy of Rahindranaih Tagore ^ MacinilJanp London. 1918+ 
The Retgn of Rdigion m Cofiieinpor^try Phiiosophy^ Macmillan, 
London, 1920. 

Indian PhUosophy, 2 vols.* Library of Philosophy, George Allen 
and Unwin Ltd-^ London p 1923* 

Revised Second Edition, 1932. 

The Philosophy o/fhe Upanishads, George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 


The VedaHiu According lo Sankara and Ramanuja^ George Allen 
and Unwin Ltd.^, 19^- 

The Hindu View 0/ Life, George Allen and Unwin Ltd., 1927* 

The Religion We Need, Benn, 1928. 

Kalki, or the Future of CivUizatton^ Kegan Paul, London, 1929* 
Second Impression p ^934^ 

New Edition p Hind lutabs. Bombay* 1948. 

The Spirii in Man, Lecture Delivered at Caxton Hallp 1931. 

An Idealist View 0/ Life, George Allen and Unwin Ltd.* 1932. 

The Heart of Hindustan^ Natesan and Co,, MadraSp ^ 93 ^- 
Easl and \Vest in Religion, Gcoige Allen and Unwin Ltd.p 1933. 
Freedom and Culiure, Natesan and Co.* ^ladraSp 1936. 

7 Aff Worid^s Unborn Soul, Clarendon Press, 1936. 

^^The Individual and Social Order in Hinduism" in Hughes’s 
Individual in East and West, Oxford University Press, 1937, 
"My Search for Truthp’" in Ferm's Religion in Transiiion, George 
Allen and Unwin Ltd., 193,7. 

"Hinduism,'* in Garratt’s Legacy of India, Oxford. 

"Indian Philosophy/' in The Encydopaedia Britannica, 14th 

Easierf^ Rdigiom and Western Thouihi, Oxford Un^^ity Pre^p 


Afahainta Gandhi, George * 4 tlen and Unw 4 n J-td., i 939 ; 

"Gautama; the Buddha,'^ in The Proce&lmgs 0/ the British Academy, 


India and China, Hind Kitabs, Bombay. 1944. 

Education,^ Politics and IfW, Poona , t944' 

Religion and Society ^ Kamala Lectures. Geoige Allen and Unwin 
Ltd.. 1947. 

The Bhagavadgita, George Mien and Unwin Ltd.* 1948. 

"Indian Cuitnie" in RefediOJis on Our Age, London, 1948. 
"Mahatma Gandhi/’ in T/i^ Hibbert Journal, 1948. 

The Dhammapada, Oxford University Press, 195^- 


Contemporary Indian Philosophy. Gcoi^ AUen and Unwin Ltd, 
1950. . 

Most of his articles published ia philosophical and religious 
jouTnals are included in the above boohs. 

Works on Pkofessoh Radhakhishnan 

“Two Representative Idealists: Boamquet and Radhakrisbnan.” 

by Hinman in The PhUosophicsl Review, 

Dawn in India, by Francis Yoonghusband, Chap. XVII, John 
Murray, London. 1930. 

Contemporary Thought in India, by A. C. Underwood, Chap. XI, 
WilUams and Norgatc Ltd., 1930. 

Counter Attack from the East, by C, E. M. Joad. George Allen and 

Unwin Ltd., 1933. ^ _ „ . - , . 

"The Idealism of Sir S. Radhakrishnan,'’ by P, T, Raju, Calcutta 
Review, I94O, 

The /feiMifSsaffce 0/ Hinduism, by D. S. Sarma. Chap. XII . Benares 

Hindu University, 1944. . 

RadhakrishnaH, in “The Leaders of India*' Scries, Oxford University 





I. Ttu: Problem of a World Philosophy 

by E. A. Burtt {Cornell UniveratyH Ithaca, N,l.) 

IL The Spirit of PhUosop}^ 

by Charles A. Moore {University of Hawaii, Hawaii) 

III. The Phiiosophical Oudooh in India and Europe 

by A- R. Wadia (Maharaja Sayaji Rao Geakwar 
Univeraty, Bajcnia, India) 

rV, The Unity of East and West ^ . 

by W- T. Chan (Dartmouth College. Hanover, U.SA.) 

V From Empiricism to Mysticisn^ 

by K. j. Spalding (Braseno&e College, Oxford Univer¬ 
sity, Oxford) 

VI. The Limitations of Science and the Inmilabteness of 
Philosophy and Religion 

by S, N. Dasgnpta (formerly of the Calcutta University, 
Calcutta, India) 

VII. The Valuation of the Misiorioai in Easlem and Western 

by Rev. A. C. Bouquet {Cambridge University, 

VUL Art E^ipmence , . „ 

by M. Hiriyanna (formerly of the Mysore Umvcrsity, 

Mysore, India) 

IX rfo of ths Spmiu^il in EasUm and Western 

Thought , . ^ ^ T. Tf ■ 

, by H, B. Bhattacimya (formerly of the Dacca Utu- 

versity, Dacca. Pakistan) 

X. Reality and Ideality in the Western and the Indian 

Idealistic Thought , . .11 i. t, j 

by A. C. Mukerji (Allahabad Lmveraity. Allahabad. 


XI. CoMparative Study of Consciousness 

by G. R. Malkani [Indian Institute of Philosophy, 

Amalner, India) 

XIl Radhakrishnatt and Indian Civilixaiion 

by B. K, Mallik (Exeter College, Oxfoid) 

Xlli. The Deoelopment of AUruism in Confacianistn [The 
Inftuetice of Vniver^ism on Confmiantsm) 

by H, H. Dubs (University College, Ojrford Lmversity, 



















Ckapifr p4g€ 

XIV^ Qif ^"Ko-Fi," ih^ Eafliesl MdJu)d ^ whi^ 

Buddhism and Chinese Thought wer 4 Syntkestiied zyb 

by TaBg Yimg-Timg (Natloiml Peking University, 
Peiping, Cbina^ and University of California, Berkeley, 

X%^ Personalisik Mdaphysics of the Se^: Its Etisiindioe 

Features 287 

by E. S. Brightman (Boston University, Boston) 

XV''!. A Naturalistic Garland for Radhahrisknan 304 

by G, P. Conger (University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, 

XVIL Phihsopt^ 0/ the Body: A Approach to the Body 

Problem from Western and Indian Philosophies 315 

by D. M. Datta (Patna University, Patna, India} 

XVni, Science, Democracy and Islam 3ja 

by Htittiayim Kabir (formerly of the Calcutta Univer¬ 
sity, Calcutta, India) 

XIX. The Gita*s Conception of Freedom as Compared with That 

of Kant 34S 

by S. K. Maitra (Benares Hindu University, Benares, 


XX. The Relation Between Eastern and iVesiem Philosophy 362 
by F* S* C+ Northrop {Yale University, New Haven, 

XXI. The Universat in the Western and the Indian Philosophy 379 
by P. Raju (Un^tsity of Rajputana, Jaipiir, tndia^ 
and Uniwraity of California, Berkley, U.S-A,) 




Caruill UnlvwMlF, rilmci, N.Y. 


In the contemporary world there is gradually and haltingly 
cmeiging. for the first time in historj', a world philosophy. 

In one important sense it is already here—namely, as an in¬ 
clusive perspective in minds vrhich view the world-scene with a 
superpartisan attitude, and which seek to catch the significanoe of 
the stirring events now transpiring in terms of such a perspective. 
These survey the planet-wide turmoil of our day, not vrith 

the aim of justif>'ing and protecting any prerogatives for the 
particular economy, political frametvork, moral ideals, or religion 
to which they are habituated, but with the aim of understanding 
the place and constructive role of each in relation to their living 
alternatives. They see the world as a theatre in which all these 
ways of living are struggling to preserve themselves against 
extinction, and to win if possible a larger opportunity. They 
assume that each (at least in the case of the civilized peoples) may 
have an important contribution to make which the rest of the 
world would do ill to lose in its quest to discover and realize the 
best life of which men arc capable. In a period of heightening 
international tension this perspective is very difficult to main¬ 
tain, but none who have clearly caught it will be quite satisfied 
with any orientation less generous or impartial. 

In another, and at least equally important sense, however, this 
world philosophy remains to be achieved. The inclusive and fair- 
minded perspective just described provides the psychological 
jnatrix and motivation which make its achievement possible, but 
docs not constitute its substance. This substance can begin to 
appear only when, under the guidance of this perspective, thinkers 
bom and trained in different cultural areas learn specific lessons 
from each other, share diverse ideas and ideals, growing thus 



toward a mutual appredath'e understandui^ of what each has to 
offer in the presence of defiiiite issues. Each thinker who partici¬ 
pates in such a process is absorbing something of what had 
hitherto been alien to him, is enlarging his previou^y more 
limited viewpoint, and is thus contributing his bit towards the 
harmonizing synthesis' which, in its richest attainable form, 
would mark the culmination of this growth. 


Is such a world philosopby desirable? If it is rightly conceived, 
yes—both desirable and highly important. If it is wrongly con¬ 
ceived, no. 

It would not be desirable if it were conceived as a set of doc¬ 
trines congealing into a rigid creed, which would then be adamant 
against revision. Nor would its pursuit be desirable if the attitude 
expressed in that pursuit were, however subtly and uncon¬ 
sciously, an urge to impose one’s own ideas upon others Instead 
of an open-minded readiness to let one's previous convictions be 
mod^ed in whatever degree such hospitable exploration might 
require. A world philosophy pursued and established in this way 
would be a curse rather than a blessing. The kind of philosophic 
unity 1 have in mind is an orchestral and dynamic unity. It is 
orchestral because its aim is not to extinguish the variety of 
philosophic viewpoints in favour of exclusive domination by one 
of them nor even to neglect their distinctive differences in order 
to concentrate attention on the pale abstractions that all have in 
common. The ideal is rather that of a rich inclusiveness, pre¬ 
serving all elements that can be priesori*ed together in the interest 
of constructive growth. It is dynamic, because its purpose is not 
to establish from among our present competing philosophies a 
fixed orthodoxy W'hich will then be guarded against future change. 
It will recognize the inevitability and desirability' of new clues to 
pl^osophic interpretation constantly appearing, and therefore it 
wriU take for granted that the harmonization of clashing diversity 
is a process that never ends. From this standpoint, what 1 am 
describing could be best denoted, not by the substantive “world 
philosophy," but by the gerund "world-philosophizing"—i.e. 
philosophizing as the continual grmvth in reconciling significant 
differences on a world-wide basis. 

Who could object to wmld philosophy as thus conceived? It 


the fhobleu of a world philosophy 

means the acceptance of philosophy as it already prosecutes its 
task, but with fuller appreciative awareness, on the part of all 
philosophers, of speculative happenings in distant regions of the 
earth, and a resolute abandonment of dogmatism, protective 
partiality, and contentment with a needlessly limited orientation. 

Indeed, such philosophizing is not only desirable but highly 
important. In the hrst place, universality is an intrinsic philo¬ 
sophic demand—no philosophy is truly such unless its validity is 
assumed to hold without irrational bounds. Now in the past 
philosophers have naively believed, especially in the West, that 
whatever conclusions meet the criteria of rationality generally 
accepted in their part of the world are unqualifiedly valid; they 
did not realize that those criteria might be seriously affected by 
variable cultural forces and therefore lack the universality im¬ 
plicitly assumed. But Occidental thinkers have recently been 
forced to see that this sort of relativity is profoundly real. Chal¬ 
lenged by the Freudian psychology, the Marxian dialectic and the 
so-called "sociology of knowledge," they have become vividly 
aware that all modes of thinking characteristic of a given epoch in 
a given culture-area are relative to that culture, and especially to 
the dominant inter^ts and class afiiUations of its intellectual 
leaders. This means that what any group among us has supposed 
to be the real universe is a much more limited and provincial 
affair than it claims to be; it reflects from first to last all the 
narrow and accidental quirks that characterize our own cultural 
mentality in its approach to metaphysics. What we have called 
tke universe is just our own little universe—Western or Islamic or 
Indian or Chinese, as the case may be—cozily walled in by our 
geographic and cultural boundaries. But to recognize this fact is 
to recognize also that philosophy cannot be its true self or realize 
its proper genius till it transcends these irrelevant and irrational 
limitations. And it becomes clear then that the universe rightly to 
be called real is the far vaster affair that would be gradually 
approximated precisely through this transcendence—the universe 
tliat waits to be discovered as thinkers from all cultural traditions 
opcD-mindedly pool their several insights and allow them to 
become progressively integrated in the most inclusive cosmic 
vision that the human mind can co-operativdy and consistently 

But it is important for a second reason also. Philosophy has a 
distinctive and indispensable role to fill in the task of realizing a 



harmonious world community, in which all j^ples will peace¬ 
fully share the quest for the best and fullest life that is op^ to 
man on the surface of this planet. Such a world community is 
impossible iti the absence of a mutual confidence between peoples 
that can only be stably based on deep and appreciative under¬ 
standing of each other. This kind of understanding cannot be 
attained by philosophers alone, of course: all the cultural discip¬ 
lines will have to contribute their part-—economics, art, stateman- 
ship, psychology, and religion. But philosophy has its share in 
this task, and it is a very significant one. 

The distinctive nature of its role appears when one compares 
the philosophies of the world from this point of view, and traces 
their relations to other phases of human culture. Such a com¬ 
parison quickly reveals the fact that what philosophers call 
"categories" constitute the form in which each major epoch in the 
history of each culture-area has expressed its most general ide^ 
and ideals. Consider, for instance, the category of "causality" in 
Western thought. Throughout the ancient and mediaeval period 
this fategory gave clear intellectual expresBion to the mystic idea 
that all things come into being from a source which imparts to 
them something of the perfection which it already possesses. In 
the modem period this category is abandoned by all Occident^ 
thinkers except steadfast adherents to the so-called * great tradi¬ 
tion" ; in its place a new concept of causality appears, expressing 
the idea that all events can be so understood that through know¬ 
ledge of the past and the present their future occurrence can be 
exactly predicted and effectively controlled. In both Indian and 
Chined thought there is a category somewhat similar to, though 
not identical with, the first of these concepts j in neither, so far as 
I am awure, has there been seriously employed any category 
closely analogous to the second, for this ideal of accurate predic¬ 
tion and external control of nature has remained eMentially 
foreign to dominant Indian and Chinese ways of thinking. The 
same is tl\c case with other philosophic categories, To take a 
second example, the category of ''substance" in tlw ancient West 
expresses both the individualism and the static orientation w*hich 
were characteristic of the Greek mind in its approach to nature; 
in modem thought it U more and more boldly replaced b^y some 
concept which retains the individualism while abandoning the 
static ideal. India has had no synonymous concept because to the 
prevailing strain in her history the mdivddual LS ultimately 



illusory rather than real; and China has likc\%'ise had none because 
Chinese philosophy from the very beginning has assumed a 
dynamic rather than a static cosmology. When we realize that 
similar considerations appl3* to the concepts expressing men’s 
basic social ideals and aspirations, it becomes dear that appre¬ 
ciative understanding between cultures must be at the philosophic 
level if solid foundations of mutual trust and co-operative toler* 
ance are to be established, WTien there is no sharing of ideas at 
fhjs level, the highest values to which one culture is committed 
remain foreign, opaque, and therefore unreasonable to those who 
have grow'n up in other cultures. In any crisis which appears to 
threaten them their champions will see no alternative to an un¬ 
compromising delnmoe of these sacred commitments against the 
perilous pressure by war, if they are accustomed to settling 
crucial issues thus; if not, at least by shrinking Inward to a more 
inflexible and dogmatic attachment to them. From this viewpoint, 
world-philosophizing becomes the coping-stone in the arch of 
intercultural understanding. 


It is vital to realize at the very conunencement of any such enter¬ 
prise, bow'cwr, that the building of a world philosophy, even in 
tentative and partial form, is a laborious process and one haunted 
by sobering diihculties, 

A seductive danger, into which one is constantly tempted, is 
that of premature synthesis—of taking too seriously inclusive and 
unifying ideas that come to be suggested before enough of the 
preliminary spade-work has been done. General notions bom at 
such an early stage have little chance of retaining their initial 
promise as possible solutions to the problems of world philosophy. 
It may be necessary for a large number of historical and compara¬ 
tive studies on relatively detailed questions to be pursued before 
the main features of a valid synthetic concept can be clearly 
discerned. Furthermore, a considerable number of these studies 
would need to be pursued co-operatively, in order that Western, 
Indian, and Chinese philosophers should have a chance to appre¬ 
ciate each other's criteria of relevance, truth, and reality as they 
present themselves in the joint approach to a concrete issue. In the 
absence of such systematic co-operation, each is exceedingly 
likely to be unaware of the extent to which he is taking as absolute 


his own previous ciiteria and is thus in effect imposing cidtnrally 
limited ways of thinldxig upon the solution of a common problem. 
Plausible syntheses can only be proposed by members of a group 
M^hose habits of mind have already become internationalized by 
lengthy participation in the co-operative search for a world philo¬ 

1 am quite sure tliat when these dangers are recognized and 
detailed studies of this sort embarked upon, certain challenging 
problems of method will be confronted and seen to need some 
initia] solution before the more ambitious part of the programme 
can be hopefuDy undertaken. I shall shortly discuss what 1 take to 
be the most difficult of these problems, and indicate the ^neral 
principles by whose aid it seems to mo that they will have to be 

However, it is equally essential to realize that even these pre¬ 
liminary tasks cannot be adequately performed e?iccpt under the 
guidance of the dearest ideal of co-operative philosophic impar¬ 
tiality which wc are able to form. In the absence of such an ideal 
the detailed spade-work would not be Ukely to be carried out in 
such a way as to provide the data fruitfully usable for inii>artial 
comparisons^ nor w ould the difficulties of method be likely to be 
so solved that the method adopted would ensure the fullest pos¬ 
sible const met ive contribution tow^ds the w orld philosophy of 
the future by each competitor in the field* Hence it is vital to 
distingnish between the specific results of world ptulosophizing and 
the guiding ideal of mtercultural co-operation, and to recognize 
that while the former can only be gradually built up, the per^pec-^ 
live detennined by the latter must function in the dearest form 

that it may from the very beginning. 



1 wish now to centre attention on what I take to be the two most 
serious problems of method that must be faced in the develop¬ 
ment of a world philosophy. And it is not the practical problems 
that I have in mind—although those are difficult enough in their 
own terms—but certain logical puzzles that will need to be 
solved. So serious are these that were this not one of the human 
enterprises in which man must never accept defeat, and in which 
therefore only the degree of success attainable is in question, we 
might easily be tempted to regard them as quite insoluble. 



One arises from the circumstance that any comparison of two 
entities, with respect to some significant set of likenesses and 
differences, apparently requires their subsumption under a more 
general concept, of w’Mch they then become species. Comparisons 
that ive perform in every-day life make us thoroughly familiar 
with this principle. W^en I compare a stick with the edge of my 
desk I am subsuming them both under the category of objects 
possessing length; when I compare two alternative purchases that 
I have in mind I subsume them under the category of things 
possessing economic value. That this procedure is necessary is 
especially obvious w'hen the purpose of the comparison is to find 
out how the entities compared can be brought together con¬ 
sistently in an inclusive whole. How, for example, could a uni¬ 
versity administrator harmonize two jealous departments, each 
trying to encroach upon the other's prerogatives, unless he can 
regard the work of each of them as a special function of some more 
general purpose which his institution as a whole is endeavouring 
to fulfil ? In such a case the more general concept under which the 
compared entities are subsumed serves at the beginning of the 
comparison as a more or less abstract terra by which to refer to 
that inclusive whole, but it will gain richer and more concrete 
meaning as a result of the comparative analysis itself and the 
harmonious adjustment to which it leads, When the adminis¬ 
trator just mentioned has brought his conflicting departments to 
terms, so that each of them fills its maximum role in relation to 
others, be will surely find that the educational aim of the institu¬ 
tion as a whole has gained in clarity and definiteness as a result of 
this process of constructive integration. 

Now when our problem is the impartial comparison and inclu¬ 
sive reconciliation of divergent sets of philosophical categories, we 
meet no special difficulty from this point of view when the philo¬ 
sophies compared have arisen in the same cultural tradition. 
Some more general concept is always available in that case, 
although logical ingenuity may be required to discover it. Our 
linguistic resources w*iU prove competent to provide some over¬ 
arching term under which the rival ideas can be plausibly con¬ 
ceived as falling. They become limited aspects of it or specifiable 
functions within it, and as such can be systematically compared 
and coherently united, with resulting gain to the significance of 
that term itself. The outstanding illustration of this truth in 
modem Western philosophy is found tn Kant. At the coinmence- 



ment of his what he cdled the "criti<^" method sensed 

precisely as an abstract methodological term capable merely of 
bringing together the previously competing empiricism and 
rationalism on a common base, so that the nature and Umits of 
%“alidity in each could be systematically probed. At the end of 
liis inquiry' this bare gener^ concept had acquired the concrete 
richness of the "transcendental"' method, which assigned a deter¬ 
minate role to the two previously competing methodologies within 
the novel whole of his own developed philosophy* 

But when sets of categories belonging to different cultural 
traditions are in question, where shall we find the general concept 
needed to perform this role? These categories themselves are 
difficult enough to handle in this situation; there is no precise 
equivalent in the language (or languages) of one culture for any 
philosophical category which has acquired its meaning in another. 
There is always a puzding problem how^ to render such English 
terms as "mind/’ "truth/' "^valuc/* into an Eastern language, and 
a similar problem in endeavouring to translate 
"/flo," into English. Apparently the meaning of such w'ords 
embodies and depends upon the distinctive genius of the Anglo- 
American or the Indian or the Chinese philosophic tradition as a 
whole; and that distinctive genius in each case is radically different 
from what it is in the others. What then can be done? How^ can 
these concepts be compared ? 

We might, of course, within any one of the languages involved, 
find more general terms which might plausibly serve the purpose 
of their comparative analysis in that language—Professor Northrop 
does this rather awhwardly but not entirely unsuccessfully with 
his concepts of the theoretic and aesthetic components of know¬ 
ledge/'^ But such concepts would be even more impossible to 
translate helpfully into an Eastern language than the categories 
which they are supposed to adjudicate on a common ground; a 
literal translation would (I should suppose) seem to an Easterner 
completely irrelevant, and how to get the right non-literal trans¬ 
lation poses precisely out problem. It would appear that in order 
even to commence any fruitful comparative analysis in this 
situation w^e need what is as yet non-existent—namely, a universal 
language shared by all peoples, in terms of which the unique 
cultural and philosophic genius of each and hence tlie precise 
meaning of its categories could be objectively stated* Is it 

* Th £ Mtiti/ig d/ East p. 435 fl, 



perhaps the initial task of world philosophizing to create such a 

I think 1 can see the main principle by which tlie development 
of such a language would have to be guided if the ideal of im¬ 
partial ctMjperation is to be respected. One of the main reasons 
why the translation of philosophic categories is difficult lies in the 
fact that each culture, in dealing with certain problems, makes 
distinctions that other cultures do not and fails to make some that 
the others do. Take the Western category of ’'experience,for 
example, and compare the basic distinctions within it that have 
been drawn by the West with the basic distinctions drawn in Indian 
thought. In the former case the major subotegories are experi¬ 
ence through the cxtcmal senses, or sense perception, and experi¬ 
ence through the internal sense, or introspection. Kow this dis¬ 
tinction is recognized in Indian thought, but there it is relatively 
unimportant. WTiat is of major importance in its case is that the 
concept of experience is extended to include not only waking 
experience {alone recognized in the West, except for the recent 
influence of Freudianism) but also experience in dreamless sleep, 
and a still deeper kind of experience* that transcends the limita¬ 
tions of the other three kinds alike. It seems to me clear that the 
guiding principle of a truly universal language would be that 
terms should be prodded by which, initially at least, all these 
distinctions could be recognized and adequately stated, so that 
h>TX)thescs dealing with any or all of them could be linguistically 

But what, then, could serve as the inclusive category imder 
which all these distinctions will fall as species? From the point of 
view of Indian philosophy there would be in this case no problem; 
its category of "experience*’* would presumably suffice. But from 
the point of view of the West a serious difficulty would arise, since 
certain of these species of experience—at least, that of dreamless 
sleep—is inconsistent with its very conception of experience. A 
more general category ivould seem to be required, in terms of 
which any problems arising in this field can be initially formulated 
in a wav which would be impartial to both the Indian and the 
Western standpoints. \\*here shall it be found? Of course, a new 
term could be arbitrarily invented. But while this expedient is 
often satbfactory in science it would seem to be so unnatural 
to be seriously objectionable in philosophy; 1 doubt whether it 



could perform the role desired, or whether many interested thinkers 
would be willing to use it. Will the needed category'' emerge from 
the sustained effort at impartial comparison itself? Very likely; 
but can we envision and clarify how it would do so, and thus 
wisely hasten that emergence? 


The second problem Is closely related to this, but involves an 
added consideration, I have spoken of each of the great histori¬ 
cally developed cultures as having its own characteristic philo¬ 
sophic genius. We have just observed one way in which this 
genius reveals itself, namely, in the different sets of dbtinctions 
made when such key concepts as "experience’' are analysed. 
Well, it reveals itself more clearly in the radical way in which the 
primary analysis of the material dealt w-ith by philosophic reflec¬ 
tion as a whole varies as between India, China, and the West. 
Because of this sharp vanation the meaning and associations of 

philosophy itself ^ange as a fhmker passes from one of these 
culture-areas to any of the others. But it is inevitably in terms of 
some such basic analysis, e^iicitly formulated or Implicitly pre¬ 
supposed, that all philosophic problems arc stated and the answers 
to them sought. As long, then, as the ultimate patterns in whose 
terms these tasks are performed differ, not onlv is no exact trans¬ 
lation of philosophic concepts or doctrines possible—not even is 
there a praise equivalent in one philosophic tradition for any 
problem raised in another. To describe the situation in the most 
provocative way, philosophers in different parts of the world are 
asking vaguely analogous but strictly incomparable questions, 
and seeking vaguely analogous but ultimately untranslatable 

TTiese basic patterns, historically considered, are in each case 
quite accidental and contingent affairs. In the West the generally 
accepted pattern is one whose major lines of cleavage separate the 
three areas of mathematico-logical form, empirical fact, and value. 
Among the realists and positivists of our day this division tends 
to be regarded as absolute, ivhile among idealists and pragmatists 
® relative or functional distinction wthin a total 
reahty” or controlling "situation" which owrrides it, But even 
for toe latter stoools it constitutes the most radical cleavage 
within that totality, marking off different types of problems, parh 



to be solved in terms of factors some of which at least are different 
from those required with the others. Now it is easily demonstrable 
that this pattern arose from historical circutnatances ’which might 
have been quite other than they were. The Greek thinkers were 
moved by an abnormal passion for certainty, as a result of which 
they disentangled the forms of mathematical inference from the 
uncertain milieu in which they had previously been embedded. 
The realm of these forms thus became a focus of systematic atten¬ 
tion in a ’wa3* in which it has not been elsewhere in the world. The 
early modems had an equally abnormal curiosity about empirical 
facts, and how to describe them so that they can be anticipated 
with maximum probability; w'ith the outcome that these facts 
became shar|>ly separated from the mathematical structures 
which had proved after a long struggle impotent to encompass 
them. Throughout the subsequent period of Western thought it 
has become increasingly clear that many of the most important 
matters of life fall outside both these two areas; hence w'e now 
have the field of "value,'' an almost unexplored and rather 
kaleidoscopic territory' w'hose only definite property perhaps is 
that it provides a nook for everything that cannot be dealt with 
by mathematical or empirical science. But, as would be expected 
by a Martian philosopher impartially surveying the contingencies 
of earthly history, Indian and Chinese philosophers think in terms 
of ultimate patterns quite irreducible to this. Their basic analjfses 
Iiave taken shape under the influence of forces and motives dif¬ 
ferent from those which have determined Western philosophic 
history', but equally accidental from the standpoint of logic. 

I shall be bold enough to attempt a brief and tentative charac- 
terutation of these patterns, to bring out the distinctive essence of 
each and their major contrasts with each other. In the West, the 
attention of thinkers has been centred mainly on the external 
world, moved by an interest in enjoying and exploiting it; when 
the human personality and its elements have been subjected to 
study it has been in terms of principles and methods that have 
achieved their major success in dealing with the physical world. 
Also. Western thinkers, seduced by tbe Platonic and .Aristotelian 
conception of reason as a distinct mental faculty, have assumed 
that there is such a thing as iutdlcctual curiosity, capable of 
operating unaffected by any other motivation. Moreover, since a 
considerable variety of ulterior purposes can be serv'ed by the 
results of satisfying this curiosity, the belief has been natural that 



theoretic anal5^SiS can be signiJicantty performed irrespective of 
whether or not it is followed by synthesis. Hence the basic dis- 
titiction and relation assumed is'that between mind, conceived as 
a purely cognitive entity, and the object of its curiosity, conceived 
after the analogy of a ph^'^ica] event in space and time. The 
Western philosophic pattern takes its form from the guidance or 
reflection by these controlling presuppositions, as the process has 
been historically affected by the contingent lac tors noted above. 
In Western philosophy all concepts and assertions gain their 
ultimate meaning in terms of this context^—serious thinking is 
assumed to be the operation of a theoretical mind, apprehending 
forms, factSp and values, and always seeking their dearer dis¬ 
crimination and intGrrclation. 

In India p speculative thought has taken a quite different tack. 
Ever since phdosopby began to shape its pattern m the Upani- 
shads, it has taken lor granted that the universal and essential 
problem of life is how each separate individual can achiev'e one¬ 
ness with a reality which transcends and includes all things. 
This reality, w^hich is thus the final end of all existence, is also 
believed to be the original source from which all frustrating 
di^iisious arose. The process of breaking down the separateness 
and merging with the Absolute is not merely a matter of intel¬ 
lectual realizatioii but one involving the whole personality. 
Among other things, it requires a moral self discipline, a conquest 
of self-seeking desire with the fears, hatreds^ and anxieties that 
accompany it: without such conquest, reason itself will be 
so dbtorted by unstable emotions that it cannot guide men 
towards a dear perception of truth—the psychological and meta¬ 
physical truth that really matters. From the Indian point of view 
eveiything in experience^ including the physical world and all 
sodd relationships, finds its significance in this context, and is 
only adequately interpreted when seen In these terms. Science, 
considered by itself, gives a valid but merely fragmentary under¬ 
standing of the tvorld with w^hich it deals; a full comprehension 
will reveal it as a vtry partial expression of the Ultimate One in 
which this basic process of self-realisation finds its completion* 
Thus, here, instead of abstracting a merely cognitive mind, we 
are dealing svith the full-bodied personality of the phUosophic 
thinker; instead of assuming a process of purely theoretical 
apprehension we are dealing wuth the attempt at realization of aJl 
facts of being; instead of pausing with the results of anal^F^is we 



are pressing on to a daring and total synthesis. In brief, we are 
moving in the radically different context detenuined by the con¬ 
trolling motivations of mj^ticisni. 

Chinese philosophy follow's a somewhat different route still. Its 
primary attention is centred, not on mastering the external world 
nor on the release from discord of man-s divided self, but on the 
problems of society as they present themselves to a person of 
moral eamestneas and soci^ responsibility. The w'orld which we 
need to understand and to which we must adjust ourselves under 
the guidance of such understandingp is the world of political, 
educational, and economic relationships; and everything ebe fills 
its appropriate role when seen in relation to these social structures. 
Of unique importance in this social world is the netu^ork of our 
mtimate family attachments; it provides both the key to an 
adequate comprehension of society in geiieral—indeed, of the 
entire universe—and also the normative model by which w'e can 
find our w^ay tow'ard perfect accordance with Heaven and with 
all men. To philosophize in this context is, then, to proceed under 
the dominant assumptiun that the one who philosophizes b neither 
a pure intellect nor a merely individual seeker after transcendent 
unity. He is essentially a social being, following the law^ of nature 
as disclosed in right family relationships and lured by the creative 
harmony wWch would result from the universal practice and ful“ 
filment of that law. 

Now each of these philosophic pattemSp vrith its distinctive set 
of assumptions, deterrnmes in its own wny the meaning of all 
categories that are employed within the culture w^hich has pro¬ 
duced it, and consequently of all the questions asked and answ^ers 
sought in terms of those categories. The very basic distinctions 
drawn in each pattern wiU then inevitably be different, because 
they will reflect the unique presuppositions involved, as also the 
special accidents that have affected the course of their historical 

If this is so, then the cnidaJ question of philosophic method, 
once the w^ay has been adequately prepared for confronting it, will 
be: how' can these inclusive but distiuctive patterns be impartially 
integrated—how can the historic process of their mutual assimila¬ 
tion, w'hich is slowly taking place through the interaction of 
cultures, be in telligently guided and foreshortened ? 

Again, I believe I can glimpse the valid general principle that 
would apply here—the principle demanded by the ideal of co- 


operative impiirtiality. That principle would require that we 
should regard each of these cultural patterns not as an absolute— 
as a way of thinking to be uncritically held as the only reasonable 

(jtie_but as a candidate for inclusion in a more comprehensive 

pattern, which will presen'e all that is of constructive value in it 
and only eliminate what is irreconcilable with elements in other 
patterns that in the light of experience as a whole dearly demand 
preservation. In order, however, for this total pattern to serve as 
a standard to guide such a process of selection and elimination it 
must be conceived with some definiteness, and how can it be given 
impartial definiteness in advance? You will suggest, perhaps, that 
its passage from a vague ideal to a more specific criterion must be 
attained just through the process of comparing different cultural 
patterns in detail, to determine which factors in each must be 
rejected and how the rest can be harmoniously combined. This 
seems to me exceedingly likely. But if so, how can that comparison 
be intelligently guided, so that there will be a minimum wastage 
of time and effort in it ? 

UTion I affirmed that these difficult methodological problems 
must be given an initial solution at the very beginning of arty 
serious effort at world -philosophiring I did not mean, of course, 
that those who engage in that task would not continually learn 
further lessons about matters of method as w*eU as about other 
things. I should take it for granted that th«^ would, and that the 
procedure of building a world philosophy would itself need to be 
revised from time to time in the light of such lessons. It seems 
clear, howe\*er, that some method must be employed at the very 
start, and that our choice of it should be guided by wisdom rather 
than be an affair of mere chance. How can we choose in such a 
way as to justify the hope that subsequent revisions of our method 
will concern only its details and not require abandonment of its 
basic structure? 




Unlvmitrof UmwaH 



When one studies Orient a! philosophy in the vTitings of modem 
Oriental scholars and interpreters of the thought of the Orient, 
one is constantly reminded of a certain '‘spirit" per^-ading the 
whole, no matter how complex the content might appear. Certain 
common features or elements—problems, methods, conclusions— 
stand out above the variety. In fact, representative scholars of 
the philosophy of the East are quite insistent that there is such a 
spirit of Oriental philosophy [or of Indian philosophy or Chinese 
philosophy, as the case may be), and one can recognize on the ]>art 
of these scholars a pride in their philosophical tradition. Fre¬ 
quently one senses an attitude which approaches opposition or 
antagonism, and many Oriental descriptions of the spirit of 
Eastern philosophy are directed especially tow^ards the establish¬ 
ment of the unique features of the Oriental tradition and its ro«- 
trast mth the methods and attitudes of Western philosophy. 

Wlien one studies Western philosophy, one is not reminded 
nearly so constantly of w'hat might be called a spirit of the Western 
philosophical tradition. Almost without exception in instances of 
a description of the nature of Western philosophy in creative 
rvriting and in textbooks, the points of description arc stated to be 
the characteristics of philosophy as such without any reoognitiou 
of the possibility that they might be characteristics only of 
^^'esteTn philosophy and not of other philosophical traditions. It 
is this lack of consideration of other philosophical traditions which 
is responsible for the fact that Westerners have not given much 
serious thought to the specific characteristics of Western philo¬ 
sophy and therefore have not tried to define the spirit of Western 
thought in its specific and unique character. It has remained, in 



the large, for the OrientaJ scholar to define or describe the spirit 
of Western philosophy, but confusion has resulted from this 
because the Easterner is frequently motivated by the spirit of 
opposition, or at least by that of contrast, and thus almost inevi¬ 
tably indulges in some degree of distortion. 

Since the Western mind can no longer afford to be guilty of the 
provincialism which has characterized it for many centuries, and 
since representatives of Western philosophy must henceforth be 
conscious of other philosophical traditions, it is indispensable that 
Western thinkers give serious consideration to the essentials of 
their philosophical tradition and attempt to understand that 
tradition not only in itself but also in the light of its relationships 
with other philosophical traditions. In this way, the Westerner 
may be able to understand his own pat tetri of thought more 
clearly and more critically; and he may also be able to under¬ 
stand and po^ibly to appreciate the so-called alien philosophical 
traditions of the East. 

The problem of this paper^ then, may be stated as follows: Is 
there a spirit of Western philosophy which is definitive of and 
unique to that tradition, and whi^ is distinct from and possibly 
in conflict with a spirit of Oriental philosophy? This is not a 
specific study in East-West comparative philosophy as such, but 
the study is motivated by the possibility that its result may lead 
to better mutual understanding of East and West in the field of 
philosophy, ft is hoped that the study may reveal the fact that 
some of the hitherto insurmountable barriers separating East 
and West may be found not to be insurmountable ^ter ah. 



■ 4 . 



In an accurate determination of the spirit of a philosophy, any 
category of description which is selected must be definitive and 

As definitive^ it must point to a doctrine or method without 
which a specific philosophy or philosopher w'ould fail to fit the 
given tradition, ^ For example^ in any description of the spirit of 

f A philo^ptiicftl traditidn b not describable in tcrnis of geography: the mere 
fact that one Uvea ip. the is not stiflieJent to maJe* liim and hja doctrities 
"fit'' the Weatera philosophical ttadiUon. 


liidiaii philosophyp the matermlisUc system, is sJways 

cited as an exception, since it contains doctrines contrary to the 
genera] pattern of Indian philosophy as a whole, and docs not 
include doctrines which seem to be characteristic of the Indian 
philosophical tradition. 

The category of description must be unique, because without 
uniqueness the category would not describe the philosophy in 
distinction from other philosophies. Uniqueness is even more 
strongly demanded in this particular study because of the under- 
interest in the significance of the spirit of Western philosophy 
as related to that of Oriental philosophy. If the spirit of Western 
philosophy should be found to be uniquep then the frequently 
assumed distinctions and contrasts of East and West will 
validated; on the other hand, if the spirit of Western philosophy is 
found not to be unique, the foundation of much of the opposition 
of East and West w^iU be called into question. 

Furthermore, an acceptable description must denote basic , 
common denominators of all major sj’^tems and thinkers. This is 
the method employed almost universally by Indian and Chinese 
scholars in describing the spirit of their respective philosophical 
traditions. For example. Professor S. N. Dasgupta lists as com¬ 
mon denominators of Indian philosophy : the belief in and 

rebirthp Mukii (emancipation)p soul, pessimism with reference to 
this world, optimism with reference to the goalp and certain basic 
ethical principles.^ Professor S. K. Maitra points to "the quest for 
values ... a search for what is of greatest value."^ Professor .VI. 
Hiriyanna indicates certain common ideas of the ideal life for man 
on earth as found m all ruajor Indian philosophical thought,! 
Professor S. Radhakrishnan points out certain general charac¬ 
teristics of Indian philosophy as a whole and certain common 
doctrines taught by all of the major systems.^ Professor B. L. 
Atreya similarly lists common basic doctrines.* 

Authorities on Chinese philosophy follow the same procedure. 
Professor Fung Yu-lan says, "Siuce the character of the sage is, 

1 S. N. l>asgupta, A HUiory ef /ttJidtt PAik^hy, Univensity Preis, Caznbrid^, 
KngliLDd, 1^2, 1 f pp- 7*-77‘ 

* Thi Spiwii cf Indian PkiJcs€fhy. privately publiEtted. Benarei, t^7r pp 2-3 r 

) ■"The M^Aiij^g ol [nd^ Phiiqsopliy/* lH TAr PhiioiopAical Quartfriy, 

19^0, pp. 16-37, 

^ ittdian Fktiofitpkyt George .\ileii a&d Unwin, hoadoTi, I (igao)- pp. ^-53; 
II (1931)- pp 24-2S, 7*9-770 

j '■Phjki^phy Theosophy," in Thf<MOpky and The 

Adyvr Library Asswiiatioii, Madras, J939. ppr 136-1 j 9 . 



according to Chinese tradition, one of sageliness wHthin and kingli¬ 
ness without, tlie task of philosophy is to enable man to develop 
this kind of character. Tliercfore, what [Chinese] philosophy dis¬ 
cusses is what the Chinese philosophers describe as the Tao (Way. 
or basic principles) of sageliness within and without.*** This 
represents the basic problem of Chinese philosophy and therefore 
reflects the spirit of the whole. Dr. Hu Shih agrees, saying, ., it 
is the search for the tao . . . which constitutes the central problem 
of all Chinese philosophers . . Professor W. T. Chan indicates 
the spirit of Chinese philosophy by pointing to certain ideals of 
Chinese philosophy “which have been examined throughout 
Chinese history and have been found valuable" and ivhich thus 
[constitute] the spirit of Chinese phUosophy.J 
In like manner writeis on Western philoso^y often select 
certain common denominators w the characteristics of philosophy, 
although, as said above, they do not spemfically indicate that 
these ate characteristics exclusively or iiniqudy of Western 

Furthermortp the ^'spirit'' of a philosophy must be constant 
despite change of conditions and time, as ’^vell as being present in 
spite of or above the variety of concepts. There must be a '*sub- 
stance" which remains essentially the i^me while the form of 
expression or particular description of that "substance" may vary 
to fit the time. This is also a favourite method of Indian and 
Oiinese writers, and was also ti^ed by Professor F. S. C. Northrop 
in his recent treatise on the spirit of both the Eastern and Western 
philosophical traditions,* 

One other positive way by which the spirit of a philosophical 
tradition may be deterniincd is by reference to the basic problem 
or problems which the philosophers of the tradition are trying to 
solve. This is best illustrated by pointing, as many do, to the 
constant as well as universal search for {emancipation) in 

Indian philosophy. This is such a major problem that Indian 
philosophy has been called a mok?a-£astrat a treatise on emanci¬ 
pation. It is unquestionable that this practical inotive is the most 

■ A Sko*f of CAinm PkUosophy, Dcrk Boddf:, -ed,. The MACtdilian Cq., 

New Vflrk, p. 7^ 

^ Tk* DMlofmuwt of ike Af^ikod in Ancient Ckitniti The OriciUol Book 

Co., Shanghai, P- ^7- 

1 '^The Story of Chtnisse rMToiopihy,"' in Pkiiae^ky —n*'«l, C. A. 
^loore, ed., Princ^on University PresSj 1^44, Pr 

i The Mfetmg 0 / East and Tht Macmillan Co., Ne'w York, P- ^94- 
'Through all changes the form is the same; unly the content ti di£fcri!nt." 



utuvcrsaL common denominator of Indian philosophical thought ; 
it thus represents at least the foundation of the spirit of Indian 
philosopliy. It is closely related to what Professor Maitra calls the 
“quest for values." Professor Fung Yti-Ian makes a similar point 
when he says, "There is a main current in the history of Chinese 
phflosophy, w'hkh may be called the spirit of Chinese philosophy. 
In order to understand this spirit, iyc must first make clear the 
problem that most Chinese philosophers have tried to solve."* 

In other words, if it is possible to discover a basic problem with 
which the philosophers of the Western philosophical tradition 
are primarily concerned, and to discover certain basic common 
denominators in terms of methods and conclusions, and to deter¬ 
mine methods or conclusions w'hich are present constant despite 
changes of time and conditions, then it will be possible to deter¬ 
mine the spirit of Western philosophy. 

There are certain misleading procedures which appear on the 
surface to be accurate instruments for determining the spirit of 
the philosophical tradition but which have led only to confusion, 
distortion, or serious raisinterpretation. 

To begin with, the spirit of a philosophy cannot be determined 
by the general culture or pattern of life of a people, race, nation, 
or continent. The general culture of a people, and such conditions 
as geography and economics, unquestionably affect the philosophy 
of that peopie,» but it is falladous to identify the two, 11 is essen¬ 
tial to bear in mind that ive are studying the characterUtic spirit 
of Western philosophy. Philosophy must not be confused or 
identified with culture, civilization, politics, economics, mtema- 
tional relations, or the way the people act and live in practice. One 
does not study Christianity by watching so-called Christians in 
action; nor should one study the characteristics of Western 
philosophy by noting a practical interest in material gain, 
gadgets, recreation, sports, and the like. Trends in or characteris¬ 
tics of a culture do not necessarily reflect the thought of the great 
philosophical masters; nor do they represent the spirit of the 
philosophy w-hich has been produced in that civilization. Perhaps 

■ A Skeri Hiitery ef Ckinese Philes<pky, pp. 6-S. 

: ‘'PliiloHrphiuU ttke ngnphilQwpucaJ, cannot b« wpanted frotu the 

total intellectuaJ life ef a penod. To make aucli a separation ia to inn the risk of 
seiloiu fiiLlsifiicatlon cl the meajiiDg of thr pnihlems involved and of the methods 
USIhI tOsoiv'f! GecirgE Bo&fS, ''The Histcury ho| Fhijipsophy/' IQ 

and ika Humma Spini, Yervant H. Kilhcirianp m., Columbiit University 
Ne^w Yarb, 1944, p. £,53. SeealAO R S, C. NdrlitkropH op. cU.. isad Bef±rAiid 
Ilisioty d/ pAii^xaopky^ SiiQua anjj Scluuitcr^ New York, 194 



ihp undcrivine fallacy of this method of detcrmimti^ the spirit 
* a pM^fy in d»ub.M assumption that the 

philosophy pniiuced by the great thinkers of a given ™ 

has either been moulded by or has moulded the culture and the 
living of the people of that civilization. -v.* ^ 

Much intellectual confusion has 

ceduic. For e.vainpk, Western philo^phy h^been ^ed mater^b 
istic and individualistic. Sri Aurobjndo has wntten, . . . the 
gif between East and West. India and Europe, is now much 
Sfoimd and rnibridgeabk than it was 

True, the basic difierence still remains unmodihed : the life of the 
West is stiU chiefly governed by a 

idea and preoccupation."* {Note the word life of the West ) 
Professor \V. E. Hocking, it seems to me. has been sinnlarly 
mLuided when he writes that the attitude of "the sa^edness of 
peSmality" and the doctrine of individualism 
Western philosophy * The same fallacy is committed by D. 
Shastri. when he speaks of the West's "over-emphasis on mdiw- 
dualism.''3 Without too much stretching of theunag^tion, ludi^i 
piiilosophy could be described similarly-and equally 
-as materialistic and individualistic on the same groimds. Su^ a 
iudgment. however, drawn from social conditions, woidd be mtree 
to the essential spirit of Indian philosophy, as such, and thus 
stands out as a striking example of the fallacy m question. 

Another method of determining the spint of a p^osophical 
tradition is to indicate the "emphases" of that tradition, tho^ 
doctrines or methods which seem in some way to have 
greater prominence. WTdle this is admittedly the most fruitfu 
practical method, if one must speak of the spirit of a philosophical 
tradition, it is dearly unsound as a method of defining su^ a 
spirit.1 The chief defect of this method is that it over-simplifies, 
hence falsifies, and thus ignores the richness of thought that^y 
be present. There are obvious craphas^ in any philosopmcal 
tradition, but an emphasis is dearly not the whole of the tradition 

I ' IsIndia Civilised?•' Pondicheny, ,y. P. . p, . 

1 * 'Value o( tlie CompafHtive Study ot Plultiaopliy. m f^ktioiopki 

” f Emtirn Pkih^opky, The Macmillan Co., 

^ There is «»! value in dotcrminiinf the emphases ol dlffeTent ptHnsopl^w 
forlt ia ^ the lieht of such emphn*;. that future 
synlhMiB may be achieved - Hoivevcr, this study is concerned Vo 

dEhoition ot the spirit of ^e Vlestem philQsoplu^«™i*tioB. 
theae terms, au emphasis U not ncceptabte as a definmvo dMcnpbon. 



and does not therefore represent the full height, depth, or range 
of the creative mind within the philosophical tradition. For 
example, Indian philosophy is so mdely described as religious or 
mystical that many believe that Indian philosophy as such is 
altogether religious or mystical in its orientation. Similaily, 
to c^I the West “materiaiistie’' tends to indicate the absence 
of significant idealism and of all other non-mateiialistic or 
anti-raateriaiistic theories. The inaccuracy of such a description is 
dear. Such a description inevitably leads to mi justifiable criticism 
and opposition, an attitude not uncommon among Indian philo¬ 
sophers to-day. 

Nor, finally, can the spirit of a philosophy be found by probing 
back into its origins. This might seem to be a sound method, since 
the originating motive would seem to give a cine to the basic 
problem to be considered and since the procedures themselves 
would tend to be determined at the beginning of the philosophical 
endeavour. Such a method, however, is unsound as a method of 
di^overmg the spirit of a philosophical tradition, unless the 
ori^nating problems and methods, in their essentials, have re¬ 
mained constant throughout the history of the tradition. This 
method can, at most, provide only a trial effort in the search for 
the spirit of a philosophy, and it must be abandoned if the origi¬ 
nating motives and methods are found to have been discarded or 
to have been modified significantly in the course of time. 



The thesis of this paper is that there is no spirit of Western 
philosophy, no unique and substantial spirit definable in terms of 
unity or invariability of thought with reference to any of the 
basic aspects of philosophy, its problems, its methods, or the 
answers and conclusions reached in the form of philosophical 
doctrines. This conclusion Is reached on the basis of the fact that 
none of the aforementioned acceptable methods of determining 
the spirit of philosophy produces positive results. There are no 
common denominators in the fonn of definitive or indispensab le 
and unique problems, methods, or doctrines. The common de¬ 
nominators of Western philosophy, if there are any at all, are 
simply the common elements of all ptulMophy, As the late Piin- 




dpal B, Dhniva has said, .. in Philosophy, there is no snch 
thing as East and West or old and new."' 

We often speak as if there were a spirit of Western philosophy 
which has become establiahed, and to which Western thinkers 
must conforrn. For example. Professor Hocking says, "It is for¬ 
tunate . . . that Oriental and Western philosophies have grown for 
so long a time in separation. They have become established in 
their ways of looking at things,"* Similarly, Professor G- P, 
Conger, in his warning to speculative philosophers, asks if it is 
not true that,. they are overtly loyal to traditions and reluctant 
if not timid about breaking with them/’3 It is natural to think in 
terms of philosophical traditions, and this tendency is enhanced 
by the geographical fact of self-identity and unity. However, it 
sometimes proves cstremely embarrassing if one is required to 
state specifically what one means by the spirit of Western philo¬ 
sophy and is faced with the task of identifying its fundamental 
and unique characteristics precisely. It is because of the inability 
to hit upon anv problems, methods, or doctrines which in their 
e^ntials arc fundamental, constant, and unique that I have been 
forced to adopt the thesis that there is no spirit of Western 


While it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to detemune 
the positive spirit of Western philosophy, there is abundant 
evidence to indicate the absence of such a spirit. I’his evidence 

falls into three categories: (i) internal evidence drawn from the 
history and content of Western philosophy: (a) a critical examina¬ 
tion of the most prominently proposed descriptions of the so- 
called spirit of Western philosophy; and { 3 ) a demonstration of 
the fact that even what might be called an intangible spirit of 
Western philosophy—^in terms of attitudes and concepts which 
are gemfoily accepted in the West—is much less precise and rigid 
than interpreters usually realize. Furthermore, this intangible 

1 " prpdrl f^ntia] Addxea?' in Froctedings <3/ of ih§ Indian Pkilo- 

Mhiciid CQngwts^, BcftaireA HindD Uiiivcrpit>% Benoiee. 24- 

t *■ Value of the Comparative Study ol Ftiilfwopty/' in PAHoiaphy^Eiisi aka 

1 ajjd Cdnlteot lu PhiUisopliy." ia TA4 PaHfw. July 

1945^ p . ■ 40 ’ 7 . 

4 In Iictfc despite the opinimis d| le&din^ Oriental schoburs, I sbenM lite 10 
questiQH the vdew tlUrt there ia a spirit -ot Indian or Chiuese plidcaopliy in any 
anbstaTitiat sense. The rich and. exltnaive variety of idcass^ nuethud^^, and Byrtemi 
in Jdach traLdition is nnmistakahle. It Mems mtjait dHthoiIt to find uBaniuiity of 
view on any bauc problein in either traditiDC, and to discover any saltan™ 
prindpte upon which to establisdi a apirit w'itbnut doinK vii>le45<;c to the prat 
variations of doctnne which have been drvrlpped: aee t»Tow, iKite 1, p. 61 - 




spirit of Western philosophy is not unique, being shared with 
other philosophical traditions as common elements of aU philo¬ 
sophy "East and West or old and new," 



Philosophy in the West has been what might ho called an intel¬ 
lectual adventure. This does not mean that it has been mere play 
or that it has not been serious or important. It means, rather, 
that Western philosophy has invoiv^ the completely uncon¬ 
trolled intellectual pursuit of knowledge of reality in the spirit of 
love of truth and complete freedom of thought, the only restrain¬ 
ing influence being a demand for reasonableness—and even that 
seems to be missing at times in the "adventure of ideas.” Pro¬ 
fessor Northrop speaks of the West's "complete freedom of the 
imagination" and of the adventure of ideas in which "the origin- 
ality. the genius, and the glory of the West consist,"* He warns, 
however, that this freedom of the imagination does not mean a 
negative absence of controls, but, instead, a positive adventure¬ 
someness b the pursuit of knowledge by all possible approaches. 
This adventuresometiess, which seeks out—or should seek—all 
possible approach^, is well reflected in the almost infinite variety 
of "systems' ’ in Western philosophy, and m the constant emer¬ 
gence of new philosophical possibilities. 

Another indication is the fact that phDosophy was bom m 
opposition to tradition with Thales, was reborn in the same spirit 
with Bacon and the Renaissance, and was given potent anti- 
tradition impetus by Descartes with his doctrine of universal 
doubt. As philosophers we admire Abelard for his fight agabst the 
traditionalism of the Church. As philosophers, we condemn St. 
Augustine for abandoning the conviction of his mmd to conform 
to the tradition of the Church, Philosophy originated in and lives 
on questioning. To cxinfonn to a tradition or a given pattern of 
thought or a spirit of the past is to the West distbctly unphilo- 
sophicat, because it is a denial of that opeumbdedness or freedom 
of thought without which philosophy cannot survive. 

There are no sacred books of the West, no basic texts or classics. 
There is no authority. Those ancient systems which at tirn'^a 
^ THa p/ Emt flini l+W/, p. 

180 i 



approached the level of authority vary so greatly that there can 
be no tradition even in that direction. In fact, any system or 
attitude that approached the enviable status of authority was 
promptly branded, with Bacon, as an idol or a prejudice. There 
are no ancient revelations in Western phtlosophy, constituting, as 
it were, a truth-mass from which new truths are derived or to 
which later truths must conform. The Christian Bible does not 
negate this contention, for certainly Western philosophy has not 
conformed to that Scripture, although it has been influenced by 
it, Reason—in some form—^has always been the test in philosophy, 
not Scripture or authority of any kind. 

Variety and conflict, not uniformity are the rule in Western 
philosophy. Even the definitions of philosophy show a marked 
lack of agreement in basic comprehension of the subject itself, as 
well as its purpose, content, field, methods, concepts, etc. Defini¬ 
tions of philosophy range from purely academic or disinterested 
pursuit of the truth to "knowledge is power”; from mere descrip¬ 
tion (called the search for knowledge) to interpretation (called the 
pursuit of wisdom); from a partner of reli^on to its greatest 
enemy; from pure reason to reason aided by non-intellectual in¬ 
sight; from a mere generalization of science to total perspective; 
from rigid systems to free and unsystematic speculation, as, for 
example, with Plato, who could hardly qualify as a philosopher if 
system and pure rationality were the criteria of a philosopher. 

It was said above that a clue to the spirit of a philosophical 
tradition might be the determination of the basic problem with 
which the philosophers of that tradition are concerned. The 
philosophers of India have all sought the solution of the practical 
problem of finding the way to the highest good, chiefly or 

emancipation. The philosophers of China have sought knowledge 
of the Too, or the way of life.' In contrast, there is no single 
problem with which Western philosophy has been concerned 
or w'hich Western philosophers have been unanimously or even 
generally trying to solve. The Western philosopher has sought the 
truth about reality, to be sure, but what reality, and why? The 
answer to these questions produces a great variety of objectives 
and a great variety of problems which have served as motivation 
for the pursuit of the truth. At times, in fact, even the truth, in 
the sense of an absolute truth or truth for its own sake, is cer- 

■ Sec Fnn^ Vu-lu, A Short History of Chintst Philosophy, p. 5, Afu) Hu Sluii, 
TA? ^ LogiC-ml Miikfid in Ancimt China, p, 17, 



tainly not the object of pursuit. Examples are: the practical and 
re1i|ioii5 periods of ancient philosophy, the Middle Ages, and the 
positivistic movement of more recent thought, to mention only 
three examples of major importance which vary from the usual 
interpretation of the purpose and problem of Western philosophy. 

Most important of all indications of the lack of a uniform tradi¬ 
tion in Western philosophy is what might be called the doctrinal 
variety which pervades Western philosophy and persists through¬ 
out its history. The demand for rationality may constitute an 
undcrlj’ing principle of unityj but the results of the use of reason 
—as weU as the meaning of reason itself, as will be shown later— 
are as various as one might expect, from "complete freedom of 
imagination." One writer has said that an outstanding mark of 
Western philosophy is its revolutionary character,’ This seems 
unquestionable. This revolutionary character may be explained 
in terms of the freedom of speculation which pervades the whole 
history of Western philosophy and the ever-increasing sum of 
knowledge, which has constantly forced revision of phiiosophical 
generalizations and postulations. 

The major consideration here is that this variety is real and 
serious. The conflict of these various doctrines has been basic and 
fundamental conflict,- not the noting of aspects of a single truth, 
which would be the Indian interpretation. In the West, conflicting 
doctrines and systems are never treated wth a "side glance.” the 
way Sri Aurobindo speaks of India's attitude toward materialism, i 
Doctrines and systems are not examined and rejected or absorbed 
as in India, or loosely synthesized for use for what they are worth 
or rejected as in China; or coloured to flt tradition and synthe¬ 
sized with indigenous thought as in Japan. In Western philosophy, 
oil the multifarious views have beeu considered seriously and have 
held the attention and conviction of many signifleant philo¬ 
sophers. To be sure, there have been recurrent types of philosophy 
in the West, but these have been many and diflerent and have 
expressed nearly all possible major philosophical points of \iew. 
Another way of making this point is to say that "anything can 

* F. C. Niiirtlurop, TAs East pp^ 296, 310-^31 1 , 

^ Aa ona example, see G, P, Coeger, "MetliCKl and extent in PMosopliy/' in 

Fkiiosi/phfra^ July 194b, pp. 405-406^ '"Tliia between the 

critical iind the sp<cu]ativie ptiiJc4opbct», as they aunc c^Jlcd, 19^ not a mere differ^ 
cnee of opinioti, It la a di&creDc^ af fundamental attitude. It in^'nlves baiic 
principle^ or presupposItLoos %s to what phllqs^hy is and what i t is supposed to 
do. It divides tia: /* ." 

* in India, Atya PubltshiiiB House, Calcutta^ 1920^ p. to. 



Jiappen'* in Western philosophy—and is almost sure to happen in 
time. As Professor Hocking has said, race of people who could 
beget so jcjum a scheme of thought as logical positivism which 
declares metaphysical problems meaningless has every reason to 
listen to the quiet mind of the Orient/"^ To put a very complex 
case for "'variety" simply: there is no fundamental singleness of 
mind on any aspect of philosophy, even the status, scope^ and 
meaning of reason or of philosophy itself. Nor is there any single¬ 
ness of mind concerning philosophy's relation to science, to 
religion, to life and culture, to politics, to metaphyrsics, etc. Cer¬ 
tainly on such fundamental matters one might expect uniformity 
if not unanimity of interpretation in a "Tradition/' 

The subject matter or content and the method of philosophy 
are now recognized to be and to have been in the past 
problems rather than matters upon which there has been unani¬ 
mity of opiniOTi and procedure. As Professor George Boas has 
said, '"There b no single subject matter which may be called 
'philosophy' and of w'hich the history may be written. Pliilo- 
sophers have from Thales on been interested in a variety of 
subject matters^ but some of them have come to have no relation 
to what is now called philosophy. Their methods of inquiry have 
varied as much as their interests. One can, of course* and one 
should note the rise and fall of these methods and int crests.' 

Furthcnnorei there is no typical Western solution of any basic 
problems of philosophy, such as the nature of reahty; the status 
and nature of God; mind-body; the one and the many, faith and 
reason—which was a problem even in the Middle Ages: scepticism 
and confidence in reason: the relationship between the natural 
and the supernatural: freedom and determinisnir teleology and 
mechanism: or any of the major problems in epistemology and 

What Professor Conger notes as a characteristic diversity in 
present-day thought has been roSected, though to a lesser degree, 
throughout the history of W^teru philosophy. Of the contem¬ 
porary^ situation in philosophy, he says, ""We find social philo¬ 
sophy and philosoph^^ of science and axiology and semantics and 
philosophy of history and logic and philosophy of religion and 
metaphysics and philosophy of law and aesthetics and mathe- 

CompAiative Study of Pbilosaphy," in PhUt^sophy^Easl and 
of FhikBCpliy/' in NixitijaUsm dMif the Humjxn p. 


- "Vlluc of thfl 
p, 5, 

^ "Tbc Huiofy 


matical philosophy and phaosopby of literature and sometimes 
philosophy of life. In each of these specialized and sometimes 
isolated areas there are local divisions and differences almost 
without end.*^* 

The Greek age supposedly established the “spirit’* of Western 
philosophy, but even in that period many "isms" were developed, 
from naturalism to humanism, and from pure materialism to 
pure monistic spiritualism, and practically all intermediate 
varieties as well. Even in the Middle Ages there were pluralism 
and monism, spiritualism and materialism, liberty and moral 
determination, peisonal and impersonal immortality, resurrection 
ol the body and spirit as well as resurrection of the spirit alone 
Such diversities existed despite the rigid control of the supposed 
tradition of the powerful Church, in modem philosophy the same 
wide range of completely conflicting doctrines has been very much 
in evidence, and the evidence is too clear even to require mention. 

A mere listing of the major periods of the history of Western 
philosophy, with their diverse interests, perspectives, and con- 

cluslonSp woiiJd add weight to the already ponderous point_ 

ponderous and well-known but almost invariably forgotten or 
ignored in facile generalisations about the spirit of Western 

In view of these many indications of the characteristic variety 
of doctrines, no writer about Western philosophy could deter¬ 
mine the common denominators, the common doctrines, which 
represent the spirit of Western philosophy, as Kadhakrishnan, 
Dasgupta, and Hiriyanna have done with respect to Indian 
philosophy, anti Fung, Hu, and Chan with respect to Chinese 
philosophy. There are no such doctrines. In this sense, then, there 
is no subshatml spirit of Western philosophy, 




There have been numerous attempts to describe the spirit of 
Western philosophy, mostly by Oriental scholars but also occa¬ 
sionally by Occidentals, although in the latter case the description 
has not been specifically of Western philosophy but, by assmnp- 

» "Mettod and Canltiirt in Pliiloitcpliy/' in Tfu PAiia^ofthictd TnJv 

194^. p. 404, * J I 



tioQ, of philosophy as such, A second negative approach in the 
effort to determine the spirit—or lade of spirit—of Western philO' 
sophy is to examine the more prominent and more significant of 
these suggested descriptions, and to notice that each fails to meet 
the tests laid down alra^ve as the indispensable criteria of a defini¬ 
tive and unique "spirit," 

Some preliminary observations oonceming the proposed descrip¬ 
tions seem advisable. One is that some of these characteriza¬ 
tions are almost caricatures. All are recognizable, howe\'Er. and 
therefore none is wholly inoarrect. No attempt, therefore, should 
be made to reject the list as a whole or any of the specific descrip¬ 
tions tri Mo, but the inadequacy of all must be cited. In some 
instances the characteristic is patently drawn not from Western 
philosophy but from Western civilization or culture or practice. 
At most, even the more accurate of these descriptions call atten¬ 
tion to emphases, but emphases, as we have seen, are insufficient 
to represent the definiti^'e character of Western philosophy with¬ 
out doing injustice to the variety of ideas which cannot be ignored. 
In every case, major opposition and important eKceptions are 
ignored, and thus the method of indicating the inadequacy of the 
given characteristic is made dear and simple, calling for little 
elaboration. Detailed examination of all of these proposed charac¬ 
terizations is hardly necessary to reveal the inadequacy and 
inaccuracy of each one of them, and u-ill not be attempted. 

^^'lule it is denied that these characterizations accurately indi¬ 
cate the spirit of Western philosophy, they do reflect tendencies 
in some cases. As suggested above, the citing of such tendencies is 
helpful in comparative East-West philosophy; but, for purposes 
of exact definition or accurate description, the assigning of 
"labels" is clearly unsound. As a matter of fact, in comparative 
philosophy, sudi ''branding'’ of philosophy—East or West—has 
served primarily to widen the traditional breach between the two 
by exaggerating opposing tendencies, Often, it seems that the 
characterizations proposed are derived primarily from the effort 
to establish such opposition; otherwise it is most difficult to find 
adequate justification for the characterizations proposed. 

With these general observations in mind, we are now in a posi¬ 
tion to examine briefly each of the proposed "spirits" of Western 

Among the most prominently suggested characterizations of the 
spirit of Western philosophy have been the following: (i) aca- 


dcmic—'an int^ectual game”; (z) rafdotiaJjstic or mteUectual- 
istic; (3) scientific; (4) materialistic: (5) individualistic; {6) out- 
w-ard-looWng; (7) humanistic; (8) irreligious; (9) analjlic; and 
(10} qualitative, in the sense of ascribing definite qualities to 
ultimate reality, (The first two of these—"academic” and "intel- 
Icctualistic"—^will be treated later in this paper, and the last 
two will be considered as aspects of the rationalistic character of 
Western philosophy.) 

{i) Scientific .—The contention that Western philosophy is 
scientific would appear to have two connotations, first, that 
Western philosophy depends upon the attitudes of science regard¬ 
ing the nature of reality and consists primarily of a philosophical 
extension to all reality of the scientific assumptions or conclusions 
about the nature of things; second, that philosophy has adopted 
the so-called scientific method, which consists fundamentally of 
setting up certain hypotheses, axioms, or postulates, followed by 
the deduction of the logically implied consequences of these, and 
verification by reference to matters of fact. These two interpreta¬ 
tions must be examined separately, although there will be un¬ 
questioned overlapping of the two. 

The general interrelatedness of philosophy and science in the 
beginning of Western philosophy among the early Greeks is 
recognized, for at that time philosophy and science were to all 
intents and purposes identical.^ It has been contended, also, that 
the birth of philosophy could not take place prior to the Greeks, 
because philosophy presupposes scientific knovi'ledge and the 
Greeks were the first scientists.^ \VhUe in those early days there 
was no essential distinction between philosophy and science, 
varying di^ecs of divorce developed later, until the more modem 
conception of the relationship was reached, in which philosophy 
becomes the “science of sciences” and its task merely that of 
sjmthesizing the first principles or the conclusions of the various 
exact sciences in order to reach a philosophical generalization 
based upon scientific facts and theories. The task of philosophy 
here is simply that of trying "to determine what the important 
scientific conceptions of our day really inean."i and of constructing 

^ ^ See C. F. La veil, A Biof^apky cf tkfi Hou^btoa Mimin Co., Xcw 

York, 1954. Ch. VII, cipctaidlv pp, 131-113, anij Editii Hamilton, ThrGt^tk (Fay, 
W. W. Uorton aiMl Co., New \ork, 1939^ Ch, I. 

^ See John Eumet, £aHy Gr^gk Phiit^sopky, A., C. London, third 

ed., 1520, ItLtmdctertionr pp. 1-3. 

1 F. S, C, Nortltrop, nHd First jhimeiptes. The MacmiHaii Co,, Krw York, 

1931, pp. 



a philosophical condusion or set of conclusions in terms of the 
first principles involved in the scientific conceptions. 

It is unquestionable that the first of these procedures—the 
philosophical acceptance of science’s views on the nature of 
things—^has been foUow'ed by some of the most prominent thinkers 
in the Western philosophical tradition, bat two considerations are 
of vital significance: (i) that it has not dominated the minds or 
the systems of many if not most of the outstanding philosopheis 
of the West, and, in fact, has been specifically rejected, either 
implicitly or explicitly, by idealists—ever since the time of 
Socrates and Plato in the Phaedo —^who have seen in this method 
the one-sidedness of naturalism; and {2) that it violates the spirit 
of philosophy as such, which might be called the attitude of 
''total perspective.” It has generally been accepted in the West 
that philosophy must be based upon observation and study of the 
data presented by nU aspects of the universe. 

In the earliest days of Greek philosophy the problem of the 
relation between philosophy and science did not arise. With 
Plato, although he demanded that his philosopher-kings must 
first be trained in the sciences, be did not think that the sciences 
provided a complete account of reality. He called the philosopher 
the spectator of all time and ail existence. From Aristotle to the 
Renaissance, the problem did not arise, since the Aristotelian 
teleological interpretation of science as well as philfusophy removed 
any essential conflict. In the early part of the modem era, Hobbes 
—and probably Descartes and Spinoza—adopted the view in 
question, but none of their great successors in the course of 
modem philosophy followed suit until well along in the develop¬ 
ment of modem science. But even in this last period the view that 
philosophy is merely the science of sciences or merely a generalized 
statement of the first principles of science has been chatlenged 
constantly, and thus cannot be accepted as representing the spirit 
of Western philosophy even in the most scientific age of all times. 

Philosophy is much more than a mere unification of the sciences, 
philosophy must recognize the significance of science and must 
not ignore scientific facts^-aithough a Fichte now and then may 
go even to this extreme. Nevertheless, philosophy stands, not as 
the servant of the sciences, but rather as their parent and as their 
perpetual critic, being the only disdpline qualified to examine 
the assumptions, methods, and conclusions of the sciences. In its 
examination of these, there is no requirement that philosophy 



must accept tbe scienti£c point of view or its limited perspective 
as filial or complete. 

A well-knoi^’n contrast between philosophy and science is that 
between the search for wisdom and the search for knowledge, a 
contrast between interpretation and description, which cannot 
be ignored. The West as a whole has not accepted the thesis that 
values are scientific facts in the ordinary sense, or that values 
can be deduced from a generaliiation based upon the unification 
of descriptive systems or partial systems in which value as such 
has no place. The scientific basis of all philosophy, descriptive 
and normative, is one possible philosophical attitude, but it is not 
characteristic of Western philosophy, and actually is of relatively 
minor importance among the greati^ thinkers of the Western 

The other interpretation of Western philosophy which could 
call for its characterisation as '’scientific*' has to do primarily 
with method, and has recently come into prominence through the 
work of Professor Filmer S. C. Northrop in the field of compara¬ 
tive philosophy. His contention is that the West is characterized 
by the scientific procedure of depending primarily upon “concepts 
by postulation’* as contrasted with the East, where philosophy 
depends ultimately upon "concepts by intuition.’* His point is 
that, despite the variety of the content of Western philosophy, 
tbe form has been the same throughout, and that this constant 
form is that of science. A few excerpts from his writings will make 
his important points clear. 

“The only way yet knoivn to man by which unobservable 
scientific objects can be handled scientifically is by designating 
their properties and relations with precision in a set of postulates, 
then applying formal logic to these postulates to determine what 
else must be the case if they are true, and then checking these 
deduced consequences by direct inspection in a crucial controlled 
experiment. Precisely because Western science is metaphysical, 
due to its introduction of scientific objects and processes desig¬ 
nated by concepts by postulation, logical and mathematical 
methods arc a positive tool absolutely necessary for trustworthy 
knowledge.. . .* 

“The common elements ... of the nature of Western knowledge 
[are] (i) an immediately apprehended factor and (2) an inferred 

^ C«?mplemfiEitary Etupho.w of Eastera Xiituitiva And WeAtsm Sd rutifi c 
Philosophy/' in PMihs^tpky —tflJ* p. 



theoretically designated component. Without the latter theoretical 
factor, Western knowledge in all fields wonld not have its hypo¬ 
thetically a fvwri. indirectly verified chaiacter. .. 

The origi^ty of the West was “the discovery of an entirely 
new component of reality beyond the reach of positivistic imme¬ 
diate apprehension and contemplation, which required the intro¬ 
duction of concepts by postulation . . . and necessitated the 
development of the formal methods of logic and mathematics 
combined at the end with crucial experimentation to secure 
trustworthy knowledge."* 

This interpiietation of the basic principles of the method of 
knowledge employed by a number of Western thinkers is of great 
value in clarifying the situation and in proriding exact terminology 
with w’hich to compare East and West, but seems to be based 
upon the fallacy of all such attempts, namely, that of over¬ 
simplification, The method strikes one as an ideal even in science, 
but it is neither a necessary ideal nor the adopted practice in 
Western philosophy. Most of the criticism of Professor hJorthrop's 
thesis has pointed to the significance of intuition, in any of its 
varied forms, in Western philosophy.* It seems, also, that a 
survey of the great ntunds in Western philosophical thought 
would of necessity distort the full procedure in the mind and 
writings of the great thinkers if their endeavours were reduced to 
the single basic pattern outlined in the philosophy of "concepts 
by postulation." Rather, wg must agree in part with Professor 
George Boas, who says, "Very few*, if any, philosophers have ever 
had a system of philosophy in the sense that geometry is a system. 
Many have had a small group of leading ideas which they think 
they developed deductively, but upon examination every system 
turns out to be, from the point of view of subject matter, a group 
of interests determined by historical accident, and from the point 
of view of method, a mixture of deduction and non-deduction. "4 

In this connection, it may be worth noting also that even if 
Professor Northrop’s case were unquestionable with reference to 

■ e/ itnd p. jw. See also p. 395. 

’ * 'The Complementaiy EmphaMS ni Eastern Intnitl ve and Western ScieiltiEc 

Philosophy*" id Fkil^€pky^EAst and pp. ? 15-^16. 

J For SSiu&rt M. Brown, Jr., ''DiscttMioii/' in The PhU^^ophicai 

Rfinew, Jmi. J 947 , pp. 7^1. 

i Cwtge Boaa, "The Hlmony of PhilOMphy," in anil ike Human 

Sfiifit, jm. 151-133. SetilsQ C. P. Conger, "Method and Content in Philosophy," 
in TA* Pkiloiophicai Rev^tew, July 1946, p. 410: "No one method is sacrosanct; 
, . , wib a ineviUbly combmed with fiometMo^ of the othenf." 



the character of Western philosophy^ it would still not charac¬ 
terize Western philoBophy in a unique fashion. No doubt, concepts 
by intuition play an important role in some of Indian philosophy, 
but to identify Oriental thought with the attitude of concepts by 
intuition is to concentrate excessively upon one aspect of the 
Oriental tradition despite its great variety.* Other writers in this 
volume are also giving attention to this particular point, and thus 
it is hardly necessary for the present treatment to enter into ail 
the extensive intricacies of the problem. One more point may be 
worthy of mention, however, namely, that concepts by postula¬ 
tion are very much in evidence in Oriental philosophy and in all 
the major systems of India and China—and even Vedanta and 
Taoism shouJd not be excepted. 

Within the field of philosophy proper Ln India concepts by 
postulation are used extensively^ and, except in the Upani^ds, 
even the concept of Brahman is arrived at by this process.^ 
Characterization of Indian philosophy as devoid of significant 
concepts by postulation is based too exclusively upon the 
identification of Indian philosophy with the Upani^ds alone^ 
WTiile the Upanii^ds unquestionably provide the ground-work for 
later Indian philosophical speculation, they are not the whole of 
Indian philosophy: in fact, all Indian philosophy after the Upani- 
5ads may possibly be related more closely to the methods of 
Western rationalism than to the mystical intuition of the seers of 
the Upani^ds. 

t £tc M. HltiyajiiLa^ nf Indian Pkiias^hy, The MacmiUim Ca., New 

York, tgjT, p. "'A striking chawt-eiiatk TndiiU] thought Is its ridmea and 
varitty. There Ib no 5 h^ 150 ^ speculntion which it does not include." See al$D Derk 
Boddc, In Ms Lntrod action to Fung Yu-lan'a /i Skori History cfCkirt^e PhilA^s^hy. 
p. xi: ■'Chinese phUosophy is far wider in scope than either Confucitis or Lao Tan, 

or even Confucian ^tkI Taoist schoota - In the cour^ of some twenty-live cec^ 

tunes, ChineBe thinkeri have touched apon wcU-nigh all the fn»ior anbiwta that 
have cii|?agcd the attentkon of philosophers in the VVesl^ and though tae schools 
to which they have belonged have often borne the ^mc name through many 
centturles^ their actual ideological content has changed greatly one age to 

^ Among the concepts of Indian phikHophy which would qualib ^ concepts 
by postulation are' the doctrine of rebirth, kamm, apAwvn. adtpa, the atoraj of 
tic Kyiya and VaiAe^lka systems, prakrii for J«a), puru^, the gun^ and 
the fanmaiyoi (subtile bodied) in the SImkhyu system, the pnadpie of caose and 
cfl«t in Nyiya, VaHe^ika, and Sanikhya* and, pgasihly, Brahinan iUelf in some 
systeois. . . . 

Simitaxly, the T^ai chi of Taoism and Neo-Con fucianisro. Yitt-yang, and T ten 
are some of the basic prindplcs of Chinese philosophy that are toncepts by 
pofltiilatioii. Even Tm may fit this pattern io some rcspecls For ewipl^ Fung 
Yu-Ian says, '^The TaoUta thought that since there are things, there must be that 
by which all'theaethings came to be. This 'that^ is designated by them as Tao ^., /- 
A SkCfTt HisU?Fy a/ Chinan PAilciophy, pp. 95^- 



(t) Maierialistie .—^This diaractarization hardly deserves con¬ 
sideration. It is rejected almost automatically because of the 
obvious fallacy involved in the face of the prominence of idealism 
throughout the history of Western philosophy except at its very 
beginning. It is rejected also because it has been draMm, not from 
philosophy itself or from the history of philosophy, but from the 
way of life of the West—which may or may not in fact fit the 
description. Full-fledged materialism has occurred very rarely in 
the history of Western philosophy. On the contrary, it may be 
contended that idealism, especially in the sense that reality 
embodies reason and purpose, is "the great tradition" of the 
West" (although this, too, of course, would be a one-sided and 
therefore an inaccurate description). 

(3) Iftdividualisik .—Burtt speaks of "the individualism of the 
Western thinking" ’ as one of its four basic characteristics, and calk 
it "excessive individualism/Hocking says, "Individualism is, or 
has been, with us a shibboleth/'i Saunders alludes to the "more 
indiNndualistic West."^ Burtt^ and Conger^ both note the Western 
emphasis upon analysis, and Burtt specifically relates this, as 
cause or e&ct, to indJvidualism.T Shastri reflects the Easterner's 
interpretation when he refers to the West's "over-emphask on the 

Here again is a characterization which has apparently been 
drawn from life in the West and not from Western philosophy. 
Western philosophy has no final answer to the problem of the 
ultimate status of the mdividual. The problem of the status of the 
indixidual is still a problcfn in Western philosophy. Suffice it to 
say that philosophical monists of high rank as well as pluralists 
abound in the history of W'estern philosophy, and that the present 
tendency, if it be one, toward democracy and individualism has 
not even dominated the cultural and political picture in the 
West, let alone the philosophical tradition. 

In this connection, it may also be pointed out that Oriental 
philosophy is not nearly so monistic as it k often thought to be, 

■ Sec W. Urban, Tkt TnbUigibi/ Werld. The Mocmilbuk C6., ttew York 1920. 

1 E. A. Purtt. "Hoir Can the Fbibsophies oi East and West Meet?” la Th 
Rtvi^w, Novsmbu 1948, p, 

J W. E. Hoclaq^, of tbfl Study of PliilDwishv." in Phil^ 

iiipky —fan! and p. 7. ^ 

+ fc, Tkr Ideali £flj# dnJ Univmlty Ptess, Carabridgfl, 

P‘a E. A. Burtt, Pp. p. 596. 

'An Outline IndtED Fh±ki£flphy/' in and 

T E, A. Burtt, ciir^ pp, 

P, D, StkEEtrlij. Tht cf Eastern Phiiaiaphyf p. y. 



and thus thit the West's supposedly characteristic emphasis on 
the individual is not by any means unique. Chan states that 
,. Oriental philosophy is at bottom monistic,” but he is careful 
to point to very many of the systems and schools of both Indian 
and Chinese philosophy which ate distinctly pluralistic or in 
which both the one and the many are real,* An unjustihed over¬ 
emphasis on the supposed monism of Oriental philosophy and the 
West’s unique mdividualisni has done much to keep East and 
West apart. 

{4} — By this characteriza Lion is intended the West's 

supposed interest in nature rather than in man, "its tendency 
to centre primary attention on the estemal world.”- its socii 
consciousness, its concentration on principles of social and ethical 
life rather than on the soul and its destiny, J 
This rather complicated characterisation is, as it is intended to 
be, a contrast to Indian philosophy’s basic search for truth within 
and for inner self-realization of the truth. As Professor Radha- 
krishnan has said, "On the whole, the Eastern civilizations are 
interested not so much in improving the actual conditions as in 
making the best of this imperfect world, in developing the qualities 
of cheerfulness and contentment, patience and endurance .’'4 
There seem to be two points here: (a) that the West is interested 
fundamentally in the external world and actions therein, and 
(S) that the West is interested in understanding reality instead of 
realising it within oneself. 

It is very difficult to make a case for the first of these con¬ 
tentions. Western philosophy, with its basic attitude of total 
perspective, is interested not only in nature or in social life, but 
also in man, his nature, his inner essence, and his destiny. Much of 
the history of Western philosophy must be overlooked to justify 
ihe characterization under consideration. Western metaphysical 
and ethical idealism and ethical formalism constitute a very 

* W. T, Cham, "The Spirit at Orient^ PhikrtOphy , ” itt Phiiasoph^^EaLi and 

* A. Btirtt, "How Can the Philosophies ol Ewt and West Metl?'* in Tht 

Pkitofopkicai i^ovember IQ 43 . pp. 59 ^ 7 -^ 93 . 

i f. T. H*ju. We:i5tqni and t.hc Indian PhilutiophiuJ Traditlonifp" in 

PhiiiKi^pkicai EfuiiWf starch 15-47’ '"The Tfestem traditLon is a philo¬ 

sophy of outwardness and the iDdiaa a philoaophy of inwnrdn^a" |p. 151); 

. Indiara philosophy is Atmaa-cnatric. . . . But western philosophy is i^Nciety^ 
eoiiacioui" fp. 153). P. D. Shastrf a tates this characteristie somci^tiat differently: 

' 'more objcirtivc Than Lnlrospectis'e and subjective/' EissKiials af Easlant Phiio- 
SOpky, p. 15, 

* £&sifrn R^i^ms and Qadnrd University second ed., 

1940. p ^ 57 - 



serious challenge to tins interpretation. Socrates adopted edict, 
"Know thysdf," is the spirit of much of Westem thought, as is a^ 
the constant criticism of the naturalistic method and naturalistic 
conclusioDS which are based upon that part of the Western per¬ 
spective which might be called outwardness or interest in the 
external world. There is no question, of course, that the inner 
world of man b not the whole of reality to aU of the West. The 
W'est, for example—through philosophy and science—^wishes to 
understand and to improve both the world HHd the inner man and 
not merely the latter. 

The second possible interpretation or aspect of this charac¬ 
terization seems to be based upon a confusion of philosophy and 
religion, and therefore is irrelevant as a description of Western 
philosophy. The realixatioti of identity with the ultimate and the 
gaming of spiritual salvation thereby are affairs of religion rather 
than of philosophy, according to the W'‘est. 

The characterizatioii under consideration reminds one of rSi 
Aurobindo’s contrast of East and West wherein the West is 
interested in "truth of life " whereas India is interested in "truth 
of spirit."' While it may be sound to describe Indian philosophy 
as interested primarily in truth of spirit, it is very questionable 
to characterize the West as having exclusive interest or even 
predominant interest in truth of life. This question b related to 
another, wherein Westem philosophy may be described as this- 
worldly as contrasted with Indian philosophy which is described 
as other-worldly, 1 think the answer of any Westem philosopher 
would be that of Dr, Fung Yu-Ian in his reply to a similar charac¬ 
terization of the spirit of Chinese philosophy. Dr. Fung says, 
"Chinese philosophy, regardless of its difierent schools of thought, 
b directly or indirectly concemed with government and ethics. 
On the surface, therefore, it b concerned chiefly wath society, and 
not with the universe . . . with mail's present Hfe, but not hb life 
in the w'orld to come. This, however, is only a surface view of the 
matter. . .. So far as the main tenet of this tradition b concemed, 
if we understand it aright, it caruiot be said to be w'holly this- 
worldly, just as, of course, it cannot be said to be wholly other¬ 
worldly. It b both of thb world and of the other world, 

(5) irrriif feus—soulless, unspiritual, irreligious.r Much depends 

I II, pp. 

^ A Shari liiitary €Aim^ i^hiiasophy, pp. 

i Sk F. D. SliuLHtri, Tkt EiSMifiii tfj EoAierit PktlOiOphy^ Clit 1 



here upon definition, of course ^ and also upon the probability of 
the frequent confusion between Western philosophy and Western 
culture or ci^nlization. For example^ it may be true, as Professor 
Radhakrishnan says^ that . the mam tendency of VVestem 
culture is an opposition between man and Godj where man resists 
the might of God, steals fire from him in the interest of humanity. 
In India man is a product of God. The whole world is due to the 
sacrifice of God."** Professor Radhakiishnan is obviously talking of 
Western culture in general and not specifically of Western philo¬ 

Western philosophy may be non^religious, but it is not irre- 
ligiaus- Western philosophy may have different methods; it 
may have different motives; it may have different attitudes 
and approaches, to the problems of reality and life; but 
Western philo^phy as such is not opposed to religion, is 
not irreligious. 

Nothing is sacred in Western philosophy. This means that 
Western philosophy does not start with dogmas or assumptions, 
but questions ever^hing. Western philosophy is just as critical of 
the critics of religion as it is of religion itself. There is contrast, to 
be sure, but no essential opposition, certainly not in doctrine, and, 
more frequently than realized, not even in methods, for much of 
Western philosophy^ as we shall see, recognizes methods of 
searching for the tru th which are not opposed to the basic methods 
of religion. 

Western philosophy has not set as its goal the religious goal of 
spiritual salvation, but neither has it rejected that as a proper 
goal for man. It has not accepted all the beliefs of religion, but 
neither has it rejected them. The beliefs and assumptions of 
religion, Uke those of science and of all other attitudes, are prob¬ 
lems of philosophy* If the charactenzation under consideration is 
intended to entail the idea that philosophy is the enemy of reli¬ 
gion, it is grossly inaccucate; on the contrary, there is a wide- 
spread conviction that philosophy b the ally of religion against 
its critics, chiefly science. While a belief in God (some ultimately 
spiritual or purposeful ordering of the universe) and a belief in 
the soul as in some way related to that ultimate spiritual principle 
do not constitute religion in any full sense, they do constitute the 
philosophical minimum without w^hich a religion has no basis. 
There are too many great Western philosophers who hold these 

I Indian Pkilwopkyt !, p. 4J. 

65 E 


beliefs to ignore them entirely and brand Western philosophy as 

[6) Hvpuimstic, pragmatic, and realistic. Professor Hiking 
speaks of "'the pragmatic and realistic temper of the and 

Professor Raclhakrishnan contrasts "European humanism" and 
"Asiatic religion.Dr. A. K. Cooraaraswamy also pointed out 
India's interest in the all-important things (with Plato) as con¬ 
trasted with the West's superiidal human and cultural intenests.J 

Western culture may be humanistic, pragmatic, and realistic, as 
contrasted with a dominant other-worldly motivation and in¬ 
terest, but a closer examination of Western philosophy will not 
verify this judgment. Great thinkers from Plato to Hegel and 
beyond roust be considerably distorted before they can be 
to fit this pattern, and they, rather than the humanists, have 
dominated the spirit of Western philosophy. Western philosophy 
is not humanistic in the sense that man, as a mere human being, 
is the essence of reality. It is not bumanistic, pragmatic, or inter¬ 
ested solely in the " truth of life" in the sense that only the worldly 
values are real. In fact, the spiritual values, including the religious, 
are—if one can speak of "more or less" in this connection — more 
often than not placed at the top of the scale of values, values 
which lift man above the world and enable him to achieve true 

(7) "Positive" (as contrasted ivith the "negative")— "w'orld- 
and’Ufe^afhnuing" in contrast with "world-and-Iife-denying,*'* 
Tins characterization applies chiefiy within the held of philo¬ 
sophies of life. On the side of the West, there is no doubt that 
"life is real and life i$ earnest" and that man should "live"' fuUy 
and seek to achieve self-realization and full expression and 
development of his many-sided nature. On the side of the East, on 
the contrary, there is the Western interpretation that Eastern 
philosophy is negative, escapist, other-worldly, and characterized 

* of the Cdinpamive Study of rMSQ^ophy/' in PHiiosophy^BiHi^ and 

Wni, p. 4. See aho E. L. Schikub's ciiftractenidtioii of Westem 

Ukougbt. Aa "tcmponiiUm, pia^mAtUm, and instrumentalism. . . 

]^ 3 c«orphy in its E^ivergeoce from the Spirit of the Contemporary Weat,'" in Thi 
0 pm CiiMji. October 19^0, p. 59^. 

* Eastfm and IrrjJkrn Tho^ki. p, Z59. 

S '^Eastern ^Vj$doxii and Westem luiowledge/' XKXtV, Spring 1943, 
PP^ Guinea, like Coomamsuamy> deepens Hua clianktti^rLatiQa to 

coDtethl that, ia effect, there is no real intelfcctn^lity and no reoj metaphysics iit 
the Wftrt. See R, Gn^nciii, Eoii and SF^rf^ \VlUiam ^iassey^ trans. Luwic and Cq,, 
Londao^ 194^1, Ct*. t-l[. 

4 Albert Khweitzer^ ThfmgM and Ks Dn^idcpmfnt^ Mja. Cbart« E. B. 

Bussell, leucls, tlenry Holt util Co. ^ New York^ 195b, Cb. I« especially pp. [^7. 



by renunciition, such that life and living are evils to be escaped 
rather than positive values.’ 

Three brief observations wilt sufhce in cnnunent: (i) that the 
characterization of the East as "negative’'—^in terms of which 
alone the diaracterization of the West as "positive" has any 
distinctive meaning—is dearly a false description (2) that the 
West has had as a part of its richness of thought a ''negatisTstic" 
attitude of signiEcant strength, from the Cynics to Socrates, 
Plato, Stoics, Neo-Platonists, early Chri5tians,J Spinoza, Schopen¬ 
hauer, and recent developments more speciRcally within the field 
of the philosophy of religion; and (3) that, while the positive 
attitude toward life and the "here-and-now" is a strong emphasis 
of Western philosophy as compared with any negativism, it is not 
to be identified with worldliness or with the rejection of the more 
ultimate values of spirit. 



So far, this study has been able to discern no characteristic or 
definitive spirit of Westem philosophy. It has been found impos¬ 
sible to designate any characteristic which has been definitive of 
Westem philosophy, because of the great variety of attitudes and 
doctrines which have constituted the substance of Westem 
philosophy. All the proposed characterizations of the spirit of 
Westem philosophy have been rejected because they are based 
upon either a partial i^Tew of the great range of thought in the 
history of Westem philosophy - or upon observations about 
Westem culture and civilization rather than Westem philosophy 
as such. The statement was made early in this chapter that the 
spirit of Westem philosophy, Lke the spirit of any philosophy, 
must not only be definitive but also unique. It is now our purpose 
to look into certain unquestionably significant characteristics of 
Westem philosophy which seem much closer to the spirit of 

< See W. C. Betl, If « jUan Hie, Mrs, Anne Lee I.eird, ed., Cbuiee Seribucr's 

Soua, New Ycitk„ 1919^ pp. 96-9$, for a strong atatement cf tiic oppasitioii between 
East BLCtd West in tl^ nespecl. 

* S« C. A. 'Comparative FhikiscrphieA nf Lile/* in Pkthsitpky—Ea£i 

ffnd pp, 2S7"392. 

I Ofi tile of Chflstianity, see S. NadhakrisluuiiH Harfrm 

dJtii Though!, Ch, IIT. eApeciall^ pp. 6^-114. 


Western thought than any charactemations cxmsidered so far, but 
to note than even in these instances, though the characteii^atioiis 
are more accurately symptomatic of W'estem philosophy, they are 
not uniquely characteristic of that philosophical tradition. 
Western philosophy as a whole is the heir of Greek philosophy, 
and has apparently inherited a vague intangible ‘'spirit' from its 
founding fathers. The origins of Western philosophy established a 
certain general pattern and framework to which Western thought 
since that time has tended to conform. This spirit consists in the 
large of three component attitudes: (i) the desire to know or the 
love of knowledge; (2) freedom of thought; and (3) a demand for 
rationality or reasonableness. 

These characteristics of Western thought in general appear to 
be much more defeitsiblo as constituents of the spirit of Western 
philosophy than any of the proposed characterizations considered 
heretofore. Nevertheless, it must be noted—and established—^that 
even these three minimal requirements of Western philosophy arc 
mere tendencies or emphases; that they axe not constant charac¬ 
teristics; that they are not invariable in meaning throughout the 
history of W'fistcm philosophy; and, finally, that they are not 
unique.' in other words, even these characteristics, which every 
Western philosopher will recognize as significant parts of his 
tradition, do not serve as constituents of an absolute spirit of 
Western pliilosophy, nor do they constitute a unique character¬ 
ization which might serve as an obstacle to a meeting of the minds 
of East and West. 

There seems to be little question that Western philosophy arose, 
as Plato and Aristotle contend, out of intellectual curiosity, the 
love of wisdom, or wonder about the nature of reality. There is no 
doubt also that the theoretical motivation has been extremely 
prominent throughout much of the history of Western thought. 
Philosophy is bom "when . . . wonder begins to be serious and 
systematic inquiry. . . This tendency stanrls in very marked 
contrast to the spirit of Oriental philosophy, where the only 
common denominator of ah philosophy is its practical motivation, 
w'hether it be the Indian emphasis in ivhich realizing one’s identity 
with the Absolute takes precedence over knowing about the 

) passage fcfeiTcd to btloif in BDt« 3. page 77 Tor comprebeauv^ statement 
of thH mt^Dg ot pbUoyjpb^ m IddiA. A wtilcb aliowa no essestEkl differ¬ 

ences from tbe attitudes of the West. 

a C. T. W, t^trick, iHirodu^iion jfl PhUa^Qphy, Hovgbton ZtliMin Co.^ 

YtiTk, secADfl 1555, p. 3. 



Absolute, or in China where all theories are motivated by their 
practical application. 

The fact of this tendency as well as its basis are seen from the 
rather constant dread on the part of Western philosopheTs that a 
practic^ motivation might—or inevitably would—constitute a 
prejudice which would distort objective thinking and would 
prevent the thinker from reaching the truth. Professor E. A, 
Burtt thinks that this intellectual motivation or the belief "that 
‘thrary’ is distinguishable (and even separable) from ‘practice' " 
"still dominates the Western mind, because almost no one sees 
how it could be surrendered without paralysing all intellectual 
endeavour."’ In the West, from the time of the early post- 
Socratic ethical period to present-day Pragmatism, the opposite 
theory has been under snspidon as what might be called philo¬ 
sophy in reverse, the truth being determined in temisof a practical 
solution of individual or social problems rather than being sought 
objectively and with complete impartiality. 

Despite these unquestioned facts coucerning the rclatit'e status 
of theory and practice in Western philosophy, it seems extremely 
questionable to define the spirit of Western philosophy in terms of 
this tendency, especially when the characterization lends itself to 
distortion as "an intellectual exerdsc" or an "intellectual game," 
WTiile the love of wisdom has remained a major motivation 
practically throughout Western philosophy, it has seldom (if 
ever) taken the form of a purely intellectual game—or even the 
purely intellectual adventure mentioned earlier in this chapter. 
Nor can it be said accurately that such a purely academic motive 
has remained the sole motive or the dominating motive through¬ 
out the history of Western philosophy. It may be demonstrated, 
on the contrary, that many of the greatest philosophers of the 
West were actually reformers, trying to reach theories which 
wxiuld solve the problems of the day. For example, Plato has been 
called the diagnostician of Greece.- Also, certainly the entire 
Greek practical period, the religious period, Francis Bacon, 
Nietzsche, Dewey, and others—^induding even Kant, and Fichte 
—cannot be ignored as significant factors in the history of Western 
philosophy. These outstanding examples of the contrary spirit and 
attitude, and the fact just mentioned that many of the greatest 

■ "Hoir Cui the HiiJDwpbtes of East and West In Th* PhUcucphicut 

RivUw, Noveedber 1943, p. 596. 

’ C. F. La‘red, A Bi^grapky af pp, 109-310^ 




Western phUosophers were fundamentaUy sodal or ifr 

fonnei^ seem to be adequate evidence of the oyer-stniplicity 
consequent inaccura^ of the charge—and it is just that—that 

Western philosophy U “academic. . .t T»r * y.A>-nin0 

There has been no unanimity of opinion in the West ooncemmg 
the basic motivation of philosophy. Every thi^er in the history 
of Western philosophy who has made an effort to study me 
problems of ethics and moral conduct in general, and who has 
deliberately worked out in the field of ethics the impUcations of 
his metaphysical system, is a distinct example of the appUcation 
of truth to life, and of the implicit motiN-ation to solve the problems 
of life, even if that solution take the mdirect form of first searching 

for the truth, and then applying it. . . , , 

The spirit of Western philosophy on this point has been ^.pUy 
described by Professor R, B. Perry, who has said that it is the 
business of philosophy "to discover the nature of the umve^ and 
to apply it to the meaning of life,"* and by Patnek when he said 
that " , . . it is not the purpose of philosophy to liy to solve our 
social, economic, and political problems, but it is its purp<>se to 
think carefully and systematically about certain funaamental 
questions which concern ourselves, our conduct, and the world in 
which we Uve."^ There has not been the conscious and exclusive 
effort to make philosophy practical, or to judge the truth in terms 
of practical results, but there has been a constant assumption, 
with Socrates, that man is rational, and that, if the truth is 
known, it will b& follow^^ by rsitionfll creantUf^SL 

It h perhaps in this sense that philosophy looks at the problem 
under discussion diflerently from religion, religion being directly 
and exclusively interested in the practical aspect of the situation, 
whereas, in procedure at least, philosophy is seemingly only 
secondarily interested in the practical problems of^ man. There 
may not be nearly such a contrary motivation in philosophy and 
religion as is often thought: it may be only the procedure which 
differenUates the two. For example. Professor C. F. Lavell, in 
describing the rise of Greek philosophy, contrasts the attitudes of 
religion on the one hand and philosophy and science on the other, 
and makes the point that it is philosophy and science which really 
endeavour to solve the problems of life by a direct attack upon 
them, assuming that understanding will lead to solution, whereas 

1 TMt Htfnttt oj PhilMophy. HarvaiU UnivewitV C^bridge. iMi, 

p • G. T, W. Patfkk, IniTtauciiOB. lo p. 5. 



religion solves them by some type or degree of escape fiom them,* 
This seems to be the general attitude of philosophy in the West, 
and this b not "academic"; it is merely putting first first, 

knowledge of the truth prior to application of the truth to life. 
While it is unquestionably true that Western philosophy has 
been—or at least has appeared to be— less practical in motive 
than Oriental philosophy,* it is questionable whether this attitude 
is unique to the West. Both Kadhakrishnani and Hiriyanna+ con¬ 
tend that Indian philosophy, like Western philosophy, arose out 
of wonder and the disinterested search for the truth, and Sri 
Aurobindo speaks of the "insatiable intellectual curiosity" of the 
Indian mind, which could produce even such a "freak" as material¬ 
istic atheism.r The Hymn of Question in Book X of the Bg-Veda 
in a sense marks the beginning of Indian philosophy. The spirit of 
this hymn is predominantly one of intellectual wonder—though 
combined mth the inevitable realization of practical implications. 
Confucius, certainly a major representative of Chinese philosophy, 
proclaims his love of wisdom as such, although he, too, is unques¬ 
tionably ^-itady interested in finding the Too and solving the 
personal and social problems of his day. "I was not bom a wise 
man.’’ he said. "1 am merely one who is in love with ancient 
studies and work very hard to learn them,"* 

The love of wisdom is not uni<iue to the West and to its philo¬ 
sophers, There is probably no philosopher, East or West, who has 
not been possessed by the love of tmth and in whom the search 
for it has not come from an essential drive within himself. As 
Radbakrishnan says, ", . . the philosopher is only the lover of 
ivisdom and not its possessor. It is not the end of the voyage that 
matters, but the voyage itself. To travel is a better thing than to 
arrive . ”7 Despite this fact, however, there has probably been no 
philosopher. East or West, who has not hoped to see the practical 
application of his doctrines to the problems of life. 

The other two chaiacteristics under discussion— ^freedom of 
thought and reasonableness of methods and conclusions—are 
more definite and more widespread in acceptance tn Western 
philosophy. In fact, the only attitudes that one as a Western 

■ A Bi«gfaphy tit Gtuk Peopl*^ pp. 132-13). 

‘ See C. A. HoOre, ‘'Campontive Phil^pMes of Life," io Pkitiaophy — E^f 
md W'«l, pp. i indi 9 * Pkiiost^ky, I, p. 22. 

• M. fiiriyanni, ''Tbe Jleaniiig of IiitUaii PhiXosopliy,” la Tks Phihao^eai 

OttHTf^TiTy, 11 94O, p. 15. 5 Th^ Etwfiiisancs tq IndiiM p ta 

* AmaiEgUs, VH, 19. Squ V, 37; Vn. 1, 16, XV, jo. 

T /q^i^q Pkiiosopk/, II, p. 7^. 



’philosopher would feel tempted to insist upon are complete 
dom of thought and the reasonable!!^ of one’s procedure and of 

one’s conclusions. . . - 

Freedom of thought—and the ensuing flexibihty of thought—is 
an important and characteristic quality of W^tem philosophy 
although one is immediately compelled to qualify this statement 
by adding that even this is essentially only ^ id^al in Western 
philosophy and was not put into practice in any full sense either 
in the Middle Ages—which can hardly be omitted from the course 
of W'estem philosophy as a whole—or even in the minds of some 
of our greatest thinkers of modem philosophy, who, despite 
Bacon, had their idols of the theatre in the background of their 
minds at many crucial points in their philosophical deliberations. 
Despite these'exceptions, it has been the freedom from tradition 
which has been the only tradition in Western philosophy. Pro¬ 
fessor Radhakrishnan says that the contributions of Greece were 
"democracy, individual freedom, [and] inteUectual integrity. ^ In 
difierent words: freedom of thought in the pursuit of truth. If 
the West has any tradition, it is this. Socrates, in many waj-s. is 
the embodiment of the spirit of W^estem philosophy, one who 
demanded and died for the ideal of freedom of thought. 

Freedom entails and demands absence of authority and of any 
advance determination of thought or truth. If the conclusion is 
already determined, as in the Middle Ages, the activity is not 
considered fully philosophical. If one’s search for the truth is 
determined by tradition, it is not philosophy. Philosophy demands 
"the uncommitted mind.” Even in the Middle Ages, this demand 
for open-mindedness could not be denied or killed, and it even¬ 
tually led to the death of rigidly controDed Scholasticism. Com¬ 
plete freedom of thought prevented common approaches and 
common condusions even in the Middle Ages. In the name of 
freedom of thought, there have been many rebels in the history of 
Western philosophy, men who led philosophy to progress by 
insisting upon freedom, and therefore broke Mfith whatever hap¬ 
pened to be the spirit or the tradition of the time, from Thales to 
Thomas Aquinas, to Bacon, to Descartes, to Kant, to today. 

In addition to the fact that freedom of thought has been only 
an ideal, there is the additional fact that it is not a unique charac¬ 
teristic of Western philosophy in contrast with Oriental philo¬ 
sophy. The question of traditionalism or authority in Indian 

I Einttm Htligionf artd WtsttrH Thought, p. 134. 


the: spirit of western philosophy 

philosophy^ for example, is much too far-reaching to be con¬ 
sidered adequately here, but the very great variety of interpreta¬ 
tions of that tradition—^in the numerous systems of Indian 
philosophy and in the essentially new systems complied by self- 
styled interpreters or commentators—is suffldently indicative of 
the freedom of thought in Indian philosophy. So, too, are the 
numerous systems, the great thinkers, and the keen philosophical 
debates among the adherents of different points of view in Indian 
philosophy. One finds nearly all colours of the philosophical 
rainbow in Indian thought,' and this could not be true without 
substantial freedom of thought. 

Freedom of thought is equally a characteristic of Chinese philo¬ 
sophy, despite verbal recognition of ancient ivisdom as the model 
of Confucianist teachings. The variety of philosophical perspec¬ 
tives and the diversity of conclusions in many of these are ample 
evidence of open-mindediicss, which is crucial to philosophy in 
China despite reverence for the ancients and dependence upon the 

The point seems to be that freedom of thought is essential to 
all philosophy. East and West. It has been recognized as indis¬ 
pensable to philosophy, and has been very much in evidence in all 
philosophical traditions—although, as an ideal, it has never been 
fully actualized in any tradition. 

'pic third major aspect of the vague intangible spirit of Western 
philosophy now being considered is its use of and dependence upon 
reason as its essential and almost exclusive method of investiga¬ 
tion, expositioD, and demonstTation, in contrast to the use of and 
dependence upon some form of intuition. 

Practically all definitions of Western philosophy point out 
specifically its rationalistic character. For example, ", , , philo¬ 
sophy may be defined as the art of thinking things through. . . . 
It involves thinking logically . . as well as sj-stematicaily and 
persistently. , . , So it comes about that logic is perhaps the most 
essential part of the philosopher's equipment."* Irrationality in 
thinking or in result is rejected in Western philosophy, whether 
that irrationality stem from intuition, revelation, or reason Itself. 
The U'est demands that man examine hb beliefs. In hb thinking 
he must be reasonable and logically sound. Consistency has been 
ridiculed, but it cannot be scorned. No further elaboration or 
justification is required to make a case for the thesb that reason 

' See Sbove, note i, p. 6i. * G. T. W. Fkijiclr, fmlnttitiaion te PiUmt^hy, p, j. 



is unquestionably the major or primary tool of Western philo- 

' f 

In examining this proposed characteristic of the spint of 
Western philosophy we are faced with two major questions: 
(i) Is reason, in any specific and exact sense of that tenti. truly 
dehnit ive of the method of Western philosophy, and (2) Is icason, 
in any sense, unique to Western philosophy, in such a w’ay that it 
constitutes a characteristic which is incompatible with the basic 
corresponding characteristics of Oriental thought? 

In calling Western philosophy rationalistic, its critic very often 
interprets this term to be synonymous with “intellectualistic," 
and its critic and its advocate alike frequently think that philo¬ 
sophy by its \'ery nature demands either proof of a doctrine or its 
rejection. This is a false interpretation of reason as it is found in 
Western philosophy. Western philosophy is unquestionably 
rationalistic, but it is not intellcctualistic. Of its basic nature, it 
does not insist upon or indulge in intellectualism. Reasonableness 
is its demand. As expressed in court language, one is expected to 
demonstrate his case "beyond a reasonable doubt," Western 
philosophy demands explanation and plausibility. It demands 
that a doctrine be justified in terms of evidence. 

Reasonableness, then, rather than intellectualism or rationalism 
in the sense of absolute proof, more closely approximates the 
spirit of Western philosophy. The West has often recognised that 
Hie and reality in all their aspects are not wholly amenable to 
reason or logic or inteUectualistic procedure. Plato, Fichte, 
Bergson, are only a few outstanding examples. Socrates, in ad- 
mitting to Charmides that temperance cannot be defined but is 
good and should be followed regardless of the difficulty of defini¬ 
tion, is a striking example. Plato's admission that scientific 
reason cannot go all the way to truth is another. The recognition 
of the eighteenth century as a distinct “age of reason" and of 
"cold logic” and intellectualism, as distinct from the other cen¬ 
turies in the history of Western philosophy, is still another. 

An added consideration, and one that is surprisingly ignored, 
is the recognition of intuitive knowledge—diaracterixcd by 
immediacy of apprehension—or of some type of higher reason by 
many of the greatest Western philosophers. This fact constitutes 
too great a contrast to intellectualism and pure reason to be 
ignored in any definition of the spirit of Western philosophy, 

Pascal was not altogether out of the Western tradition when be 



said, "We know the truth not only by the reason but also by the 
heart."' Kant perhaps made the point best when he rejected pure 
reason but accepted the practicsil reason, which was not ration¬ 
alistic but which, nevertheless, was reasonable. His belief in God, 
freedom, and immortality was also reasonable, although, by his 
own admission, these can never be "proved." Among the very 
greatest thinkers of Western philosophy who have used or recog¬ 
nized intuition as such or some type of higher reasoning have 
been Socrates, Plato, Plotinus, Aquinas, Roger Bacon, Descartes, 
Spinoza, Leibniz, Rousseau. Kant, Fichte, Schopenhauer, Berg¬ 
son, Locke and Bradley. (In fact, all rationalists are funda¬ 
mentally intuitionists. Their basic self-evident truths, axioms, 
definitions, assumptions, etc., upon which their entire systems are 
founded, are not drawn from experience, nor are they demon¬ 
strated. They are immediately or clearly and distinctly known to 
be true.) An important point to note in these instances is the fact 
til at in most of them intuition is not employed in any subordinate 
or insignificant role. Instead, it is usually designated or assumed as 
being essential to reaching the fuU truth or the ultimate truth. 

Intuition has played a much more significant role in Western 
philosophy than even Westerners seem to have recognized. It 
seems very questionable, for example, to contend that the charac¬ 
teristic method of Western philosophy is that of dealing in terms 
of concepts by postulation—which is. Professor North rop's ^>ecial 
way of explaining the dominant role of reason in Western philo¬ 
sophy. Not only are there numerous examples of major thinkers 
w'ho have admittedly made use of intuition either at the begin¬ 
ning of their system or, as it were, at the end, but it might be 
contended that practically all major "discoveries" in philosophy 
have stemmed from flashes of intuition or from insight ratiiet 
than concepts consciously formulated by the process of postula¬ 
tion. It is a more likely interpretation of many of the great ideas 
of Western philosophy that they originated in inexplicable in¬ 
sights. The view that they arise from the laborious deduction of 
these concepts from systems of axioms and hypotheses or data of 
experience is a view- for which there is little direct evidence. 

Another major consideration in our examination of reason as 
characteristic of the spirit of Western philosophy is the question 
as to w'hat is meant by reason. Reason has meant many thing-^ to 
philosophy in the West, so much so that it is impossible to say 
• Blaise Bascal, PeHsie$ iur la rj/ifion, Cli. X. 



exactly what it means as ciiaracteristic of Western philosophy* 
Reasonableness is the only demand that carries through in aJI 
the varied meanitigs of the term^ The exact nature of reason has 
varied very significantlyp for example, from Socrates and Plato to 
Spinoza, and from Descartes to Janies. One cannot call any of 
these irrational or unreasonable in their thinking, and yet one 
would have great difficulty in identifying them with the t3T>e of 
rationality or rationalisirL which, in the minds of Westerners and 
Easterners alike^ has been considered an insurmountable methodo¬ 
logical barrier between East and West, Even logic is subject to 
significantly varied interpretations; 'logical reasoning'* does not 
of necessity' define any rigid method or attitude on the part of 
Western philosophy as its essential spirit. 

Professor W. R. Dennes suggests an anaJj'sis of the nature of 
reason which will serve for the purpose of illustration. He finds 
that there are four fundamental meanings and processes referred 
to by reason.^According to Professor Dennes: Reason I is the 
procedure of observing, comparing, supposing, and experimenting' 
Reason II is mathematical demonstration, including much that 
w‘c now consider logic; Reason Ill is reasoning that analyses and 
distinguishes meanings but docs not purport, prima /ocifi, to 
establish facts or to make strict (i.e. analytic) logical deductions; 
and Reason IV is the calm, deliberate, and informed judgment of 
moral acts, attitudes, rules, and mstitntions, of works of art, and 
even of the works of reason themselves—that is, of science, Iqgic* 
and philosophy conceived as reason in senses I, 11 , and HI. and 
even in sense I V* (This is w^hat is called by Hume ^'rigbt reason.*^) 
Thus is seen the impossibility of any rigid interpretation of the 
meamng and processes of reason itself. 

One final consideration in connection with reason as charac¬ 
teristic of the spirit of Western philosophy U the fact that reason 
has been challenged repeatedly and by various tj^pes of thinkers, 
mtuitionists, voluntarists, and sceptics* w^ho from time to time 
have undermined the authority, the efficacy, and the status of 

"We turn now to the second question of our study of reason, 
namely: Is reason uniqiieiy characteristic of the spirit of Western 
philosophy, in contrast to the spirit of Oriental philosophy? It was 
said earlier m this paper that irrationality in taking or in result 

f 'The Appul to Heascm,” in c/CaUjifntia PufihVanoHf in PkiU^ 

sopky, Berkeley. Vol. a i, tg^^, pp. 11-^4, 



is rejected in Western philosophy, So is it rejected by man as 
man, and so is it rejected in the great phiiosophical traditions 
of the East, No philosopher can be inconsistent or irrational, 
although philosophers. East and West, may refuse to submit to 
the rigidity of any one particular type of formalistic procedure 
which may in the minds of some, but not of all. seem to 
constitute the only acceptable meaning of the process. 

Western philosophy is rationalistic—in a necessarily guarded 
sense—because man is rational and reason therefore is natural 
and indispensable to him in his search for truth. But, similarly, 
all philosophy is rational for all men are rational. Thus, the 
rationalism of Western philosophy, while an essential charac¬ 
teristic. is not sufficiently unique to constitute the spirit of Westeiii 
philosophy. Kationality is of the very spirit of philosophy as such. 
No philosophy can be irrational, inconsistent, unreasonable. 

Indian philosophy, for example, is rational. As Professor 
Radhakrishnan points out, "The thinkers of India are the inheri¬ 
tors of the great tradition of faith in reason."* Another philosopher 
of present-day India has said, "Philosophy . , . is not actuated by 
any other motive than the desire to know. Its goal is truth, its 
guide is reason, and its field of investigation is eYperience of all 
possible kinds and levels."* 

Not only do contemporary Indians speak in terms of the 
rationality and reasonableness of Indian philosophy, but so also 
did the great thinkers of the past. A few UlustTative eicamples 
may be helpful, "A reasonable statement, even of a child, !^hniitf| 
be accepted, while the unreasonable ones are to be discarded like 
straw, even though they are made by the Creator Himself, A 
devotee of Reason should value the words even of ordinary per¬ 
sons, provided they enhance knowledge and are logical, and should 
throw away those of sages, if they are not such/’i "Truth cannot 
be know without thinking. . . . Thinking consists in logical 
investigation into problems."4 "Accept not a religion because it is 
the oldest; its being oldest is no proof of its being the true one, 

. . . Accept not a religion because it is the latest, . . . hpc ause 

• Indian FhiS<?sopAy^ IL P- 77&- 

^ B. L. Atrcya, 'Phlkridpliy ajid Thwiscipiiy/* in Seiner 

p, m, 

I II, j, quoted by B. L. Atrepi, TAi PAilt^sopfy 0/ 

Tha Tha^os^bi^ Fubliahing HduM, Adynr^ MAdfu, p.^ 5^1, 
(Also quoti^ by RadbjJoillmaji, Rtli,gi6n and Socieiy^ Gwrg« AUdh Unvriq, 
Lxindaa, 1^47, p, JIQ. 

4 Ibid., IL i-ii llj 144 50. Sm B. L. Atreyft, itid., p, ijg, 



believed in hy the vast majority of mankind,. . . [because it is 
believed in by the chosen few .. , [etc.]. Accept a thing and it is] 
believe in a religion on its own merits. Examine it yourself/’* 
"It is not sound reasoning as it involves self-coattadiction, * 
Reason in the strict sense of lexical demonstration alwunds in 
Indian philosophy, esperialiy in the major S3^etn5, which range 
over a wide and varied expanse of philosophical speculation and 
which have endured as the organized body of Indian philosophy 
for many centuries. Although this type of reasoning is not present 
in any pronounced degree in the Upan^ads, there ts evidence of 
reasonableness and justification and explanation of doctrines 
throughout the Upanigads in the form of analogies, illustrations, 
etc,, which make the doctrines reasonable if not logically demon- 

stiated.i . . 

In China, too, reason and strictly logical reasoning have played 
an important part in the development of philosophy. It is true, 
perhaps, as many Westerners think, that much of Chinese philo¬ 
sophy has been portrayed on the level of common sciise alone 
has been presented without system and without demonstration. 
Speaking of the Chinese people in general, amd not exclusive^ of 
their philosophers, Florence Ayscough describes them thus: "The 
Chinese, essentially logical, delight in seckirg origins, but they 
have never been hampered by that passion for proof which so 
complicates the lives of Occidentals/ '4 Dr, Hu's book, The Devdop- 
meni of the Logical Method in Ancient ChUta, was written for the 
specific purpose of explaining the status of logical reasoning in 
Chinese philosophy. He says, "That philosophy is conditioned by 
its method, and that the development of philosophy is dependent 
upon the development of the logical method, are facts which find 
abundant illustrations in the history of philosophy both of the 
West and of the East."s He states as part of the purpose of his 
book ". - . the strongest desire to make my own people see that 
these methods of the West are not totally alien to the Chinese 
mind, and that on the contrary, they are the instruments by 

K Svfajui Hama "HrHui, Heart of Rama, pp. quptisd by B. L, Atrej-a, ifcitf., 

Gau^a, ATytlys S^ras. II. i. 19. JWh tiRiii. Oriental Book 

Agency. Ppgmu. 1959* alsa I, 1. 40, and I, 2, 7. S« Kathu Ufi., 

6: 1 , 2, 23: 1 . 3. la: and Ktfwo I, 1. Buddhist pbUcM^hical t^xts sOmj 
ab<]Uiid in daborattaad intricate txampl^sof logicalanaJviisand dnmcinijtritioii. 

I ^ S, N. "Philoiophy/' in The Legaty iff India, G. T. Garratt, 

ClBjYDdoii Pitts. OKfQtd^ I9J7 h pp, 101-104. 

* '■CalligrapHy, Poetry, aid nintln^r/' ia China. Harky Famswortb MacNait, 
td., Utu^^etaity of Cidiiomin Berkeley, 1946, p, ^34. i Intrgdqction, p. 1. 



means of which and in the light of which much of the lost treasures 
of Chinese philosophy can be recovered."" 

The contention that Chinese philosophy is non-rational because 
it is unsj'stematic is only partially justified, for there is definite 
system in some of the classical philosophical texts. Professor Fung 
Yu-lan answers this contention by pointing out that, although it 
may be true that there is "briefness and disconnectedness of the 
sayings and tings" of some of the great Chinese philosophers, 
there is connectedness in the thought itself. As he says, if there 
were disconnectedness in the thought itself "there would be no 
Chinese philosophy. For disconnected thought is hardly worthy of 
the name of philosophy."* 

To be sure, in both China and India there is a tendency—in 
very different degrees—to hold that ultimate reality cannot be 
"reached" by discursive or demonstrative reason. There is an 
uUitmU dependence upon intuition in Indian philosophy generally 
and even in some Chinese philosophy, such as Taoism, Buddhism, 
and later systems of Neo-Confucianism, where intuition is the 
only means of reaching knowledge of the ultimate.} 

Although Indian philosophy contends that the ultimate is 
beyond the reach of discorsive and demonstrative reason, never¬ 
theless, philosophy in India is not irrational or opposed to reason, 
despite the fact that it appears to be so at times, especially in the 
words of some modem Indian critics of the rationalism of Western, 
philosophy. Indian absolutism, like Western theology, reaches an 
ultimate which is marked by a higher degree of rationality, and, 
furthermore, Indian philosophy, generally, goes one step beyond 
Western philosophy m its r^Umtion of that ultimate truth or 
reality beyond the mere knowing of it. But, even at its most 
intuitive heights, Indian philosophy does not conflict with reason, 
but merely goes beyond it. As Professor Radhakrishnan says, "To 
be spiritual Ls not to reject reason, but to go beyond it. It is to 
think so hard that thinking becomes knowing or viewing, what 
w-e might call creative thinking. Philosophy and religion are two 
aspects of a single moveinEnt ."4 The Indian would contend, "It is 

^ Introdudidn, p. 9. * A Short History Philosophy, p. 

3 Hii Shih, Tk€ Dgoelapmont cf th^ Method m pp. 1 , 

< Easton Heiigionf and p. 25, See also Indtim Phii^>tOphy, ||, 

P- 77I M '^Theugbt, vheti it thinki itself cyt to tbe cud, become reli|;iDO by fac ing 
lived and tested by tiic itupfeme test of life," Sri Aurobiodo, like othen, faoidA 
thAtj even m niyatiriiin, reason is necc^amy ai a preliiniiiary to Sel/^visioti- Sat 
Tkf Life Arya PubUibln^ Calcytta^ Just editioD, 1939, 1 , p, iSa: IJ* 

part 2, pp. E90-S91. 



easy to say there is a God and to prove it* but it is difficult to 
reolUe God in the heart/" Some of Indian philosophy—more of it 
than is generally realized—is inlerestftd almost e.\clusively in 
saying what is real and in proving it: but when Indian pbUo^phy 
goes beyond that and realizes God in the hearts of men it has 
built religiously a superstructure upon the basic stmeture of 
philosophy. Indian philosophy may go beyond rea^n, but it does 
not go beyond reasonableness. In this connection* it must be kept 
in mind that in India there is an uUitnate dependence upon intui¬ 
tion* a dependence upon intuition only at the top of the ladder 
leading to tmth and reality. 

Although Indian phUosophy frequently tends to ally itself with 
the supra-rational intuitive heights of the Absolute, the ratio¬ 
nality of the ultimate and the rationalism of Hindu philosophy are 
very obvious* Those great seers who have reached Bralunan by 
the intuitive process of spiritual realisation are able^ not only to 
present to others the basic principles of their intuitively derived 
wisdom, but also to demonstrate the validity or truth of their 
"^vision'* by the use of methodical* subtle^ and sound reason. 
Furthermore* the great majority of Indian thinkers who are at the 
present day Ved^tins have not realized Brahman personally. They 
are Vedantins because of the rational appeal of Vedanta (of their 
particular type) as against all other systems. Also* negatively* 
those who reject* sayi the Ved^ta of Saihkara^ do so on the same 
ground of reason^ In other wordsj the tradition of reason is not 
alien to Indian philosophy* even in its more absolutist form. 

The characterization of Western philosophy as rationalistic 
acquires profound significance, far beyond that applying solely 
to methodology^ through comparison vrith one of the basic doc¬ 
trines of the more absolutist tendency in Indian philosophy. The 
strongest criticisms of the rationalism of the West come from 
those who sec metaphysical impUcations of the use of reason p as 
India interprets the reasoning of the West. Consideration of this 
point focuses attention upon the attitude which may be more 
characteristic of Western philosophy than any other doctrine and 
w^hich may be more significant in comparative East-West philo¬ 
sophy than any problem to be faced in the current efiort to see 
ways and means of bringing the two traditions doser together. 

When the Indian rejects reason as unable to guide man to the 
ultimate* it is because of the Indian's conviction that the ultimate 
h beyond all characterization * w hereas reason in the sense in 



whit* it is being considered demands qualitative distinctions and 
ine^tably leads to a doctrine which applies qualitative charac* 
terizations to the ultimate, wbatwer type of ultimate the theory 
in question might consider to be the real. 

The only characterization that can be applied to Western 
philosophy as a w'hole and to practically every major thinker in 
Western tradition is that Western philosophy is "deteTTranate” 
in its concept of the real. In practically every major systenr of 
thought and every thinker of top rank in Western philosophy, 
reality is described as possessing some definite quality or as being 
some specifically qualitative substance: water, fire, air, the Good, 
God, matter, mind, mind and matter, spirit, rational, irrational, 
etc, Thales set the pattern and became the first typical Western 
philosopher when he described reality in terms of a definite sub¬ 
stance or quality. Pj-thagoras (and possibly Heracleitus as well) 
formulated this philosophical perspective when he insisted that 
the principle of the Limit is an essential, if not the essential, 
principle of reality, thus rejecting the unlimited or the indeter¬ 
minate in any of its possible senses as an adequate description of 
the real. (It may be noted, in this connection, that the indeter¬ 
minate of Anaximander—being a Western indeterminate—was 
not non-qualitativc but was a harmony of all qualities.) Since the 
days of these early thinkers reality has been given some definite 
quality or qualities by nearly every significant Western thinker, 
whether it be one quality, two qualities, all qualities, or all pos¬ 
sible qualities, as in the case of Spinoza's infinite number of 
attributes. Berkeley’s inability to accept "matter substance" as 
real without qualities mirrora the mind of ail Western philo¬ 
sophers in their demand for more than "bare Being." 

It is not the purpose of this study to trace this doctrine to its 
possible psychological or historical origins, but it is suggested that 
the attitude of ascribing specific qualities to reality probably has 
its basis in a combination of the attitudes and methods of science, 
reason, and logic—and possibly grammar; or it may be traceable 
to the general tendency towards analysis.^ Ne\'ertheless, the 

* K. A. Bsistt, "How tiio PhiIo»opliLH of Eajit mud Wett in TJk* 

PhiioscphiCfU Kovember 19^48, pp, C. K Cooler, "An Oatloii? of 

ladian Philja$dipliy/" in Fkii^epky—ha^t awi p. 22, and E. L. Schitub^ 
""Indian PhUosopiiy in Divor^enw from tbe SpiHt oftht Cbntempotary Wrat,'"' 
in Thi Opf** October 1^3,0, p, 59^, call attcntiDn to ULaJyais chAra£- 

toristlo of Wcst«nt thnu^ht. Analysis ui unjQuostioiuibly fjgniEcanf m tbe Wc^ 
hnt it canoEit difiplact lin main potpnao of pbDoftopliy, whMi ultimatn gyu- 
tticsis, and it is Eint unique to tbo wg«t lor all tJiiiiking nquireg ajuJ ynia 

81 p 


method tised does not seem to have a signific^t be^g 
the result, for. as has been pointed out 

paper Western philosophers ha ve not been domtnated by any s^ie 

mSd in theifreseJ^h. and yet the qualitabve nature of the 
result oi their thinking, in terms of the qi^itative 
reality, is universal among tbem. In other word^ nf*^nhilo- 

meth^ is employed and no matter what specific type of P ' 
»pW^ Ltie^r si^tem results, reality is always considered 
determinate by Western philowphers. (Western mystics would 
constitute an exception to this rule, but they also cons i 
exceptions to Western phUosophy, and 

as bdonging specifically and legitimately to Westcin philosophy? 
proper, m s^s of Neo-Platonism in this connection is 

'^'^The aincept of pure being, in a completely abstract ^d mde- 
terminate sense, has found its way into Western philosophy 
occasionally, dating back to the Eleatics—and in Western mystic 
—but this phUosophical doctrine has played ^ ii^ificant 
in the development of Western philosophy. Furthemore, 
philosophers who might be thought consider reality indeter¬ 
minate: since it is beyond the realm of human knowl^e. as m 
the case of Kant's "thing-m-itsell" and Spencer s unknowable, 
did not describe the ultimate as non-qualitabve but contented 
themselves simply with saying that man could not know its true 

This description of Western philosophy as determinate gains 
darificalion. perhaps, by a contrast aith the opposite charao- 
tetiratkm which is so often made of Oriental philosophy ^ 
especially of Indian philosophy. Professor Northrop focuses atten 
tim upon the Oriental doctrine of the "undifferentiated con- 
tinuiun" as ulUmate reality, in contrast to the West's acceptan^ 
of postulated difierentiations as characteristic of reality. He 
quotes Professor S. N. Dasgupta to the effect that "They found 
dial by whatever means they tried to give a positive and ^ite 
content of the ultimate reality, the Brahman, they failed. I ositive 
definitions were impossible.”' Professor Northrop comments upon 
this by saying, "For this reason there is nothing m common 
between Brahman and ulUmate reality as conceived by Demo¬ 
critus Plato or Aristotle. The atoms of Democritus, the ideas of 

^ A Hiitory Indium Pkiio^<fphy, I, p, 4-1- 



Plato and the forms of Aristotle were definite detenninate things, 
the very antithesis of the unspeoiiiabte Brahman/’' 

The same antithesis is found by concentrating upon the Upani- 
^adic phrase 'UtcH, neii ' (not this, not this). The import of this 
phr^ is most frequently accepted to be the unqualified nature of 
reality, such that it cannot be de&ned or described in terms of any 
specific substance or qualitj-, Professor Kadhakrishnan calls the 
ultimate in India's mysticism "absolutely diflerent" from and 
"totally other" than the things of the empirical world,* Professor 
P, T, Raju has made the same point, but he applies the idea to 
Indian philosophy as a whole, saying, ", , . ultimate Reality, 
according to Indian philosophy, is the other to evejything con¬ 
ceivable," giving this as his interpretation of neti, neti in the 
Upani|ad$,3 This indeterminate character of the ultimate in 
Oriental philosophy gains further clariacation by noticing how 
some Indians ^ply it in the field of ethics and social philosophy. 
For eirample, Sri Aunobindo rejects what the West tends to call 
spiritual values, such as the intellectual, moral, aesthetic, etc., as 
truly spiritual, becatise no such qualities or values can apply to 
the unqualified absolute spiritIt is also well known that ethical 
rules and values are transcended in the state of spiritual realiza¬ 
tion. which constitutes the goal of the Upani^adic philosophy 
and of the Vedanta. Thus, in the field of metaphysics and in the 
field of what might be called the application of metaphysical 
principles to the empirical world of values, this interpretation of 
Indian philosophy shows a strong contrast with the determinate 
nature of Western philosophy, and seems to separate the one 
from the other at the most crucial point of all, namely, one’s basic 
perspective with respect to the nature of the ultimate. 

Despite the fact that the determinate character of its concepts 
of reality represents the definitive characteristic of Western 
philosoplty, and despite the fact that Indian philosophy has been 
so interpreted that it stands in diametrical opposition to this 
tendency toward determinateness, the detenninate character of 
the philosophical perspective of the West is not unique, nor is it 
true that this character isolates Western philosophy from Oriental 

' "Thi! Comptcnivptajy Empluses of Eastern Intutclve Western Scientific 
Phili^sqphy,*' Ln PkUo^i^hy — Wtsf, p. 196 . 

* and Tkou^k^, pp. 29S. 399, 

3 *'The Westera and tise Indian T^ilosophieal Traditioas," in Tkr 
ifn’iVtt', Maich 1947, p. T5^3. ^ 

* Sfre Dilip Kiimaj Hoy, Ammg thf Gfrai, NiJaDda l^blications^ Bombay mAt 

pp, 2g4fT, ‘ ^ ' 



philosophy, even in the more absolutist tendencies in Indian 

The Justification for this statement is the fact that philosophy, 
in East and in West, generally gives definite qualitative descri[^ 
tions to reality. Only by concentration upon one special 
extreme tendency within Indian philosophy and upon one similar 
extreme instance in Chinese philosophy, can Oriental phUosophy 
be made to fit the pattern of the undifferentiated continuim. It is 
very doubtful, in fact, whether the true spirit of Hindu philosophy 
would hold that Brahman is "totally other" than all character¬ 
istics known to man, or that nrii" means the complete 

absence of all qualities. This is probably the correct mterpretation 
of the extreme mysticism of India and in some of the extreme 
interpretations of the Upani§adic doctrine, but there is abund^t 
eridence in the wide range and variety of Indian philosophical 
doctrines and systems and sub-systems which would demand the 
rejection of this thesis as truly descriptive of the spirit of Indian 

philosophy as a whole. ^ .... 

There are many considerations which caU for attention in this 
connection, but they cannot be treated in this study except very 
briefly. A major factor in the interpretation of Indian phflosophy 
as uniquely undifferentiated depends upon the mistaken view that 
the V'edanta of ^amkara represents the essence and the sum-total 
of Indian philosophy and the necessarily correct interpretation 
of the Upani^ads. This is to do serious violence to the richness 
and variety of the Indian mind, and to ignore, not only the more 
rationalistic systems and the unorthodox systems, but also many 
systems within systems, as it were, snch as the various schools 
within Vedanta, w'lnch stand in strong opposition to the extreme 
tendencies of ^aihkara. 

In the Upani^ds and even in ^aihkara, the Brahman 

as weli as the ntVgnwa Brahman is real. They are the two Brah¬ 
mans, neither of which can be ignored in a description of reality 
in its full sense. Furthermore, as is pointed out in the Samkhya 
Karikd, which presents a view that is the only satisfactory inter¬ 
pretation of the Pidyd doctrine in the Vedinta, the fact that 
qualities are not manifested in the empirical world does not mean 
that they do not exist in reality—they are obviously in reality or 
they could not become manifested through mdyd. The analj-sis of 
reality into varying groups of substantial or qualitative categories, 
as in the Hindu systems of Nyaya, VaiSesika, Saihkhya, and 



Yoga is certainly an example of the qualitative description of 
reality, Jamisin and Carv^a are other exceptions to the theory 
of indetenninate reality, In fact, the constant demand for dis* 
criminative knowledge {vivtka), especially in Samkhya and Yoga 
and implied in practically all of Indian philosophy, im p li es 
differentiation and discriinination and, therefore, qualihcatbn of 
the essential reality or spirit. 

Even the more mystically minded Indian philosophers can 
hai^y escape the attitude of qualitative characterization of that 
which they call the real, namely, the Self, Though the Abnan is 
often Said to be beyond all qualihcation, nevertheless, it is almost 
constantly described—substantially rather than qualitatively—as 
Sdcciddtuitids (being, consciousness, and bliss). As Ramanuja says 
in criticism of Saihkara, the Self and consciousness must have 
some substantial meaning and content. Even the most mystical 
speak of the mal in terms of spirit or spirituality, and this tenn 
must carry with it some connotation of the substantial nature of 
the Self, "Aimatt" is a name with a distinct meanin g Professor 
B. L. Atreya is speaking along the same lines of interpretation 
when he says of the German idealists, . their philosophy Is very 

much in agreement with the deepest philosophy of India, namelv 
the V^edanta_ 

Furthermore, Chinese philosophy is almost unanimous in 
ascribing distinctive qualitative marks to reality, with the lone 
exception of the more mystical aspects of Taoism, As Professor 
Chan says, “It [the One or ultimate] is determinate in Confu¬ 
cianism, Neo-ConfucianLsm, .. . and other minor Oriental systems 
[which w'ould include practically all schools of Chinese philosophy 
except Taoism], where ultiinate reality can be understood in 
specific terms,"* Other Oriental philo^phies iu Japan, Persia, 
and Arabia, except in their most mystical developments, also 
conform to this qualitative pattern. Thus, here again, an impor¬ 
tant aspect of Western philosophy is found not to be the exclusive 
mark of the West and not a categoiy of distinctiou from or oppo¬ 
sition to the philosophy of the East, 

' "PhilMOphyaod Theoit^hy," in Whttt Thtoso^y and Seitnf* Meet. p. lit, 

‘ W, T. CEan, "Tlif Spirit of Oriental Pbilosoiphy/' in Phdiaophy—East and 
west, p, 1J5. 





In its negative result, tMs study has failed to discover any clear 
spirit of Western philosophy which is both definitive and unique. 
It may therefore be considered to have failed in its purpose. A 
negative dcfimtioii is faulty, to be sure^ but to attribute disilne- 
tive qualities and characteristics to that which has no qualities is 
even more unacceptable. The temptation to attach a label to a 
philosophical tradition is great, but any label which may be 
chosen is inadequate and inaccurate, certainly in the case of 
Western philosophy* 

In finding no distinctive and unique spirit of Western philo¬ 
sophy, the study has sho^n that there is no essential or insur¬ 
mountable barrier between the philosophies of the East and 
Western philosophy. There can be a meeting of the minds of East 
and West, because the minds of East and West are not inscrutable 
to each other. PhEosophically, East and Wisst do not speak 
foreign languages* They are not aliens ^ one to the other. They 
have both explored the full richness of reality and truths and, 
though both traditions have developed certain tendencies and 
have emphasized certain perspectives, they need not be blinded 
by their traditions to those other attitudes which may brought 
into clearer focus by virtue of contact with other philosophical 
traditions. In this way it may be possible to achieve the synthesis 
which all philosophers must set as their ideal, for philosophy in 
East and West must seek the total truth and this is possible only 
through the total perspective wrhich is essential to all philosophy 
as its one unique distinction J 

t It has bMR B3iil nsjmy« in tiiis chapter (a) Oiat there 'ls no spirit of 
Vp'Mtem philosophy in the sense of baait doctrities, attitodis, or methods which 
tAik be cftlW comioon denoniiimtora. and (6) that characteristic^ of Western 
cnltuir cuinot N used to describe W'eslcm phiiowphy. The facu behind these 
two observ-ations Wve led to two posaibliy ifitcrreMed indictments at Wcstem 
phUcKW^hy wbich it seems appropriate to mcnticin mt this poiot, namdy, that 
Western phiJoMyphy constitutes intellect nal anajchy and obaoa and that it is. 
posjdhiy for tbU roasofi, inelf«tivc as a force capable of guiding the colturc and 
life oi Western people. The two points art well combined by ProfeMCr W, H. 
Weldon, who says, . . the *^. 4 ^ nr plulowphy is to set the systems htted togetho' 
in one pattern. Until that pattern is discerned aod given out to the workl, pbib^ 
sopby bas no function, because no message, and baa forEnited Its job of life pilot. 
*"r'biJo5opby'ft Job Today/' La Univ^sity if Califatm ia PuWjoafitJnJ in PkilMiffihy, 
Berkeley. VoL i6, No. g, *947^ P- 





Mahirajij Sa.-W4\i R» UnllfcnlCF, BmliL, India 

Philosophy is nothing but a search for Truth, and as such it can 
have no geographical or national frontiers. Prima facie it sounds 
absurd that we should talk of Indian philosophy or of European 
philosophy, all the more so when we do not talk of Indian science 
or of European science. We recognize that the subject matter of 
the ^erent sciences is the same all over the world, even though 
P®Hicular spectes of flora and of fauna may be found only in 
particular regions, but this does not in the least affect the uni- 
ver^ character of botany and zoology. Bat to pretend that the 
subject matter of philosophy is as objecti^'e as that of science 
would not at all be consistent with the development of philosophy 
whether in the East or in the West. In so far as science deals with 
something that in popular jargon we speak of as matter, some^ 
thing that could affect one or more of our physical senses, some¬ 
thing that could be obscn,'ed or experimented upon, it has a 
legitimate claim for universal acceptance. Newton and Darwin, 
Einstein and Max Planck, Curie and Human have attained an 
international status, and their work has ceased to be English or 
German, French or Indian. But as soon as we approach the region 
of philosophy, we seem to transcend the apparently solid basis of 
the purely objective, and we deal with categories of thought and 
notions like God and soul, to which we feel impelled by the logic 
of oar thought, but which we cannot assert to be existing or to be 
carrying conviction to the man in the street in the sense in which 
or to the degree in which the scientist succeeds in doing. In the 
logic of thought there comes in a subtle inhltration of something 
that is not so palpably objective, something that seems to bring 
with it an aroma of the past centuries, some peculiarity of thought, 
some curious mode of approach, that forces us to speak of philo¬ 
sophy as Indian or European, Chinese or Arabic. Phiiosophy, in 
spite of its search for Truth, which cannot but be universal, utters 




only iti some peculiar mode of thouglit or language and we can 
appreciate it or even understand it only in teims of the country 
where it was bom. Hence we axe fon»d to speak of Indian philo* 
sophy and of European philosophy. Attempts have b^n made to 
overcome this nationalism in philosophy and place it on a par 
with the universalism of science, but all such attempts have so 
far failed. The fact is that there is a definite contrast between 
science and philosophy, and though philosophy is more fmda- 
mental in the life of man, it cannot hope for that universality of 
acceptance that has been the reward for science. 

This becomes all the more intelligible when we compare ^try 
and philosophy. It is usually said that all great poetry is and 
must be untveisal. How else can we hope to account for the love 
of Homer and Vij^ in England and France, or for the love of 
Shakespeare in Gennany and Russia? That the CulsstiM of Saadi 
has appealed to generations of Hindus, and the RiiJuiynf of 
Omar Khayyam to generations of Englishmen, that the Irishrnan 
Yeats could detect the note of true mysticism in the Indian 
Tagore, certainly bear witness to the truly universal character of 
all great poetry. Nevertheless, it cannot denied that all poetry 
bears the stamp of its author and he in turn cannot but be a 
child of his country, so much so that it is impossible to appreciate 
a poet apart from the psychology of his countrymen and the 
historic traditions of his country. Even the rebellions Byron 
could leave the shores of England but could not bid good-bye to 
the love of freedom and of the roaring sea that runs in the very 
blood of Englishmen. Hence it is that it is unavoidable to speak of 
English poetry and of Hindu poetry, and of Greek poetry and of 
Chinese poetry. The universality of human thought and passioiK 
is woven by a poet like warp and woof into the setting of a parti¬ 
cular scene and epoch. 

Philosophy, too, has something of poetry in it. Critics of 
philosophy arc fond of this simile when they want to disparage 
philosophy, but that is not my motive, for I look upon poets ^d 
philosophers alike as the real teachers and prophets of mankind. 
Behind the imagination of a poet lies a profound insight into the 
mysteries of nature and of the human heart. Behind the thought 
of a philosopher lies a deep urge to pierce troth. Philosophy may 
lack the beauty of poetry, but its sincerity and passion for truth 
make up for the tortuousness or the diSiculty of its language. In 
the last resort both poetry and philosophy have their birth in the 



same zesi for life and truth. It is not a mere accident that in the 
history of nations the earliest writings were both poetry and 
philosophy, for the mythologies that mark the childhood of 
nations are but incipient philosophy. 

Just as every country has its own verse forms and poetic 
technique and has its oivn poetic traditions, it has too its own 
method of approaching philosophical problems, its own outlooh 
wWch gives it a peculiar stamp and distinguishes it from the 
philosophy of other countries. Take for example the philosophy in 
England and Germany. Both have made full use of their Christian 
and Graeco-Roman inheritance. Both have common racial affini- 
ties. \ et through centuries of differing history' and environment 
they have developed different outlooks which give a peculiar 
meaning to expressions like "Ei^Iish philosophy” and ‘'German 
pMosophy.*’ The German mind is thorough and is never at peace 
with itself unless a symoptic view is taJcen of every problem. A 
German philosopher, whether idealistic or materialistic, must 
have his IVeltanschauwig. No German philosopher is worth the 
name, or can hope to have a following, unless he gives a rounded 
^stematic shape to his thought. Karl Marx could not ivrite on 
economics without producing a book that ostensibly bears an 
economic title, but is in substance a philosophy of history^, meta¬ 
physical even in its anti-metaphysics, irreligious and yet' breath¬ 
ing all the fire of Jewish prophets. So much has this been the 
case that within a century Das Kapitsl has come to have the 
status of a Bible for millions of hungry hordes of labourem, and 
has even given birth to a State that repudiates the Church, but 
has all the paraphernalia of a Church. 

Quite oontiaiy is the mentality of the English. They are proud 
of muddling through to success; they have a political constitution 
which is in theory full of contradictions, but in practice they have 
made it a brilliant success, the envy and despair of other nations; 
they sail to distant countries for trade and found an empire, the 
greatest which the w-orld has seen or is likely to see; apparently 
unprepared for wars they lose battles and yet emerge victorious 
in the end. In the Ugbt of their history it is intelligible that they 
should have an instinctive distrust of systems. Their philosophy is 
thus frankly empirical and analytic, and it has retained this 
characteristic from the time of Francis Bacon right down till the 
days of Moore and Russell. There is a story of Henry Sidgwick, 
of Cambridge fame, which viridly brings out the contrast between 



the Gcrmwi and the Enslish outlook in philosophy. A Geiro^ 
student prepaiing a thesis for the Ph.D. degree on the philo¬ 
sophy of Sidgwick, and he soon found it dimcult to say wtet 
Sidewnck’s Weliafuchatiung Tvas. He reverently *0 Sidg* 

wick himself to And out what it was, and the learned Cantabrian 
used to recount to hb friends with his f^iliar lisp how he wrote 

back oti a postcard that he had no idea. 

Take the French philosophers^ with their clear-cut logic and 
lucid expositions with an almost mathematical precision from the 
days of Descartes to the days of Bergson and Poincar£. Take Italy 
with centuries of Scholasticism behind her taking a new birth m 
philosophy with Vico and still more with Croce and Gentile, with 
a ivide spacious sweep of outlook reminiscent of the glories of the 
old Roman Empire, portraying the universality of Spirit not ^ 
an eternal is but as an eternal fejcoming. Italian philosophy of the 
twentieth century was an echo of their newly-found political 
importance. No wonder if Gentile figured as a minister in Mu^ 
Imi's Fascist Government, while England still spoke of freedom 
through the voice of Russell, and France found in Bergson s ifian 
vital an inspiration for Syndicalism. Pragmatism could flower as 
a philosophy only in the economic climate of the United States of 
America, where work and success mean so much w'ith a plethora 
of new ideas surging in the minds of the young and old, men and 

women alike. ... . , 

If the difference in the philosophic outlook is so marked within 
the different nations that go to make up Europe and America as 
well, it need not be a matter for wonder if the philosophic out¬ 
look of India is still more markedly different from that of Europe 
and America, so different, in fact, as to justify the use of expression 
like "Indian philosophy" and "European philosophy.” In fact, the 
very word "philosophy" has adifferEnt connotation in Europe and 
India* In ancient Greece, the home of European philosophy, 
philo-sopftia meant love of wisdom, wisdom that is bom of human 
reasoning about life and nature, so that for centuries, in fact till 
about a couple of hundred years ago, there was no difference 
between philosophy and science. Both had the same connotation 
and the same method, the present-day difference being more a 
matter of convenience necessitated by the needs of scient^c 
specialization, philosophy reseiv-ing to itself the right of unifymg 
the different sciences and of evaluating their results. In spite of 
the hostility that raged between philosophy and science in Europe 



in the latter half of the nineteenth century, on the whole there has 
been a very healthy relationship between tlie two, for the arro¬ 
gance of philosophy has been kept in check by the day-to-day 
outlook of sdenca; for verily nothing: that came within human 
experience was beyond the pale of a scientific investigation. 
Ghostly phenomena even have not been just accepted or derided, 
but subjected to a close inquiry that lias become familiar under 
the name of psychical research. hTor have the pronouncements of 
the mystics escaped a rigorous scrutiny at the bands of psycho- 
logists. Science and philosophy met in Aristotle, and they have 
met since in Descartes and Leibniz and even to-day in Russell 
and Whitehead, in Bergson and William James, in Eddington and 
Max Planck. Eminent physicists do not find it nccesisary to 
apologize for dropping into philosophic disquisitions. 

But in India philosophy from the beginning has had a different 
connotation, Indians were capable of acute logical analysis and 
not blind to the demands of day-to-day life as seen in the full 
development of Ayurv( 4 a as the science of medicine: of Arih^- 
idsira as in Kautilya, a great master in economics and politics; of 
architecture and fine arts generally, particularly music and 
dancing; of mathematics and astronomy and astrology; and of 
law as in Dharma ^astras. But the highest place was reserved for 
Brahpta-Vidyd or the knowledge of the Supreme. This knowledge 
came not from mere reasoning, but from a deep insight which 
transcends all reasoning. Thus has philosophy in India come to 
be looked upon as a DaHana or direct vision of the Supreme. The 
philosopher who merely argues as in the West, is apt to be derided 
as a mere speculative thinker as opposed to the real jMm. the 
man who knovvs the Supreme through a direct vision or experi¬ 
ence. This is a very material difference between the Western and 
Indian outlook, for the Indian y/tanf is apt to be looked upon by 
the Westerner as a mere dreamer, and his philosophy as mere 
dogmatism, as has been actually done by Professor Brehier in his 
Preface to Masson Oursel's History of PAiiosophy in the Orient, and 
even by so sympathetic and erudite a critic as the great Dr. 
Albert Schweitzer in his thought-provoking Induin Thought 
and Its Development, not to mention a host of other lesser 

The Indian tradition defends this dogmatism on the ground 
that not every one can claim to be a jhdtn, and that a true jMnl 
has an inner \'ision developed through a long series of births and 



deaths as in the case oI a genius like gariika^h^*a who in 
short Ufe of barely 32 travelled over the length ^rcad^ 
of India established miUts (monasteries) m the north and south, 
east and west, and wrote long and authoritative commentans on 
the Upani^ads and the Gita, successfully drove out Buddhism 
and revived the Vedantic religion. These great achievements 
could not have been the work of a mere dreamer. They ^ 
result of an intuition which went beyond the dualism of all know¬ 
ledge and comprehended the farawarthika (the Supreme and only 
Recti') behind the shifting scenes of the 
phenomenal world. If Saihkara employed his dialectical gifts to 
^ablish the Upanisadic truths, these truths them^ves were 
the result of deep tapa^ya of the great themselves. Thu 
arises in Indian philosophy the idea of itdhikara or Not 

every one can be a jitdnt, but only he who has so putted his hfe 
as to be worthy of a dariana of the Supreme, a"d this idea of a 
purified life does not merely imply a good moral life but even a 
win to give up aU the normal joys of life as found m cmc and 
family life. Thus arises the ideal of ^s«mnya^> an ascetic, who _ 
renounced everything in life except the ultimate meam^ of hfe. 
In the heart of every Hindu even to-day who aspires to wwftja, 
there lurks a desire to give up the normal joys of Ufe, 
beautifully and realistically portrayed by Kiphng m his delightful 
story; The Mirade of Furan Shagal. The many dungs which are 
inexplicable and unintelligible in the life of Gandhiji to a westerner 
are the very things w'hich have earned him the loyalty and the 

reverence of rnilhoiis of his countrynien. ^ 1 j 

The vision of the Supreme, whether conceived as a pe^nal Gm 
or as Bratamn though limited to a few select spirits, is m 
theory to all who can take up tapatya. This idea has been lost m 
recent centimes through the subtle greed of the Br^min, who by 
definition is a lover of truth and purity but m practiw is 
only the son of a Brahmin by birth. In the days of the Up^i^ads 
Satvakama Jabala was not ashamed to admit that he did not 
know who his father was, but thb very admission was taken to ^ 
a token of bis being a Brahmin and he was admitted as a pupil by 
Gautama. Centuries later the leaders of the Bhakti movement 
sought to establish the right of everyone to attain Vishnu or Shiva 
through pure devotion irrespective of the caste hierarchy, but this 
has not succeeded in overcoming the caste prejudices, w^hich have 
been responsible for the fragmentation of the Hindu com- 



mimity and rendered it politically too weak to resist foreign 

Thus arises the main fnndatuental differences between the 
philosophic outlook in India and in Europe: in Europe philosophy 
IS a hard intellectual exercise to understand the world of our 
everyday life, while in India it is an attempt to rise above the 
shifting scenes of this world and to attain freedom from the cycles 
of birth and death. If this main difference is fully comprehended, 
it becomes easier to comprehend all the other consequential 
differences. Attempts have not been lacking, especially in recent 
years, whether on the part of European or of Indian scholars, to 
make out that fundamentally philosophy is the same in India 
and in Europe, and that the differences between the two are reaily 
superficial To Dr, Betty Heimann must be given the credit of not 
being carried away by the fadiion of the day and of insteting that 
"w hen we consider the deep elemental differences dividing East 
from West, all these apparent similarities will be found to be 
merely accidental/'^ Indeed, far from being accidental they touch 
the very core of European and Indian life. It will be w^orth while 
attemptirtg to show how deep are the differences which emerge 
consequentially from the fundamental difference noted above, 
and they may wdl be summamed under four heads. 

I.—Plato found the source of philosophy in simple wonder. 
Nature generally and human life in paiticular presented prohlems 
which w^ere taken by Plato to be a challenge to human intellect, 
and it was the business of the philosopher to know' more and more. 
For Socrates, too, the end-all and the be-all of life was to know* 
Knowledge is virtue'^ was a dictum of Socrates wEich had aU 
the force of an a^iom with him. European writers always pride 
themselves on the fact that in Europe knowledge is an end in 
itself, that it has no ulterior aim whether in the goods of this life 
or the joys of a heaven hereafter. The scientist at his best has all 
his interest in a pure disinterested study of the problems that 
present themselves to him. though it may be that in the w'ake of his 
discoveries may follow practical applications^ as in the realms of 
steam and electricity, which have made Europe and America the 
richest areas in the world. But to the pure scientist the accrual of 
such wealth is a mere accident and he would rather go on with his 
work, poor but independent. To the European philosopher God 
and immortality may be categories which are logically ineWtablej 
1 /ndidH and WtsUm Pkiias(tphy, A Study m Contrasts, p* ». 


but they ans of no intrinsic importance to philosophy as such- A 
philosopher is not the less a philosopher becatiso he has no roon) 
for God or immortality in his system. That is why the panthebtic 
Spinoza, the agnostic V^'ohaire or John Mill and the atheistic 
Ingersoll command the same honour and req>ect among philo¬ 
sophers as the theistic Bishop Berkeley or James Waiil Orthodox 
Christians, of course, can hardly be expected to sympathize with 
this attitude, and religious bigotry has claimed its victims ia 
thousands. But the martyrdom of Bruno did not put a stop to 
the development oi astronomy, nor the excommunication ef 
Spinoza the development of pantheism. The world of philosophy 
in Europe may be drcinnseribed, but within its own domaiti it 
know's no limit to its right to pursue know^ledge, whatever religion 
may be in vogue and whatever political ideology may be in f otc^. 
The pursuit of knowledge is its own reward and its disinterested' 
ness the guarantee of its independence. 

In India, on the other hand, there has indeed been an empba^ 
on knowledge, the /?iant has been looked up to as the rea^l 
leader of society, but this knowledge has looked upon the scieriota 
as understood in Europe with contempt, Knowdedge thiit 
C 3 oatributes only to the betterment of this life by w^ay of 
increased comforts and luxuries is of no avail The koowledj^ 
that is of real importance is the knowledge that leads us to 
feet of Faraffialnkin, for this is the knowledge that destroys o^r 
ignorance—and wrorldly knowiedge is only ignorance—and loati^ 
to The soul that has gone through endless births anri 

deaths at last wearies of the pleasures of the flesh and seeks to 
break this seemingly endless chain, and the only w^ay to do 
this is to attain Br^hf^a-Vidya. So philosophic knowledge is rot 
an end in itself, it is not disinterested m the European sense of 
the term, it is really a means to an end, which would be take^i 
in Europe as rehgion rather than philosophy. 

Hr—From the aforesaid difference it follows that the relatioi\- 
ship betw'een religion and philosophy is conceived in diametrically 
opposite ways in India and in Europe. The conflict betvveen philo¬ 
sophy and religion in Europe dates from the times of the Greeks. 
Ahnost at the birth of Greek philosophy Xenophanes had the 
courage to be satiric about the gods of his day. But the cotiflict 
came to a head whan Socrates rebelled against the amorous gw 3 s 
and goddesses of the Greek Pantheon and roused the ire of the 
professional priesi^p who could as usual count on the ignorance of 



their supporters. Socrates had to pay for his reform with hJs life, 
but he succeeded in giving a certain character to the philosophic 
traditions of Europe. With the emergence of Christianity as a 
state religion, philosophy as a pure disinterested pursuit of know¬ 
ledge had to go midcrground and could subsist only as an appendix 
of Christian theology. But with Bacon and Descartes the old 
philosophic independence revived and the conflict between philo¬ 
sophy and religion has been a marked feature of European history 
right do\ra till our own times. With the emergence of science as 
an independent subject the traditional conflict has somewhat 
changed its character and science has had to bear the bnint of 
attacks by the leaders of Churches. James v/ R^ligiaus 

Experience) and Eucken and a host of other philosophers who have 
veered round to the religious standpoint have given a common 
platform to philosophers of the tbeistic school and the orthodox 
Christians to fight the excesses of scientists. Even this conffict 
between science and philosophy has softened because groat scien¬ 
tists like Max Planck and others have come to reah^^e the limita¬ 
tions of science and they have been forced to be philosopbersH 
But the historic conflict has come to be resolved on the lines that 
each of these subjects has its own domain and there need be no 
conflict so long as religion does not usurp the place of philosophy 
and science is allowed to go its limited W'ay without encroaching 
On the rights of philosophy and religion to go their way. This 
seerns to be quite a reasonable attitude to adopt and the tradi¬ 
tional independence of philosophy is still maintained. Instead of 
an open w^ar there is an agreement to differ* but the old historic 
differences still oonrimie. 

In India, on the otlier hand, it is claimed as a peculiar glory of 
Indian culture tliat there has been no conflict betw^een philosophy 
and religion, in fact, it b dainaed there has been an indissoluble 
bond between the two* so that the man oI religion and the philc!- 
sopher must meet iu the same personality. T!ifi European is left 
quite cold by this claim, in fact he considers this alliance between 
philosophy and religion in India to be a definite weakness of 
Indian philosophvi for it becomes rather a theolpgy than a philo¬ 
sophy. This difference is so fundamental that it can hardly be 
Overcome, An Indian^ and particularly a Brahmin, is bom as 
much in a system of philosophy as in a particular rel%ioa* and if 
he begins the study of philosophy at all he begins it in such a 
reverent attitude and with such a marked bias that the study of 



philosophy as in the West is a new feature introduced by the 
British system of education,* 

That Indian philosophy is really theology is denied very stoutly 
by liajasevasakta V. Subrahraanya Iyer of Mysore. Bom an 
advaitin and introduced to Advaita philosophy by a great ortho¬ 
dox religious leader, the late Sringeri Swami, he has been trj^g 
to show that genuine philosophy must be independent of religion, 
that in ^itikaia himself the Sagtttm Brahtmn or a personal god is 
only a part of the phenomenal (if not illusory) world, and that the 
Nirguna Brahnan is the only reality and has nothing to do with 
religion. The main hurdle in his way of thinking is the fact that 
^mkara did not claim to be an original thinker at all, and his 
philosophy took the fonn of commentaries on the generality of 
Hindu scriptures, particularly the Upani^ads and the Gita. 
Mr. Subrahmanya Iyer tries to get over this hurdle by arguing that 
Saihkara was really an independent logical thinker and object 
of his commentaries was really to show that his conduaons inde¬ 
pendently attained are also corroborated by the scriptures. It 
would be a strange coincidence indeed if every independent con¬ 
clusion of ^ihkara could be supported by the chapter and verse of 
every Upani§ad and every chapter of the Gita. Mr. Iyer's attempt 
is a bold and brilliant one, but has not been taken seriously by 
man y in India. In fact, there is hardly a Hindu philosopher who 
does not honestly believe that philosophy had its last word in the 
Upani^ds and in the commentaries of one or the other of the 
achSry'as whom he religiously follows. Thus it is that philosophy 
in India was for centuries more an exposition of the ancient 
classics than the independent thought of individual thinkers as in 
andent Greece or modem Europe and America. Mr. Subrahmanya 
Iyer's daim for Samkara or his teacher Gaudapada as independent 
thinkers is not extended by him to other schools of Indian philo¬ 
sophy. In feet, he is fond of dismissing them as mere theologies, 
thus corroborating the criticism advanced by several European 
scholais against considering the thought of India as real 
philosophy. In so far as the ancient scriptures are taken to be the 
last inspired word of ancient r^is and philosophy taken to be just 
an exposition of these truths, philosophy in India cannot escape 
the charge of dogmatism. On the other hand, the traditional 
Vedantui in India never tires of sneering at Western philosophy 

* my wtitlis ua ''Ftflosofiby aaid Religion*" iu Thf Vol. XXXVII, 




as "niere groping in thfi dark'" and as "attenipts at constructive 
philosophy" and thus as mere speculations. This difference, too. is 
very marked and is hardly biidgeable. 

ni.— From the aforesaid differences it also follows that philo- 
sophv in India, not being mere knowledge, has an aim beyond 
knowledge, viz. realization of the highest Upanishadic truth: 
identity of BfukTnatt and the individual atfwn according to 
Advaita, or the ootnmunion between the two according to the 
other schools of Vedanta, which are theistic in character. In other 
■words, philosophy is not pure knowledge as it is dauned to be in 
Europe. It is really a means to some ulterior end. Advaita looks 
upon bhakti {devotion) and ftanm (actions) as defmitely inferior 
to or which is the ultiniate goal ol all Indian thought, 

however much they may differ in all other details. To this extent 
it would be justifiable to say that Indian philosophy is pragmatic, 
though needless to say it is miles aw^y from the pragmatism of 
wordly success associated with the names of James and Dewey 
in America and of Schiller in England, Western pragmatism does 
not bother about the life beyond, though it docs attach a prag" 
matic value to the idea of God or of immortality. With Indian 
thinkers, Brahtmn and karttia working themselves out in cotmtlcss 
births are not a matter to speculate about but a solid reality far 
more real than the things of sense to which we are apt to attach so 
much importance in our tnundane life. But what is so fundamental 
to an Indian is apt to be considered by the European as lying 
outside the region of philosophic th inkin g. It is very interesting 
to note that the idea of Aornw-and-transmigration of soul is 
common to all systems of Indian philosophy, wliether orthodox or 
heterodox, wbile it has not found a home in any part of the w'orld 
beyond the confines of India, Pringle-Pattison's argum^ts against 
the ■whole idea of have had no effect on any Indian, Logical 

subtleties are of no importance when we find in the idea of kanna 
the only means of accounting for the ine^uahties and sufferings of 

IV. _ These differences of philosophical outlook necessarily 

result in totally opposed outlooks on life this is seen most 
dearly in the domain of morality. Moral prindples are, of course, 
universal and the sanctity of a promise is not different whether in 
India or Europe, but the metaphysics of morality is different, and 
that is the only thing of importance when we compare the moral 
outlook of the Indian and of the European. On the whole the 


ethical outlook of the European has been true to the joyous spirit 
of the ancient Greeks. A certain morbid mood of fatalism was not 
absent in Greek culture and this we see most clearly in the Uu^ 
mortal tragedies of Aeschylus, Euripides and Sophocles, but in 
Greek philosophy we do not find a note of pessimism. They were 
lovers of beauty whether of nature or of the human form, and the 
world has yet to see more beautiful statues of the naked human 
form than we do m the art of ancient Greece. They loved nature 
and they found life good There might have been a certain austerity 
in the Cynics and more particularly in the Stoics^ but even among 
them there was no other-worldliness. The Good that the philo- 
sophers searched for was in the last resort to be found in this life, 
in a better society^ in a better social 2eal, This is the glory of 
Plata's Republic and of Aristotle's Nictmt^hmn Ethics, the two 
books that have nourished the European ethics of the succeeding 
centurie.s. With the introduction of Christianity there did come 
into European life a feeling of getting away from this wTetched 
world so as to qualify for the heaven of Christ, But this attitude 
was confined to the leaders of the medieval Church and did not 
touch the masses, who still continued their old pagan holiday's 
under Christian names, danced and drank and made merry, 
Christianity softened, and in some cases deepened the Graeco- 
Botnan heritage, but has not conquered Europe. In modem 
Europe, too, the old spirit of a healthy optimism has reigned 
supreme, except in the pages of Schopenhauer or Hartmaniip but 
their teaching never caught on, for they w^ere outside the Euro¬ 
pean ethical tradition, as much as St. Francis of Assisi was, 
though on a far higher level. The Idea of the Good w’as the inspira¬ 
tion of Plato and it has consciously or unconsciously coloured all 
European metaphysics. 'Thus it is that self-realisation in European 
ethics has meant a fullne^ of life so as to gel the maximum and 
the best out of life. 

In India the ethical outlook has been totally different. The 
sufferings of life have produced a certain ennui, a w'bh, if 
not always a will, to get away from this world with its 
''sorry Scheme of Things entire." The burden of coatinuously 
recurring births and deaths hangs heavy on men's souls, and if 
kanna and rebirth w^ere accepted as axiomatic, there also grew' 
the yearning for a i,vay out of thb cyde of births and deaths. The 
Upanishads showed a w^ay out and so did Buddha and Mahavir. 
That has been the endless quest of India through the ages and if 


the philosophical outlook in INDIA AND EUROPE 

life has been tolerated at all, it b because we cairnot escape it. It 
is a part of the game, for if there is no life in this world there is no 
mokfa. It follows that in such an enviromnent and with such an 
outlook life lost its zest and the economic misfortunes that fol¬ 
lowed in the wake of foreign conquests made matters worse. But 
out of evil comcth good, and the impact of the Western culture 
has given a shake-up and people have begun to feel that problems 
of life, whether economic or political, should not be sacrificed on 
the altarof mok^a. But even to-day the ideal of sanydsa, giving up 
the world, has a weird fascination for the Indian mind, and the 
success of Mahatma Gandhi may be safely attributed to the spirit 
of sanydsa that he showed in his life, though in a way unknoivn 
before in the history of India. There is a certain sadness in Indian 
life w'hich is unmistakable. The villager finds rest from his daily 
toil mostly in listening to the sufferings of Rama, w'eeping with 
Sita and exulting in the victory of Rama over Ravana, The 
learned still continue discussing the meaning of the Upanishads 
and the Gita. Life in India is very sad, and the gaieties of European 
life with its late dinners and midnight dances and endless 
drinks leave on the minds of the orthodox Indians a sense of 
disgust, mixed at times with pity, and a sense of bewilderment 
that men and w'omen can waste so much time in endless frivolities. 

The contrast in the ethical life of India and Europe U so marked 
that it is impossible to miss it in spite of many superficial simi¬ 
larities. .A generation ago Edward Urwick made a brilUant attempt 
in his Message of Plate to elucidate Plato's Republic in terms of 
Vedantic philosophy. But Plato remains Plato and the Upanishads 
remain Upanishads in spite of Urwick, Plato’s psychology bears a 
very superficial resemblance to the Vedantic triad of Sahra, 
Rajas and Tamas. Plato had no idea of kantut and tnok?a, which 
are the very soul of Indian philosophy. His idea was to better this 
life by vesting power in the hands of philosophers, w'ho were not 
dreamers but were capable of tackling live men and women and 
moulding them in the spirit of the ideal State here and now that 
he wished to create. The Upanishadic thinkers were content to let 
the current of life flow on as usual with its goods and ills; they had 
not the reforming zest of Plato. They aimed rather at weaning 
people from the allurements of this life so as to make them more 
steadfast in their will never to return to this world. Buddha was a 
genuine reformer, but he was spiritually a foreigner in India and 
his message soon lapsed till it was absorbed in the main stream of 



Hindu life and thought and Buddhism was ultimately exiled from 
India.’ The refonning spirit came into India in the nineteenth 
century with Raja Ram Mohan Roy, and Dayonand Saraswati, 
Yivekanand and Gandhiji. 

Dr. Paul Brunton in hts Indian PkHosophy and Alodern Culture 
tries to show how passages in the Upanishads and the ancient 
Indian philosophers have their counterparts in modem European 
writers. Recognizing the different modes of approach to philo¬ 
sophical problems in India and in Europe, he goes on to say: "It 
is not a question of which method of approach is superior to the 
other ; it is rather a matter for self-congratulation that, on some 
of the most important topics, the wisest men of the andent East 
and the modem West, starting from totally different premises, 
are beginning to arrive at precisely the same conclusions." But he 
is also shrewd enoi^h to point out that "no intelligent Westerner 
is likely to accept in its entirety the astonishing fitdlatige of lofty 
ethics and low customs, subtle wisdom and superstitious ideas, 
profound thought and priestly barbarism, which a traveller from 
the Occident finds in India/’* But in spite of the apparent parallels 
of thought that Dr. Bmnton's industry has discovered between 
the ancient East and the modem West, the outlook of the modem 
European b still true to the traditional European attitude, and 
the philosophy of India for good or for evil has not touched the 
soul of Europe. Dr , Betty Heimann with her mastery of Sanskrit 
b on much more solid ground when she says that "these lonely 
mystics (St. Francis and tus like} are merely transient phenomena 
in the West, and have never very- deeply inQuenoed a world 
absorbed in pohtical strife, but have only accentuated their own 
personal aloofness from the masses . . . hermits and their few 
follow ers were never regarded as adequate representatives of the 
We5t.”3 It b difficult to deny that the philosophical climate of 
India and of Europe has been markedly different. It is still more 
difficult to say whether in future India and Europe will be able to 
develop a philosophy as universal as science. 

It is an interesting question whether the physical climate 
of India and Europe has affected the methods and conclusions 
of their philosophical systems. Dr. Brunton writes; "A 
fiercely hot and deprcssingly humid country whose climate causes 

- ** ^ Force IS Imliiii Cultnro ’ 

10 PMtvopIty of April IP4S. \ 

J Indiam ami Phiimcpky^ pp. 

P ^5. 



everyone to shun physical effort^ led man naturally to search for 
part of his ^tisfoction in contemplative thought and in¥rard 
ILfc/'^ Dr. Betty Heimann pursues an intriguing contrast. She 
thinks that India, with her vast moimtains and riverSp has been 
dominated by nature so that man has humbly accepted his place 
as a "part and parcel of the mighty whole/' and that this has 
facilitated a cosmic outlook m Indian philosophers. It may be 
better to put this a bit differently. The bitter cold of Europe has 
made the people more active and adventurous* and the very 
limitations of the climate have made the Europeans more careful 
and keener to get the most out of nature and to subdue it even 
to their own needs. So the Europeans have become deeply attached 
to the land they have helped to develop with unremitting toil* 
They have become patriots and soldiers and sailors* scouring the 
seven seas. They have literally conquered the world. 

India is such a vast continent in herself that every type of 
climate is to be found within her boundaries: the Euroj^ean 
climate of lovely Kashmir and the eternal snows of the Hima¬ 
layas, the milder cold of the Nilgiris, the extreme heat and the 
bitter co!d of the Punjab, the scorching heat of the Ganges plain, 
and South India—apart from the fine climate of Jlysore—which 
knows only three seasons, the hot. the hotter and the hottest. 
India has a more regulated rainfall in the monsoon season* though 
the prosperity of India has often become a gamble in rain. Occa¬ 
sional famines apart, India has abundant food and in places soil 
is so fertile that little labour is required to produce food. Putting 
all these factoid together we can picture the Indian gazing ai the 
stars and wondering at them and their mysterious force on human 
affairs. In her w'arrn* enervating climate physical labour does not 
become particularly attractive and there is an incentive to think* 
Indians greatest ih^kers^ apart from the old Vedic and Upani- 
shadic have been produced in the South. Freed from the 
need of phj^ical labour, philosophic thought in South India has 
attained heights hardly surpassed in the history of human thought, 
but of such a transcendent character as to soar far above the 
needs of ordinary life. No w^onder if philosophy had become the 
dose preserve of a particular caste till the flood-gates of Western 
education upset the old equilibrium of centuries 
Given the climatic and economic conditions of India^ what is 
the type of philosophy that she could be expected to evolve? 

^ Brafitoii* ImdioM amd p. II* 



Taken aback by the veiy pKcculiar character of Sankara's teaching, 
Europeans have been apt to take him to be the representative 
thinker of India. This is the tradition started by Max iiliiUer and 
has been followed till to-day by scholars like Dr, Paul Brunton, 
who has been fond of quoting arid emphasising passages from 
Indian classics which bring out the monistic aspect of Indian 
thought; but they have been rather one-sided in their inter¬ 
pretation, for they have missed the pluralistic and realistic asj>ect 
of Indian thought as represented by the Jainaa and the Dvaidns, 
or the pluralistic basis of Indian life as represented by the ortho¬ 
dox caste system. Dr, Betty Heimaim is one of the few European 
scholars who have not taken Sankara's advaitism at its face value 
and has sought to dive a little deeper into foundations of Indian 
life and thought and has the courage to avow that "In India, 
then, not singleness, but plurality and mauiioldness of form and 
have been at every period, from early Kathenotheism to the 
latest conceptions of di^'ine duality or polarity, the adequate 
expre^ion of God-Nature/’* If one had to choose beiw'een these 
tW'O rather contradlctoiy interpretations of Indian thought, one 
would have to side with Di. Heimaiui, as her interpretation is more 
true to Indian life with the polytheism of the masses, with the 
caste system which has led to a tragic fragmentation of Hindu 
society and with the realism of many great Indian thinkers. But 
her interpretation does hardly any justice to the idealistic and 
monistic side of Indian philosophy^ She even denies idealism in 
Indian philosophy, "A pure Idealism is ruled out by India’s 
characteristic conceptions of the Divined "To the Indian mind, 
then, not U^os, but Matter is the transcendental and, at the same 
time, world-emanating principle J Mr. Subrahmanya Iyer would 
agree that the word "idealism,'' with its emphasis on intelligence 
and thought, is not applicable to Sankara’s advaitism, for his 
whole philosophy is an attempt to transcend the limitations of 
intelligence and thought. He prefers to speak of it as realism, 
though it is a realism far removed from any type of realism 
known to Western philosophy. But he would not agree with Dr. 
Heimann in reducing ail Indian philosophy to materialism, 
especially as it has gathered round it odd, and even vuJ^r 
associations, in Western philosophy. 

Philosophical terminology is always difficult to dc6ne, and the 
terms "idealism’’ and "realism," as applied to Indian philosophy, 

» /iufiJi» and Wtitm PXit 9 $epky, p. 39, i ibid., p, 47. ) Ibid., p. 37, 


the philosophical outlook in INDIA AND EUKOPE 

will be inexact, and this difficulty of language points to a funda¬ 
mental deavage between the philosophy of India and of Europe, 
Tcnday there are many in the West as wdl a3 in the East who are 
anxious to overcome this cleavage. In the world as shaped by science 
to-day the old geographical features have lost their aignificanoe. 
The World geographically has become one, and driven by the 
threatening politick chaos, men and women to-day wistfully look 
to ihe One World of Wilkie’s dreams. In such a ’world philosophy 
win also have to change, if it is to keep true to its mission to be the 
interpreter of changing life and thought. The West ^vill yet have 
to accept tlie ideas of and rebirth, and perhaps the subtle 

scientific genius of the West may yet be able to give these ideas 
a scientific basts instead of a vague axiomatic character. India* 
too, on the other hand, may through her contact with the virile^ 
West have yet to leam that life is too concrete a fact to be looked 
upon condescendingly as an e’vil to be got rid of as soon as possible^ 
Rather India w LU have to develop a new jtest for life in all its rich¬ 
ness, and the old advaitic dualism of the parangrihik^ andiyiMi^ 
ftdriM will have to give place to a new sytithesis in which the 
vydvohdrika will be the manifestation, and not a negation, of the 

Profe^r Radhakrishnan is a unique figure in the philosophical 
world to-day. Bom to Indian philosophy and nurtured in Europeaii 
philosophy, he has sought to interpret the treasures of Indian 
philosophy to the Western world. There is bound to be acuta 
diflferenccs of opinion as to whether his intepretation is true to 
the genius of India, but there can be no denying that out of his 
pioneering attempt may yet arise a new philosophy that W‘iU be 
neither Indian nor European but of the world as science has come 
to be. This humble essay is an offering of a life-long friend and 
admirer to the genius of Professor Radhakrishnan on the auspi¬ 
cious occasion of his sixtieth birthday. May he live to have 
many more birthdays in the service of the world in general and of 
India in particular. 





Duuiwutb tiAAOvcr, VJSJk, 

We have recently relapsed from a beautiful dream of One World 
into a nightmare of Two Worlds. The tragedy is not entirely the 
creation of politicians and militarists, AO of us have contributed 
our share. As a matter of fact, given our present-day mentality, 
no politician or militarist could have done othenvise. for intellcc- 
ttially we have been demanding, in the last hundred years at 
precisely a two-world system, nothing more and nothing less. 
We have divided the world into East and West and placed them 
in contrast p opposition* and incompatibiLity. We have considered 
the world east of the Mediterranean and the world west of it two 
separate worlds* distant and unbridgeable. We believe that the 
West is a w^orld of sdencep mechanizatiDn* nationalism, demo- 
cracy^ materialism, secularism* change, progress, se^t equality, 
industrialism, law, sports, high standard of living, etc., while the 
East is a world oi opposite descriptions. We characterize the W’est 
as modern, objective^ rationalp mdividuahstic, freedom-loving, 
realistic, logical, active, and expert in the art of doing. On the 
other hand, we characterize the East as ancient, subjective, 
intuitive, loyal to the family^ conventional, idealistic, mj^^ticai. 
passive, and expert in the art of beiqg. One writer stated that the 
West has been primarily concerned with the objective world and 
has therefore been strong in expression, form, action, and power, 
while the East has been concerned with the subjective world and 
developed in the direction of being, inwardness, love, inspimtton. 
and In the field of art. it is often claimed that the 

West emphasizes form and colour, expression, logical construc¬ 
tion. sensuous qualities, and realism, whereas the East concen¬ 
trates on the line, rhythm, religious values, abstract beauty, and 
mystidsm. With reference to religious worship, it is said that the 
Western mind is intensely emotional whereas the Eastern mind is 
calm. With reference to the mind in general, many writers have 
*■ LawretLce Hyde, hu Onns, pp. 



SiHr? is positive, anajytica]. literai, 

sceptical l<?gaLstw, and impereona], whUe the Eastern 
J^d js un^ative. synthetic, poetic, conformative, authori- 
relative, and personal. According to Dean FlewdJing the 

th! ? ’! everything in the world is pnt in 

the ^t-West relationship, and that relationship is consSlered 
oEe of contrast, conflict, and incompatibility* 

*>, “ contrast is a peculiar vice of 

the m^em man. The responsibility for this degenerated state of 

m the White Man s Burden. It rests with all of us. After all we 

spiritual or material, 
either infinite or finite, that anybody expressing 
opmion must be either a Liberal or a reactionary, that a pieef 
of hterature, music or art must be either romantic or classical, 
that peoples must belong to either a ^*we'' or a "'thev^' £rout> 4 
^twnality ^ust be either introvert or extrovert. No wonderwe 
^d our world fuU of diametrical oppositions, in constant conflict 
in^rpetual cnsis. Mentally we have been preparing ourselves for 
a two-xvorld system, not for One World. 

T committed by the ancient or medieval man. 

The mhabitants of the ancient worJd did not feel that the East 
w^ mysterioim or incompatible. The people of Rome took an 
^ve part m fusing the East and the West into a Hellenistic and 
Onental cidture. It was truly a univerBal State. The impact of 
Musbra philopphy upon the medieval mind was the real impact 
of real thought, which sealed the gap between the East and the 
^t, if there ever w:as one. No traveller saw as many strange 
things as id Marco Polo. He did not see contrasts. His feeiing 
was th^f wonder, but not of division of the Oriental and Western 
rS the East is a land apart is a modem 

f^cy. \Vheii men thought in universals. as intelligent men 
thought m the Roman period and the Middle Ages, it was impos* 
sible to tlunk of the Orient as separate, antagonistic in spirit ^d 
opp^ite m character. But when the Renaissance put the European 
mmd mto the straight jacket of ciassidsm, when the multiplica- 
^n of sects and the uicrease of nationalistic States broke down 
the notion of the Church universal and universal empire; and when 

PP SS [|j;;«♦ lA, ,/ E^, 



the Industrial Revolution gave Europe its peculiar economy, the 
Occident built a wall around itsell and set up a dichotomy of 
East and West. History may yet characterize the Age of Reason 
as an age of darkness after all. For certainly the medieval man 
had far more accurate reports of the Orient, entertained a more 
balanced attitude towards the Orient, and had a stronger con¬ 
viction that the Orient was drawing near to his part of the world, 
though it w-as stiU difficult to get at. But the modem period is 
distinguished by ignorance and distortion. In the entire nineteenth 
century, there was not a single European scholar on China or 
Japan' for James Legge was primarily a translator. The Germans 
did better with India, but despite Max MuUer and his circle, you 
can get a mote accurate account of the Far East before the Re¬ 
naissance than you can after the reign of Louis XIV. Because 
this ignorance and distortion, the W'orld became two hali-es. each 
strange and even hostile to the other. 

But mankind is living too doscly together to allow two svorlds. 
A union has got to be effected. Long ago serious-minded people 
sought a way out. Count Keyserling, the popular travellmg philo¬ 
sopher, for example, who went around the globe in the twenties, 
found an intolerable schism between the East and the West. He 
found that Eastern peoples were conventional, static, self-den>mig, 
polite but insincere, formal, passive, (^tented, inexact, indict, 
inefficient, correct in conduct but without character, fatalistic, 
pcssiinistic, and so on down the line.' According to the travelling 
philosopher, the Easterner stands in sharp contrast to his Western 
conterpart. That this contrasting situation could not be allowed 
to go on was obvious, and Count Keyserlmg's obvious solution was 
to Westernize the East. 

This line of thought has been continued by many a writer. 
Perhaps the most eminent and influential one is .^bert Schweitzer, 
who has brought Christianity and Hinduism into sharp contrast. 
Christian thought, he said, is dynamic and creative. It affirms the 
reality of the worlA and the meaningfulness of life. Hindu thought, 
on the other hand, denies the reality of the world, drapaiis of 
human life, poisons the very springs of thought and activity, and 
exalts death and immobility. It does not create power and pur¬ 
pose directed to high ends. He ai^ed that because of the other- 
worldliness of Hinduism, its doctrine of life as illusion, its emphasis 
on ecstasy, its doctrine of salvation through self-discovery rather 
I JlernmiiB Kc>'»eriwg, Tht TfOffl -Diiiry Dj a PkUi}t<}ptm. 1925' 



than mom] devdopment, its goal of escape, its transcendence of 
good and and its ethics of iimer perfection, Hinduism b non- 
ethical and Ufe-and-world-denyingp' This being the case, nothing 
less than complete Christianizatioo wUI save the Hindus, 

Of course, Schweitzer was contrasting Christianity with Hindu- 
isuip not West and East. But the contrast of West and Ea^t 
i^uaJly carries a reygious connotation, making it identical mth 
the contrast betw^m Christianity and Hindu bin. Abo, Schweitzer 
was eyeful to s^tingubh China and India, conceding that China 
was, like the West, hfe-ajid-world-affintiingp But since India has 
so often been taken as representative of the East, the contrast of 
Itfe affirming and life-negating is easily taken to be a general 
contrast of the West and the East. 

We shad not go into a discussion of Hinduism* Suffice it to 
say that Schweitzers ciiticbms have been ably answered by 
Radhakrishnan," Evidently Schweitzer has ignored the Hindu 
h our Stages in life, the student and family stages of which provide 
ample opportunity for life affirmation. And he has not shown why 
ecstasy^ self-discovery% and the ethics of inner perfection should 
not lead to affirmation of life and the world. 

The objection to Schureitzer is not so much his mbutiderstand- 
ing of the E^t, it is his divbton of the world into incompatible 
halves and his belief that one must be entirely converted to the 
othen Hb fonnula is to Westernize the East. But given the two¬ 
fold division of the world and the necESSity of one half sw^allowing 
the other, there will be those who would reverse the formula and 
Eastembe the West. Rend Guenan, to mention only one, regrets 
that the cmiization of the modem West has developed along 
purely material lines, and thb monstrous development^ he said, 
whose beginning coincides with the so-called Renaissance, has 
been accornpamed by a corresporiding intellectual regret. The 
Westerner of to-day no longer knowg what pure mtellect b. To 
him intelligence b nothing but a means of acting on matter and 
turning it to practical ends,^ and for him science b above all 
important in. so far as it may be appUed to industrial purposes. 
But ^ience is fabe knowdedge, Guenon cried, because its rational¬ 
ism implies the neption of metaphysics. "Sdence," he said, "in 
disavowing the principles and in refusing to ri-attach Itsdf to 

Albert £cliwiiitzcr, Indtaii arlit tfi DeKitapintm^ I9J&. pp. l—l, 38, 

» S. ItadhaVnahnaii, Eastm iVe-stfm Thotglu, pp. 




them, robs itself both of the highest gua^intee and of the surest 
direction that it could have; there is no longer anything valid in 
it except knowledge of details, and as soon as it seeks to rise one 
degree higher, it becomes dubious and vacillating/’ In the East, as 
Gufnon scea it, science has a traditional basis, that is, is grounded 
on certain metaphysical principles, Tlicre a science was less 
esteemed for itself than for the degree in which it expressed a 
reflection of the higher immutable truth. In order to rouse Western 
intellectuality from its slumber, he would go to the doctrines of 
the East, by which he means India rather than China,^ 

The idea that Western science needs to be saved by Eastern 
doctrines is rather surprising, just as surprising as his statement 
that "the only impression that, for example, mechanical inven¬ 
tions make on most Orientals is one of deep repulsion: certainly 
it ail seems to them far more harmful than benefleiaJ.’’^ But these 
are minor matters, amusing as they are. What is more serious is 
that such a viewpoint is a sjnnptom of an intellectual disease that 
divides the world into two conflicting parts. 

Such a viewpoint has grave consequences. First of all, it makes 
unwarranted generalizations about peoples. Take, for example, 
the popular view that the West is materialistic while the East is 
spiritual. To label the West materialistic and not spiritual w'ould 
be to shut one’s eyes to all the great cathedrals and the best of 
Western paintings, to close one's cars to Beethoven's Ninth 
SytHphoHv, Mozart’s Afass, and HandeTs R£quitm, and to close 
one's mind to such important developments as the Renaissance, 
the Reformation, and the Enlightenment. As to the spirituality 
of the East, it is true that aside from the Charvaka school in 
India, there has been no materialism in Eastern philosophy to 
speak of. Nevertheless, it is difficult to see bow a people like the 
Chinese, who built a 2,000 mile long wall, who eat sharks’ fins and 
who marry concubines can be very spiritual. Hu Shih confessed 
tliat he found no spirituality in China's ignorance, disease, and 
poverty, but he did sec in the manufacturing of automobiles as 
much spirit as rubber and steelJ As Radhakiishnan has 
pointed out, "The West is not devoid of mysticism nor the East 
of science and public spirit. The distinction, if any, is a relative 
one, as all empirical distinctions are. ”4 

• Rcai Gufnoiii. BaftanJ West, J941, pp. 33, 51. 57, 6®. 

I pp, 44, 71, 7 Chiles UcAid, p- 3 ^. 

i S. and M^rji in ppr 45“4^- 



Unwarranted generalization is not the only defect of an East 
versus VVest viewpoint, however. It also lumps the East or the 
West into one piece. The variety of Western institutions and 
cultures is often realized, but few people realize, as does Toynbee, 
that "the gulfs that divide the Hindu and the Far Eastern civili¬ 
zations from ours are possibly not so wide as the gulf which 
divides them from one another, ’ • To most people, even to some 
students of comparative studies of the East and the West, the 
Orient is a unit, pure and indivisible. To be sure, countries in the 
East do share certain social, political, and economic problems, 
such as poverty, inequality of sexes, familism, superstition] 
absence of representative government, etc. But there is neither 
homogeneity of language, race, colour or religion other than 
Buddhism. The Chinese classless society is a far cry from the 
Indian caste system or Japanese aristocracy. There is much mom 
difference between the humanistic philosophy of China and the 
religious philosophy of India than there is agreement. The Indian 
W'omhips the seer, the Chinese worships the scholar; while the 
Ja^ese wo^ps the fighting man. It is a weil-known fact that 
Chinese religion and philosophy are this-worldly whereas those of 
India are other-w-orldly. in the ordinary sense of these terms, 
India has developed metaphysics and epistemology to great 
heights never dreamed of in China or Japan, Immortality in 
Hindtiism and Buddhism means absorption into or identification 
with the Infinite, while in China, whether in Taoism or in Con¬ 
fucianism, it means ethically the immortaJity of Wisdom, Work, 
and Virtue, and reUgiously spiritual life after death, the length of 
which depends on the merit of one’s earthly existence. In most 
Indian systems of thought, all particulars are considered depen¬ 
dent, transitoiy, and mdeterminate. To the Chinese, on the con¬ 
trary, to quote one Neo-Confucianist, "The One and the Many 
each has its rightful place and determinate character." Buddhism 
has cut across the Orient, but even there the chief Oriental coun¬ 
tries stand apart, for while Japan is predominantly Buddhist, 
Buddhism in China has played only a minor role and it has be¬ 
come a thing of the past in India. 

The error of lumping the East or the West into one piece is 
drar. It reveals poor perspective, to say the least. But there is a 
greater harm in contrasting the East and the West. Whether it is 
intended or not, the contrast leads to correlatioD of moral qualities 

■ x\nlChld Tnyisbec, A Siudy Hiitcry^ I, 19^4^ p. 51. 



vriO. rac., creed, or people. The term often h^a 

racial connotation, as equivalent to bellow 
a religious connotation. People who see the v-orld m 
often consider love, progress. ^^Ucssness conserv-atism and 
like as racial or religious traits. To them, ^eie are such ^ 

Chinese honesty. Japanese tnckerj'. Onental charm, Oriental 
evasion. Oriental despotism, etc, Ko less educated a an 

former President Angell of Yale, m expressing his 
demnation of Russian Communism in 1935. said that its craelty 
is Oriental.’* Wairen Austin, the United States ctuef repres^ta 
Hve at the United Nations, in criticizmg the chief Russi^ dd^ 
Le-s tactics, said it ^as an "Orient^ manceuvm^^ ^ 
Sthropologists and sociologists are makmg desperate efforts 
to dis^ove racial differences, people correlate 
SteUectual qualities vnth mce or creed deepen them ^ey 
consider dem^iacy peculiarly Western, ^d, by a 
logic, they consider everything Western democratic. A 
Ssia would be part of the West. But Communist “d to^- 
taiian Russia must be Eastern, With su^ an 
Sd and conflict, no wonder the two worlds arc dnftmg further 

^Tlds^nprto deny contrasts altogether. Certain contrasts, even 
general ones, are legitimate. For example, 

Lints out that the chief difference betw-ecu the East and the 
West b that the latter overcomes scholasticism with the expen- 
mental method while the former has yet to free itself horn ^olas- 
ticbm for it has not found the experiment^ meth^, has not 
fullv ilnderstood it, or has neglected to apply it J Hu ^ 
maintains thafthe difierence between the East imd ^ W^t b 
fundamentally that of took, for, he says, while 
and Newton worked with balls, telescopes, and pnsn^, 
Chinese contemporaries worked with books, words, and docu- 

legitbn..,. But »e must nut treat tl»n ^ 
irreconcilable conflicts, any more than poetry and scimce Me m 
conflict. Most contrasts, even if they are can and ^oidd ^ 
synthesized into a harmonious whole. Far-sighted world citizens 
have long heralded the call for synthesis. T^ore, to give one 
example, advocated a One World built on the harmony of various 

I Geonre Sartoii, Iniratuciiem tort# liislery «/ Scittue. I. 1937, p. 39 . 

1 }la SWli. TA# CAtJiirt *934, PP- T®-?*- 



elements. He wanted Eastern mysticism and Western rationalism 
reconciled. He wanted the Western ideals of law, order, and the 
Spirit of social service and the Oriental spiritual love and beauty 
combined. "All are equally great and equally necessary for the 
music of life and the harmony of the universe," be said! "As the 
mission of the rose lies m the unfoldment of the petals which 
implies distinctness, so the rose of humanity Is perfect only when 
the diverse races and the nations have evolved their perfected 
distinct characteristics but all attached to the stem of humanity 
by the bond of love,"' 

More recently an equally noble attempt was made by Professor 
Northrop. The fact that his Thf qJ fust oad }Vtst was 

greeted with seriousness and delight shows that even iji our dark 
age of di\Tsion there are eyes that see the dim light. Howard 
Slumford Jones called it one of the most significant, important 
and great books of the tl^''entieth century It is so because Northrop 
attempts to evolve a One World at the most fundamental level, 
namely, metaphysics, the science of all sciences. This he proposes 
to do not through Westernizing the East or Orientalizing the 
WW, but through a synthesis of the two. 

The synthesis Northrop recommends is that of what he calls 
concept by postulation and concept by intuition. "Those con¬ 
cepts,’* says he, "which refer to the aesthetic component for their 
compute meaning may be termed ‘concept by intuition.' A concept 
by intuition, therefore, is one, the complete meaning of which is 
pven by something immediately apprehendable. , , .There is the 
totality of the immediate apprehended. This is the aesthetic com- 
pnnent of all things in its entirety, with nothing neglected or 
abstracted. It is more accurately described as the undifferentiated 
aesthetic continuum, . . . Concepts, on the other hand, which refer 
to the theoretic component in knowledge, shall be termed concepts 
by postulation, A concept by postulation is one, therefore, desig¬ 
nating some factor in man or nature which, in whole or in part, is 
not directly observed, the meaning of which may be proposed for 
it postulationally in some specific deductively formulated theory. 
The difference betrveen the East and the West may now be stated 
more precisely. Previously, it has been said that the East con¬ 
cerned itself with the immediately apprehended factor in the 
nature of things whereas the West has concentrated for the most 

^ S. KadJiaJmsibiiaa, Phii^i^hy oj pp 255 

381, 38^1, 3 ^ 5 - 



part on the doctrinally designated (actor, . . . More precisely, 
however, . . , the East used doctrine built out of concepts of 
intuition, whereas Western doctrine has tended to be constructed 
out of concepts by postulation,"* From this thesis, and after a 
long, scholarly, though not always correct discussion of various 
Western and Eastern cultures, he concludes: "The Orient, for the 
most part, has investigated things in their aesthetic component; 
the Occident has investigated these things in their theoretic com¬ 
ponent. Consequently, each has something unique to contribute 
to an adequate philosophy and its attendant adequate cultural 
ideal for the contemporary world, . . . Although the two great 
civilizations are different in a most fundamental and far-reaching 
way, there can nonetheless be one world—the world of a single 
cirilization which takes as its criterion of the good a positivistic 
and theoretically scientific philosophy* which conceives of all 
things, man and nature alike, as composed of the aesthetic com¬ 
ponent W'hich the Orient has mastered and the theoretic component 
which it is the genius of the Occident to have pursued."* 

One can readily see tJie danger of sharply contrasting the East 
as intuitive and the West as postulative. Northrop includes under 
the category' of concepts by intuition not only the Buddhist 
concept of ATnWfwJ, the Taoist concept of Tao, and the Hindu 
concepts of Brahma and phil but also the Confucian concept of 
jen, on the ground that in all these concepts, the object is appre¬ 
hended immediately and in its entirety, ’W'hile this is true of 
Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism, it is not true of Confucianism, 
for jett in neo-Confucian metaphysics means "good'* or "love," 
and only after much thinking, inference, and postulation did 
neo-Confucianists conclude from particular instances that the 
cosmic principle was production and reproduction and therefore 
was good or jen. 

Northrop ens in making sweeping generalizations. He also 
commits the mistake of considering the Orient as one, although he 
does admit certain differences betw-een India and the Far East. 
One may syrnipatliize with him, however, for if be has gone too 
far in contrasting the East and the West, he did so to emphasize 
the contribution each can make to the synthesis. He is funda¬ 
mentally sound in insisting that only when comprementaty aspects 
of various civilisations are organized into a harmonious w'hole 

« F, S, C. Nortlirop, Tlu Meeting of East and W'«r. 1946, pp. 447-448, 

* rWJ., pp. 37S-37*, 



can we expect to have a united and peaceful world. As Radha- 
kri^an said, "We have in the West the realism of the men of 
action: in the Rest the sensitiveness of the artist and ima^inatton 
of the creative dreamer. The ideal of Western culture, derived 
from Greek philosophy, Is to train men for citizenship that they 
may be able to realize their full power in the State and for the 
State. In the East, the good man is one who feels at home in the 
whole wnrld. Both types are essential, for no spiritual revelation 
can flourish in an anarchical society."' He added, “The intellectual 
religion of the West wth its love of law, order, and definition has 
its striking virtues as well as its defects, even as the intuitive 
religion of the East has. The one brings to the common stock 
pmdence, knowledge, and discipline; the other freedom, origin- 
ality, and courage. The meeting of the two to-day may pave the 
way for a firm spiritual unity."* 

S>Tithesis of opposites is an ideal which we must strive to 
realise, but it can lead us only half-way to a real One World. 
Unity needs something more than composition of differences; 
unity must be built on a universal basis. Fortunately there is such 
a basis, for in tire final analysis, the world is basically one, bound 
in universal values and universal ideals. To quote Radlia- 
krishnan again, "This pernicious doctrine of fundamental racial 
differences and national missions is preventing the development 
of a true human community in spite of the closer Imking up of 
interests and the growing uniformity of tustoms and forms of 
life. Science, however, supports the very different view that the 
fundamental structure of the human mind is uniform in all races. 
The varied cultures are but dialects of a single speech of the soul. 
The differences are due to accents, historical circumstances, and 
stages of development. If we are to find a solution for the differ¬ 
ences which divide races and nations to*day, it must be through 
the recognition of the essential oneness of the modem world, 
spiritually and socially, economically and politically "! 

There are many tmiversal values on which a genuine world 
order can be built. We only need to discuss briefly three funda¬ 
mental ones. Take, first of the ideal of unity. It is common to 
practically all great systems. We find in Christianity, Islam, and 
Judaism the One God and the One Kingdom. We find in Buddhism 
the gospel of universal salvation We find in Hinduism Brahjna, 

■ Sr Tia/lliaVii- i^hrian East imd H'fsi ni igijj, 37. * Ibtd,, 69 . 

3 S. K&dhojkd^hisiui, Evtm and 1934, p. 



the One aid No Other, of which the multiplicities of the pheno 
tnenal world are merely parts. We find in Confucianism the ideal 
of one world-family. This ideal of unity h so universal among 
mankind that if we are really true believers in any gospel, we 
cannot help a feeling of universal brotherhood. 

Or take another fundamental human ideal, the sanctity of the 
individual. The individual has been suppressed in some placis at 
ah times, and for some time in all places. But as an ideal it is 
universal. Some years ago a group of Oxford scholars, being dis¬ 
turbed by the popular but mistaken belief that the individual 
was respected in the West but suppre^ed in the East, examined 
the idea in all cultures. This is what the editor of the symposium 
had to say: 'Tt was stated that the individual had been dis¬ 
covered by Christianity. Now, apart from the question of what 
the Christian religion has done for the individu^ — admittedly a 
verv great deal-—there can be no doubt that the statement is not 
true to historical facts. The India that produced Buddhism, not 
to speak of the greater part of the Bhastcead-giftt. in the centuries 
before the Christian era, had plainly been awake to the individual 
and his soul. In China, from the fifth century on, there were 
remarkable discoveries made by all sorts of thinkers as to the 
nature of personality and its value to society. The Hebrews pro¬ 
duced their prophets and brought the autodynamic unit face to ' 
face with a highly autodynamic Yahweh, As for Greece in the , 

days of its colonial expansion, what was it that eventuated but “ 

the <-»Tnm g together of inoompatibJe individuah tom from their 
traditional environments and so almost compelled to organize the 
city state with its free citizens? And, if Socrates did not discover 
the individual, who was there who did?”’ 

Because in traditional India, China, and Japan the parents 
rather than the young man chose his bride, and because of 
similar social institutions, the idea has grown that the individual 
does not exist in the East. People fail to realize that the absence 
of indix'idual choice in marriage was a matter of prerogatives, 
which belonged to parents, and according to traditional prero¬ 
gatives, the same young man had his inalienable right to property 
inheritance. Certainly the chief concern of Confucius and his 
followers was the development of a perfect individual, for a good 
society cannot be established without good individuals. "The 
,r ^r>TnmgtiHfr of thrce armies," Confucius said, "may be captured, 

* E. K, Hashes, Tilt Jfdividuat in £a»tand IVstt, pp. 3-4. 



but the will of even a common man cannot be destroyed.'» 
"Everything is complete in the self," declared Mencios.i To some 
extent Buddhism denies the self. But as Mrs, Rhys Davids has 
repeatedly pointed out, the Buddha never denied the empirical 
self. At any rate, one of the most basic Buddhist doctrines, in 
China at least, is "salvation in this very body," Certain Buddhist 
schools, true to the orthodox concept of the Void, deny the reality 
of particular, and along with them, of course, the self, But in the 
majority of schools as they developed in China and Japan, both 
the permanent, the one, and the noumenal on the one side, and 
the transitory, the many, and the phenomenal on the other, are 
reganled as equally real, “Every colour and every fragrance," 
these schools chant in unison, "are the Middle Path." While 
Nirvana was described in Hinayana Buddhism as permanence, 
bliss, and purity, in Mahayana Buddhism it denotes personality 
as well. In short, the ideal of the dignity of the individual is a 
universal aspiration, which gives another common ground for 
building a One World. 

Take one more universal ideal, the Golden Rule. Like the ideal 
of unity, it is found in practically all great systems. In Indian 
literature one can find at least three versions in the Hindu epic 
MaJtabkarataS and two in the Buddhist c\a^icDhamwapada.i Laa 
Tzu taught us to do good to those who are good to us, and aien to 
those who are not good to us. 5 The most famous Oriental state¬ 
ment, however, is that of Confucius, “Do not do to others what 
you do not want them to do to you." Unfortunately, somehow 
there is the belief in the West that the Confucian axiom is negative, 
and therefore Confucian ethics, and to some, Chrnffa* ethics in 
general, are incomplete or inferior. 

There can be no doubt that tlus proverb is stated in the negative 
form, not once but three times,* But, in the first place, a negative 
statement does not necessarily mean a negative idea. In the 
second place, the Chinese have always imderstood it to be positive. 
And in the third place, the saying is not the only statement 
Confucius made on universal human relationships. 

There is no need to go into the relationship between speech and 
meaning. Positive ideas can be expressed in negative form just as 
negative ideas can be expressed in positive form. . 4 s to how the 

* IX, p, 25, * Ths Wijrks of VII, I, p. j. 

3 XIIJ, 113, 9; Xll, 260, tz; V. 39, 73, 4 Pp, 119, 133^ 

s Tsw Ttk Cking^, p. 63. 

» AnaUds, Xtl, i: XV, 25; Tkw DoHring of tkf Mtan, XTlL 



Chinese have understood the aphorism, a few words may be 
desirable. If anyone understood Confucius, Mencius certainly did, 
and he interpreted the adage, by implication at least, as positive. 
He said that "There is a way to win people’s hearts. It is to give 
them and keep for them what is lihed and do not do to them what 
is not liked.”i The danse "do not do to them" is a veriathn 
quotation from Confucius, and no one ever doubted that Mendus 
had the Master in mind. Confucius taught the Golden Rule \sith 
special reference to the ruleij along with the principle of "employ¬ 
ing the people" in such a way that there w’ill be "general satis¬ 
faction throughout the State." Mencius was talking on the same 
subject. He added the positive clause "give them . , , what js 
liked” not because he felt the Confucian statement incomplete 
but, as most commentators agree, because of the elaborate 
rhetorical style of his time, particularly his own. 

The positive meaning of the Confucian proverb is even more 
explicitly indicated in the Han Shih Wai Chtmtt, a book of the 
second century e.c, containing anecdotes of the sage. It is im¬ 
portant to know that the Confucian Golden Rule is inseparable 
from the central Confucian doctrine of chtiHg shu, which is the 
doctrine of "being true to the principles of one's nature and the 
application of them to others.” This is what the Han Shih Wai 
Chuan says; "From the fact that the ruler himself does not like 
starvation and cold, he surely knows that the people like clothing 
and food. . . . Therefore the way of a superior man is aothing other 
than being true to the prindples of one's nature and the applica¬ 
tion of them to others." The nineteenth-century cxinimentator, 
Liu Pao-nan, came out even more clearly. He said, ” 'Do not do 
to others what you do not want them to do to you,' Then by 
necessity we must do to others what we want them to do to us."* 

As has been said, the negative version is not the only statement 
Confucius had to make about human relations. He taught us to 
"love all people overfiowiiigly,”J He urged us "when wishing to 
establish one's own character, also try to establish the character 
of others, and when wishing to succeed, also try to help others 
succeed.And in the Confucian classic, Th^ Doctrine oft^ M&tn, 
we find this remarkable passage: 

Confudus said. When a roan comes out the doctrine of being true to 
the principles of one's nature and the application of them to others, he 

■ riff Wer^ fl/ Menftas. IV. U, 9. * /Litn Vm C/tr^lg I 

) 1,6 ♦ /fctd., VI, iS. 



ts not far fnotn tbe moral law, What you do not want others to do to 
you, do not do to them, 

TTiere are four things in the moral life of a man, none of whidi I 
have been able to cany out in my life. To serve my father as I would 
expect my son to serve me. ... To serve my sovereign as I would 
expect a minister to serve me. ... To act towards my elder bdrothei? as 
J would expect my younger brothers to act towards me, , . . To be the 
first to behave towards Mends as I would expect them to behave 
towards me: that I have not been able to do."' 

As neo-CcmfuciaiUsts in the last eight hundred years put it, 
“Develop one’s moral nature to the utmost and put others in the 
position of oneself." , 

T^e point of emphasis in this discussion is not whether Con- 
fucian ethics is infenor or superior to others. It is to afhmi, with 
all the power at our command, that moral ideals are universal. 
On the basis of these universal values, in addition to a ^thesis 
of complementary aspects, a united world should and can be 

T Tht Doetrin* efi/it Xllt. 





Srwpw L'pIrcnJi^^ D^«t! 

"What is philosophy?" The question is one to which philosophera 
have replied through the ages with .uncertain voices. That some 
relation ot the mind to the nniverse is in question is a presumption 
indeed common to nearly every philosopher. What the nature of 
this relation may be admits, however, of very varied views on 
the part of philosophers. Varied as these views may bo. they 
seem notwithstanding to be divisible into three principal type^ 
the "empirical," the "idealistic," and the "mystical," The aim 
of this essay is to discuss, with their general characteriatics, the 
philosophical value of these distinct types of philosophy. In 
relating in this way the philosophical systems of East and West 
the discussion will, I hope, contribute something to the lifelong 
work of the eminent philosopher in whose honour this book has 
been written. 



Empirical philosophy is the philosophy which appeals most 
directly to the mind of the "practical" man. Man is first aware 
of himself as an animal—as a creature that, through the use of 
his senses, must adapt his body to an ever-changing en^'irlOm^ent 
of alluring or alarming physical objects. Through the senses man 
thus discoveia his mind to be related to a world of objects outside 
him and in this sensuous relation he finds accordingly the mind’s 
original contact with the universe. This contact is not one of 
his own making. By a turn of the head he may indeed invite 
Nature to offer him some, and to withhold from him other, of his 
sensations. But he cannot himself contrive to create them by 
any power of his own. His mind is tike a mirror which, though 
turned this way or that, stUl passively reflects the varying objects 
depicted by Nature upon it. The empirical mind b thus a mind 
unconscious of any original experience of Nature other than that 
which Nature itself may have imparted to it, Ln the West the 



En^ish philosopher, Locke, has forcibly expressed this truth of 
the empirical phUosoph}'. The mmd is in orjgin a nature dcvoitJ 
of "innate ideas”-—of ideas originating in the mind independently 
of sensuous "experience." Clearing his mind of these ftctitious 
ideas Locke accordingly conceived the mind to be in itself a 
tabula rasa —a thing in itself as empty as a mirror in the dark: 
as blank as an imprinted sheet of paper. 

By empirical philosophy Nature is thus conceived as a kind of 
printing-machine; and the mind as a surface capable of perceiving, 
through the letters of sensation printed on it, some thin g of the 
cliaracter of the machine. These simple ‘Tetters" of sense reveal, 
however, to the mind no more than the equally simple "letters” 
lesemhling them in Nature’s pruiting-machine. Man's practical 
mind, however, commonly perceives in Nature more than simple 
'Tetters"; it perceives rather combinations of such letters—* 
associations of letters of more use than the letters themselves to 
the practical bnsiness of life. It perceives, not bodies only, but 
also bodies at a "distance" from bodies; not colours and sounds 
alone, but these combined with bodies in substantial "things”; 
not bodies moving by chance, but bodies moving in "relation" 
with others in a manner predictable by itself. Since Nature's 
smgle sensations can fall only severally on the mind, the empirical 
philosopher discerns in these associations of simple sensations an 
empirical activity of the mind not originally present in it. While 
the mind must continue a mirtor-Iike thing unable to bear to 
itself a knowledge of Nature, yet, quickened by Nature, it may, 
through its power of forming "complex” out of '‘simple” ideas, 
acquire the ability to perceive or to infer in Nature complexes of 
a similar kind: it may turn into meaningful "words” what bad 
first appeared to it as no more than unmeaning 'Tetters." Thus the 
physical sciences may find their place in the universe of the 
empirical philosopher; and the medley of Nature’s sensible 
objects may be perceived as mteroonnected through the complex 
idea of "cause" and "effect." 

Valid as such conclusions may seem, they are, however, con¬ 
clusions soon "sickUed o'er with the pale cast of thoi^ht,” The 
empiricist must argue: "If I meet with Nature only as die reveals 
herself to my senses, my knowledge of her must he bounded by 
my sense of her, 1 try the ground and the ground is there; 1 
lift my foot—and it is there no longer. The world is a thing as 
impermanent as my sensations of it: and the Himalayas I per- 



ceive are lie Himalayas cnly for so long as I perceive them. 
Unperceived, all they can tnily be is something probably like 
them that would (I may believe) have existed had I been at hand 
to perceive them." Man has no evidence for the real existent of 
Nature when he ivants the sense of its existence: and the objects 
of Nature are like ghosts—things to be surely credited only as 
some actual sensation testifies to their existence. The "pheno- 
menalistic ' philosopher is thus the true ''empirical" philosopher: 
and a Nature impennanent and unsubstantial a more logical 
object of empirical philosophy than one composed of permanent 
and solid objects, 

Man may feel a certain charm in this phenom^al world of 
protean comings and goings. Yet the empirical philosopher may 
learn to question the validity even of this wavering object. 'To 
be," Bishop Berkeley obser\'ed. "is to be perceived." But what h 
that which is perceived? Man perceives his sensations; he per- 
ceiveSj for instance, the setisation red. But does he perceive 
the exterior red of a poppy ?—through an inner, an outer redness ? 
through a subjective, an objective redness? Experience may seem 
to prove that he does so. Yet is not this to perceive—with a 
sensation*—something not a sensation through the means of a 
sensation? To add. in short, to a sensation a meaning like the 
meaning artificially imposed on the meaningless sounds of a 
human vocabulary? And with what validity can a bare setisation 
—an unanalysable "simple idea"—acquire a property so mani¬ 
festly inconsistent with its acknowledged definition? ‘ What that 
is which is perceived can thus, for the resolute empirical phUo* 
sopher, be no more than bis own subjective sensations. No passing 
"phenomena" exist in the world to be ^rceived by man's passing 
sensations. No momentary ground exists lor man to tread; no 
momentary colour for his eye to see. To perceive Ws own sensa¬ 
tions is to perceive what is; to perceive more t^ these is to 
perceive what is not—to perceive what the empirical philosopher 
must therefore resolutely reject. 

In answer, therefore, to the question, "What is the relation of 
the mind to Nature?" the empirical philosopher proclaims the 
truth that there exists for his philosophy no positive relation 
between them whatever. The function of the philosophic mind^ is 
rather to dissociate Nature from itself than to associate itsdf with 
Nature; to reject its existence rather than to establish its existence. 

* Cf. Lockfl, Hurntm Understanding, 11, 2 , 1. 



Nature is, houfever, not an easy thing for man to part' with 
and the phenomenalist himself is apt to linger with it like Romeo 
with his Juliet, Suppose Nature, however, to be as substantial a 
thing as the \dgorous Dr. Johnson conceived it to bej to the 
empirical philosopher it will still be something other than the 
thing that man names "Nature/' The temporal events composing 
it cannot be accommodated with the belief that they can be per¬ 
ceived together in associations of a necessajy—an inevitable- 
character. "Conjunction” of events man can perceive; but never 
(observes Hume) their "connection.”' If Venus and Mars nwy be 
perceived to move together no "connection” between them is ever 
found to imprint itself on the mind's surface. Given, then, that a 
simple idea may perceive in Nature something resembling itself, 
vet there exists no simple idea of "connection” with which to 
perceive a similar connection in Nature. ^ 

The common sense of Locke discerned in the "complex idea" of 
and effect a principle afiording a place in the empirical 
world for the necessary connections of "science.” For the reflective 
empiricist the presence of a complex idea in the mind can, 
however, no more form a valid foundation for science than an 
absent "simple idea," Nature is. for common sense, a thing-in- 
itself no more than "ootijoined” with the mind. Existing indepen¬ 
dently of any "innate idea" of her own with resperf to it. Nature 
can only be conceived by the mind as a thing without connec¬ 
tion” with herself—as a being as "loose ^d separate” from her¬ 
self as the events her senses perceive in it are one from another. 
Excepting only that man has a body whose movements he may 
control at will, the events of Nature must consequently be con¬ 
ceived to follow of themselves the ways they are perceived to 
follow. WTiat hold, then, has the mind on Nature that she might 
impose a "Jaw” upon it? How might a thought of the mind 
control the motions of an indifierent planet? Throi^h a "complex 
idea” the events of Nature can therefore be conceived to be con¬ 
nected together as little as. through the idea of an unknowable 
"substance,” the several "qualities” of the natural world can be 
conceived to be combined together in individual physical "thin^.” 
Chance—not law-is thus king of the empirical world. Natural 
science cannot control with a "mtist" and a "cannot” a world of 
events which, constantly "conjoined" as they are perceived to he. 

■ ct Locte, Etfliys Wiinim UndjTSiit»dmg,II, 1, 1. 

1 Inqitiry Human On^i^sfandtngt B«ct, 5'°+ 



are never to be conceived as ‘'connected." If chance might 
seem to imply that the more constantly two events have been 
perceived conjoined, the less must be the likelihood of their con¬ 
tinued conjunction, the empirical philosopher will reply that the 
"laws" of chance must, in common with all other "laws," be 
banished from the empirical world. 

In the disconnected world the empirical thinker has thus per¬ 
ceived. the connecting "mind" must now appear an uime^ed 
assumption. The entity that man calls *T" would seem to be a 
thing as inexistent as a "law" of Nature. If Nature's perceptible 
qualities can intimate no imperceptible "substance" in Nature, 
the sensations which pertelve them would seem to stand as little 
in need of the support of an imperceptible "Ego." A "thinking 
thing" is itself not one of the passing sensations which constitute 
for the empiricist the actual esse of the mind. As an insensible 
thing, a thinking thing, accordingly, would seem to have as valid 
a title to "esistence." Cogito ergo non sum —1 think and therefore 
I am not—is a conclusion to which the empirical finds his 

thought naturally dras^T^g him. 

In answer therefore to the question, "what is the relation of 
the mind to Nature?" the empirical philosopher hnally determines 
that there can exist for his philosophy no possible relation be¬ 
tween them. On the one side the Nature known to man can be no 
more than a dream; and on the other, the mind known to him can 
be no more than an illusion. The function of empirical philosophy 
is rather to dissolve than to maintain the existence of the "mind” 
and the "universe": and with their dissolution to dissolve the 
relation commonly presumed by philosophers to hold between 
them. A Hume might echo the words of Prospero when in a vexed 
moment that sage compared the world and man in it to the un¬ 
substantial pageant of a play 

These our actora. 

As 1 foretold jkju, were all spirits, and 
Are melted into air, into thin air. 

And. like the b^e» fabric of their vision. 

The eloud'Capp d towers, the gorgeous palaces. 

The solemn temples, the great globe itself, 

Yes, all which it inherit, shall dissolve. 

And. like this unsubstantial pageant faded, 

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff 
As dreams are made on and our little life 
Is rounded with a sleep. 




The resolute empiricai thinJeer now, however, discovers himself 
in the grasp of an antinomy. We can dissolve his thinking only by 
means of his thinking: that the thinking "I" is not can only be 
asserted by the thinking "I" that is not: its existence and its 
inexistence mast be simultaneously afTirmed by the empirical 
thinker. The claim accordingly of Augustine and Descartes. “I 
think, therefore I am.“ in freeing thought from this antinomy, 
admits the possibility of new presumptions respecting the relation 
of the mind to the universe. 

This "thinking T’ ” cannot, however, be an object of the 
physical world, for empirical philosophy has proved that as it can 
be no one of the mind's sensations, so it can be no object of the 
mind's sensations. Still less can a being which knows that it is be 
identified with an unknowable “substance" of the physical world. 
If the " 1 ” that thinks exists, it must consequently be an imper¬ 
ceptible "Subject"—a Subject that through no actirity of its 
thought can conceive of tramforming itself into an Object, 

Were this Subject, however, to be no more than a tabula rasa, 
it could only become aware of an Object through some imprint of 
that Object upon it; but thus the conclusions of the empirical 
philosopher would presently dissolve the seeming world of its 
knowledge into an "unsubstantial pageant faded." If the Subject 
is to be more than a tabula rasa, it must thus possess a native 
ability of its own; in short, it must be endowed with "innate ideas" 
of a kind to bring it into relation with the objective things of the 
universe. Locke maintained, with psychological correctness, that 
the presence of ‘innate ideas" was not to be obsen^ed in infants; 
they were imacquainted, he perceived, with the laws of thought 
and the logic of Aristotle, The Subject divined by Augustine and 
Descartes was, however, not conceived by them to be found in a 
cradle. If an infant’s mind might be compared to a blank sheet of 
paper, that mind might yet include'—like undetected watermarks 
—innate ideas unrecognized by itself. Infants, they might have 
argued again, are not bom with moustaches; yet, consonantly 
with their sex, they are found in varying degrees to acquire them. 
Were the "Subject" to be found in man, it must, then, slowly 
come to light in him; till growTi increasingly aware of it, man 



grows thereby increasingly aware of the "innate ideas" that lay 
once latent, or but undeveloped and potential. In It. 

In these "innate ideas" of things the Subject must find the 
means of relating itself to the universe. Through the use of these 
ideas it must, with only itself to rely on, spontaneously connect 
itself with the Objects implied by them. 

The Subject aware of them can be in no need to wait, like the 
empirical mind, for an external object to set it in motion. Tlirough 
these ideas the Subject must find within it its own cause of motion 
—following their inward promptings the Subject must be of a 
nature to go out to the world rather than to await the world's 
impact upon it; to make the world its partner rather than to find 
the W'orld a stranger. "For whatsoever,” says William of St. 
Thierry, "is learnt from without, that is, through the senses, is, as 
it were, a foreign thing and a chance taken into the mind. But that 
which oometh into the mind of itself . . . this is inborn in the 
reason in such manner that it is indeed the reason itself: nor for 
this knowledge hath it any need of teaching, but... it knoweth it 
for its natural possession."^ 

Desire is that which moves the mind, and it is therefore through 
an "intellectual desire” that the Subject must look to make the 
universe its partner. No longer a bare "intellect,” but an expectant 
lover of the world it is to meet, the subject is therefore rather a 
vitalized "Self” than an abstract "mind." Acquiescing in the 
world without willing it, the empirical mind can only find the 
world a thing "loose and separate"—a thing inevitably parted— 
from itself- But the "self" looks to discover itself and its world, 
like Ucmiia and Helena in the play, "both in one key"—things 

seeming parted. 

But yet an union in partition.’ 

The partner sought by the Self must be something which it 
recognizes, like itself, to be: for "it is certain that if we knew 
nothing we should also ifc nothing" {Spinoza). The "being" of a 
myth, of an Object of the fancy—though more than a "nothing" 
— yet in implying a negation of "being" must, like a “nothing," 
fail to be that which it is the Self’s natune to seek. A "being" 
limited: a "beiog" here existent and there non-existent; now 
existent and then non-existent—though more than a myth—^yet 

1 TAs GoMm Ch. i6, Stet, 6^ W, SbEwringjr 

* ShaJtcspfaic, A Midsvmmcr Til, pp* 206, IO9-2IO, 



in implying m its turn a want of "being" must fail again to satisfy 
the reason of the Self, Only a Being as substantial as the philo¬ 
sophical world of the empiricist is unsubstantial; as real as that 
world is dream-like; as enduring as that w*orld is transitory can 
therefore be the Being the Self must now unavoidably—-now 
nece^arily—find itself seeking. The empirical mind can discern 
nothing in its nature to require the existence of a world that has 
c^me ujxin it by chance: its idea" of a thing cannot involve the 
"bemg” of that thing. But the Self is of a nature to find a world 
only as it has itself required that world: the world in itself must 
be for the Self the same as the world thought by the Self. United 
by its nature with the world, the Self can therefore do no other 
than require the existence of a Reality which, answering the 
Self's inevdtable demand, itself "demands eveiy^g that per¬ 
fectly expresses Being" (Spinoza, Letter, 36). As the Self is of no 
such stuff "as dreams are made on" so the Being it looks to meet 
can be for it no "baseless fabric of a vision" destined to "melt into 
air. into thin air." 



Esse, says Eckhart, "esf God is the principal Object of 

idealistic philosophy as Nature is that of empirical philosophy. 
Defined as a Being eternal and infinite, God^r Tao or Brah- 
man—is that Object of the universe which "perfectly expresses 
Ifeing." To beings merely "finite," "Being" may be conceived to 
be added: while beings merely "temporal" may be conceived 
to 1<^ their Being. But God—^"always, endlessly Complete" 
(Plotinus) ^must by the reason of the Self be conceived an Object 
to whose Being nothing can be added and from whose Being 
nothing can be subtracted, 

A Being so self-evident to the Self involves it, however, in a 
difficulty comparable to one encountered by the empirical mind. 
As the seU-eyidenoe of Nature tempts the empirical mind to 
exclude from its universe the super-sensuous Being of God and of 
man, so the self-evidence of God tempts the Self to exclude from 
its universe the inferior being of Nature and Spirits. No one savs 

UTio looks upon that light can turn 
To other object, willingly, his view.^ 

* Pitrotiise. XXXIII, pp, Ti>3-»^ (tnuH. Tempi* Clonks). 



" 0 ther“' Objects accordingly tend to enter the world of the Self 
rather as things empirically assumed than rationally deduced by 
it: and are in consequence Objects as peculiar in the world of the 
Self as Objects other than natural are objects peculiar in the 
world of the empirical mind. 

The idealist may, however, more readily than the empiricist 
repair the fault natural to his type of philosophy* If desire is not 
of a nature to pass from things better to things worse, it is its 
very' nature to pass from things worse to things better. Ttie Self 
may thus be readily conceived to pass through a knowledge of 
Nature and Spirits to its final knowledge of God. Nature and 
Spirits may be conceived to form a kind of stair for its desire to 
climb, "Only the Truth will do"'—yet "lured on to seek and grasp 
an actual causeless Good/" through goods of lower w^orth the Self 
may look to reach "the Highest Good of all/"* 

If its "Highest Good" be not the first of Objects to be known 
by the Self, some other Object must constitute the Self's original 
Object—some "Lowe^ Good” to which its dsire lor "Being" 
naturally attracts it. In his consideration of the nature of "time/" 
Plotinus has spoken of a Self which "hastens towards its future, 
dreading to rest, seeking to draw Being to itself."^ WTiile the 
empirid^ discovers in a single present sensation deriving from 
Nature the opening moment of the life of the mind, the idealist 
finds that moment rather in a series of sensations to be made 
progressively present to it through the medium of its own 
energies. For him the "Being" the Self first finds itself seeking is 
thus, not a single thing like an empirical sensation, but rather 
such a future si^ies of sensations as a musician foresees as he 
thinlis of producing through his art the successive sounds of a 
musical compK>sition. As he proceeds with the work he contmues, 
in the words of Plotinus, to "draw being to himself”; ever 
working for "the increase of his being," he persistently trans¬ 
forms a future into a present experience which itself, as he 
transfers his attention to its successor, assumes a less vivid form 
in his memo^3^ 

Such is, accordingly, for the idealist, the first "innate idea" of 
the Self—an idea which implies that "synthetic'^ activity of the 
Self of which Kant has spoken in the Critique 0/ Pure Reason 
(Transcendental Analytic, HI, 2), The realization of this innate 

^ Edtfaart, SfTfnm, III (trails. Evahis). 

* III, vid, 4 S. Mackfn&a). 



or “'a priori" idea must, in fulfilling a desire of the Self, give it 
satisfaction. Enit>3nng the "Being" its actii'ity is ever making 
present to it, the Seif "hastens towards its future" with the pleasure 
of a musician passing from note to note of the composition he is 
performing. The series foreseen by the Self differs, however, 
essentially from that foreseen by the musician. Although certian 
musical compositions may appear to the vulgar "interminable," 
like the rest of man's pursuits the longest of compositions must 
necessarily have an end. The "future" to which the Self ‘'hastens" 
is, how^ever, an interminable future. Any limit the Self may 
attempt to set to it. the Self finds itself at once oveipassmg. 
Forced in consequence to draw for ever more and more of "Being” 
to itself, the Self finds itself, in time, "dreading to rest"—in fear 
of missing that wholeness of "Being” which it is its nature to win. 
Enjoying for ever, it yet finds itself as certainly disappointed for 
ever. For hke a magic pot with no top to be biimmed, it may go 
on storing itself with the "Being" foreseen by itj but whatever 
store of Being it has won for itself, the store of Being it has still 
to win remains the same, not less than it was; for all its adding 
still as much without an end as it was at the beginning. 

The series thus endlessly pursued by the Self might be a simple 
scries, like a series of sounds. It might, however, equally be con¬ 
ceived to be a series more to its mind as a lover of "Being”; to be 
a series, namely, of which each later member—like the successive 
mflations of an expanding sphere—^was foreseen by it to be the 
increase of an earlier. As such a never-ending series, each, however, 
must present the same anomaly to the Self—^add to its sum what 
it may, the Self will still be confronted by a future series—simple 
or expanding—^which by no art of its own it can ever m^e 
present to itself. 

A series, simple or expanding, must therefore be a thing in¬ 
capable by nature of "perfectly expressing being.” The Self must 
thus conceive as Object—not to be successively made present by 
it—but an Object rather of a kind whose instant Being compre¬ 
hends all Being in one Present Now: an Object, in short, that 
"neither has been nor will be but simply possesses Being” 
tPlotinus, III, vii, 3); for "Now'." in the words of Parmenides, "It 
is; all at once"—a Being which, surpa^ing temporal distinctioris, 
is "Eternal." As the "all of Being" that completes the Being of an 
expansible series such an Object will be a present expansion of 
Being incapable of further expansion; an expansion therefore 



ftitliout limit: an expansion of Being, in consequence, not finite, 
but "Infinite*" 

This second "innate"- —or a priori — ^idea of the Self acquaints 
it with an Object exceeding its otsTi temptoral and finite experi¬ 
ence, The "Being” it vainly sought to draw to"itsdf” it finds now 
superseded by a Bcii^ it can never itself look to be. Complete and 
"always all," the Thing the Self has entertained is something as 
much not the Self as the manifold world of sensuous objects is to 
the empirical mind a world not itself. The Self's relation to the 
world is, however, not the relation obtaining between the empirical 
mind and its world of sensuous objects. The world of the Self is 
not a world “loose and separate" from the Self, but one united to 
the Seif by the necessities of the Self's own nature. "Seeming 
parted," it yet forms with the Self, unlike the sensuous world with 
the empirical mind, a "union in partition." 

As a Being which the Self cannot be, this new' Object exists for 
the Self independently of the support of the self. It is not an 
Object like the Self's expanding series, which to fo must be per¬ 
ceived by the Self. As the consummation of a quantitative series it 
is, however, an Object which must itself possess a quantitative 
character. This community of character enables the Self to 
transform its simple series of "inner” experiences into symbols of 
its Object; through the meaning they thereby acquire the Seif 
leaitis to "perceive" the outer Object which has become known 
to it: to gain successive perceptions of it; to give them such an 
outward-pomting significance as Berkeley found it impossible to 
assign to the "simple” ideas of the empirical mind. 

The Self must at first find itself at rest in an Object which as 
eternal and infinite satisfies its craving for a Thing that "per¬ 
fectly expresses Being." In Nature's “boundless spaces beyond 
and superhuman silences, and profoundest rest” (Leopardi, 
L*l‘njinite)t the Self enjoys a repose which its own never-resting 
nature must for ever withhold from it. The Self, however, presently 
detects in the character of this Being an irretrievable defect. Real 
as the objects of Nature must naturally appear to the empirical 
mind, to the Self Nature's Total Reality presently appears as 
little real as the delusive reality of a vivid reflection—^it shows 
itseU rather a “trickery ' than the real Truth of Being. For Nature 
knows not what it is; and knows as little ffial it is. In Itself it is a 
"nothing" rather than "the All" of Being. Partner of the Self 
though Nature must be it is thus a partner which, as the Self 



considers it further, "melts" irretrievably before it like the 
unsubstantial pageant of Prospero, 

In a kind of Being that can know that it is. the Self accordingly 
must now look to make good the defect of a Thing that can not. 
Through the oonception of a self-conscious Being the Self thus 
roaches another of the successive steps of its rising stairway of 
knowledge, A third innate —-or a pfior i i dea brings it to the 
higher apprehension of a spirit; of a companion Self; of a Being 
that, like itself, can declare “I am/' 

As a lover of "Being" the Self must jo^dully conceive a Thing 
that, more truly than Nature, satisfies its craving for Being, As 
little, however, as the Self can a "second Self"—or any number of 
such &lves^be conceived a thing that "perfectly expresses 
Being." Through a "certain weakness of its nature." it unites with 
things from which its Self has disappeared, and, "enjo3dng some' 
thing throi^h which it exists and from W'hich it derives strength" 
(Spino^), it yet enjoys it only through a knowledge that severs 
its Objects from its own inward experience of them. Lured on to 
seek a higher good, the Self accordingly Yiow seeks a Self that 
needs no Being other than its own to complete it:—a Being, 
accordingly, like Nature, Eternal and Infinite: yet a Being, 
unlike Nature, Self-aware--^ Being knowing what It is and thai 
It is. In one who in Its single Essence unites the perfections of 
Nature and Spirits the Self divine at last the end of its pursuit. 
For "the Good which is the Object of the will is therein wholly 
gathered, and outside It that same thing is defective which 
therein is perfect" (Dante). The Self that has experience of this 
Being rests in It gladly: for "love directed towards the Eternal 
and Infinite feeds the mind with pure joy and is free from aU 
sa^ess" (Spinoza). It rests in no phantom-being; in no creature 
of its fancy. Forced by its nature to assert the "Being" of a Thing 
that wholly is, the Self can only conceive that Being to be in 
Itself the same as the Thing it must think It to be. By no effort of 
its reason can the Self accordingly dissolve into a dream That 
which its reason itself has found to be one with “That wrhose 
nature demands everything that perfectly expresses Being," 






The idealist, however, Temains as much ati animal as the empiri¬ 
cist. The world the "'Self" reveals to him is not the world his 
senses reveal to him, U the Self can point to an Infinity of Nature 
incomprehensible to the empirica] mind, yet that Infinity b not 
the Infinity conceived by the Self's a priori idea of it: it is an 
Infinity despoiled by privation of its natural being—a void m 
which moving finite bodies form but the empirical and unintelli¬ 
gible residue of the Self's original Object. The Infinite world of 
“the One" accordingly appears now to the Self as a w'orld merely 
Ideal: and the actual temporal world as but an incomprehensible 
world of '"the many." A medley of incorporeal beings—of colourSp 
sounds and the like—further perple^ces the ralional thought of the 
Seif. The Nature now reported to it by unexpected inner experi¬ 
ences of its own appears in conscxjuence a Being which, open to 
doubt as any of its ttndeduciblc and contuigent objects must be, 
is yet a Being not to be disowned by the Self. 

The Self could not thus admit of a defect in that Sole Being by 
the Universe whose nature “perfectly" expresses Being. By no 
effort of its reason couJd the Self fail to maintain the mtegrity of 
That whose nature constitutes its final end. Were the Being of 
God to appear to the Self in any degree defective the Self would 
be forced to fulfil its own nature in a God w^hose essence still 
included "everything that perfectly expresses Being." Unlike the 
Infinite Being of God, the Infinite Being of Nature is, how^ever, an 
Infinity that leaves the Self a thing still unfulfilled. Not know'Uig 
what it is or that it is. Nature's whole Infinitude is nothing to 
itself at all: the Nature the Self must needs conceive^ for the 
Self's mature reflection, appears a disconcerting "naught" of 
Being rather than "the All" of Being it must originally appear. 
The Self cannot support an Object discovered to be thus anomalous, 
as she must support an Object altogether free from anomaly. 
Accordingly, irrationalities that may appear in Nature considered 
as existent cannot compel the Self still to maintmn a Nature true 
to the Selfs original conception of it. Admitting the irrationality 
the Sell must rather wonder at it than repudiate it. 

Were the empirical world, thus admitted, a world altogether 
"loose and separate" from the Self, the Self would have no more 



hold over Its indifferent Objects than the empirical mind: like that 
mind it could neither criticize the empirical world, nor through 
any ''complex idea” of its own hope to explain and amend it. 
But, "seeming parted," the empiric^ world still makes with the 
Self a "Union in partition": still "en ra-pport"' one with the other, 
there remains between them an essential connection. Not strangers, 
but partners, rather, seemingly estranged from each other, the 
Self and its world may therefore yet be expected to be heard— 
like Shakespeare’s Henrtia and Helena—"both warbling of one 
sonfi both in one key/’ 

The Unity the Self requires of Nature must accordingly now be 
expectantly required to manifest itself in the empirical world. 
The empirical world must show itself to be, not a "raany" of 
members "loose and separate'* from one another, but rather a 
*'manj'^in-'Unily/’ What the world must be thought to be the Self 
accordingly now finds the w'orld to be, a reiterated unity com* 
pMing the irrational discords of Nature now sings in true tune 
with the rational voice of the Self. In "the many" the Self discerns 
now a unity binding together the incorporeal with the corporeal—■ 
quality with quantity—in indiWdual physical "things": in 
'Things" the unity of their "spedes” and "genera,” in moving 
bodies and their combinations the unity of Nature’s physical and 
chemical "laws." "Form,’' in the words of Plotinus, "has entered, 
and grouped and co-ordinated what from a diversity was to 
become a unity/’ 

If the idealist has thus shoivn that the sciences, invalidated by 
the thought of a Hume, may be established by the thought of the 
Self, the empiricist may still challenge him with undiminished 
importunity. The idealist isplainly an animal: when, then, has the 
Self he relies on even hinted a word of the body? The possession 
of such a convenience would seem to be to the Self an ^junct as 
superfluous as to every man of common seuse it must be neces¬ 
sary, If the reason for his embodiment may be allowed by the 
empiricist to be a thing not given him to know, yet he will rigor¬ 
ously require of the idealist to furnish him with a reason for it. 

The idealist must thus look to discern in the thought of the 
Self a reason for its embodiment. Now there exists (he will observe) 
in the univetse of the Self an Object profoundly disquieting to it. 
Looking at the world of Nature it has found it strangely wanting 
in "Being/' The science of Nature can do nothing to remedy this 
defect. No organization of Nature can give awareness to Nature. 



The sun has its dignities; but it knows nothing of them. The laws 
that rule the inanimate world are no laws for itself; and the 
beauties of science which delight a Newton, a Planck and an 
Einstein are beauties only for them. The Self, however, is a being 
aw-are of herself. Might she not by the gift of heiself to Nature 
raise Nature in the scale of "Being”? Might she not, like an artist, 
inform with her own spirit the inanimate matter of Nature? Let 
the Self then attribute this power to other Selves of her universe, 
and she may find in the w'orld of Nature beings strangely li\'ing 
like herself—shapes which N atuie could never have shown her of 
itself; sounds which it must itself have left unheard. Purposive 
motions deterniining Nature’s own determined motions might 
appear with its new shapes and voices: things changing super- 
naturally within: or moving supcr-naturally along the ground. 
Now such things the IdcalLst may actually perceive as he looks at 
the world. The trance of Nature has become, it seems, a dance of 
Nature. Spirit has invaded the world and lifted it above its proper 
self. If such beings follow Nature's law, they only follow it that it 
may follow them. Bearers of physical bodies, they bear increas¬ 
ingly to a Nature deprived of a Self the higher "Being” of a Self. 
More and more endowing Nature wdth their own super-natural 
properties, they more and more reveal in Nature the life it has 
missed, and, by its gradual metamorphosis, increasingly disclose 
their "other" being in it. A smiling face is more than an object of 
nature without ceasing to be one. From its Infinite Original 
Nature has varied only to surpass its Original: by the evolving 
play of incorporeal Selves on its manifold. Nature has acquired a 
"Being” more than natural. 

Intelligible as the union of a "Self" with a "body" may now 
appear to the idealist, it yet involves the Self in a fate which 
threatens to take from her "the power of thinking at all" (Plato. 
Phacdo, p, 66), The dangers to which the animal body is exposed 
require of the Self—with the addition of powers proper to the 
care of the body—the suppression of powders natural to her 
unembodied condition. The discamate Self perceives the things of 
Nature freely, That perception may be related to her body's sur¬ 
roundings this freedom must be necessarily restricted. The fate 
that w'cll-nigh befell the star-gazing Thales might othenvise readily 
befall the star-gazing Self. If the incarnate Self cannot see the 
world jffiih the eye, she must therefore sec it not iritAoui the eye. 
The animal can need no oigan to apprise it of the Infinite; but it 



must need or|;aiis relating its perceptions of the finite to the body 
it must sustain and preserve. In the free thought of the Self 
appears, however, a greater danger to the bod/s maintenance 
than in her unrestricted "dairvo>'anDe." For the Self is a free 
thing thinking many another objeet than the body, and of these 
objects some may attract the Self more riolently than the body, 
.^d thus, like Archimedes, she might leave the body exposed 
without defence to the dangers of the world surrounding it. Such 
distractions must be rigorously suppressed, that deprived of ration* 
al nature that hinders her, she may, with no concern for anything 
but the interest of her body, spontaneously and choicelessly 
maintain and perpetuate it. 

If the Self can suffer these things because her essential Being 
is, like Nature's, itself imperfectly rational, she may, however, 
imlike Nature, become aware of her fault: the hidden life sup¬ 
pressed in her may reawaken in her. The seers and piophets of 
men, conscious of the "bondage, into which the Self has fallen” 
are not less conscious of the way of her "deliverance." As she may 
find herself at times strangely "clairvoyant,” so in turn her dead¬ 
ened thought may at times surprisingly revive in her, And thus 
the "empirical mind"—dependent upon her organs of sense—or 
ready uith the touch of her thought to "dissolve the solemn 
temples, the great globe itself'—is (the idealist must oondude) 
but the "self" of his philosophy in a moment of Platonic "forget¬ 
fulness" {Republic. X, p. 621). Kestored to her true self, she will 
find again that she is: the "gorgeous palaces" she lost will re¬ 
appear to her; and in One who "perfectly expresses Being." she 
will, the wiser for her fall, discern again in peace a Thing more 
Actual than eye can see or than hand can handle,* 



At peace as he may be, the idealist, however, now finds himself 
in the presence of an antinomy as puzzling as that which con- 
fr^ted the empiricist. In denying the mind the empiricist found 
himself after all required to affirm it. But in affirming the Self 

* tot thfr lupin cut o| this theme Ituni a imcJtE iocial and ethical point nX 

IfT ielmflii, Rctigimis and fOaefaref ; 

A in East and (OsefonJ, 1959),- aii 4 Ckinett 

i Am^erx fThn National Centr^ Library. Ximkixig, 1047) by the writer of the 
preg^ftt e8!!>ay. 



the idealist now finds himself after all required to deny it. The 
Godhead by the Self's own definition of It as "That which per¬ 
fectly excesses Being,” is, as a Totality Eternal and Infinite, the 
all-indusive VVliole of Being. '’Sel/-i{knticat: atirays, cffdiessly 
CofnpkU‘* (Plotinus, III, vii, 11), in Its Entirety It is "a One with¬ 
out a second" that sums. Alone, all Being in Its Self. There can 
be in the universe, so long as It is in the universe, no Txx)m for 
anything but Itself. As much an outcast from Being as a physical 
body lying outside the WTioleness of Infinite Space, every being 
outside God must be as "less than nothing" beside Him. 

God's capture of all "Being," tn thus dissolving the Self and 
every inferior Object of its world, has no less tlian the empirical 
mind of Hume made an end of "philosophy.'' There can no longer 
be conceived to exist any valid relation behveen the "mind" and 
the "universe." If, however, in the Presence of the "One without 
a second," the Self would w'illingly renounce its "other" being, it 
now finds itself, as much as the empirical mind, incapable of such 
self-denial. In renouncing itself the Self is still maintaining itself; 
and in saying 'T am not" is still saying "I am." Its self-negation 
cannot therefore be its setf-ajinihilatioii. If it cannot truly exist as 
a "second" beside God, it must therefore truly exist in oneness 
with God. The "1" it cannot be must lose itself m a union with 
that "I” which can alone enjoy a veritable title to "existence." 
The Self accordingly dreams now to be a One with God rather 
than to remain a second beside Him, Its former union with the 
One must cease to be a union "in partition" and must become a 
^ion "without partition." The Being the Self found in Another 
it must look now to be its own Self, The distinction between 
"Subject" and "Object" must disappear. As "lover longs to 
blend with the beloved" (Plotinus), so the Self craves now to 
"gather all its Being and whatever it is from the depths ol God" 

And thus looking now to the One to offer it "all that It has, all 
that It is" (Ruysbroeck), the Self runs in front of its reason and 
foretells a l^ing whose Second-lessness is not Us Aloneness. To 
its longing the "One-Alone" for its completed knowledge of It is 
to be a "One-Together," and the God whose Being had naughted 
its own, to be a God whose Being consummates it. 





"They are bKnd." says the poet, "who hope to see by that Reason 
which is the cause of separation. The House of Reason is very 
far away,"' Looking for "the parting to be parted"; for "the 
severance to be all severed" (Rumi), the Self accordingly now 
w^its for that Truth beyond reason's which "only the vision can 
giw” (Plotinus), Not by her own will can she appropriate the 
Being of another than herself; not by a becoming of herself can 
she become another than herself. Only by the bliss-bringing 
Substitution of God for herself; only by His own transforming 
Gift to her of His oivn Self can the Self become at last That 
whose Being must redeem her o>vn "other " and else outcast state, 
"The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou heaiest the sound 
thereof, but canst not tell whence it coraeth or whither it goeth: 
so is every one that is bom of the Spirit" {St. John iii. 8). But. as 
if liven by lightning, the Self that can abide her end hears sud¬ 
denly "the Affirmation and, through the Substitution 

of God for herself, knom swiftly within her that she "hath eternal 
life, and is passed fmm death into life" {St. John v. 24), 

The Self that has thus "won to the term of all her joumeyings" 
(Plotinus) now perceives anew those inferior Objects of her uni- 
ve^ which had seemed to dissolve with herself in the all-e?ctin- 
guishing Presence of God, The philosopher has discovered at last 
the true relation subsisting between the "mind" and the "uni¬ 
verse." "The cloud-capp'd towers, the gorgeous palaces" now 
reappear to him secure for ever in the inescapable embrace of 
God. "Flowing from Him while remamlng within Him " (Eckhart) 
outcast DO longer from His only Being—they are nearer to 
Himself than any lonelier thought of man rjin ever keep the 
things his reason severs from him, "The Infinite Dwelling of the 
Infinite Being is everywhere; in earth, water, sky and air" (Kabir): 
"The six cardinal points, reaching into Infinity, are ever included 
in no : an autumn spikekt, in all its minuteness, must carry Tao 
within itself/"3 No longer baffled by a lifeless Nature unaware of 
itsdf, the Self perceives its being now, "a many-splendouted 
thing in the All sustaining Presence of God+ Comprehentiing the 

^ Kabtr (Umns. Jt, Tagore). 

« Augustine R. Otto, A!yiiii:um and p, 34}. 

I Ch. XXII (trans. A. Gilea). 



whole world, “both here and beyond the sea, and the abyss and 
ocean and all things." the Self to whom God has given "His all" 
beholds "naught save the Power IH^nne alone, in a manner that 
beggars description; so that, through excess of marvcUinf, the 
soul cries with a loud voice, saying, "This whole w'orld is full of 

As near to God as Nature, spiritual creatures flow in turn from 
Him "while remaining within Him," Won to God’s own sight of 
man the Self that once knew man as she knew Nature, in part 
only, sees him with every thing that lives, complete in God; and 
gone out of hciself perceives, in peace, her own self-owned and 
alien life extinguished in the only life of God. "But w'hen the soul 
is naughted. then of herself she neither works, nor speaks, nor 
wills. And in all things it is God w'ho rules and guides her; and she 
is so full of peace that, though she press her flesh, her nerves, her 
bones, no other thing comes forth from them than peace."* 

“Lovers," however, "who admire beauty here do not stay to 
reflect that it is to be traced, as it must be, to the Beauty There” 
(Plotinus, V, viii, 8). To the Self "wandering in the before-the- 
beginning-of-things" (Chuang-tsc) there appears an Other World 
of which the loveliest world of man is but "an image and a 
shadow." Won to Cod the Self perceives a Life where "all remains 
the same within itself, knowing nothing of change, for ever in a 
Now, since nothing for it has passed away or will come into being, 
but what it is now, that it is ever" (Plotinus, III, vii, 3). In 
mystically “flowing forth from God while remaining within Him,” 
the Self that shapes this Life is ignorant of any self-subsistent “I" 
existing “in and through itself." Of the Self of man that seeks and 
strives for itself it knows nothing. It has no sense of a Self of its 
own to be "naughted." A living reflection of the Peace of God. in 
the Being of God it enjoys beyond the flight of time the life He 
has appointed to it. 

The super-rational tie that keeps this Being One with God’s 
keeps it also one with all things. “By our part in true knowledge 
we are those Beings" (Plotinus, VI,'v, 7). Atoned itself with ali 
things, now it knows in turn all things atoned with all: as One it 
sees the things that even as a creature "self-naughted in God" it 
perceived still as many. "Within Its depths ingatheied’’—like 

StMpziam's*tiwir)*^°’ CtMfoiMiott fiDAiiity follMFwg H. G. 

* St, Catb&rtDe o{ Cmm, Lift and Daetrine (cOBdcliietl), 



he momcDtarily shared its ever single Vision—it per* 
ceives "together bound by love in one volume the scattered leaves 
of all the universe ... as though together fused after such fashion 
that what 1 tell of is one simple flame." 

The Kature these Beings beheld in God is free from the conflict* 
mg plur^ty that the distant world of human sense startles 
man's toiling reason. Its quilt of many patches there, lies Here a 
web without a seam. Here is perceived without "hindrance” the 
unity of things elseiv-here opposed irreconcilably to one another 
(Gutidaiyuha Suira), Estranged no longer from each other, "here" 
and there, and this” and "that" cease to stand in one another's 
way; and, unconflicting, meet, beyond the sight of reason, in the 
embrace that holds the creatures of this world m an unbroken 
concord together. "Here all blades of grass, and wood, and stone, 
all things are one. ... Black does not cease to be black nor white 
white—the opposites coincide w-ithout ceasing to be what they 

m themselves. ... In the Kingdom of Heaven all is in all, all 
is one^ and all is 

One with a Nature that is itself a OjiSj thc^ eternal selves are 
also here without confusion fused with every other; and with a 
love-without-paitidon make together an eternal companv- 
without-partUion. With the penetration of a black that is white 
and of a white that is black, all alike atone with ail "w-ithout 
ceasing to be what they are in themselves." Each has all, and is 
all, and is with all in a world wherein "no individual is sewred 
fmm the Whole" {Plotinus, 111 , ii, I). Ijiving one in all things and 
all things in one, none can find themselves excluded from the 
universal meeting. "Those drunken with this wine, filled with the 
nectar, all their soul penetrated by this beauty cannot remain 
mere gazers; no longer is there a spectator outside gazing on an 
outside spectacle. Tbe dear-eyed hold the vision within them¬ 
selves (Plotinus, V, viii, lo). In the peace of the Eternal World 
the dear-eyed gaze beyond its beauty to the Peace whose Love 
impartibly unites them. "Tranquil in the fullness of glory"; "lapped 
in pure light"; "all good and beauty, and everlasting"; the World 
the Eternal Creature folds in peace is, with its Self, for ever 
"centred in Tlie One, and painted towards It . . . never straving 
from It" (Plotinus, III. vii, 6). 

As the empirical mind is but the passing shadow of the mere 
actual rational Self, so is the rational Self in its turn an unreal 

' Eckhart (irwis. E, Otto, Af.E.U'., p. 6i), 



Self nntil, "her separate essence completely dissolved" (Eckbart^, 
she can say of herself "That art Thoa,” The mystic self of man 
hovers uncertainly between the rational Self and the divine. 
Falling from “the lap of the Godhead" into the world of "reason/' 
he wonders how "after that sojourn in the divToe , ,, it happens 
that 1 can now be deseeding, and how did the soul ever enter 
my body, the soul which, even within the body, is the high thing 
it has shown itself to be" (Plotinus, IV, viii, I). But. "like a vase 
from which has been taken a precious ointment, yet in which the 
perfume long remains" (Suse), the earthly mystic stiil remembers 
what he was—and would still be what he remembers. In the 
strange grasp of Avidya the mystic strains towards that Self 
which, lost for a while to him in the world, yet lives eternally in 

“From noD-being lead me to Being. 

From darkness lead me to Light. 

From death lead me to Deathlessness" . . 

* Vpimifhad R, Otto, M,E, p, m). 






fli tbe UduBnity, Cokutu, IihILj. 

In C/tatnbers*s Tecknical Dicticitary, sdencie has been defined 
as "the ordered arrangement of ascertained knowledge including 
the methods by which such knowledge is extended and the criteria 
by which its truth is tested/' The older term ‘‘natural philosophy" 
implied the contemplation of natural processes in themselves, but 
modem science includes such study and control of Nature as is or 
might be useful to mankind and even proposes control of the 
destiny of man himself. Speculative science is that branch of 
science which suggests hypotheses and theories and deduces 
critical tests whereby unco-ordinated observ'ations and properly 
ascertained facts may be brought into the body of science proper. 

Philosophy in its widest sense means "the explanation of any 
set of phenomena by reference to its determining principles 
whether practical, causal or logical." Any theory' or reasoned 
doctrine in this sense may be called ‘^philosophy,” and "natural 
philosophy" would be "physics.” But sometimes it is used with a 
clear ethical implication—as the piower and the habit of referriirg 
all events and ^cial facts to some general principle and of 
behaving in the light of this reference. It thus means the working 
theory of things as exhibited in conduct. Thus, we say: "Even in 
misery he uses his philosophy," It means that the person has 
in his mind a reference to certain general principles which enables 
him to endure and suffer calmly what w'ould otherwise excite 
emotional disturbance. 

In another sense, "philosophy" means "an account of the 
fundamentally real so far as from its consideration laws and truths 
itiay be derived appl}dng to all facts and phenomena.’’ In this 
^nse, ’’philosophy" is called metapb>'sics. The word "phiioaophy" 
IS also used to denote a theory of truth, reality or experience 



taken as an organized whole and so giving rise to general prin- 
dples which unite the various branches or parts of experience 
into a coherent unity. Gathering together the various dements 
which constitute the coiuiotation of philosophy it may be defined 
as a theory of a subject-matter taken as a whole or organized 
unity containing principles which bind together a variety of 
particular truths and facts, and requiring a certain harmony of 
theory' and practice.* Philosophy has also been defined as a 
rationalization of experieniCe taken comprehensively in its totality. 

II we compare the definition of science as given above with 
that of philosophy, it will be noticed that there is essentially but 
little difference between the two, except that the word "philo¬ 
sophy"' is often associated with the enquiry regarding the ultimate 
nature of the wwld In its aspect of reality and unreality, whereas 
the word "science"' is conventionally confined to the study of the 
aspects of physical phenomena and the nature of their coherence. 
Physical phenomena are often susceptible of being accurately 
measured. But in the study of science we do not merely take 
account of the dements that can be measured, but also elements 
that carmot be measured. Thus when a chemist says that dilorine 
is a yellow' gas of pungent odour, the character of ydlowTiess, 
Of that of the pungent odour, cannot be measured. Again, w^hen 
we note the different shad^ of colour and associate them with 
vibrations of different wave-lengths* the nature of the different 
colours and their shades cannot be measured in any accurate 
sense. As a matter of fact, the sense^quabties as such, particularly 
the secondary sense-qualities of colour, taste, touch, scent and 
audition, cannot be measured wdth any degree of accuracy. But 
yet our sensc~obser\'ation is a fundamental mstrument for the 
study of science. 

Philosophy aims to ground itself not only on sense^>bservations 
and reasoning, as science does, but it proposes to collect its data 
from the mental world as w'elJ, vis. our ideals and aspiratiozUi, 
pleasure and pain, our sense of good and bad^ our faith and, on 
the whole, the totality of man in his relation to Nature and some¬ 
times to something beyond them both, which may be required as 
a fundamental assumption for the explanation of the two series 
of facts. It also includes within its pursdew the biological facts of 
life in its relation to its phj^ical basis on the one hand and its 
fulfilment in the case of a ci^'ibzed man in a cultural society along 

^ Sw BaJdwiti'K of Fhi pp. 190-1^ [ . 



tvitli the niultitude of soctEd facts that {letemiLnc the character of 
man and his destiny^ While consistency and coherence is its soul 
as an enquiry into the nature of truth, it may often have a prac¬ 
tical bearing. The practical bearing or the pragmatic side of 
philosophy involves a co-ordination of such conduct, and the 
maintenance of such perspectives as are consistent with the 
philosophical view that one may hold regarding the relation that 
one has with regard to Nature and the society of man. Thus, 
though its scope is much wider, and at the same time, though its 
data cannot often be measurable, yet it is an ordered arrangement 
of ascertained knowledge including the methods by which such 
knowledge is extended and it does involve the determination of 
criteria by which its truth is tested. It also involves, as has al¬ 
ready been said, a pragmatic reference with regard to man's 
relation to his environment and it is not indifferent to the attain¬ 
ment of one's higher aspirations. Like speculative science it 
suggests hypotheses and theories and tries to deduce, though 
sometimes rather vaguely, critical tests whereby unco-ordinated 
observations and properly ascertained facts may be brought 
together into harmony. The vagueness is due to the fact that most 
of the data of philosophy, on account of the verj'^ wideness of its 
scope of generalization, are not capable of being measured. Both 
.science and philosophy, however, have to start from common- 
sense knowledge that is derivable from sense-experience. Since 
science is engaged in the study of the physical appearances of 
things, it is often claimed that it is more haimonious and more in 
consonance with common-sense knowledge than philosophy. Thus, 
for instance, most systems of idealistic philosophy would regard 
the common-sense w'orld as being, in some sense, illusocy, while 
vve have a normal predilection to think that science preserves for 
us our experience of the common-sense world as tangible and 

Let us dig a little more on this point. In our naive common- 
sense view we think of matter as possessing certain attributes 
such as colour and sound w hich wre directly perceive. But in the 
seventeenth century the theories of light and sound gave a rude 
shock to our common-sense view of substance and attributes. A 
scientist would tell us that the rose is not red, but that it trans¬ 
mits something into our eyes, some waves or minute particles, 
and it is for that reason that we see colours. But science cannot 
deny that it cannot give us a coherent account of perception of 



sense-qualities without dragging in the relation of mind about 
which latter entity science is precluded by its selective study 
from making any investigation. No scientist can assert anything 
regarding the existence of mind , and this entity is not observable 
either by senses or by any of the scientific instruments. Among 
philosophers also there is a divergence of opinion regarding the 
existence of mind as an entity, and the present writer does not 
believe in the existence of mind or soul as substantia! entities. It 
is therefore illegitimate for science to postulate the existence of 
mind or the intepretation of the phenomena of experience^ In the 
philosophy of natural sdence no doctrine of any metaphysical 
import invol\dng any explanation of the "^how" and "why" of 
thought and sense-awareness, is to be sought beyond Nature. 
Sdence is not metaphysics, and any enquiry into reality involving 
the perceiver and the perceived, is beyond its scope. 

Before proceeding further in the discussion I wish to explain 
the meaning of two terms which I may have to use in course of 
this discussion: (i) sense-data—colours, sounds, scents, etc.* as 
they objectively exist outside of us as revealed in the common- 
sense perception, and f2) sense-awareness, meaning our internal 
and subjective knowledge of these sense-data. We start with the 
postulate that m dealing with physical science we cannot coun¬ 
tenance any theory of psychic additions to the objects known in 
perception, such as the green grass. A theory of psychic additions 
would not hold that there are outside us the green grass^ the 
w^hite flower and the like. On the contrary, it would hold that 
"green" and "w'hite" are mental additions and what exist outside 
arc the molecules^ the atoms and the electrons. But as a rule the 
scientists indulge in the spUttiog up of Nature into tw'o domains, 
the domain of physical existence consisting of energy units or 
energy waves, and the domain of psydiic existence consisting of 
our sense-awareness: and it implicitly denies the real existence, 
outside of us, of the sense-data. What is given to the scientist is 
the element of sense-awareness. From thb science passes on to 
afhrm the reality of entities of an entirely different order, such as 
molecules, energy levels and the though it is unable to relate 
the order of sense-aivareness, i.e. the psychic order, to the physical 
order with which it proposes to deal. This divides Nature into two 
different orders, (i) as apprehended in aw'areness, and (^) as the 
cause of awareness, and the two are incommensurate with each 
other I for neither the theory of conservation of mass nor the theory 



of the conseivatioa of enaigy can explain their causal identity. 
No doctrine of causal transformation can explaiif the induence on 
the alien mind whereby perception of ''redness" or "warmth” 
can be explain!^. We cannot explain why tbere is knowledge. 
The causal emiiiiry into the nature of knowledge is a inetaph3?sical 
chimera. It is extremely difficult to connect in terms of any 
inte^gible relation the sense-awareness of "warmth” and "red¬ 
ness of the fire and the agitated molecules of carbon and oxygon 
and their radiant energy in the various functionings of the material 
body. Until t^hese tw'o can be brought into one system of relations, 
we have a division of Nature into two worlds, of common-sense 
experience and the sciontiAc perspective, reducing everything into 
units of energy and their relations. 

Let us now sec how our ordinary notions of time and space can 
help us in the matter. It may be uiged that perceived redness of 
the fire and the W'aimth have definite relations in space and time 
with the molecules of the fire and the molecules of the body. We 
may take the absolute view of space and time. In this view, time 
is the ordered succession of durationless instants which are known 
to us as the relata in the serial relation which is the time^rdering 
relation, and the time^rdering relation is merely known to us as 
relating the instants. This time is known to us independently of 
any events in time. What happens in time occupies time. The 
relation of events to time occupied is a fundamental relation of 
Nature to time. We are aware of two fundamental relations, the 
time^rdering relation between instants and the time-occupation 
relation between instants of time and states of Nature which 
happen at those instants. Our thoughts are in time and so also are 
the events of Nature. Each instant is irrevocable. It can never 
recur owing to the very nature of time. But if, on the relative 
theory,', an instant of time is simply a state of Nature at that time 
and the time-ordering relation is only the relation between such 
states, then irrevocableness of time would seem to mean that an 
^tual state of Nature can never repeat itself. This may be very 
likely the case but it cannot be demonstrated by proof, and thus 
such an irrevocableness of time would also be undemonstrable. 
But in the former case the irrevocableness of time is regarded as a 
character of time. 

In the absolute theory of spyace, space is a system of exten- 
^onJess points w'hich are the relata in space-ordering relations. 
The a.\ioms of geometry deal with the essential logical charac- 



teristics of this relation from which the property of space follows. 
V\Tiat happens in space occupies space, and this is true as much 
of an event as of objects^ We have here also two fundamental 
relation5p the space-ordering and the space-occupying relation. 
But space does not extend beyond Nature in the sense in which 
time does. Our thoughts seem to be in time but not in space. We 
cannot talk of a thought as occupying so many cubic feet or cubic 
incheSn The Lrrevocableness of time has no parallel in space* 
Jloreover* we do not seem to have any knowledge of bare space 
as a sj^tem of entities known to us in and for itself independently 
of our knowledge of the events of Nature. Space thus seems to be 
an abstraction of a particular type of unique relation prevailing 
among natural objects. 

It may appear now that the cleavage that was brought about 
between our experience of the common-sense world and the w'orld 
of science* may somehow be bridged over. The tw^o worlds may be 
supposed to occupy the same space and the same time* We may 
consider that the causal molecular events occupy certain periods 
of the absolute time and space and that these molecular events 
influence the mind which thereupon perceives certain colours, 
sounds, etc.p and this perception occupies periods of time and 
positions of space. Hallucinations occur when there are certain 
perceptions occupying periods of time and positions of space 
without the influence of the causal molecular events rc!e\^t for 
producing such perceptions. 

Here we are trying to explain the "why"' of knowledge, inO. the 
cause of knowledge^ and not the "what"" or the character of the 
thing known. It is also assumed that we can know time in itself 
apart from the events related in time and also know space apart 
from events related in it. A question may further be raised: why 
causal nature should occupy time and space, why the cause that 
influences the mind to perceive certain characters, should have 
the character of the objects or events of Nature, Or, in other 
words, it raises the important question as to whether the influence 
of Nature on the mind should itself be a natural event of which 
we affirm time and space. Whtit does the physicist know about the 
mind that con lead him to infer that it can be influenced to pro¬ 
duce particular effects of a spatio-temporal order? Our thoughts 
may occupy time but the thoughts are not mind. We never per¬ 
ceive that our mind is occupying particular periods of time. In 
any case, even thoughts do not occupy space. Under the circum- 



Stances, how can it be supposed that the iniltence transmitted by 
the spatio-temporal molecular events to the molGctilar structure 
of the body, can lead the body to exert a spatio-temporal influence 
on mind which is neither in time nor in space f 
Science may be supposed to be engaged in discovering the 
character of apparent Nature or Nature given in perceptual 
knowledge, and m doing so it tries to unravel the complex rela¬ 
tions between certain energy levels or energy units or molecules 
or atoms, which, given the body and the mind in working order, 
invanably precede certain types of perception. But it cannot be 
urged again and it cannot be demonstrated that the perception of 
colour or the sense-awareness of colour as occupying a particular 
space and time, is exactly the same as the space and time in 
which the molecular events had occurred in the physical world, 
rais short analysis tends to show* that the world of space and 
time as revealed in common perceptual experience, cannot be 
demonstrated to be the same in which the invariable antecedents 
as the intramolecular or the Intra-atomic events take place in the 
physical world. 

The apparent Nature or Nature as wie perceive, appears to be 
l*e a dream and the apparent relations of space are dream rela¬ 
tions. The supposed causal events in the physical world belong to 
a causd space w'hich has a different order of reality from the space 
of ordinary perception. It is thus impossible to demonstrate thai- 
the molecules of the grass exist in any determinate spatial relation 
t«y he place occupied by the grass we see. Thus, from a wholly 
1 erent order of reality as given in sense-awareness occurring 
probably in a spaceless, timeless manner or in an order of time 
and space of a imique character, the scientist draw's his conclusions 
about an entirely different order of intra-molecular or intra- 
atomic activity in an entirely different order of time and space, of 
which we have neither any direct knowledge and which is not 
inferable either; for all inference assumes a known relation in a 
system of relations, of a commensurate character. Science tells us 
that It only can the discovery of truth and that common- 
sense perception is false. If that is so, how can science claim to 
pass from this falsehood of common-sense perception, which alone 
IS given to the scientist, to the discovery of truth ? From the nature 
of the case there cannot be any instance in which scientifle obser¬ 
vations can be made with the perfect elimination of all sense 
knowledge. Vet in this way alone could we have determined the 




Structure of falsehood as enveloping the kernel of truth. Even if it 
be assumed that the molecules and atoms of science are purely of 
a conceptual nature and that there ate no such entities in Nature, 
it would he diffi cult to say how any proposition of science can be 
applied to Nature. We thus see that in producing a split between 
the world given in our sense^perception and the world given in 
science, science has succeeded, in giving us a system of illusions 
having coherence in themselves even as the most extreme idealists, 
the pnopounders of fluiya, would do. But it cannot claim to have 
advanced far in the direction towards the discovery of truth as 
establishing a valid system of relations between the data of 
knowledge and the knowledge acquired, 

The definition of science quoted by us that *Tt means the 
ordered arrangement of ascertained knowledge including the 
methods by ivhich such knowledge is extended and the criteria by 
which its truth is tested," thus falls to the ground. It is, no doubt, 
an ordered arrangement but it has no ascertained knowledge. It 
can, indeed, apply methods by which such knowledge as it pos¬ 
sesses can be extended, but as it fails to combine its knowledge in 
a system of relations, spatio-temporal or otherwise, with the 
actuall}' observed facts, it lacks coherence and therefore the 
knowle^e it gives is only a s^'stem of illusions. It can apply no 
ottpr criteria of truth than what is available within its own S3^tem 
of relations. It is, no doubt, true that in some cases it may, to 
some extent, indicate certain relations that it has with observ'ed 
facts, but it can seldom do it w'ith any degree of accuracy or pre¬ 
ciseness for the simple reason of the indemonstiableness of the 
spatio-temporal structure of the tw’o orders and also because of 
the fact that sense<haractcrs are not measurable with any degree 
of accuracy. 

The scope of the paper is indeed hmited. and it is impossible for 
me to treat the question of tbe character of scientific knowledge in 
further detad from various points of view. But still, I may 
cursorily make certain observations. Science is suppose to deal 
with matter and energy. Referring to the previously mentioned 
technical dictionary, 1 find that matter is defined as "the sub¬ 
stances of which the physical universe is composed." Matter is 
characterized by gravitational properties and by indcstructibiUty 
under normal conditions. Mass is de^ed as " the quantity of matter 
in a body," and is also regarded as equivalent of inertia or the 
resistance offered by a body to changes of motion (i,e. acceleration}, 



Energy is defined as "the capacity of a body for doing work." 
Mechanical energy is called ^tential energy by virtue of the posi¬ 
tion of a body and it is Idnetic energy by virtue of its motion . Both 
mechanical and electrical energy can be converted into heat, 
which is regarded as another form of energy. Electricity is defined 
as "the manifestation of a form of energy believed to be due to 
the separation or movement of certain constituent parts of an atom 
known as electrons," Velocity is "the rate of change of position or 
rate of displacement expressed in feet or centimetres per second." 
Velocity is a vector quantity, i.e. "for its complete speciheation, 
its direction as well as magnitude must be stated." 

After these definitions, we proceed to take a ramble in the 
domain of speculative science, The definition of matter as sub¬ 
stance carries us nowhere until we know what is the nature of 
subst^ce. 1 am not aware if physics has in any place tried to dig 
deep into the concept of substance. But at any rate, we find from 
^e definition that matter is the substance of which the universe 
is made. Yet in the ultimate analysis w-e arc told that the ultimate 
constructive elements of which the electrons are manifestations, are 
themselves non-material waves, Thus in giving an account of the 
ultimate matter-waves, it has been said; "One thing is certain. It 
cannot be any kind of matter that is vibrating, for the corpuscles of 
matter, the electrons, are actually constituted out of waves in 
some other natural inedium." Schrodinger assumes that the 
waves measure by their strength the densit}' of the electric charge 
possessed by matter and electron. This charge is, therefore, tio 
longer to be imagined as concentrated in the body of the electron, 
but rather as distributed over the whole wave-structure which is 
extended without limit but falls off rapidly as we go from the 
electron like the sand on the vibrating place. . . . We no longer 
have cxirpuscles—they are now resolved into a "charged cloud.” 
The electron, regarded as a negative charge, had alreadydemateriat- 
ized itself into a form of energy. It b not a charged particle but a 
unit of negative charge. Now, we are told that the electron is 
properly manifested by certain waves at the point in which the 
charge is the densest. Yet it is definitely asserted that these waves 
are not w-aves of matter. It is said that they are waves in some 
other meditim. But what is that medium? Throughout the whole 
couise of physics we have been talking of matter and energy, but 
all of a sudden we begin to talk of waves in some other medium, 
but we do not know of any other medium. Energy has been 



dcfmed as a capadt3" of matter to do work. With the reduction of 
matter into otiergy as electrons the capacity of a substance be¬ 
comes identical with substance, which is contradictory. It ^dr- 
tually amounts to a complete sacriflee of the doctrine of sub¬ 
stance. Again, capacity is an abstract quality, and if this is so 
bow can this abstract quality be regarded as concrete energy 
having particular stnicttiral forms^ and how can wo conceive of 
fion-mentaJ structural forms which are devoid of matter? With the 
demolition of the doctrine of substance, the definition of mass as 
quantity of matter also falls to the ground. Yet we are told that 
in the presence of mass there is a contortion in space in four 
dimensions. As a matter of fact, we hear the phj^dsts talking of 
dimensionSp or as many dimensions as they please. But what 
relations have these dimensions to the space that is obsen^able by 
us? Surely, this multi-dimensional space must be entirely different 
from the space that we know. I f that is so, by what right ajid by 
what stretch of extreme imagination can we call that multi¬ 
dimensional X space space at all? It may be true that by tensor 
calculations one can reduce the structural qualities of any- 
dimensional space to any other dimension. But what guarantee is 
there that imaginarj' mathematics, consisting of transforma¬ 
tions and computations, leads us to the same order of reality? It 
is true that the physical order of reality can be referred to in the 
mental order in terms of thoughts and images. But do they belong to 
the same order ? One may dream in a mutilated manner of one's past 
ejqjeriences and inhibitions, and the psycho-analysts tell us that 
there is a definite law according to which our inhibited experiences 
of the past are transformed into dreams. They further tell us that 
this law is so definite that through the indication of dreams one 
may decipher inhibited past experiences and thereby treat suc¬ 
cessfully patients suffering from mental derangements. But can 
we on that ground identify the dreams with the actual experience 
as belonging to the same oitier? Again, if space means an^iiliing 
it means an unalterable series of proximate points extending in 
ail directions, and if this be the notion of space, the notion that 
space is something that can suffer real contortion must be wholly 
unintelligible to us. Our ordinary perception makes it quite clear to 
us that space is entirely different from time^ and if this time be 
regarded as a dimension of space, surely we are not talking in any 
common-sense manner. It may be argued that, sense or nonsense, 
we can work it out in terms of mathematical relations. I shall 



certainly bow down my head to the great majesty of that science, 
but I should be quite unable to harmonize that mathematical 
world with the world that is given to us in our common-sense 
experience. It is not enough to say that the common-sense world 
bears some relation to this mathematical world, as even a ghost 
would bear a relation to human beings, but all the same I cannot 
help feeling that a ghost is ghostly and not human. 

The determination of veltxtity and position has been for long 
deemed one of the most important functions of physics. But 
however accurately It may do so in the sphere of big "bodies, it 
^not do so satisfactorily in the case of electrons. This incapacity 
is not Such that \^ith better instruments it may ner'er be hoped 
that it might be done, but the physicists have given up all hope in 
this direction and Nature has declared her line of halt. This forms, 
on the one hand, the foundation of the quantum theorj'^ and on 
the other hand has led to the formulation of the \^’ave theory. 
Cla^ical physics wns wrong in believing that bodies existed to 
which definite %^ijes of energy, and hence impulse and velocity, 
could be ascribed, without at the same time the position in which, 
and length of time for which they were under obsen^at bn, being 
known. This is not true in the small dimensions given by Planck's 
constant /l On the contrary, the quantities named are alsvays 
knowm inaccurately. If we increase the accuracy in one direction, 
the inaccuracy in other directions is increased. So both are known 
only inaccurately. This uncertainty principle has led the present- 
day scientists to advance the picture of the ultimate constituHon 
of electrons by the hypothesis of waves. The elementary^ quantum 
of action h is now seen to be the measure of the ultimate accuracy 
with which measurements in space and time,, of cnergj^ impulse 
^d velocity can be made. It sets us a limit in principle to the 
mutually consistent application of these conceptSn Physicists had 
^ long been innocent enough to believe that these concepts were 
valid Qveiywh^t^ in the world without restriction. They were 
imbued with a preconceived idea that the concepts of the ordinary 
physics w'ere universal. 

All that we have said does not mean that science is a fairy-tale. 
It only means that the investigations of sdenoe aim at determinmg 
truths of a particular order which are neither universal in all their 
aspects nor compatible with the knowledge that may be gained 
from other sources or from other types ol studies and investiga¬ 



Science shares with other studies its incapacity not merely oi a 
temporary' nature but aflecting the grounds of any hopes oi 
delving deeper into the mysteries of its oViTi order oi truth. As in 
the case of other studies, so here aiso in science we have been 
able to discover the limits which Nature has set to extending the 
bounds of our knowledge. It has further been claimed on behalf of 
science that it is independent and does not depend upon concep¬ 
tions that may be formulated in other branches of the study, say. 
religion and philosophy. We shall now examine this claim as 
briefly as we can. 

We shall not try to distinguish in what we say. any difference 
between what may be the ideal verdict of science and the slat^ 
ment of great scientists. Jeans, in his work Tfttf Mysterious Uni¬ 
verse, first tries to rouse terror and awe in us by gi^Tug us a picture 
of the mightiness of the universe, and then says: "If, how'ever, we 
every trace of anthropomorphism from our minds, there 
remains no reason for supposing that the present laws were 
specially selected in order to produce Ufe. They are just as Ukdy. 
for instance, to have been selected in order to produce magnetism 
or radio-activity—indeed more likely, since to all appearances 
physics plays an incomparably greater part in the universe than 
biology. Viewed strictly from a material standpoint, the utter 
insignificance of life would seem to go far towards dispelling any 
idea that it forms a special interest of the Great Architect of the 
universe." The contradiction in the above passage is obvious even 
to a cursory reading* On the one hand, Jeans dismisses every 
trace of anthropomorphism, and on the other band he speaks of a 
Great Architect as having selected certain physical laws for the 
occurrence and possibility of the happening of other phyacal 
laiYs, such as magnetism, etc. Agam, Eddington seems to believe 
in a strange anthropomorphic female Nature whose relation to 
God or to the Universal mind he never seems squarely to face. 
Thus he says in bis Scietree and the Unseen IVoridi "Looking back 
over the geological record it would seem that Nature made nearly 
every possible mistake before ^e reached her greatest achieve¬ 
ment—man. . . . At last she tried a being of no ^at size, almost 
defenceless, defective in at least one of the most important sense- 
organs. One gift she bestowed to save him from threatened ex¬ 
tinction—a certain stirring, a restlessness in the organ called 
brain, and so we come to man," Again, in discussing the indeter¬ 
minacy and the quantum theories he obscures the discussion 



when he says: “Future te not predetenmirted and Nature has no 
need to protect herself from giving away plans which she has not 
yet made." The anthropomorphiG tendency is clear and obvious, 
Jeans definitely offers us an arguniient for the existence of God and 
for the spiritual nature of the universe drawn from the present 
stage of physics. He gives the following quotation from Berkeley, 
an idealistic philosopher: "All the choir of heaven and furniture of 
earth, in a word, all those hwlies which compose the mighty frame 
of the world, have not any substance without the mind, ... So 
long as they are not actually perodved by me, or do not exist in 
my mind or that of any other created spirit, they must either 
have no existence at all or else subsist in the mind of some eternal 
spirit.” After this quotation, Jeans says: "Itfodem science seems 
to me to lead by a very different road to a not altogether dis¬ 
similar conclusion," In another place Jeans says: “We cannot 
claim to have discerned more than a very faint glimmer of light 
at the best ; perhaps it w'as wholly illusory, for certainly we had 
to strain our eyes very hard to see anjrthing at all," Eddington 
also sa37s in I'he NatUT'e of th^Physical World: "The idea of Uni¬ 
versal Mind or logos would be* I think, a fairly plausible inference 
from the present state of scientific theory." He immediately adds: 
"But if so, alJ that our enquiry justifies us in asserting is a purely 
colourless Pantheism. Science cannot tell whether the world spirit 
is good or evil and its halting argument for the existence of a God 
might equally well be turned into an argument for the existence 
of a Devil." 

Max Pianck, in the conclusion of his work The Philosophy of 
Physics, says: "It is only when we have planted our feet on the 
firm ground which can be won only with the help of the experience 
of the real life that we have a right to feel secure in suircndering 
to our belief in a philosophy of the world based upon a faith in the 
rational ordering of the world." 

1 do not wish any further to dilate upon this theme In this short 
paper* 1 vsdsh only to point out that some of those thinkers, at 
least, who have transcended the purely provincial limits of the 
study of the physical science have been forced to admit that it 
must have a bigger and broader aspect thiougb which it 
can affiliate itself with the other departments of knowledge, 
such as psychology, philosophy, religion and ethics. After all, the 
attempt of science is through a system of happy guesses, lu the 
words of Einstein, “Physical concepts arc free creations of the 


hiinnan mind, and not, however it may seem, uniquely deter¬ 
mined by the external world. In our endeavour to understand 
reality we are somewhat like a man trying to understand the 
mechanism of a dosed watch. He sees the face and the moving 
hands, even hears its ticking, but he has no way of opening the 
case. If he is ingenious he may form some picture of a mechanism 
which could be responsible for all the things he obsen cs, bat he 
may never be quite sure his picture is the only one which could 
explain his oh^rvations. He will never be able to compare his 
picture with the real mechanism and he cannot even imagine the 
possibility or the meaning of such a comparison. But he certainly 
believes that, as his knowledge increases, his picture of reality 
will become simpler and simpler and ’iviU explain a wider and 
wider range of his sensuous impressions. He may also believe in 
the existence of the ideal limit of knowledge and that it is ap¬ 
proached by the human mind. He may call this ideal limit the 
objective truth," 

In conclusion, I wish to aJhnn that though science and mathe¬ 
matics in their surprisingly new' achievements have discovered 
many new facts and relations in the world of Nature, yet they 
belong to a particular order and cannot be regarded as having 
any superior value to other branches of study. Their discoveries 
have tlieir limits and they have as much contradiction in their 
ovm order as the other branches of study have in their particular 
orders. Science neither attempts nor has showm any way by which 
all our experience can be brought together under one system of 
relations, such as the belief of the scientist in the rational nature 
of the world might lead us to expect. This simple faith of the 
sdentist so emphatically stressed by Max Planck that the 
real is the rational, is also the fundamental basis of philosophy 
and religion. Like a horse with daps on its eyes the scientist has 
been wending along an mterminable road until he meets obstruc¬ 
tions and turns to the right or to the left: but should he take his 
flaps off and look around, he could only then understand what a 
small area the traversing road is in the huge and broad landscape 
that lies all around him. Let the scientist remain satisfied in alt 
humility with the service that he has rendered in his own humble 




L-njxTTilty, C^untiddCD- 

The assertion is often made that Western thought observes 
the significance of the historical, but that Eastern thought 
does notn 

I propose to begin by examining this assertion, with aifdew to 
discovering its nature, and to ask and as far as possible to answer 
the foUomng questions- Is the assertion a correct one? if it is not, 
how did it come to be made?—Is it perhaps partially true?—Or 
has there ever been a time when it was not true? 

Plainly we must begin by considering our terms, WTiat is 
Eastern and what is Western? 

If Europe be merely a jagged peninsula projecting westward 
from Asia, then there is no such thing as "West"' this side of the 
Atlantic. Yet perhaps we may see some distinction within the 
massive land-block which runs from Spain to the Pacific sea¬ 
board of Asia, and say that if a line be drawn north and south 
through the Acgea.n ami Suez, east of the latter there is a different 
valuation of life from what one gets to the west of it. But even for 
this statement some modification may be demanded by critics. 
How far, they may say, is such difference as exists a permanent 
item, and how far is it due to timedag in diffusion? At the 
Durbar held in Delhi in 1905 some of the bauds of retainers 
brought to it by the rtUers of the princely states wore chain- 
^tmour, a form of protective mechanism discarded in Europe 
since the fourteenth century. Had Lord Mountbatten held a final 
Durbar^ it is safe to say that this feature would no longer have 
appeared p and probably by this time most of such private armies 
ns still exist have been mechanized. Child marriage has been 
stigmatized as characteristically Indian: yet it 'ms the accepted 
custom in aristocratic circles for centuries in Europe. Pope 
Clement VII personally assisted at the putting to bed of Henri III 
of France and Catherine de Medici, aged both of them about 14, 



with his benediction, and the m)iuiction: "Pa figidi&U:' Louis 
XIII and Anne of Austria were married when both under 13, 
nnfl the Infanta Anna-Maria Victoria married Louis XV w'hen she 
was 3. Then again, though worid-and-Jife-negation has been 
regarded as extremely prevalent throughout Asia, with large 
numbers of mendicant ascetics, hennits, and enclosed orders, there 
was a period, approximately between about 400 and 1500 a.d,, 
ivheu a similar world-and-life-uegation seemed widespread through¬ 
out Europe,* while h is clear that during a period extending from 
the first or second century of the Christian era to the end of the 
fifteenth century there was a strong and dear acceptance and 
affirmation of life throughout South-East Asia as well as in South 
India; while in China and Japan life-affirmation has been strong, 
exept in so far as it has been diminished by the spread of Budd¬ 
hism. Moreover, in Russia, the most Asiatic part of Europe, a 
largely monastic and world^renounciug form of Christianity has 
now been overshadowed by a new world-afliiming doctrine 
developed by a German Jew of the Rhineland during his sojourn 
as a refugee in London, while the new Indian Government is led 
by men and w omen many of whom bcheve in worid-affirmation- 
and-transformation to a degree which is hardly Upanishadic. 

It seems, therefore, that it will be wiser not to make sweeping 
statements about the abiding differences between East and West. 
If there is any difference which may depend on geography, it is 
more likely to occur as between equatorial and non-equatorial 
areas, since thinkers in the heat-belt may well have different ideas 
about the ^-alue of terrestrial life from those U\Tng in cold or 
temperate regions, and even they have often sought relief and 
solitude in high altitudes where the climate is bradng. The course I 
fthiiH therefore pursue in this paper will be first to investigate the 
actual facts about the various areas and sub-areas which exist 
iu the land-block betw'een the Atlantic and the Pacific, and in 
this particular case to study the facts regarding the valuation of 
the historical in those regions; and in doing so to consider whether 
as between different periods there has been any v'ariation in this 
respect, and whether an exact appreciation of true historical 
events has fluctuated, so that it has been stronger or weaker at 
different periods within the same area. 

< Medieval LpuhIoii had aji uich^ante or aachorcss fttt equn'aJent of a Sadhu) 
atudiod to practic^ly c\"cry oiia of its nutnemua paHsb clmrebca (almost one 
per atTMtJ, wert wmlled-in io an “ ankcrhold,” others itinerant. 



It would seem that there are three prerequisites for any 
valuation of the historical, though other considemticms determine 
how they are utilized or whether they are utilized at alL These 
prerequisites are folk-nimi0r>% keeping of records, and capacity 
to compare with one another the things that are remembered or 

It is probable that folk-memory is an extremely fragile and 
variable thing, and that in prehistoric and proto-historic times 
and among avowedly primitive peoples it hardly exists. Tradition 
under such conditions is a vague and uncertain possession. Child¬ 
ren, child-races, and people at a rudimentary stage of mental 
development have ver^^ short memories* But this h gradually felt 
to be a serious handicap in life, and indeed, in the struggle for 
existence, individuals of weak memory are likely to be bred out, 
while those with strong memories, wbo are able to record and 
profit by past experiences, will tend to multiply* At the same 
time elementary forms of memory-training tend to be resorted to, 
especially in matters relating to religious observ'ance. It becomes 
vitally important to say the right w^ords and to perform the 
correct ritual actions, and these must therefore be memorized and 
handed on with great care from generation to generation, both in 
regard to sacrifice and in riks passage, especially in puberty- 

There is one common element in aJl early societies, and that is 
the folk-tale. It may have been merely "pastime with good com¬ 
pany. In the west of Ireland the impromptu story-teller (so we 
are told) has stdl a very important part to play in socM life. 
Some of the stories related may be t^ditional ones, though the 
presentation is largely impromptu. All countries know this kind 
of story, told probably by the light of the fire, and a good substi¬ 
tute among illiterate peoples for the novelette and the dnema or 
radio-serial. Many hundreds of folk-tales have been collected in 
recent generations, such as those from the Pan^araiminlndiB., the 
Kiiiderund-Haus-M^rchen of the brothers Griinm. and the African 
folktales of Mrs. Baskerville. 

It cannot be said, however, that much significance Is attached 
in such tales to the course of events. They may be pleasing and 
perhaps not entirely improbable fictions, and sometimes they may 
be morally edifjrmg; but where they are not made up for purely 
recreational purposes, they are in many cases aetiological 

^ Tbt pbni^c b title of Henry ’nil's fajneus medrigvl. 



myths, perhaps at one time taken very seriously as accountii^ 
for certain observed physical facts, A human tendency^to compose 
such stories seems univ ersal, and it has its continuation in such 
Christian folk-tales as the one which explains "why the robin has 
a red-breast," and in the purely artificial fiction of the type of 
Mr. Rudyard Kipling's Juit So Stones, which are partly his own 
invention, partly adaptations of folk-tales which he picked up 
during his sopuiu in the East. 

Yet it is out of the folk tale that the more serious and dignified 
myth has developed, and mythology is, so to speak, the back¬ 
ground against which alleged true tales of gods and men can be 
set. Sxteh alleged true tales take shape either as epic poems {e.g. 
the Ramayana and the Northern European sagas) or as dramas 
(such as have been found in fragmentary condition among the 
Ras Shamra tablets, and a few early Egyptian pieces edited by 
Sethe, or after a more highly developed pattern in such Greek 
tn^edtes as the ProtneUtetis Bound of Aeschylus or the Bacchae 
of Euripides.) 

It would seem, however, that in certain specific areas a utili¬ 
tarian and indeed entirely humanistic development of calendars 
and records took place, and that where this happened the materials 
for what we may call selective and interpretative human hbtory 
came into existence. It is true that the care of such records was 
usually in the hands of a literate sacerdotal class which may have 
actually fostered the compilation of the records, but the interest 
does not seem to have been exclusively religious, and the frequent 
association of the royal palace with a temple makes it hard to 
draw the line between royal and ecclesiastical archives. We think 
naturally of the tablet records of the various Mesopotamian 
kingdoms, of the references to "chronicles” in Hebrew literatures 
of the "records of ancient matters” w'hich have been worked up 
into the Shinto literature of old Japan, and in China, of the B«»k 
of History and the multifarious records on which Ssu-ma Chieii 
and his father based their monumental work. 

We have still, however, not reached the stages of literary and 
intepretative historiography, and these arrive only very gradually, 
and are actuated by two distinct motives, political and religious. 
The former of these appears in the historical work of Thucydides, 
who "set himself to compose an accumte narrative of the two 
great warring pow'ers of the Athenian empire and the Pelopon¬ 
nesian confederacy, as a lesson in statesmanship for future gencra- 



tions/’* the latter preHeminently in the prophetic histories written 
by Hebrew di\dne3. it must be admitted frankly that in both 
cases there is a tendency to modify accounts of events in order to 
secure a better and more edifjdng result. History is '"written up" 
either to support a particular political theory or to drive home 
some moral or religious lesson^ and it is not always easy to see 
where religion ends and politics begin. Thucydides has been 
described as "'the noblest and austerest moralist who has ever 
^vritten histor>%"* and in the Chinese chronides moral interest h 
by no means lacking (witness the commentaries on the old 
chronicles). But oven in such interpretative writing about past 
events, there are at least two chief wa}^ in which the task may be 
carried out. (i) It may on the one hand be undertaken in order 
to elucidate if possible some general laws, according to which 
human affairs are directed, and in this case the individual counts 
for next to nothing, since history b simply the recurrence of 
similar cycles of events; or ( 2 ) it may be undertaken ydth a sense 
of the uniqueness of each individual and epoch. 

Now it b not unreasonable to say that the first of these two 
wajrs of approaching the record of successive e^^ents b, with cer¬ 
tain variations, common to both sections of our Euro-Asiatic 
land-block. It may not be so evident in China, but it b certainly 
present in the Hellenic and in the Indian ^worlds. Thus Brehier, 
expounding the views of Laberthonni^re,* ^ys: "The 
of the Greeks, b, as we might say, a world without a history, an 
eternal order in which time counts for nothing, whether bemuse 
it leaves that order alwaj^ self-identical, or because it produces a 
series of events which always reverts to the same point through 
an indefinite repetition of cyclical changes. Is not even the hbtory 
of mankind, according to Aristotle, a perpetual recurrerice of the 
same civilization?'' This b not very far removedTrom the outlook 
which from the Upanishadic age onward pen^ades Indian thought, 
and when we read the words of Lucretius, eadcni sunt 
scfnper^ and recall the cyclic pantheism of the Stoics, wc feel that 
we are in the same world of thought as that of the great 
dtfaita teacher Ramanuja, who speaks of Brahma emitting, sus¬ 
taining, and reabsorbing the universe, apparently with no special 
motive beyond the release of surplus energy. Even though it b 
reasonable to maintam that thb cyclic iiew of the course of 

* Tbis, And oil qDQtHLticiiis m&rbcd a|v tQ bq fqnml in Ptofessor A. E. 
Taykw'ft GiUbrU Lectura; Vgl, It, Cb, V|IT “The Ultimate TeaswTi." 



events is now most patently to be serai in the teachings of Hindus 
and Buddhists, it is capable of being transplanted into the Western 
world, and this is even now being attempted by Mr, Aldous 
Huxley.* Thus he \mtes. in his P^reHMiai Phitosophy: . the 

vast numbers of Buddhas and Bodhisattv'as of ’whom the Maha- 
yanist theologians speak, arc commensurate with the vastness of 
thcii cosmologj''. Time for them is beginningless, and the innumer¬ 
able universes, every one of them supporting sentient beings of 
every possible variety, are bom, evolve, decay and die, only to 
repeat the same cycle again and again, until the final incon¬ 
ceivably remote consummation ’u.'hen every sentient being in all 
the worlds shall have been won to deliverance out of time into 
eternal Suchness or Buddhahood. This cosmological background 
to Buddhism has affinities with the world picture of modem 
astronomy—especially that version of it offered in the lately 
published theory of Dr. Weizsacker regarding the formation of 
planets. If the Weizsacker hypothesis is correct, the production of 
a planetary system would be a normal episode in the life of eveiy 
star. There are forty thousand million stars in our OWTI galactic 
system alone, and bej’ond our galaxy other galaxies, indefinitely. 
If, as we have tvo choice but to believe* spiritual laws govenuug 
consciousness are uniiorm tbmughout the whole plane t-bearing 
and presumably life-supporting univer^. then there is plenty of 
roomp and at the same timep no doubts the most agonlring and 
desperate need, for those redemptive incarnations of suchness 
upon whose shining multitudes the Mahayanists love to dwell.” 
I have quoted Mr. Huxley at some length, because 1 think it is 
dear from this passage that even he cannot entirely avoid incon¬ 
sistency in his enthusiasm for the cydic aspect of Eastern thought. 
For him, too, there is a purpose in the snper-universe, namely the 
winning of every sentient being in all the worlds to Buddhahood. 
Mahay an a Buddhism is in fact a compromise between treating 
the course of events as significant and treating it as not so. As 
distinct from Hinayana Buddhism it has certain affinities with the 
Christian riew'-point* Nevertheless, Mn Huxley's attitude towards 
history is intended to be that of advaiia or at least 
Hinduism. He speaks of "unfortunate servitude to historic fact/' 
'"iddatrous preoccupation with events and things in time/^ and 
so on, and he quotes wdth approval the words of Ananda Coomara- 

* See Perenniaf pp. 63-4. It ia Iilso an dement in tiie work oi 

Arnold TpjutKe, to which. I &haJl lAter re/cr. 



swamy; "The ftlahayanist believer is warned—precisely as the 
worshipper of Krishna is warned (in the Vaishnavitc scriptures) 
that the Krishna Lila is not a history, but a process unfolded for 
ever in the heart of man—that matters of historical fact are with¬ 
out religious significance,” "except/' Huxley adds, "in so far as 
they point to or themselves constitute the means . , , by which 
men may come to deliverance from selfness and the temporal 

In spite of all this, within the geographical area which we are 
considering, a very different influence was at work, that of the 
Hebrew prophetic genius. The God of the Jew, as has been said, 
is not natural law, but the Lord of Law and the Lord of History, 
and Jewish belief regarding the relation of God to history, which 
began with the record of the episodes of the Covenant, the de¬ 
liverance from Egypt, and the giving of the Torah, passed on not 
only into its alleged climax, the Christian doctrine of the Incar¬ 
nation, but also into Islam with its teaching about the Furqan, 
the night of w'onder, and the Day of Judgment. Professor A. E. 
Taylor reminds ns tliat the kogiIlos of pre-Christian Greek tliought 
only became a really historical world under the influence of Chris¬ 
tianity and its ancestor Judaism, and that tliis permeation of 
Graeco-Homan civilization by a great positive religion is actuaUy 
the cause to which it is owed that European thought, unlike 
Indian, has become, as a whole, thoroughly historical. The eflocts 
of this are to be seen not only inside but outside the area of our 
special study. It is a matter of observed fact that wherever the 
Hebiaeo-Chi^tian doctrine about life has been diffused, it has 
carried with it this particular valuation of the course of events, as 
containing both continuous and discontinuous Divine activity. 

How this impressed a contemporary of tlie early Christians we 
may learn from the same essay of lit. Bretuer quoted above;* 
"This . . . [empha^ upon the reality of the sequence of events] 
was the outstanding peculiarity which impressed the first pagans 
who took Christianity seriously. What, for example, is the re¬ 
proach brought against them by CeLsus? That they worship a god 
who is not immutable, since he takes initiatives and decisions in 
order to meet circumstances, nor yet impassible, since he is 
touched by pity; that they believe in a kind of myth, that of the 
Christ, which not permit of an allegorical interpretation; in 
other words, it is presented as genuine history, and cannot be 
made into a s>Tnbol of physical law.” To quote Taylor again;* "It 



is in the end the Jews, to whom w<^re entrusted the orades of 
God," from whom the Christian comnaunity. and through it, the 
modem Western world (Romans iii. 2) has teamed to think his¬ 
torically, just because Judaism and Christianity are absolutely 
bound up %ith couvie tions about certain historical events as no 
system of philosophy is. We owe the tmtorkal sense, on which we 
sometimes pride ourselves,, to the very peculiarity of the Christian 
myth which disconcerted Celsus^ i.e. the impossibUity of subli¬ 
mating it into a symbol of ph>TsicaI law, to its incorrigible and 
unabashed concreteness/' This concreteness was not achieved 
entirely without a struggle. In the second generation of the 
Christian movement there was an earnest attempt on the part of 
some oriental believers who are usually called Gnostics to alie^^ 
gorize and spiritualize the plain story of the Scriptures, and to 
divest the Incarnation of God in Jesus of reality. Against this, 
writers like Bishop Ignatius of Antioch insist that the Incarnation 
was not a mere appearance or edifying mjrii, but that Jesus truly 
was bom, and iruly suffered; and it was declared false doctrine to 
say that he did not come in the fledi. Eventually it was found 
necessary to frame confessions of belief w^hich could be recited by 
intending disciples, in which the name of the Roman governor of 
Judaea >vas inserted, to show that the date of the Incarnation was 
known. The importance of the principle involved in this has been 
taken for granted so much that it may surprise some to read an 
extract from a well-known Oxford prof^or of political science in 
the nineteenth century. Sir Walter Raleigh: "It seems absurd to 
subordinate philosophy to certain historical events in Palestiiie— 
more and more absurd to me. I think. The ideas of Christianity are 
always interesting; but they are all to be found elsewhere and are 
not, it w'ould seem, the chief part of its attraction." Yet it is 
probably true that not a few in the West say much the same as 
Raleigh, though like him they have failed to see that if the attme- 
tion in Christianity lies not simply in its ideas but in the events 
with which they are connected, this tells us something which 
may just as easily be important as absurd^ and that in its apparent 
absurdity may lie precisely its importance. This b not necessarily 
the same thing as asserting that the specific Christian claim is truc^ 
but rather that the principle of an individual historical event or 
group of events having permanent cosmic signiEcance is one that 
is not hghtly to be overlooked. 

In any case, it is worthy of note that the development of philo* 



sophical studies of history hoA, as a matter of actual fact, only 
taken place within the sphere of European Christianity. It is true 
that some of these studies, like the Outline of Hisiory, by H. G. 
Wells, and the History of Europe^ by H. A. L. Fisher, have been 
in spirit twentieth-century positivist rather than Christian, while 
the works of Voltaire and Gibbon in the eighteenth century were 
perhaps on the borderline between Christianity and Deism, and 
the work of Spengler is romanticist rather than orthodox Chris¬ 
tian; but ail depend on the assumption that a survey and inter¬ 
pretation of terrestrial happenings is worth while, and that the 
personalities with whose fortunes those events are bound up are 
iu themselves of some signiheance as well. The more recent work 
of Arnold Toynbee, though theoretically neutral, and not written 
with any special Christian bias, is nevertheless the product of the 
same assumption. It seems unlikely that similar works would be 
preduced by Hindus or Buddhists, nor is Pandit Nehru's book^ 
Th^ Disoovifry of hktia, a fair example of such a book, since 
Nehru^s own training is strongly European. On the other hand, a 
Jew or a Moslem might produce a philosophical history, also a 
Chinese, if he were a Confucian; and so might a Marxist. The 
conditions* therefore, would seem to be those created by ideology 
rather than race, or geographical situation. 

Yet as Sir Charles Eliot has remarked, Asiatic doctrine may 
commend itself to European minds, but it &ts awkwardly into 
European life. This is not so much due to race or geography* 
because, as 1 have already pointed out, there was plenty of world- 
and-life-negation in mediaeval Europe* and much mediaeval 
mysticism b oriental rather than Christian: it is due to the much 
greater permeation of Western Europe by the Homan interpreta¬ 
tion of Christianity, In modem England the strikingly original 
and independent mind ol Mr. F. Bradley has arrived at posi¬ 
tions almost identical with many to be found in the advuila, and 
his language and thought show strange resemblances to those of 
the Pedan/fl. Thus—in Appearance and Reality—-we find him 
saying: "The Absolute has no seasons^ but all at once bears its 
leaves, fruity and blossoms^ Like our globe it always, and it never* 
has summer and w'inter. . , - The Absolute has no history of its 
own, though it cont ains histories without number. » . , We may be 
content here to know that we cannot attribute any progress to the 
Absolute." Yet it is safe to say that this Absolute idealism has left 
untouched a very large part of English intellectual Life, where it • 




is still believed that time and progress are not "appearance/' but 
an indiscerptible part of Reality. On the other hand, one of the 
most penetrating intelligences ol Cambridge in recent decades, 
J. Ellis McTaggart.' disbelieved in the reality of time, and 
in the last few years the experimental work ol J, W. Dunne and 
others on the phenomena of precognition has introduced a new 
and perplexing problem to those who had hitherto believed that 
successiveness was due to a real indeterminacy in future events, 
so-called, and that apart from inierential reasoning, whether 
extended or truncated, no forecast of such events was possible. 

In the Western section of our land-block, nevertheless, it has 
certainly been the case for very many generations that the 
scrutiny of history has been regarded as a legitimate and profitable 
study, even though here and there sceptical voices have been 
raised, such as that of Sir Robert Walpole, who when on a sick 
bed said: "Don't read me history. I know that can't be tmel'' and 
even though scandalous examples of the distortion of history in 
text-books have been recorded from Nazi Germany. The devalu¬ 
ation of historical studies is still more marked in Hindu and 
Buddhist areas, though as we shall see. a change of emphasis is 
gradually developing. 

Some light is thrown upon this matter by a brief analysis of the 
studies of Asiatic students in the University of Cambridge be¬ 
tween the years 1900 and 1909, a period when the Historical 
Tripos was reaching the height of its popularity. During that 
time the two Regius Professors were successively Lord Acton, an 
eminent Roman Catholic, and J. B. Bur^', an Irish rationalist. 
The age was one in which the scientific analysis of original docu¬ 
ments was at its height, and exactitude in the elucidation of 
actual events was regarded as the main business of a historian. 
1 give here the analysis, and also the approximate numbers, of 
Indian students matriculating each year. From these figures it 
will be seen that while, no doubt, a considerable number of such 
Students were engaged in vocational training for the Civil Servire, 
thofle who read for a tripos were more inclined to choose law or 
mathematics, while of the two who during the period under 
scrutiny took first-dass honours in history, one was certainly a 

< It is difficult to know bow far Bradley and McTagg^ owed somcUusg of 

tliHir viewpoint U> cnlturc-coatadt with India, via tbq Otnnaias. 

any cfla* fflty have heen iiwicbt^ to PfofeMor S. N. Das Gupta, i friepd aita 

foriDeF pQpiJ of hlA. 



Christian p while it is probable that the other had been at a Chris¬ 
tian college prior to his coming to England. 

This absence of interest in the study of history is not due, we 
may infer, to lack of principle, but to the actual logical exercise 
of principle, and to a faithfulness to cultural tiaditioii. 


In the period igoi to rgro, during which the Historical Tripos 
was greatly increasing in popularity among British students^ the 
proportion of Indian students was as foUows:— 

igoip In Part I, one out of 47, and he a first class. 

In Part II, two out of 4^. 

1902, In Part I, two out of to, one of these a Christian, also a 

first class. 

In Part II, none out of 4r, 

1903, In Part I, one out of 45, 

In Part IL two out of 49, comprising one Christian and 
one Moslem, 

1904, In Part I, one out of 76. There were also two other Asiatics, 

a Japanese and a Siamese, The Indian took a first class. 
In Part 11 , none out of 37. 

1905, In Part I. none out of 71* 

1906, In Part I* a similar result^ though in the same year the 

Senior Wrangler was an Indian, and there were five 
other Indians in the Mathematical Tripos. 

1907, Only two Indians m the Historical Tripos, against ten in 

the Law Tripos* 

1908, In Part I, one Indian out of 114, and he a Moslem, 

In Part II, none, 

1909, In Part I, none out of loS, 

In Part II, one out of SS- 

1910, In Part 1 , two out of 125* 

It is, of course, true that a good many Indians came to Cam¬ 
bridge during these years for purely vocational training, and of 
these we have no simiiar record, as to their choice of subjects—if, 
indeed, their examinations left them free to choose; but tutors 
whom I have consulted ^y that this preference for studies other 
than historical is still, as in earlier decades^ a marked feature of 
the Indian student. 



The niimbci of Indian students matricidatuig during the above 
years is approximately as follows:— 

Eight, plus 38 doing vocational training. 

1902. Nine, plus 20 doing vocational training. 

1903. Ten, plus 17 doing vocational training. 

1904. Fourteen, plus 14 doing vocational training. 

1905. Fifteen, plus 14 doing vocational training. 

T90G. Thirteen, plus 17, (This was Jawaharlal Nehru’s year of 

1907, Twenty-seven, plus 12 doing vocational training. 

190S. Twenty-seven, plus 19 doing vocational training. 

1909. Thirty-one, plus 11. 

It is of some interest to cewnpare with these figures the avail¬ 
able statistics of Indian and other Eastern Universititt having a 
department of historical studies with a Chair m the subject. (The 
dates of the respective foundations of these Umversities. where 
ascertainable, are given in brackets] : — 

Only two Universities are listed as not possessing such a depart¬ 
ment, to wit Agra, on W'hich the information is dubious, and 
Benares {191G) which is explicitly described os "a Hindu Uni¬ 
versity." Aligarh, as a Moslem institution, has an Indian Moslem 

Allahabad has two professors. 

Andhra (1926) has a staff of 4. 

Annamalai, a staff of 5. 

Bombay {1857), an old University, has a department "for 
research in history." 

Calcutta (1857) has two Indian profi^sors, Hindu and Moslem. 
Dacca (1921) two professors, Hindu and Moslem. 

Delhi (1922) two professors, Hindu and Moslem, and a staff of 

Lucknow (i92r) two professors, Hindu and Moslem. . 

Madras {1857) an Indian professor. 

Mj/sore (1916) an Indian professor. 

Nagpur (1923) an Indian profesor. 

Osmania-Hyderabad a Moslem professor. 

Panjab-Lahore (1882) an Indian professor. 

Travancore (1937) an Indian profeKOr, 

Cuttack-Orissa an Indian professes. 

Patna (1917): the subsidiary coUeges have teachers in history, 



It would appear that the Universities founded immediately 
after the rising of 1S57 were planned on European lines, and 
consequently provided viiih faculties of history; but the gap 
between these foundations and the twentieth-century ones is a 
long one, and it may be taken that the large number of Univer¬ 
sities founded since igcxi points to an interest on the part of the 
nationalists in higher education, and to a general desire to have 
the students trained in their home countIt is, therefore^ ex¬ 
tremely interesting to note that of ten Universities established in 
India since igoo, only one, which is explicitly a Hindu mstitution, 
has not a faculty of history (and my information here may not 
be up to date). Of cour^, this does not tell us very much. We have 
no figures available as to how many students per annum read 
history in these nine Universities: but at any rate the teaching 
staff are 100 per cent Indian throughout, and it seems fair to 
assume that "Indian'^ in this case means "Hindu," except where 
Moslem studies are explicitly concerned, or where the college is 
a Moslem one^ though it is, of course, possible that some Indian 
teachers of history may be Christians. 

Yet when all is said and done, the inference may fairly be drawTi 
that the large majority of centres of higher education in India 
to-day recogni^ history as a legitimate subject for a degree; and 
the exception of Benares (assuming that one's information b 
correct) , would simply show that the depreciation of history b in 
proportion to the strength of orthodox Hindu sentiment. I venture 
to submit that this b a somewhat interesting conclusion, and that 
its opposite b to be found m the Western European choice of 
science or technology in preference to history which has been 
noticeable in recent decades. Students in Europe and America 
are coming increasingly to live on the point of the present, and 
to ignore the past as lacking practical significance> and ideologies 
which dehumanize are actually increasing Ihb tendency. 

The*attitude towards history in China must not be judged in 
the light of either Buddhbt or Christian influences, since both 
came to her from outside, and it b not fair to describe as Chinese 
that which is due either to Indian or to Anglo-American culture- 
contacts. If, however, w^e look at the specifically Chinese tj’pes of 
thought, we shall conclude that the Confucian literature and 
teaching contain the really native Chinese way of regarding life. 
It may be objected that thb leaves Taobm out of account, but 
after the introduction of Buddhism into China, Taobm dcciinixl 



in import^cet since the world-renoimcing point of view was so 
much more successfully proclaimed by the newcomerp that 
whatever contribution Taoism might have had to make to the 
national life, it made by exercising its influence upon its rival. 
Apart from this, after the sixth century it became, as is well 
known, a popular cult, strongly associated with alchemy, astro¬ 
logy* and divination, a religion for the uneducated^ treated with 
Contempt^ if with tolerance, by the Confiician upper classes. Had 
China adopted Taoism in its earlier form instead of Confucianism, 
she might have drawn closer to the advaiia standpoint of India, 
Yen Hui, in conversation with Confucius, said; "I have made 
some progress, I forget everything," Confucius asked him: ''What 
do you mean by that?" and Yen Hui replied: “1 gave up my 
body and diseased my knowledge. By thus getting rid of mj^ 
body and my mind / became one with the infinite Tao. This is 
what I mean by forgetting evetything.'" Chwang Tzu makes 
a man who is asked how to set the w^orld right reply: *'Make 
excursion in pure simplicity. Identify yourself with non-distinc¬ 
tion. Follow' the nature of things, and admit no personal biaSn 
Then the w^orld will be in peace/* Obvionsly, such a doctrine had 
no interest in the w^orld or the course of events, and to put it into 
practice one had to be either a monk or a rich man who could 
leave the cares and duties of the world to menials. But China in 
the main did not take this path, ajid the Shih Chi. the great 
literary w^ork of Ssu-ma Tan and Ssu-ma Ctuen during the Tan 
period, shows both in the mere fact of its composition and in the 
mass of ancient historical material which it uses to reconstruct 
the history of China from the earliest times, that the majority of 
Chinese saw significance in such a record a^ the Shih CM. Yet its 
message is not in any way mehorist, still less messianic in its out¬ 
look. It puts the golden age in the pastj in the reigns of the vaguely 
knot™ emperors Yao and Shun, and like Confucius himself, 
implies that salvation for the State and individual is to found 
in the cultivation of andent \ujtue and in admiration of an 
idealized past epoch. The Shih Chi is said to have set a standard 
of historical writing which has been copied throughout the course 
of Chinese history, and it may fairly be said that the principles of 
textu^ and higher documentary criticism were discovered and 
us^ in the Far East before they had developed in the West. 
Clma. therefore, in so far as she is loyal to her Confucianist 
principles, is more ready to follow the Anglo-American lead in 



establishing faculties of history in her many new imivcrsities^ and 
her recognition of a past golden age might incline her to receive 
with S3mipathy the Christian claim abo^t the supreme importance 
of a single past event; but vrith the growth of Chinese Com- 
munism a new attitude towards the past may develop* and a new 
messianic (because Marxist} expectation with regard to the future. 
There seems, however, little likelihood of China's reverting to a 
merely cyclic view of existence. The old Yin and Yang philosophy 
may have contained a cyclic element, but the study of modem 
science by Chinese has put older cosmological ideas out of date. 

The influence of the East upon the West needs some notice. In 
the eighteenth century the works of the Chinese sages became 
known in Europe through Latin translations made by the Jesuits, 
and a scrutiny of the works of Voltaire. Leibniz, and Rousseau. 
to take only a few examples, will show that such a work as Con- 
/ncim^ Sinarum Fhiios<tphus^ a translation with commentary, by 
Intorcetta the Sicilian Jesuit, had no inconsiderable influence on 
the development of Debtic ideas. In the same way, the rendering 
of the Persian version of the Upanishads (kuow'n as the Oupue- 
khat) into Latin by Anquetil du Perron in 1S02 made accessible 
to European scholarsp at least at second or third hand, the modes 
of thought characteristic of India in the philosophical period. 
Traces of Upanishadic influence are therefore to be found in the 
works of such central Europeans as Hegel. Schopenhauern Fichte, 
von Schlegel, and Wilhelm vqn Humboldts It was von Schlcgel 
who translated the Gita into Latin shortly after 17S5 (when it 
had appeared in an English translation by Charles Wilkins), and 
the first German edition with translation is dated 1S02. One can 
observe a tendency in early nineteenth-century continental philo¬ 
sophy in Europe to favour a return to a cyclic view of the course 
of events, and this is evidently due to Upanishadic influences. 
From Lessing to Wordsworth there is also a tendency to toy urith 
the idea of Kamia and to interpret life in terms of metempsychesis^ 
Buddhist influenc]^ are to be seen in the writiugs of the Swiss, 
Amiel (mid-nineteenth century'). It begins now to be e^ddent to 
Europeans that the prevailing view of life in cultured India is one 
which sets little store by individual personalities, and thinks that 
nothing significant is achieved or lost by the course of events. To 
seek to derive knowledge of or contact with Absolute Deity 
through any group of historical happenings is for the philosophic 
Hindu as idle as it is imnecessary, since every epoch has irnme- 



diate access to Deity, and the same exalted spiritual states were 
as possible for Sankaia as for any yogi in the twentieth century. 

What, we may fairly ask, would have been the course of thought 
and education in Europe, if HebraecKChristian ideas had not pre- 
vailed? Supposing that the Roman Empire had remained under 
the sway of a line of emperors and a body of ciWI servants who 
were Stoics or Neo-Platonists, there might ha^'e been less interest 
in history than actually occurred as the result of the establish¬ 
ment of Christianity as the State religion. It is permissible to 
doubt, however, whether this w'ould have happened apart from 
Greek influence, since the Roman temperament favoured strongly 
the emphasis upon historical events (espedally as signalizing the 
intervention of a god), kept anniversaries, and composed annals. 
This interest in events it transmitted to the Europe of the age 
which succeeded the fall of the Western Empire, and the effects 
are seen in the works of the monastic chroniclers, such, for example, 
as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and the Ecclesiastical History of 
Bede. On the other hand, the debasing and paganizing of the 
Christian movement during the Dark Ages led for a time to a 
less scrupulous adherence to the strictly historical, and to the 
intrusion of much folk-legend and myth; witness the remarkable 
vogue of apociyiihal and l^endaiy extra-canonical additions to 
the New Testament story and the extravagant ' lives" of the 
mediaeval saints. All this was tolerated because it was thought 
edifj-ing. and ministering to piety. In addition, there was the 
development from the ninth century onwards of a monastic 
mysticism based on Latin and other translations of the spurious 
works of Dionysius the Areopagite, which were really the com¬ 
position of an unknown Syrian of neo-Platonic tendencies. 
Through this remarkable piece of devout forgery the mediaeval 
Church became inoculated wdth a piety which was much more 
Indian than European, and it is not surprising that readers of 
Tauler, Ruj'sbrocck, and Eckhart have felt themselves caught 
aivay into an atmosphere which is much more like that of the 
Upanishads than of the New Testament. Abbot John Chapman is 
quoted by Aldous Huxley as saying that it is extremely difficult 
to reconcile mysticism and Christianity, and that for fifteen years 
he disliked (he writings of the Spanish mystic St. John of the 
Cross and called him a Buddhist. The point here is that the mystic 
who derives his inspiration from pseudo-Dionysius is prone to 
think of the Gospel stoiy' as ‘"a process for ever unfolded in the 



heart of man," whereas that story refuses to be disposed of in 
such a way; "It must either be accepted or rejected as historical 
fact. The reaction against mjdh and mj^tictstn which began with 
the sixteenth-century reformation in Europe, and which has 
increased up to the present day, may be described as a more com¬ 
pletely logical w'orking out in Western Christendom of the essen¬ 
tially Mebraeo-Christian valuation of the course of events, and it 
has reached its peak in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries 
with the relentlessly scientidc editing and scrutiny of documentary'' 
and other sour^ of information as to "what really happened" and 
the scientihe biographies of individuals. 

It is always possible for a reaction to occur which will revive in 
the Western world on a large scale the idea of a W'eaiy scries of 
world-cycles, and thcreivith the tendency to pessimism and world- 
and-l)fe-negation w'hich goes with it. Once again there may be a 
revival, even in Christian circles, of identity-mysticism, and once 
more a dight to the cloister. But it seems more likely that the 
impact of ^larxism will stimulate the increase of an activist and 
world-traiisfonning Christianity, and perhaps also in the East of 
a more world-affirming Hinduism, though it is doubtful to what 
extent Marxism enhances the value of the individual Meanwhile, I 
venture to submit that the result of this enquiry so far is to 
establish that (he vshiatiitn of (he hisioricol i$ a variabii, dependent 
upon culture and ideology, and not some/Atng which I's permanentiy 
favoured or discottraged i>y any psriicutar geographical area on the 

It may be worth while next to draw attention to some remarks 
of the late Professor Taylor* regarding the tendency of recent 
scientilic thought to favour the higher valuation of the individual, 
and to emphasize the signiiicaiice of the uniqueness and irreversi¬ 
bility of terrestrial happenings. He begins by referring to an 
address delivered in 1937 by Professor E. T, Whittaker at a 
mathematical section of the annual meeting of the British Associa¬ 
tion. Geometry, he said, was formerly imagined to set the stage 
for the play in which the atoms and molecules of the physicist 
were the dramatis personae', but now we have come to t hink of 
these dramatis personae as making their own stage as they move 
about. That, says Taylor, means that we now think of our protons 
and electrons historically, as genuine indinduals, with real 
characters of their own, which determine the situations in which 
they and themselves; ... on the older, classical view, the physi- 



Cists' atom could harfly be said to have an intrinsic character of 
its own: its adventures were prescribed for it by a situation which 
it did nothing to make.. .. To-day we are told that even the mass 
of the atom is not strictly invariable, but undergoes modification 
in the course of its adventures. Taylor would, of course^ admit 
that the atom and its component parts could only in a very ludi- 
mentary sense be said to possess character, and to undergo 
adventures determined by their intrinsic characters. Below the 
level of the animate there may well be a whole hierarchy of types 
of in<^viduah all lower than the cabbage, yet all graded among 
themselves. The richer the type of an individual's individuality, 
the more will his adventures on his course through history be seen 
to be determined by his oyvn intrinsic character, and bis relations 
^\^th individuals of his own or a higher type : and it may be sug¬ 
gested that what looks like such an im^ferent framework, in 
reference to the adventures of creatures among their equals and 
superiors* may be in truth itself a complex of adventures of 
individuals of poorer tjqKs among their equab. 

Taylor's remarks should be read in the context of a whole 
group of comments which have arisen in recent years by way of 
protest against the reduction of historical studies to the purely 
scienttfic grinding out of facts. Thus Professor Butterfield argues: 
"There b not an essence of history which can be got by evapora¬ 
ting the human and the personal factors, the incidental or momen¬ 
tary or local things, and the circumstantial elements, as though at 
the bottom of the well there were something absolute, some 
truth independent of time and circumstance. When he describes 
the past, the historian has to recapture the richness of the moments^ 
the humanity of the man, the setting of external circumstances^ 
and the implicatious of events; and far from sweeping tbem away,, 
he piles up the concrete, the particular, the personal. He studies 
the changes of things which change, and not the permanence of 
the mountains and the stars/' Although Professor Bury, in the 
interests of scientific accuracy, declared ^'History b a science, no 
less and no more," even he found himself in the end compelled to 
break vnth the Positivists, *-because," as he says, "they regard 
history as merely a part of sociology* useful only as enabling one 
to discover the sociological la'^'s." For Bury, hbtory must be an 
end in itselh and its scope the determination of the stage in the 
uni^^ causal series from the most rudimentary to the present 
state of human civiliiatiou. Troeltsch, the early twentieth-century 



German philosopheTp in his vast unfinished work Der Hisiorismus 
und seine declares: "'History has freed us from mathe¬ 

matical-mechanical concepts of nature." The American, William 
James, dismisses the attempt to explain the historical process 
merely by the trsmsformatioii of physical energy: "The second 
law of thermodynamics is wholly irrelevant to history except 
that it sets a tenmnus." Finally^ Professor G. Wood of Birming¬ 
ham University sums up the whole situation in picturesque 
fajshionri he had the time and I had the brain* Mr. Bertrand 
Russell could explain mathematical physics to me. But it is on 
illusion to suppose that any advance in mathematical physics 
could explain Mr. Bertrand Russell to me. ... I could only hope 
to reach that, if it were within my reach at all, by adopting the 
distinctively bislorical approach/' The same presuppositions have 
made Professor G. M. Trevelyan declare that Clio is truly a 
Muse, and that only a man with gifts of artistic appreciation and 
literary expression can be a great historian. "History is a science, 
but it is at once less and more than a physical science. Like 
psychology it is inevitably less exact than phpics because it 
is cor^oemed with individuals at a richer and higher level than 
electronSi but it is also more of a science» because it deals ydth 
aspects of human experience which lie for ever outside the type 
of explanation sought in the physical sciences." 

This series of quotations shows clearly that there are two 
processes at work in modem Western thought. On the one hand, 
there is an attempt to reduce the scientific study of history to the 
mere collection and classification of facts of human behaviour and 
the deduction therefrom of a number of general laws. Against this 
there is a strong protest. On the other hand, there is a movement 
within the physical sciences in the direction of a higher valuation 
of the uniqueness of the several elements in the chain of causal 
events. As Taylor says^ it is somewhat paradoxical that some of 
our philosophers should be trying to make religion, os they think, 
truer by the elimination of the historical, in the same age in which 
they are trying to make physical science truer by its introduction. 

Yet it is important to distinguish between tw'O distinct Western 
ways of approaching history. The Christie as Bury rightly says* 
regards the history of the earth as a unique phenomenon in time, 
the product of an irreversible process ordered by Divine Provi-^' 
dence leading up to a definite and desirable goal in the future, 
r In hH Kuls^^n 


Tht AHHtflMi'si and Tslim&list subsequently took over this view, 
though dissociating it from any connection mth Providence or 
Divine over-ruling. Both Chiisdan and humanist are thus inter¬ 
ested in history, but their interest is motivated by entirely dif¬ 
ferent presuppositions. The humanist has up to the present 
believed that progress towards a dchnite and desirable goal was 
inevitable, provided man took himself seriously enough, and that 
he must and could no doubt correct lapses from seriousness for 
himself. The Christian, claiming greater realism, has insisted that 
man has received delegated spontaneity from Deity, but that 
apart from obedience to the holy will and purpose of Deity he 
cannot be the successful artist of his life, so that progress is 
far from being inevitable, and a planned secularist society may be 
merely one planned for destruction, tike the beautiful gardens of 
some Papuan villagers, which as soon as they have matured may 
be at once wrecked by the disorderly and warlike instincts of 
neighbouring ^nllageis. 

The humanist historian counters this assertion by repaving in 
modified form the earlier idea ol cycles. This seems to lie behind 
the work of Spengler and to some degree that of Toynbee, Both 
contend that a sur^'ey of past civilizations enables us to see them 
as phenomena each mth a definite life-history rather like that of 
a star as outlined in modem manuals of astronomy. Toynbee sets 
out to examine some tw'enty of them and concludes that they all 
go through certain phases such as "Times of Troubles." etc., 
leading up to "Roman ecumenical peace," w'hich is bought at so 
high a price and comes so late that the civilization in question 
crashes in securing it, only to be replaced by another, Speugler’s 
view is much the same, hut so far as can be seen be suggests no 
way of evading the crash. Toynbee, on the other hand, in his 
most recent utterance {Listener, June 194S) holds out some hope 
that once the danger ahead can be seen and struggled against, a 
new situation may be developed in which ci^-ilized man may 
emerge from his vicious cycle of successive disasters, and pnesen’e 
his spiritual treasures.' 

This sounds more cheering, yet it b to the Christian only 
another brand of humanism, and he sees in it nothing but a vain 

The reply to it has come from Switzerland, in a work by Dr. 

' Well! it mft Tw tiuii, Toynbee’s study ol history wnukl seeni to be duirsTuiiaiy 

c1qs« tu the udDlogk^ method cf the pofiitii-ut. 



EmiL Brunner (Zurich 1^41) OJ^£nbaruf^g ufui FmiHu/jf, and this 
has been followed up by a similar work by Professor O. CuUmanii, 
entitled CAmf-Ms und die Zeit (Zurich 1946). It will suffice to give 
here Dr. Brunner^s argument. There are^ he says^ various degrees 
of relation between time and events. The lowest is in the sphere 
of physics and chemistry. In physics happenings are interconvert¬ 
ible; bodies that are at rest are set in motionp and bodies in 
motion come to a state of rest- There is no direction to the happen¬ 
ings, and indeed nothing "happens" at all. Everjlhing goes on 
without aim or end. Organic nature shows us a form of happening 
which has a special connection with lime. Life-processes cannot 
be reversed. > - . The hving happening has a meaning of its own, 
and takes place once for all m moving from one direction to the 
other. Yet even this organic life moves in cycles; from the seed 
comes the tree, and from the tree the fruit, and again from the 
fruit the seed, and so on in eternal recurrence. Thus strictly speak¬ 
ing we cannot refer to "natural history/' since where the same 
thing continually recurs, there is no history. History only taJres 
place within the human sphere. History unfolds in quite a different 
way from nature. It undoubtedly includes the organic time of 
growth and becoming, but it also contains a ne%v element, that of 
decision. Decisions are made w'here the mind or spirit, and above 
all the w\l]^ emerge, for this spiritual will creates decisions that 
cannot be reversed. "The more spiritual will there is, the more 
decision; and the more history^ the more that which is irrevocable. 
The will is the kernel of personality, and the more personal life 
becomes, the more relation there is with time/' 

Yet history, though understood in this sense, is still not the 
highest stage in the category of events. Even history, w^hen re¬ 
garded purely as human history, has something in it of a cyclic 
character* Human beings never get away from the control of the 
forces with which they struggle, and this conflict goes on in 
essential terms unchanged from age to age, in spite of the unique¬ 
ness of historical happenings. There are, Jt is true, decisions, but 
the decisive event does not take place. There are turning points, 
but the one turning point which might completely dehver the 
course of human history from its uniergang does not arrive. 
There are unique events, but the supremely unique event does not 
occur^ At least it does not occur in the opinion of the humanist 
historian, although he may feel that it ought to do so. There is no 
doubt what is needed. It is, of course, not denied that the Divine 



activity may be seen in the creative evolution of the universe and 
in it5 being sustained from day to day. But something more is 
needed, namely that the whole and not simply the partial meaning 
of life should be realized, and that the cosmos should be redeemed 
from the self-centredness into which it has fallen by its misuse of 
the spontaneity delegated to it. This would not be what Dr. Inge 
has called: "God governing the world by occasional coups 4 'Hat,” 
though such might be held to he the meaning of the oft-repeated 
verse from Gita: 

\t1ienev«r there is a decay of righteousness, O Bli^rata. and an 
uprising of unrighteousness, then I emit Myself; in order to save the 
good and to destroy evil-docis, to establish righteousness I am bom 
from age to age. 

It is rather a discontinuous action of the absolute Deity within 
the world of His perpetual evolution and maintenance, an intensi¬ 
fication of His Presence, by w'hdch He, the Eternal, breaks into 
time, the Perfect into the world of imperfection. Even the Gita 
itself recognizes the transcendence of the Lord as well as His 
immanence, for we read: 

All beings abide in Me but 1 abide not in them: 

I bear these things, yet 1 abide not in beings; 

My own Sdf is the abode of beings. 

Yet, as Brunner points out, in the European mystical panthe¬ 
istic religion, in the Idealistic acosmisra, and in the momlistic 
religion of the Aufklnrmig, there is no such divine intrusion into 
history, and within such a exmeeption of religion the historical 
element has very little place. To the thought of the Aufklarung 
the advaita is nearer, to the thought of the orthodox Christian 
West that of sectarian Hinduism is nearer. 

Brunner’s reaction to the pessimism of Spengter and Toynbee 
therefore would be to say that titUergattg is inevitable as part of 
the cyclic fate which b^ts all history organized on a secular 
basis. It is only the acceptance of the once-for-ail Incarnation 
which can deliver the temporal and ephemeral from evanescence 
into eternity, "the wages of sin is death, bnt the gift of God is 
eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord", and again, “the 
creature itself shall be delivered from corruption into the glorious 
liberty of the children of God" (Komans vi. zj and ^iii. 2i). 

It has been pointed out that Sri Aurobindo has arrived at 
somewhat the same position by another path: hut I tMntf that 



there am important differences. Aiirobiado‘s conception of the 
New Man who is the continoant of the old man on a higher level, 
with greater integrity and balance and with a new accession of 
Gctd in himp is of that which is produced by a further advance in 
the evolutionary process^ not by an imiptiou of the Eternal into 
the time process. Moneoverp the Christian, typified by Briinner,K 
sees in Christ the new destiny of man realbed, and regards the 
Heiisgeschkhi^ of the Gospel aA super-history, Aurobindo expects 
the New Man in theand unless I have misunder&tood him, 
thinks of him less as what used to be called an avatar, than as a 
stage in the ascent of God from the entropy of self-concealment 
which preceded it (and in which God descended to begin creation 
at its lowest level), a stage therefore in the evolutionarj' process 
by which God recovers Himself, reversing the order and, so to 
speakf mounting the steps of the ladder. This, of course^ substitutes 
one vast cyclic movement for a series of such movements, and it 
is in this respect that Aurobmdo seems to me truest to his Hindu 
heritage, with its belief about life as a great Divine rhythm 
involving what the Hellenistic world w^ould have called 
followed by ottotoAtJ,* But this would make history less easy to 
study in the ordinary Western sense, and its adoption would 
bring us back to the very position referred to by Dr. Inge in a 
recent lecture delivered in London; 'The Greek thinkers believed 
in cycles* a cosmic pulsation of progress and decline. Their ^uni¬ 
versities had no chairs of history,*' 1 had not seen that quotation 
when I composed this papr^r^ but it may serve as a fitting sequel 
to it. 

* See Dr. HAri Prasad SbaLr in tte 1^3 l "Tlie wtanSe uzuvnr^ is 

to Hindtrisni God"3 projection. It is m musifestotjoii of tke Divide Being, ig umlii- 
tained Him. uid He mbidea m every atotn of it. According to His VVill^ ajj life 
einaaetiii^ from Him mu^rrhim to The idea l$ that of a coflmic pL[jfrim&|e. 





t'gniaelf 4l Itc Xpion UnJvenit?, Hjhr, ImU^ 

Of the Indian theories of art the most important is the one known 
as the Rasa theory. References to it are found in very early 
Sanskrit works, but it was not formulated and dearly expounded 
until the ninth century A.DJ In various directions, it niarks an 
advance on the earlier theories and has virtually superseded 
them. In one respect, its conception of the aim of art, it is quite 
unique. The purpose of the present article is to explain the nature 
of this conception, and briefly to indicate wherein its imiqueness 
lies. Though the theory applies equally to all the fine arts, it has 
been particularly well-developed in relation to poetry and the 
drama ; and we shall therefore consider it here mainly from that 
standpoint. But before we proceed to do so, it is desirable, for the 
sake of contrast, to make a reference to the general Indian licw 
of poetry so far as it bears on the topic we are to consider. 


There are two points of view from which the aim of poetry may 
be considered—one, of the poet, and the other, of the reader of 
poetryBut for us, in explaining the distinctive feature of the 
view taken of it in the Rasa school, it is the kttcr that is more 
important. Let us therefore begin by askitxg the question: W'hat is 
the use of poetry to its reader? The answer that is almost univer- 
sally given to this question by Indian writers is pleasure 
It may have other uses also for him. For example, it may have 
some lesson or criticism of life to convey to him ; but they are all 

^ Xbiiii iormulRtiQD is fdunii in tbe Dhv^itydliika pf A’ g ar i.HIfi nr.^ w n [^-i; 
AutboritAtively npcm in tenth century A.&. by AbJiifiAvn GuptA. 

We hersaftef refer tp this H'urk as UA,, and our references Kdi be to the hrat 
ediitio-n of it printed at Bombay In 

* It iii Hot meant by tMi that the two view-poiiita neceftsaTily difl'er in nveiy 

e.g.+ Vimana^a JK^y^Mthk^ra^tOira^ I, i, 5, 



more or less remote, unlike pleasure which is its kumediate use' 
or value for him. But pleasure here is not to be taken in the 
abstract; rather, to judge Irom the explanation given of its nature 
in Indian works, it stands for a state of the self or a mode of 
experience of which it is a constant and cxjnspicnous feature. 
Hence pleasure, by itself^ does not constitute the whole of what is 
experienced at the time of poetic appreciation^ but is only an 
aspect of it. The inamediate value of poetry for the reader then 
is the attainment of this enjoyable experience, and not mere 
pleasure. That is its primary use, and any other use it may have 
lor him is a further gocxl which poetry brings. 

But pleasure, even when thus understood, is an end that is 
associated with many kinds of activities such, for example, as 
eating or bathing, which none w^ould place on the same level as 
poetry. It is therefore necessary to distinguish betw'een the two. 
The distinction depends chiefiy on the fact that, though art may 
eventually be bas^ upon nature, we are, in appreciating the 
objects it depicts, concerned more mth their appearance than 
with their actual existence. In art, as it has been stated, "we 
value the semblance above the reality." So the artist selects only 
those among the features of the object to be depicted that are 
necessary for making his representation appear like and omits 
all the rest* A painter, for example, does not actually show us the 
thickness or depth of the things he paints, but yet succeeds in 
giving us an idea of their solidity. Art objects have consequently 
no place in the everyday world of space and time; and, owing to 
this lack of spatio-temporal position or physical status, the 
question of reality does not apply to them. This do^ not mean 
that they are unreal; it only means that the distinction of existence 
and non-existence does not arise at aU in their case.^ 

But we should not think that these objects may therefore be of 
no interest to the reader. They have their own attraction for him, 
because a certain element of novelty enters into their representa¬ 
tion. We have stated that the artist selects those features of the 
object he deals with which vdll make it retain its resemblance to 
the real. But that is not the whole truthj for he has also recourse 
often to fresh invention. Thus an Indian poet, in referring to the 

■ Cf. thfr term [ "instantly"J uicd in d^icribin^ Uit iuiii oljpoctiyiii 

(Bombay Sanskrit Sciicsi}, p. S- Tnia vnrk 

wilt be referred to 34 KP. httcalter. 

^ Cl, KPh, pp, 101-10^, wbtR tMft paint ia iUufttrutfd by the nl a 

pointed hnnK" {citwa-lura^a}^ 




appearance of the earth on a nioofilit night, represents it as 
“carved out of ivory/' Almost all the writers on poetics lay down 
that pratibharm. which may be rendered in English as “creative 
fancy.” is an indispensable condition of genuine poetry, it is “the 
seed of poetry” (kavitva-tfija). according to them. But the Sanskrit 
word further connotes that the object, so fancied, is experienced 
as if it is being actually perceived— ^"like a globular fruit,” it is 
said, "placed on the pahn of one’s osvn hand/’ But sut^ invention 
does not mean the introduction of new features for their own sake. 
They arc not merely pleasant fictions. When a poet, for instance* 
pictures fairies as dwelling in flowers or a cloud as carr^'ing a 
message of love, he docs so in strict conformity to the total 
imaginative ^dsion which has inspired him to the creation of the 
particular work of art. The art object is thus much more than an 
appearance of the actual. It involves a good deal of mental con¬ 
struction. and far surpasses in quality its counterpart in nature.' 
In other words, the poet idealizes the objects in depicting them, 
and it is in this process that they are raised to the level of art and 
acquire aesthetic significance and, though not real, come to be of 
interest to the reader. 

As a result of their idealized character, art objects lose their 
appeal to the egoistic or practical self and appear the same to 
That is, art appreciation is indiTfcrent not only to the distinction 
between the real and the unreal, but also to that betw'cen desire 
and aversion. They become impersonal in their appeal, and there¬ 
fore enjoyable in and for themselves.* It is the complete detach¬ 
ment with which, in consequence, we view them, that makes our 
attitude then one of pure contemplation. But we must be careful 
to remember that by describing this attitude as contemplative, 
we do not mean that it is passive and excludes all activity. The 
very' fact tlmt it is an appreciatiiv attitude implies that it is 
active. The belief that it is passive is the result of mistaking the 
disinterested lor what is totally lacking in interest. But, as we 
have seen, the art object has its own interest to the spectator; 
and, so long as his mind is under the selective control of interest, 

^ TTie fcOEmipg anecdote narrated about a lamoui painter of modfrn timeft 
brings out ttu» feature very waUr When the axtiai bad painted a sunset, noniebody 
eaid to him, "I never saw a scuitet libc that"; and be replied, "Don't you wish 

» Cf, KR, p. 107. Ttu* doc* dDt, however, mean that the response to them will 
be the same in the cue of ah. will cettamiy vary^ but only ajccording to tbn 
uatbetic leii^ihUitjai of puticular indiv'iduala and oot iccoidine to tbrir other 
pcjiKiaai peculifuitica. 



it can by no be regarded as passive. All that is meant by 

saying that the art object makes no appeal to the practical self is 
that our attention then is confined wholly to that object, and that 
it is not diverted therefrom by any thought of an ulterior use to 
which it may be put. 

This transcendence of the egoistic self in the contemplation of 
art profoundly alters the nature of the pleasure derived from it. 
Being altogether divorced from reference to personal interests, 
one's o\vii or that of others, art experience is free from all the 
limitations of comnnon pleasure, due to the prejudices of everyday 
life such as narrow attachment and envy. In a word, the con* 
templation being disinterested, the pleasure which it pelds will be 
absolutely pure. That is the significance of its description by 
Indian writers as ‘'higher pleasure" And art will 

yield such pleasure, it should be observed^ not only w'hen its 
subject-matter is pleasant, but even vvhen it is not, as in a tragedy 
with its representation of unusual suffering and irremediable 
disaster. The facts poetized may, as parts of the actual world, be 
the source of pain as well as pleasure; but, when they are con- 
tcinplated in their idealized form, they should necessarily give 
rise only to the latter. It is for this reason that pleasure is repre¬ 
sented in Indian works as the sol^ aim of all art-^ It means that 
the spectator, in appreciating art, rises above the duality of pain 
and pleasure as commonly known, and experiences pure joy. 
Here w'e sec the differentia of poetic pleasure or* more generally* 
aesthetic delight. 


The Rasa school agrees with the above conception of the poetic 
aim, but it distingiiishes between two forms of it; and since the 
distinction depends upon the view which the school takes of the 
theme of poetry, we have first to indicate the nature of that view. 
The theme of poetry, accordirig to the general Indian theorj% may 
be anything. One of the oldest writers on poetics in Sanskrit 
remarks that there is nothing in the realm of being or in that of 

J See note J, page 177 above. C£. tbe explacatioD of prOi as aiaukiha^^m&i- 
Mara in DA,, p, 30^ (eomj, Ln viirtr of thl* bigber chaiacter, it would be hotter to 
Bi^bstitute for it a word like 'jay” or "‘delight/^ But fortbe sate of Tjmfonuity, 
we flhall geoeraJly uic the wcprd * 'pleasure'' itself. 

* KP.. i, 1. tp. 53' Since no pleasure, aa cdnmonJy k noTO , 

ajiswera to this description, it is not a hedonistic vi^w ol artj In the aecepteJ 
■ease* we have here. 



thought which does not the poet's purpose.' Nor is any 

distinction made there between one topic and another as regards 
fitness for poetic treatment. One subject b as goixi as anotherp 
and there Is none on which a fine poem might not be writteHn The 
Rasa school also admits the suitability of all themes for poetic 
treatment, but it divides them into two classes—one comprising 
those that are d&minaUd by some emotion, particularly an ele¬ 
mental one like love and pathos, and the other all the remaining 
ones; and it holds that, for the purpose of poetic treatment, the 
first b superior to the second.* The exact significance of thb 
bifurcation of themes will become clear as we proceed. For the 
presentp it suffice to say that there are two types or orders of 
poetT^% according to this school, oue dealing with "emotional 
situations" in life, as we may describe them, and the others dealing 
with the other situations in life or with objects of external nature; 
and that the latter is reckoned as relatively inferior poetry. It 
is in justifying this discrimlnatson that the Rasa school makes 
the differentiation in the purpose of poetry to %vhich %ve have just 
referred- But before attempting to explain it, it b desirable to 
draw attention to one or two important points concerning emo¬ 
tional situations regarded as the theme of poetry. 

A poem of the higher tjpe. we have stated* depicts a situation 
which is predominantly emotional. This empha^b on the emotional 
character of the theme may lead one to suppose that the type 
resembles l3nrica] poetry, as dbtingubhed (say) from the epic and 
the drama. The expression '"lyrical poetry" does not seem to have 
any very definite significance. But if, as implied by common 
usage, it stands for a particular class of poetry and signifies the 
expression by the poet of hb own feelings/ we must say that* on 
neither of these considerations, b the above supposition correct: 

In the first pl^ce* emotional situations may here be the chief 
theme of any kind of poetry. In fact, their importance is discussed 
in the works of the school* particularly w^th reference to the 
drama; and the adoption of such a method is fully supported by 
the facts of India's literary hbtoiy. Thus it b a situation of love 
that b dramatized by K^dasa in hb famous play of the S&kun- 
ialam\ and, in the case of the equally famous play of Bhavabhiiti, 
the UUara-Tdma-£afitam which treats of the desertion of Sit a by 

f v. * I>A,, p, zS; pp. 36-37 (cota.}. 

j Tliii dus ii futiber divided in n twofold wny, byt tlie diviiion ia not of im- 
poi^Anctf for HA herfr, 

^ Cf, "Lyric poetry is the exprmion by the poet of hlA omi Rmldp. 



her royal husband, it is one of deep pathos. It is not merely 
dramas that may choose such topics for tiea^tment; even extensive 
epics are not precluded from doin^so. Thus the emotional element 
serves here as the basis for contrasting different grades, rather 
than different forttis of poetry. VVe may adopt any classification of 
it we like. Every one of the resulting classes, accordit^ to the 
present view, will comprise two grades of poetry—one, the higher, 
in which the theme is pTedominantly emotional j and the other 
the lower, in which it is not so. 

In the next place, the poet's own feeling, according to the 
Rasa view, is never the theme of poetry. This point is usually 
explained by reference to the episode narrated in the beginning of 
the Rihnayaria about the birth of Sanskrit classical poetry. The 
details of the episode are attractive enough to bear repetition, 
and they are briefly as follows: On a certain day, in a beautiful 
forest bordering on his hermitage, VHmiki, the future author of 
the epic, it is said, chanced to 'nitness a fowler killing one of a 
pair of lovely birds that were disporting themselves on the branch 
of a tree. The evil-minded fowler had singled out the male bird, 
and had brought it down at one stroke. Seeing it He dead on the 
ground, all bathed in blood, its companion began to wail in 
plaintive tones. Tlic soft-hearted sage was moved intensely by the 
sight; and he burst into song which was full of pathos and which, 
according to tradition, became the prelude to the composition of 
the first great epic in Sanskrit. 

This poetic utterance is apt to be ^ieived as the expie^ion of 
the sage’s sorrow at the sight he witnessed; but writers of the 
Rasa school point out that it cannot really be so,' for the utter¬ 
ance of personal feeling would be quite different. It is hardly 
natural, they say, for one that is tormented by grief to play the 
poet. The sage is not preoccupied with his own immediate re¬ 
action to what he saw, but with something else, viz. the objective 
scene itself. He is less concerned with his own feeling than with 
w’hat has stirred them, and the song gives expression to the 
poignancy of the latter. But, as in the case of other poetic themes, 
it is not the emotional situation as it actually was (taukika) that 
is represented in it. That would by no means constitute art. It is 
the situation as it is in the poet's vision,* or as it has been trans- 

' No muttfit ieka itt Menlatryom: DA,, pp. 2j~xS (ccoi.). 

^ Itbdian WriterH dfECrtbc tbiis As ''in the poem" to distmguidll it 

injin due fart poetizedn which is outsit it. &ee DA., p. 56 



figured by his sensitive nature and imaginative power (alaukiktt). 
In other words, the sitttation is idealized. Absorption in such a 
situation, for the reason already set forth, means transcending the 
tensions of ordinary life, and thereby attaining a unique form of 
experience. It is when the poet is fully under the spell of such 
experience that he spontaneously expresses' himself in the form 
of poetry. 


To explain now the nature of the differentiation which the Rasa 
school mahes in the aim of poetry: we have stated that poems 
may be of two kinds—one with an emotional theme and the 
other in which the theme is different, like (say) natural scenery: 

(1) In the latter, there are the words of the poem; the 
thoughts and images which they convey* form its essential con* 
tent. It is the disinterested contemplation of them that gives rise 
to the joy of poetry. This contemplation, as a mental state, 
involves a subjective as well as an objective factor; and it is the 
total absorption in the objective factor, forgetting the subjective, 
that constitutes poetic experience here. 

(2) But the case is altogether different in the other type of 
poetry. For the central feature of the situation to be portrayed m 
it is an emotion; and no emotion is, in its essence, directly dcscrib- 
able. The poet cannot therefore communicate it as he can a thought 
or image, s He ran only suggest ^l^ to the reader, who has already 
bad personal experience of it (for it cannot be made known to 
any other), by delineating its causes and consequences or, in 
other w’ords, the objects that prompt it and the reactions which 
they provoke, lliat is, the emotional aspect of the situatJon can 
be indicated only in an indirect or mediate sense, the media being 
the thoughts and images, as conveyed by the poet’s words, of the 

■ Yorai VO iarai maim DA., p. 27 

X It LB not mt!Mt th&t rnopiB m n pocEn aiwnyB or nccfAsarily form only tlie 
mcdtani of conveying thoughts nr They mny, and oftea do* contribute 

directly to tho bcaoty of the pcem. Avo are overtookiD^ that pointy our 
purpoof hcr-e in to brin^ out diatmction in aim Id ihc case of thn two types 
of poetry we are coQ^iderbi^, sad not to cxploiit the nnture of cither completely. 

] The use of words Like '"love*^ and may couvey to ei person, who 

knows their meoniog, an idea of the oon^^iPondiDg emotion; hut it will be ftnly 
an of it, while wivat ia meauit here is m/rif emotion. Sm DA.* pp. 

4 Tn osK? technical tenni, it will necesuriLy be Thoughts and im^cs 

also may be stkgS«t «|; hut they are. at the saoie titne, expreuiMe and therefom 
tri^ya also. 


objective constitaents of that situation. Thus what, by them* 
selves, form the content in the other type of poetry here become 
the means to its suggestion. They accordingly occupy a place 
here sunilar to the one cx^cupied by words there and the final 
aesthetic fact m this of poetry thereby comes to be, not 
thoughts and images as in the other^ but the emotional mood 
which they help to induce in the reader. Now, as an emotion is a 
phase of onr own being and not a presentation, this mood cannot 
be cofit^plal£d^ but can only be lived ihraugh;^ and it is this 
inner process of experiencing that is the ultimate meaning or aim 
in this type of poetry. There is a presentational element involved in 
this case also* as certainly as there is in the other* and it has* of 
couTSe, its own poetic quality or beauty, if we like to put it so: 
but reduced, as !l becomes here, to merely a condition of sug¬ 
gesting the emotion, it slides into the margin in our consciousness, 
instead of occupj'ing the focus as it does there .3 

Thus the experience lor which poetic appreciation stands here 
is vastly different from that for which it stands in the other type 
of poetry. It also connotes detached joy; but, while the other 
experience takes the form of contemplating the poetic object* this 
one takes the form entirely of an in\wd realization. The distinc¬ 
tion will become clear, if we consider one or two example. Let us 
contrast the example> already cited, of imagining the moonlit 
earth as '"carved out of ivory," with the appreciation of KOid^'s 
Cloud Messengi^, which depicts the forlorn state of a lover exiled 
from his home. In the former, there is plainly an external object 
in the focus of our attention: but in the latter, though it abounds 
in exquisite pictures of external nature, we have finally to look 
within in order to appreciate properly its ultimate meaning, viz. 
the deep anguish of forced separation from the beloved. To take 
another pair of illustrations* let us compare Milton's description, 
in the Nalivity Hymn^ of the rising sun as "in bed curtained with 

= Set BA., pp^ 31-32, 

* T1i£ samt may appear tD hold good ths other phiKA of mind also, but it 
does uot. To eonsider the ca^e of the oqly one of them that has a 

bearing to our subject (see uext Nate): Acccrdicg to the Indian CDpceptiod, tha 
tenn ‘"thOTighE'' yflBSU) means "what rcvTalfi*' and, in tnss genjw, 

thought 19 always intimately Mcmocted with '"what ii reve*i«3’' viz. 

the object. Hemie the pmtxf MnJdng, apart froni refErente to ioine presenta- 
tinn, is mEaningless. When it haa mraning, i.e. when it cansidertd along with 
the preseatatiocaJ eiement, it becomes expm^ible and can iUbci be cantemplated. 
Cf, Arih^^it>a viif^a Ac ndAEjyJm, 

I Oniinatily aq emotipu, nn donbt, ifl also directed npdtt some object; but bere. 
aa ac^etic nativity is not practical m its nsual seme, this dement is Laddog, 



cloudy red ’ and as pillowing "his chin upon an orient wave," and 
Tennyson’s well-known lyric,Break,Bteak,Br^<tk, with its poignant 
lament for lost love, heightened by a knowledge of the indifference 
of the world, as a whole, to the suffering of the individua]. In the 
former, the reader is engrossed in an object outside himself; but. 
in the latter, he has to retreat, as it were, into his inner self to 
realize its final emotional import. Both varieties of experience, as 
being aesthetic, are marked by a temporary forgetting of the self. 
But while in one case, the objective factor is mUgral to the ulti¬ 
mate poetic experience; in the other, it is not so.> because it has. 
as we have seen, only a margUia] significance. That is, the emotion 
is experienced here virtually by itself, and the experience may 
accordingly be said to transcend, in a sense, the subject-object 
relation, and therefore to be of a higher order^ than the mere 
contemplation of the other kind of poetry. It is this higher ex¬ 
perience that is called "Rasa," 

The word "Rasa" primarily means "taste" or "savour," such 
as sweetness; and, by a metaphorical extension, it has been 
applied to the type of experience referred to above. The point of 
the metaphor is that, as in the case of a taste like sweetness, there 
is no knowing of Rasa apart from directly experiencing it,3 This 
experience, in addition to having its own affective tone or feeling 
of pleasure which is common to all aesthetic appreciation, is. as 
we know, predominantly emotional; and it is the latter feature, 
viz. the predominance of its emotional quality, that distinguishes 
It from the experience derivable from the other type of poetry, 
dealing with a subject like natural scenery. It naturally differs 
according to the specific kind of emotion portrayed—love, pathos, 
fear, wonder and the like; and. on the basts of this internal dif¬ 
ference. Rasa experience is ordinarily divided into eight or nine 
kinds. But it Is not necessary for our present purpose to enter 
into these details. Besides. Rasa is, in its intrinsic nature, but one 
according to the best authorities :* and its so-called varieties are 
only different forms of it. due to a difference in their respective 
psychological determinants. In its fundamental character, it 
signifies a mood of emotional exaltation w'hicfa, on the ground of 

* Cf. ki lah^'a DA., p. 67. See al^pp, 

> It will be noticed that, in thu? aiicribang a fiuperiot &tAtuH to Rua experiencr. 
the vaJue of neithtr the subjective cor the objective faxtdr is denied, eLnce the 
need for it of personaJ experience (rettiotcly} amd of appropriatfl objcf±i%'e sctroin-^ 
p^mments (ejrterEixIlyl La fully recogmied. 

I Ct. ofidla^prdiiuiJijy£1 DA., p- 2^4 fcoin ^ 

( Cf. Ahkinmm^fhi^rsli, pp, 373-^74 and 1^3. 



what ha^ bc^n stated so far^ may be characterized quite 

It 13 necessary to dwell further on the nature of this experience, 
if what is meant by Rasa is to be properly understocd. We have 
shoviTi that when a poet treats of an emotional theme, he never 
depicts his own feelingp but only that w^hicb distm^ishes the 
objective situation occasioning that feeling. This should not be 
taken to mean that it is the awaren(3ss {to revert to our earlier 
illustration) of the bird's sorrow at the loss of its mate, even in its 
idealized formp which constitutes Rasa experience.* As already 
imp] led p it consists in an ideal revival in the reader^s 

mind of a like emotion which, being elemental by hypothesisp 
may be expected to lie latent Being a revival, it necessarily 
goes back to his past experience; but it isp at the same timep very 
much more than a reminiscence. In partkuIaTp the emotion^ 
situation, owing to the profound transformation which it rnider- 
goes in the process of poetic treatment^ will throw a new light on 
that experience and reveal its deeper significance for life as, for 
instance, in the case of love, in Kalidasa's Sakuntakim, w'hich 
appears first as the manifestation of a natural impulse hut is 
transformed before the play concludes into w^hal has been described 
as spiritual welding of hearts.'* To realize such significance 
fully, the reader's own efforts become necessary^ in the way of 
imaginatively reproducing in his mind the whole situation as it 
has been depict^ by the poet. Rasa experience is thus the out¬ 
come more of reconstruction than of remembrance. The whole 
theory h based on the recognition of an affinity of nature between 
the poet and the reader of poetry; andp on the basis of this affinity, 
it is explained that appreciation of poetiy is essentially the same 
as the creation of it.* ^flie need for presupposing past experience 
arises from the peculiar nature of emotion> to which we have 
already drawn attention, viz. , its essential privacy owing to which 
it remains opaque, as it w^ere, to all those who have not personally 
felt it. But past experience serves merely as the centre round 
which the reconstruction takes place; and, in thb reconstructed 
form, it is anything but personals 

The point to be specially noticed here is that emotions are not 

* UA , pp. 36-37 [com.]. 

* NayaJisya kssvt^ DA.,p, Cf. "To listen to a 

namionjr js to commune with iti compoacr,". 

a TaI-Mla-^^iiliid-parimiia-pramdif~bh^va : KP., p. to6. 



cofftjnii^icslui by ths poet to the resder, as it is often assumed.* 
In fact, they cannst be communicated according to the present 
theory. All that the poet can do is to awaken in him an emotion 
similar to the one be is depicting. Even this awakening, it should 
be noted, is not the result of any conscious purpose on the part of 
the poet. The spontaneous character of all poetic utterance pre¬ 
cludes such a supposition. The poet is intent, not upon influenciiig 
the reader in this or that way. but upon giving expression, as best 
he can, to his unique experience. It^ is this expression that is 
primary, and the kindling up or waking to life of the emotion in 
the mind of the reader is more in the nature of its consequence 
than the result of any set purpose behind it. The reader starts 
from the poet's expression; and, if hit is competent, that is, if he 
is sufficiently sensitive and symi>athctic, he succeeds in capturing 
for himself t he experience which it embodies. The process whereby 
such ideal awakening takes place is described Briefly, the mind 
of the responsive reader first becomes attuned to the emotional 
situation portrayed {hntayo-s<^i’iida), through one or more of the 
knowing touches which every good poem is sure to contain; is 
then absorbed in its portrayal [tamnayi-bhaviina ]; and this 
absorption, in the deeper sense already explained, results in the 
aesthetic rapture of Rasa (rasdnuhhava). 

If this tjqie of poetry were identical iTith lyrical and with short 
poems, we might have a relatively simple emotion as its diarac- 
teristic feature. But when its scope is widened as here, the emo¬ 
tions involved may be very complex indeed. In an epic, for 
example, practically all the familiar emotions are likely to appear 
at one stage or another; and, if they are not well co-ordinated, the 
aesthetic value of the poem wll suffer. Hence the exponents of 
the Rasa view lay down that the treatment of the theme by the 
poet should be such as to secure the unity of the different emotions 
suggested—a unity which, they insist, is as important a canon of 
poetic composition here, as the unity of action is admitted to be 
in the case of all poetry .3 Only a single emotion should be repre¬ 
sented in a poem as dominant on the whole; and its progressive 
development from the moment of its emergence to its natural 
culmination should be methodically delineated. Its many and 
varied manifestations should be properly related to it, so that its 
portrayal may become internally coherent. Where other emotions, 

■ Cf. wtiat tuw been deecnbed as the "infcctida theory" of Tolstoy, 

‘ So*, o.g., DA,, pp. II, 13, i.| Bw] uy (com.). ! HA., pp. 170-171. 



not altogether incompatible with it, enter the situation, they 
should all be synthetically related to it. Everything else also, like 
the construction of the plot, the interludes* characterization and 
the poetic imagery in which the artist clothes his ideas should be 
oriented towards the ruling emotion. Even the diction and the 
other refinements of style must be appropriate to its nature. In 
one word, fitness (aHCjfya) of evervihing that has any bearing on 
It is the life-breath of RasaJ This topic occupies considerable 
space in the works of the schoolj but, m view of its uniform 
recognition of the spontaneity of aU poetic utterance, the rules 
formulated in this connection are to be looked upon mote as aids 
in appraising the worth of a poem of this type than as restraints 
placed upon the freedom of the poetn 
But the intrinsic worth of a poem is not all that is needed for 
its true appreciation. The reader also should be properly equipped 
for it. No doubt, the emotion depicted in this typ^ of poetry is 
elemental, and therefore familiar to all. But that only signifies 
the universality of its appeal. It means that nobody is excluded 
from appreciating it, merely by virtue cf its theme. The reader, in 
addition to possessing a general artistic aptitude w^hich is required 
for the appreciation of all poetrj% should be specially qualified, if 
he is to appraise and enjoy a poem of the present type.^ These 
qualificationSi are compendiously indicated by saying that he 
should be a sa^hrday^^ a word w^hich cannot easily be rendered in 
English, It literally means *'one of similar heart," and may be 
taken to signify a person whose insight into the nature of poetry 
is, in point of depth, next only to that of the poet. In the absence 
of adequate equipment, he may lost sight of the Rasa aspect and 
get absorbed in the objective details portrayed by the poet which 
aiso^ as we said, have a poetic quality of their own. He would 
then be preferring the externals of true poetry to its essence; 
or, as Indian critics put it, he would mistake the "body** 
of poetry for its "soul" {d(puin)A To cite a parallel from another 
of the fine arts, he will be like a person who. in looking on a statue 
of Buddha in meditative posture* remains satisfied with admiring 
the beauty* naturalness and proportion of its outward features, 
but fads to realize the ideal of serenity and calm depicted there^ 
w^hich constitutes its ultimate meaning. It is on this basis, viz. 
that it is not merely the intrinsic excellence of a poem that is 

* r>A., p 145, > pp. {cam.}. 

* Ibid., p. ii (coin.). * ibid., p. (com.). 



required for attaining Rasa experience but also a special capacity 
for It in the reader, that the present school explains how, though 
great poets like Kalidasa have tacitly endor^d the Rasa iiew by 
the place of supremacy they have given to emotion in their best 
works, it took so long for theorists to discover that they had 
done so. 

Such, in brief outline^ is the Rasa view advocated by what is 
knowTi as the '^later"' {navtm) school of art critics in India, as 
distinguished from the "earlier” We have already 

drawn attention to one or two important points in the Rasa 
theory, in which it difieis from the generality of aesthetic views. 
For example, it reiecte the very common view that a poet may, 
and often does, give expression to his own feelings in poetry. Here 
is another point which is far more important^ viz* the discovery 
that there is an order of poetry which requires a deeper form of 
appreciation and yields a higher kind of aesthetic experience than 
is ordinarily acknowledged: and in this discovery^ we naay say, 
consists one of the chief contributions of India to the general 
philosophy of art* 




F[^x!PCTly^3( llw Dacca IlnjiTrmJiy, Dafici, PaMiUA 

A familar and catchy epigram* which seems to soothe the feeling 
of inferiority of the backward East* characterizes the civilization 
of the West as materialistic and that of the East as spiritttaiistic. 
The West* with its rapid strides in the physical sciences* coitld 
quickly raise its standard of living and provide for all sorts of 
creature comforts. Learning the secrets of nature* Western man 
has succeeded in many cases m forestalling or minimising her 
magnificent activities and in advancing his own material interests 
and pleasures. The West did not limit science to the physical 
world alone. Man himself became an object of scientific interest, 
both as an iudi^ddual and as a member of the social group. Human 
psychology was soon linked up w’ith animal psychology, as evolu¬ 
tion was deemed to have bridged the discontinuity between man 
and the lower creation in the field of biology. Over-emphasis and 
exaggeration regarding the rationality of man and his being a 
little low'er tlmn the angels had a tendency to muiimize the im¬ 
portance of his animal heritage and of his instinctuaf equipment* 
Comparative anatomy* comparative physiology and comparative 
psychology have brought out his basic similarity to lower forms 
□f life; and the development of anthropological knowledge has 
laid down the several stages by which man has ascended from the 
pithecanthropos erectus condition to the civilized stage. The West 
did something more. It utilized the knowledge of the different 
races of mankind to formulate the main structures of societal 
organization and to show the dependence of its character on 
environmental conditions, physical and social alike. Sociology 
could trace the formation of msUtutions to certain fundament^ 
needs, desires and aversions that are ingrained in human nature 
all over the world, and assign their variations to certain extraneous 
factors like climate* location, tradition and social contacts friendly 
and hostile. 

This naturally led to an intimate study of the psychological 



nature of man. The theologicaJ presuppositions that he^ed in 
psychological studies being gradually discarded, the philosophers 
could themselves discuss the empirical nature of man without 
reference to the ultimate origin and destiny of his soul. Evolu¬ 
tionism threw doubts upon the double equipment of soul and 
mind in man, corning respectively from supematural and natural 
sources; and abnormal psychology could point to the fragmenta¬ 
tion of human personality in conditions of dissociation as a serious 
challenge to the belief in a unitary self postulated by philosophy 
and religion alike. But even before abnormal psychology did its 
devastating work, analytical and empirical psychology had begun 
an analj'sis of consciousness with a view to detennining the laws 
of mental operation and of psychic integration and evolution. It 
did not feel the necessity of invoking the aid of an entitative 
. spiritual unit to link up psychological happenings and to explains 
the sense of personal identity. 

The ctunulative effect of these psychological studies was the 
loss of interest in a spiritual soul created by God, free In its actions, 
accountable to the creator for its career on earth, and stringing 
together its experiences into a unitary personality as bearer of a 
single moral destiny. The emancipation from rationalistic philo¬ 
sophy and theology is responsible for an intensive empirical study 
of both physical objects and minds. Descartes could say that, in 
looking inside, he caught the reality of his spiritual self. But 
Hume, following the same procedure, failed to catch any soul or 
self, but found instead a series of psychical states possessing only 
a semblance but not the substance of a unitary self; in which view 
he had a large foUowing, including Bertrand Russell, who said 
that "personality is constructed by relations of the thoughts to 
each other and to the body,” each person being a separate bundle, 
as it were, of these relations, llie inner constitution of each 
individual man is a very' complicated affair, and no proper under¬ 
standing of its nature can be had from the religious belief in 
creationism, namely, that a soul was created afresh for each 
person and put inside the foetus at a certain period of gestation. 
Traducianism, with its belief in the derivation of the soul from 
the ancestral psyche, was nearer the mark, inasmuch as it could 
explain the influence of heredity in determining family resem¬ 
blances, though its primary concern was to make the doctrine of 
original sin plausible through the supposition that men have all 
derived their spiritual substance from tbe tainted soul of Adam 



and were infected tfA inilw. In us all slumber racial and family 
tmits, which prompt characteristic responses iu definite situations 
and mahe each of us one of a kind. 

We can now take stock of scientific and philosophical approaches 
from the realistic side. Extraversion has dominated Western 
philosophic thought from the time of the Greeks; and even when 
some of the philosophers use spiritualistic terminology, we are not 
^re ii something material is not meant—think, for instancct oi 
Parmenides' Being, Anaxagoras* Nms, and the logos spcrtnatikos 
of the Stoics, fio wonder that parallelism should prove a favourite 
dogma in the West^ for it enables one to leave matter aside when 
discussing spirit—a position totally unkno^vn to Eastern thought, 
which understands materialism, spiritualism and interactionism, 
but not parallelism, as a solution of the body-mind relation. The 
West couM, because of its interest in things external, develop not 
only the \^ariGus physical sciences but also the knowledge of the 
waj'S in which the external world afiected the apprehending mind. 
With its ga^ still turned outwards^ the West could study the 
reactions of the mind to the revelations from outside and attempt 
scientific discoveries designed to control natural forces and turn 
them to practical use- Sensa have become an object of increasing 
interest to Western philosophers in recent years as ideas and 
phenomena were to their predecessors—^the change in terminology 
indicates a shift in emphasis from the menial and transcendental 
aspects to the phj^ical and empirical. The theory of external 
relations has been similarly designed to emancipate the physical 
from dependence upon the mental. The different theories of 
evolution have also tended to attenuate the distinction between 
the physical and the mental by thinking of mind as an instrument 
evolved by life when simple and routined adjustments fail. We 
need to make a passing reference to logical positivism when it is 
seriously $ugg^ted that philosophical questions are really ques¬ 
tions of language and not of fact and thnt philosophical perplexi¬ 
ties are at bottom misunderstandings about definitions or rules of 
use. It is science and not philosophy that deals with factual 
questions. And if with behaviourism we reduce thinking to sub- 
^'ocal speech or with James reduce our intimate self to some 
strain sensation in the vocal region, then the last leap to dear off 
the philosophical and psychical ground would be taken. The 
mind'Stufi theory, psychical atomism, radical empiricism and 
such other philosophi cal creeds denied the reality of a unitary 



substantial soul but maintainod the existence of consciousness* 
Some rncxlem speculations have tended to bahish the psychical 
altogether as a matter of theory, though they have found it hard 
to maintain their ground in practice* 

If the above sketch represented the only trend of Western 
thought, then the spiritual would have either evaporated alto¬ 
gether, leaving only the physical behind, or it would have been 
eviscerated of all significant meaning, being reduced to a support- 
less series or stream or wave of consciousness. By admitting, as 
Berkeley does, an over-looking eye holdmg the universe as the 
content of its vision, all that we prove is that unknown obiects 
do not exist; the universe becomes a content of the Divine Mind 
both in its fixity and in its flow', without implying that it is a 
necessity in the life of God or that any such object of thought 
furthers any ulterior plan of improvement. The subjective idealists 
and the solii^ists merely initiated this lifeless picture of the 
uni^'erse, only assigning it to some mundane thinking, instead of 
graling divinc heights. The spiritualbUc influence in the West 
came principally from the Platonic tradition. Though matter 
could not be entirely denied, its form was dominated from outside 
by a spiritual principle^—the world of Ideas illumined and in¬ 
formed by the idea of the Good, The Socratic identification of 
virtue and knowledge was reflected in the Platonic identiftcation 
of the intelligible and the moral world, of ontology and axiology. 
True, this bold equation of ultimate fact and absolute value was 
beyond the compiehcosion, or not to the likmg, of subsequent 
philosophers; and so this great venture of faith—the ultimate 
identity of value and existence—^was abandoned by Kant, Lange, 
Ijotzc, Ritchl, Spencer, Balfour, Benjamin Kidd and others, as 
Piingle-Paitison has so ably pointed out. But Greek life, with its 
love of the beautiful and the enjoyable aspects of the world, 
saved classicism from degenerating into a negative attitude 
towards the universe: and when Christianity began to emphasize 
the %irtue of renunciation it really combated the life, and not the 
philosophical thought that was Greece. The Stoic and Neo- 
Platonic philosophies also were not sympathetic towards the 
pursuit of pleasure. The triumph of the hedonistic philosophies 
was really a triumph of human nature over the studied neglect of 
the joj.'s of life. 

But if life triumphed over logic in the matter of determining the 
main featurf?s of the classical attitude towards the w'orld, the 



ethical and political sense was responsible for a certain amount ot 
idealism. The in tensely logical classical mind was with rare ex¬ 
ceptions least prone to mysticism on the one hand and nominalism 
on the other. The Greek tradition emphasized the rational and 
socio-ethical Ufe of man and developed his conceptual thinking 
and law'-abiding habit. It taught him to acknowledge the necessity 
of transcendental elements in philosophic thinking and the objec- 
tivitv of the social order. But it did not touch his emotional life 
except by a kind of philosophic irrelevance. Emotion is a disturb¬ 
ance of the souJ^ and so a detached view of things could be ob¬ 
tained only by practising indifference WTiatever 

spirituality the soul possesses must come from its rational faculty, 
and the physical universe would be spiritual to the extent that it 
would be known by a thinking mind in disguise. So reality, to be 
spiritual, must either be perceived or be a percipient, i.e. either 
mentaiism or spiritualisin must be the philosophic creed. In this 
description the Absolute may safely be coiint^ out. for a hnite 
that fnlhls either ol these conditions would be entitled to be 
called spiritual even if there be no God. Subjective idealism and 
pluralistic spiritualism would accordingly both be spiritualistic, 
even though the former may land us in solipsism and the latter in 

Fortunatel5^ the West became the inheritor of a great religious 
tradition in addition to the phOosophical. The Mediterranean 
religions, with their pronounced mylhological contents, could not 
long satisfy the thinking section of mankind, which naturally 
sought intellectual solace in philosophy divorced from religion. 
Religion was not philosoptiized and philosophy '^religioni^ed/^ to 
coin a new expression. In this respect, an instnictive comparison 
may be made betw^een the Mediterranean religions and the Brah- 
manical. In India, polytheism was not only mastered by heno- 
theism, monolatiy" and monotheism, but it w^as virtually supciseded 
by religious mj^tidsm in which the gods faded out of existence as 
ultimate entities or eternal beings. Their place was taken by the 
impersonal Brahman—^not, however, as a mere philosophic con¬ 
cept-like Being or the Idea or the Good (when this is not personal- 
istically viewed as God), but as the concrete basis of all types of 
existence, including the Divine^ The path w*as facilitated by the 
identification of the different gods of the Vedic literature as so 
many manifestations of a single reality* The monarchie and 
patriarchic conception of a single deity as supreme overlord or 



Drigin^I source, though not totall}' absent, did not prove attractive 
enough to the ^q>ecttla^ively inclined in India, as it did m Greece 
and Rome; and so supplementation to religious belief was made 
not on m>ihological but on philosophic line$, md yet the philo¬ 
sophy continued to be religious and did not become seodar as it 
did in Greece, Conversely, the commentators interpreted the 
aphorisms of a philosophical text like the Brnhmssutras of Bada- 
rayana with a view to defending particular religious standpoints. 
Thus, on the one hand, religion tended to develop on speculative 
lines and, on the otheri philosophy tended to lend support to 
definite religious standpoints. This commerce betweeji religion 
and philosophy from the earliest times one sadly misses in Western 
thought m general: and that is why the mfluenoe of each ha;s to 
be independently assessed. There was a limited one-way traffic 
from religion to philosophy in Christological speculations* 
Christianity, which itself inherited the noble tradition of 
Judaism, e^cialJy as preached by the prophets of the eighth 
century ex. dowmwards, has supplied a second dement of spir¬ 
ituality to Western thought* Hebrew religious thought was 
dominated almost from the veiy beginiiing by the idea that the 
Jews were the chosen race of a spiritual God who would not 
brook a rival in worship. Thb God, though mostly conceived 
transcendentallj^ w^as yet a living God who manifested Himself to 
His chosen prophets and took an active interest in the ^velfare of 
Israel. Ong^ally conceived as a mountam-godp He was latterly 
looked upon as the ruler of Heaven and earth, and even the 
Sheol ultimately came to be included within His jurisdiction. 
Although contact with surromiding religions frequently made the 
Jew^s tall prey to polytheism and idolatry, the belief in a smgle 
spiritual God, of which Israel was the prophet, maintained its 
foothold in the best minds of the race and tiiurupbed in the end. 
Through the and dowiis of political fortune, the Jews held 
fast to the belief that Divine providence was in operation in 
human history^ and that ultimately all nations w^ould be gathered 
together in Zion* all quarrels and cruelties would cease, and the 
licui and the lamb would lie down together in perfect peace. The 
prophets exhorted men to prepare themselv'es for such a consum¬ 
mation, for the condiiion precedent of the Divine advent was the 
sinlcssness of man. The Shekinah would descend to the earth with 
the removal of sin. The Apocalj'pses were visions of the day when 
the distinctioii betiveen the earthly and the heav'enly Jerusalem 



would disappear and the Kingdom of God would be estabHsbed 
on earth. 

If Jewish pride of race had not been accompanied by a sense of 
sin and the necessity of confEssing and expiating the same, 
spirituality would not have struck such a deep root in the national 
mind. Israel must set an example of spirituaiity to the rest of the 
world if it sincerely believes in the holiness of Yahw^eh. The old 
idea that it was a matter of prestige with Him to support Israel 
whether right or wrong must he abandoned, for Yahweh would 
use His rod of vengeance iu case of moral and religious !ap^ even 
on the part of Israel. The righteousness of God goes beyond the 
observance of Divine commandEnents or righteousness by the law, 
and the prophets inveighed against mere formal conformity to the 
law^s without a conscious striving after spiritual perfection. That 
devotion does not stand in need of sacrifice or material ofitorings 
was leamt at bitter cost during the da^^ ol the Babylonian exile, 
for outside the consecrated ground of Jerusalem only prayer, and 
no material worship, could be made to God. The mj^tics tried to 
bring home to the minds of the ungodly, the immoral and unjust 
that God w^as much nearer than they fondly believed. The Holy 
Spirit operates in the minds of men and things, and no act of 
heroism and good government, and no spiritual quickening or 
inspiration or insight, would have been possiblep had the Spirit or 
the wisdom of God not operated to preserve the world in existence 
and guide its destiny. The elect could even feel the sensuous 
presence of God in the form of lights fire, soundp a dove, glory, 
image, etc. But the idea of incarnation was repugnant to Jewish, 
as to Muslim, belief, though Divine attributes like wisdom, 
power, love and justice or Divine agencies, anthropomorphicaliy 
viewed, were sometimes supposed to mediate between God and 
the world. All anthropomorphisms were,^ however, paraphrased 
and spiritualized in the Targum literaturej to maintain the 
absolute spirituality of God* 

Jewish spirituality w^as, then, primarily religious and emotional 
and not intellectual and philosophical inasmuch as God's exis¬ 
tence was taken for granted, and only His attributes and modes 
of manifestation were modified as the conscience of the race 
developed* We are likely to get a very one-sided view of Hebrew 
(and Jewish) religion if we are to base our knowledge of it on the 
attitude of the Christians (e.g. Marcion). The special contribution 
of Christianity to the spiritu^ culture of the West was its Christo- 



logical speculation—the Logos incarnate, who offered himself as 
a saciificf to take away the sins of the world and hasten the 
advent of the Kingdom of God on earth. It must have sounded as 
a blasphemy to the Jewish ears to be told that Jesus and \ ah^h 
were one, or that he that had seen Jesus had seen the Father. The 
apotheosis of Christ (whence his designation '’Lord*’) in the 
Synoptic Gospels led to the reverse process of his being the incar¬ 
nation of God in Pauline literature, as of Buddha in Hinarana 
and ^lahayana respectivelv. The Sen'ant of the Lord, the Son of 
Man, became the Son of God, and even the Divine Ruler and 
Judge who was essentially or substantially one rvith God Himself 
(and therefore possessing heavenly pren^xistence and bodily 
ascension), the Nicene Creed actually summing up the orthodox 
belief in the matter. Christ claimed to have the authority to for¬ 
give sinners and to enunciate new spiritual laws—powers which 
Judaism resen'ed for God alone. 

The \itality of Christianity as a spiritual force draws its sos- 
tenance from the life and message of Christ himself and from 
what succeeding ages thought of him. God as Father^ though not 
unknown to later Judaism, was most intensely preached by 
Christ. God as judge w^e approach with awe, but God as Father we 
approach with love and trust. Convetselyp the Father in heaven 
is ever wdling to receive back the prodigal son with open arms. 
God is ever ready to forgive our sins—nayp He so loved the world 
that He sent His only begotten Son so that He might redeem the 
sinner hy offering Himself as a ransom for mankind. Who^vei 
believes in Christ becomes entitled to everlasting life^ but none 
else: fot Christ is the Way and the Life and is the finisher or 
perfecter of faith. The conviction that Christ directed his message 
to be spread to all mankind inspired mission wwk throughout the 
world, and has had profound influence upon all races and climes 
dawn the ages. 

The peculiar spiritual contribution of Christianity consists in 
the emphasis on inner purity as opposed fo external conformity, 
love as opposed to law, spirit as opposed to lettetp peaceful per¬ 
suasion as oppe^ to leligious oppression, prayer and com¬ 
munion as opposed to material ofierings and formal worship ^ 
faith as opposed to speculation. Though to placate Jewish senti¬ 
ments the Messianic Kingdom was sometimes conceived in 
political terms even in the New Testament^ the failure of the 
political mission and Christ's ignommious death on the Cross were 



instniinental in tmning the attention of the Chtuxh increasingly 
to the spiritual purpose of Christ's coming, namely, to fadlitate 
the advent of the Kingdom of God in the hearts of meti^ irrespec¬ 
tive of their ethical status. Unaided human effort would not 
remove sin from the world and if, as the Jev^s believed, the re¬ 
moval of sin was the precondition of God*s coming to rule over 
earth, then humanity would never be saved. So out of His 
super-abounding love, sent Christ to forgive the sinner and make 
a new life out of him so that the moral regeneration might save 
him from the clutches of sin. 

The nearness of God as implied in Fatherhood Vi’as responsible 
for a confidential approach which, if not alien to Jewish thought, 
was not equally encouraged there. Besides, the prophetship, being 
confined to a single individual, was instmmenta] in establishing 
such a close identification betw^een God and Christ that acceptance 
of Jesus and seeing of God became almost synonymous. ^lysticism 
found a more favourable soil in Christianity than in Judaism, 
because it was easier to establish community of spirit with God 
become man than with far-ofl Yahw^h. Even erotic mysticism 
grew in the hearts of "the brid(^ of Christ/" and love literally 
became first law, A God that walked the earth was nearer the 
hearts and hearths of men, and to disbelieve in him brought 
greater risk, especially when he offered to take away men's sins. 
The promise of God to bring the races together received an added 
significance when the portals of the Christian religion were opened 
to the w'hole world. History became a march of spiritualism 
towards the ultimate establishment of the Kingdom of God, and 

an earnest thereof of the thousand years' rule of Christ and his 
saints. The Zoroastrian conception of an ultimate renovation of 
the world where sin would be completely banished, found an echo 
in Jewish and Christiaii thought. From Orphic and Mithraic 
ni3^teries Christianity borrowed elements al^ut sanctification 
and communion that strengthened the spiritual attitude tovs-ards 
God The sa^Tour saint could evoke echoes of passion and rapture 
which Plato"s philosophy of the later period, as influenced hy 
Pythagoreanism and developed in Neo-Platonism, could not 
through its mystic leanings. 

The calling by Jesus of men from their vocation and dissociating 
them from their famil}’ life must have had the same effect in the 
West as Buddha's similarly had in India. The spmtual element 
had a tendency to be associated with the abjuration of the w^orld 



and the suppression of the natural impulses. Judaism, like the 
Zoroastrian and the ordinary Bmhmanical vieu'^mt, extollrf 
family life and disfavoured asceticism and mortification oi the 
flesh. But Christianity, like Buddhism (and Jdnism), sometimes 
looked upon the body as impure. s^\ life as vile, and a monastic 
life of chastity, poverty and obedience as the ideal p^^aration 
for buntan perfection. Naturally, therefore, asceticism and 
spirituality came to be associated together. People entering holy 
orders had to become eunuchs in the cause of Christ. This ten¬ 
dency became m<»t noticeable during the Middle Ages when the 
Church attracted some of the best itunds to a life of celibacy. The 
resistance to the doctrine of Diiiine immanence in the world was 
partly responsible for this denial of spHtuality to the world. 
Pantheism and mysticism owed their origin and diffusion more to 
temperaments and bonowings from foreign sources than to the 
Jewish tradition and Christian orthodoxy, though it must be 
admitted that the flooding of inner life by the Holy Spirit and a 
knowledge of God through communion and love-experience m- 
creasiogly became a part of the Christian creed. For the same 
reason ethical spirituality could gain a stronger foothold, as the 
duality of God and man w'as favourable for emphasizing the 
aspect of moral obligation towards a holy God, and establishing 
ethical relations with one's fellow-men as bemg pleasing to an 
ethical deity. 

The last spiritual element of Western thought came from the 
philosophical developments of Christianity. The origin of the 
w'orld has always been a troublesome speculative problem, and 
early philosophers could scarcely think of a w'orld without some 
pre-existent amorphous matter, w’bether of one kind or many 
kinds. Matter provided such a convenient explanation for imper- 
fectionsof all kinds—phyrsical, mental, moral, aesthetic, spiritual, 
that its assumption could not ba rightly resisted. Faced w'ith the 
problem of reconciling a unitary Cod with a physical world, 
Christianity chose creation out of nothing as a part of its religious 
belief in preference to world-fashioning, emanation, illusory pro¬ 
jection, etc., and was immediately faced with the task of explain¬ 
ing evil on a monistic principle. Inevitably it was forced to think 
of evil as a necessary condition of some ultimate good—at least 
as not having any survival value, Katurally the question of 
man's complicity in the origination of evil cropped up. and this 
brought in its train the question of free will. In this way the 



complicated philosophical situation involving the status and value 
of nature and man in a monistic reference was ushered in. The 
origin, signihcance and persistence of matter and its influence on, 
and knowledge by mind, the original independence and immor¬ 
tality of the finite self and its relation to matter, and the nature of 
God in itself and in relation to mind and matter, were mutually 
related problems w'hicU necessitated the fixation of the function 
of each entity. Why there should be a world at all and why it 
should not have absolute or independent existence, what place 
matter fills in a spiritual universe and in the minds of finite selves, 
why the mind should be entangled in a body, and what alteration 
in the values marks mind and matter in the passage through time 
are questions that became inextricably bound up with the Chris¬ 
tian standpoint. Christologicai speculations started in the middle 
of things by assuming the fall of man and the necessity of Re¬ 
demption through the Descent of Christ. Doceticism made an 
ineffectual attempt to reduce the whole phenomenon to a show in 
Christianity as in Buddhism. Christian orthodoxy demanded of 
man a real struggle with his sinful nature, and did not look with 
favour on predestination which would throw upon God the 
responsibility of choosing the elect and reduce man’s moral 
struggle to a sham. If knowledge demands a real object, morality 
demands a real conquest over one’s lower nature, which is consti¬ 
tuted by animal propensities ultimately traceable to association 
with a body. 

Post-Kantian idealism had all these Christian ideas in the 
background. In Hegel it actually used the Bibhcal terminology of 
God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Ghost or Spirit 
as the description of the stages of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, 
through w'hicb the Absolute realkes the potentblities of its Being 
and rises to absolute consdousness. Fichte had emphasized the 
moral aspect of a spiritual life and given to matter just enough 
reality to act as the opposition, by overcoming which spirit came 
to its own. Schelling's conception of the travail of the Absolute 
through higher and higher forms of manifestation till it attained 
consciousness, coupled with the later notion of its original fall from 
which it was to be radeemed with the march of history, made spirit¬ 
uality of the universe an increasing event. But it was reserved for 
Hegel to declare that whatever was real was rational so that behind 
all seemingly diaotic happenings there was a rational method and 
that history was at bottom an unfolding of the inner dialectic of 



the Absolute—a temporal process not ruled by chance or caprice 
but working out a s^cme of evolution inherent in the nature of 
the rational absolute principle. That in this conception there was 
latent a belief in a developing God—temporal process being taken 
in a real sense and not regarded as a mere rehearsal of an eternally 
accomplished timeless perfection—can be inferred from the fact 
that post-Hegelian speculation^ especially in some noted realistic 
thinkers, could be as easily affiliated to Hegel‘s thought as to the 
doctrine of evolution. In such absolutistic speculation, the reli¬ 
gious element is naturally put into the background and much of 
scriptural teaching undergo^ modification. Creation by Divine 
fiat, for instance, definitely disappears from view and in its place 
emerges a belief in the eternity of the world as the objective 
counterpart of Di\^ne thought* 

Western philosophic spiritualism has fastened rather on three 
fundamental facts. It has equated existence and value, ontology 
and axiologyi by postulating that in reality there is nothing 
valueless, purposeless, irrational and incoherent. Value is not an 
imposition of the mind upon a mental stuff or a palliati^'e epithet 
tagged cm to a hostile universe: it is a cJraracter of reality which 
ensures the conservation of the good, and the elimination of the 
evil. Secondly, it has tended to treat all evil as only relative and 
as having no abiding value* In an ultimate reference evil has no 
being, though to our limited vision it seems to be the creation of 
God and to obstruct the realisation of Divine purpose. Barring 
those that have denied even the seeming of evil and those that 
have ascribed evU to an opposing principle or personality, Western 
philosophers who are spiritualistically inclined have sought to 
show* evil as really a form of the good, a necessary preparation for 
the good or a perversion by a finite intelligence of the nature of 
the infinite based on irtcomplete understanding, personal self- 
seeking or want of religious faith* Thirdly, it foliofrom this 
that finite things are capable of growing in intellectual and moral 
stature and apprehending the Divine plan and purpose of the 
universe in w'Mch all seemingly jarring elements find their proper 
places, and establishing a social concord wherein selfish interests 
are svv^aUowed up by consideration for the whole. ’WTiether the 
entire purpose of the universe w^ould be revealed in its details to 
any finite intelligencep however spiritually advanced^ cannot be 
proved; but it is a cardinal belief of Western spiritualism that the 
limitations of finite knowledge can be overcome, and things can 



be viewed swfi specU forming a completely rational 

system satisfying all the spiritual demands of the finite soul. 
Even if the realization of the moral perfection may involve a 
never-ending progress, the finite being is not denied a vision of 
the infinite bliss which is its spiritual objective. The pantheistic 
merger of the finite m the Infinite has not found a profound echo 
in Western hearts because of the religious duality of God and 
man, and even Bradley could not discard altogether the con¬ 
servation of the experience of the finite in some form in the 

Our survey of Western spiritualism would be incomplete with¬ 
out a reference to the developnient of ethicism as an independent 
discipline. Absolute idealism had to face two major problems in 
the God-man relation. The one is the necessity of finite spirits 
with limited visions of tire scheme of rcality^ The other is the 
degree of freedom and initiative possessed by these spirits. The 
intricate questions regarding the spirituality of God, namelyp 
wliether He is Himself a person or merely an Impersonal Experi¬ 
ence, whether consciousness belongs to finite beings and even 
so-called Divine consciousness is in reality human consciousness 
of a particular kind, whether, if both God and man are conscious, 
the tj^pes of their awareness are the same or similar, w'hethcr 
man derives his knowledge of things through the grace or the 
necessity of Divine life and, if so, how; whether individuality ml] 
have any meaning in an ulterior reference or will be dissolved or 
distributed in the Absolute which alone abides for ever and for 
ever, have sorely tormented idealistic philosophers of different 
times. That man was evolved so that nature might enter into 
conscious possession of her own beauties through his conscious¬ 
ness gives a teleological explanation of tilings and perhaps also 
gives an aesthetic touch to the work of creation, but does not 
solve satisfactorily the problem as to whether the Divine Artist 
has a personal enjoyment of His own creation as couched in the 
Biblical word that God saw that His creations were all good. 

But things become more compheated when the exact nature of 
the contribution of men to the attainment of worldly perfection 
is in question. This problem wHU involve two important issues, 
namely, the reality of time and the problem of human freedom. 
Christianity^ in its anxiety to defend the grace of God* has leaned 
more towards Augustinianism arid Calvinism than tow’ards 
Pelagianism and Arminianism-—the ogcillating mind of the 



Church In this regard is reftected in its many cowidls and synods, 
where the question of the relative value of Divine grace and 
human effort in determining the spiritual d^tiny of man peren¬ 
nially cropped up and was not always uniformly decided. The 
prototj'pe of these squabbles is the controversy about the nature 
of Chi^t—whether he was wholly God or wholly man, whether 
he had two wills and two natures or only one such, and whether 
baptism made any difference in the relation of the two wills, 
human and di^e, in his personality. 

Those who felt that morality could be freed from religious and 
mctaph^'Sical domination naturally voted for spiritualism as a 
human obligation. Whether man is noumenally free but pheno¬ 
menally bound, as Kant said, or just the reverse, as Green some' 
times taught, whether Divine foreknowledge could be reconciled 
with human free will or was more allied to fatalism, whether 
Divine will or Divine knowledge w-as responsible for detennining 
the nature of the good, as the Scotists and the Thomlsts respec¬ 
tive!}'’ believed, whether morahty was linked up wdth a pleasurable 
hereafter or was a never-ending progress towards perfection, are 
all transcendental questions to which no final satisfactory reply 
was possible. So the moral man should either ignore these ultimate 
questions or keep them in the background of his mind. Tlie 
Consciencers had advised the substitution of the Bible by con¬ 
science, The modem ethical movement teaches through its 
ethical societies that "the moral life involves neither acceptance 
nor rejection of the belief in any Deity, personal or impersonal, or 
in a life after death,’' Those who attempted to build up a religion 
of humanity have since been followed by others with similar 
secularistic tendencies an<4 the religion of man is replacing the 
religion of God. Duty to fellow-men is still sacred, though the basis 
is no longer religious but social. Maintenance of social order, and 
not obedience to Dhine law, is the supreme duty of man, and by 
social order is to be understood not the perpetuation of exist ing 
inequalities, class distinctions and special privileges but a har¬ 
monious working of social components in which oppression and 
injustice have no place, facilities for all-round development are 
available to all itrespcctivc of thdr status, wealth and education, 
and the true motive of righteousness is not the fear of God but 
love of fellow*-men. Social service, cosmopolitanism and liberation 
of the submerged sections from material and spiritual bondage of 
all kinds sum up the duties of moral man. He should accept a 



melifjristic treed and work vdth cxunplete faith in s£:lf-hclp and 
capacity to mould tlie course of history and, within the limits ol 
his power, to take and shape the forces of nature. 

Let us now turn our gaxe to the East with its teerriing millions 
professing other faiths and adoring other ideals, Islam, with its 
foundations iu the Eible (especially the Old Testament), had its 
religious and social outlook naturally determined by older Semitic 
traditions, both positively and negatively. It followed the intense 
monotheism ol Judaism in its emphasis upon the unity of God, 
mostly keeping Him apart from His creation, so that Divine 
majesty might not be affected by too much familiarity* This God 
neither begets nor is He begotten—so the relation of father and 
son must be very cautiously used in reference to Him. He is our 
Lord and wc are His ser^^ants; and as what He has destined for 
man eternally is bound to come to pass, we can only bow to His 
uil] in all matters and accept with resignation all that befalls us 
in the sure conviction that things could not have happened other- 
uise. The Quran, which is on earthly transcript of the Heavenly 
copy as rex^ealed to llohanimad through the angel Jibrail (Gabriel) 
from time to time by a kind of external inspiration {wahi za/uV), 
contains the veritable words of AHah given to man for the last 
time for his moral rectification and spiritual uplifting. The life of 
the spirit in Islam is symonymous with following the ordinances 
of the Quran and the Traditions where the Scripture is silent. The 
Quran contains noble utterances about the duties of men tosvards 
one another—the social legislation being a part of the Scripture 
as in the Old Testament, which possibly had the code of Ham¬ 
murabi as its model. The five daily prayers, the compulsory gift 
to the needy, the keeping of the yearly fast, the pilgrimage to 
Mecca, together with the acceptance of the unity of Allah and the 
prophetship of Mohammad, form the five pillars of the faith which 
every orthodox Mussolmon must practise: but devotion outweighs 
the moral practice in value and submission to the will of Allah 
and a general altitude ol peacefulness towards His creation 
constitute the correct attitude towards God and man. Although 
mystical utterances are not totally absent from the Quran, Islam 
never encouraged antinomianism of any kind or any great leaning 
towards pantheism, both of w^hkh are associated with the Sufi 
myrstics. It discouraged ascelism (the dervishes and fakirs having 
come into existence later and been patronized fay the heterodox 
and ignorant foUow^ers of Islam), and developed fanatical icono- 



cl a< m : but it preached human equality and considcrateness 
towards the poor of the community. 

ZoroastrianUm, which Islam supplanted in Persia (Iran), was 
morali.stic to the core. It alluded to the fateful choice that the 
good and the bad spirit made at the beginning, with the effect 
that the universe may be said to be divided between two warring 
camps—the followers of Ahura Ma^da. (Ormuzd) and the retinue 
of Angra MainjTi (Ahriraan)—until a time would come when evil 
>vill be finallv vanquished and there will be a reno^'atioii of the 
world through the ^ptism of the molten metal which will cleanse 
all things at the end, Man must be a fellow-worker with the Good 
Spirit in ridding the world of all obnoxious elements so that he 
may deserve to enter into the realm of song and endless light— 
the heavens success!velj' of Good Thought, Good Word and Good 
Deed leading thereto. But Lord Wisdom (Ahura Ma^da) can be 
approached only through a recognition of his spiritual retinue— 
the Aitiesha Spentas, three of whom represent the Divine nature, 
namely, Good Thought {Voht 4 Mamh), Righteousness or Order 
(, fs/ja I'n/itsAte), and Sovereignty {Kskatra Vairya), and the other 
three, the gifts of God to man, namely, Devotion {Arpkiiti}, 
Welfare {Haurvafal^ and Immortality {Amcratai^. To this list 
must be added Obedience to Religious Lore {Srao^kit) as a pre¬ 
requisite of spiritual life. In post-Gathic literature, whicb reflects 
a partial return to submeiged pcljlheism, other spiritual abstrac¬ 
tions continued to be personified, such as Religion or Moral 
Activity [Dacna), Jtisticc (Ras/um Rasislha), Proridence as won 
by prayer and good action {Baghobaklii], Destiny {Bukhi, Asbi 
VaPguhi) and such other qualities that make for spiritual progress. 
Though in later thought some magical and mechanical prescrip¬ 
tions made their appearance, yet on the whole it is the resolute 
pursuit of truth and morality that characterizes the spiritual life 
in Zoroastrianism. To wage relentless war against Lie {Drttj}, 
Heresy (Tar&maiii], Violence (, 4 esArfur), Evil Thought (.lAn 
MatutA) and such other unspiritual activities, personified as E\'il 
Spirits (Daevas), to conquer the hostile forces of nature and to 
lead a normal householder's life are the Ideals set before the 
faithful. Benevolence and charitj^ chastity and morality, devo¬ 
tion and strenuous endeavour arc the main ingredients ol holy 

Zoroastrianism was religious and moral but it was not mystical. 
It used the sjTuboI of the Fire L-l/ui’) for religious worship as being 



an emblem of puntv, illumination and power* and paid homage to 
Light (MiihTa), the Sun {Hvarcksku^Ut), the Moon {Miiongki) and 
the stars (specially Tishtryaj, Vattunit Saiujrnesii^ and Hapt^i- 
riftga —probably Sirius* the Great Bear* Vega and Fomalhaut 
respectively) when the ancient deities returned to favour in a 
disguised form as Yazatas. But e\il was alwaj^ fought and never 
appeasedp and the moral grandeur of Ahnra TiVas never obscured* 
event though ancestors and guardian angels {Ffavashis) began to 
complicate the pantheon at a later time. The mystical Zerv'anism 
could not thrive on Iranian soil and it is only in India that mysti¬ 
cally inclined Parsis have found in theosophy a kind of extension 
of their religious life which, however, the orthodox Parsis abjure 
and combat* 

For a proper blend of mysticism and morality we must travel 
further afield, namely to China, where two complementary 
streams of spirituality meet. Lao Tzu, whose mystical utterances 
bear strange similarity to L'panishadie utterances* taught men to 
value the transcendental and cultivate quietude and inaction, so 
that the spirit of the universe might imperceptibly infiltrate meif s 
minds and prompt them to do things by a kind of natural impuT 
sion and not by design and deliberation. Vacuity, sohtude. 
meditation, indifference and inactivity are what the sage would 
practise. The Tao as the Way of Heaven is unobtrusive and imper- 
sonalistic, while T^o as the way of men b blatant and personal- 
istic in character. Receptivity and not reaction must b^ the 
objective of the spiritually inclined. The T^o is unchanging^ 
nameless and amorphous^almost equivalent to non-being, but it 
b the beginiUng of Heaven and earth and all nameable things. To 
feel one's identity mth the indescribable unity b the highest 
wisdom and virtue. In TfW opposites are reconciled and all per¬ 
spectives meet—so all things interpenetrate and become one. 
which should prompt us to love all riiings equally* To a man in 
the axis of the Tao, time and distinctions cease to exist, and 
knowledge shrinks into a kind of non-knowledge for w'ant^ of 
discrimination and expression. Life and death have no meaning 
in the Great ’Wliole. and also for one w^ho has pt the mystic 
enlightenment* and has transcended all distinctions, including 
those of right and wrong. 

The tradition of mysticbm did not die out any time in China 
Lao Tzu was followed by Chuang Tzu and the authors of the Yt 
Amplificaii&ns and the Chug Yuj^, who tried to improve upon 



the aiicietit Taoist tradition on the one hand, and mixed it with 
Confudan tradition on the other. The mj'stical school of the 
third and the fourth centuries continued the tradition of Taoism 
but it, too, gave the pride of place to Confucius, who taught men 
not merely to know what identification with Heaven was but also 
to realiic it in their lives. The rise of the Mahayana school with its 
doctrines of Suchness {BhutatafhtUo) and the Body of Law 
(iJ/jiarnwJtaya) helped to reinforce the mystical tendency, as both 
these prindples were mostly viewed impersonalistically as the 
world-ground with which every' manifestation is ultimately 
identical. But the practical Chinese mind w-as more moral than 
religious in the devotional sense. Tire cultivation of the five 
constant virtues of charity {?e«), righteousness (( oryi), propriety 
(h), wisdom {chik) and sincerity (ftsw), whereby one is enabled 
respectively to practise love and fellow-feeling and the golden rule 
in one's dealings with society, pursue the ethical and univer- 
salistic end in preference to the economic and egoistic, observe 
decorum in rituals and ceremonies and proper restraint in conduct, 
use one's intellect in understanding the decrees of Heaven and 
establishing right relation with the universe at large by developing 
a spontaneity for correct attitude through practice, and cultivate 
a habit of truthfulness in dealing with friends. Filial piety and 
reverence towards Heaven are included in the above five virtues, 
though Heaven is viewed sometimes as a personal ruler (5/utflg 
7i) and at other times as an impersonal principle (Tieji). One 
need not dabble unnec^sarily and excessively in transcendental 
things: Confucius himself avoided speaking on four subjects, 
namely, extraordinary things, feats of strength, rebellious dis¬ 
order. and spirits* Naturally enough, prayer figures HtUe in this 
system, though Confudus had faith in the validity of the eternal 
laws of rnorality and believed that by transgressing these men lost 
the right and chance of temporal blessings* The maintenance of 
the five human rdationsliips. namely, of husband and wife, of 
father and son, of sovereign and subject, of elder and younger 
brother, and of friend and friend constituted the good hfe. The 
causal sequence of a lectifitKl heart, decorous conduct, a well- 
regulated family and a wdl-ordered state must be kept in view 
when regulating one’s life. The rulers must also remember that 
moral lapses in high quarters are responsible for general laxity in 
sodety as a whole. Confucianism emphasised the social character 
of ethical disci pline and the necessity of a well-regulated state for 



developing personality. The state religion was loimal and its 
character regulated by the status of official mmistrants. The 
coEumon man could worship the ancestral tablets, the lower 
deities (sA*'n) and the impersonal Tkn (but not the personal 
Shafig Ti} with such personifications as he pleased. Apotheosis of 
saints and sages, including Confucius (K/iuig-foo-tKu) provided 
additional materials of wrorship, and wrhen Buddhism came to 
China it provided a fuller and more satisfactory pantheon and 
opened the floodgates of devotion and meditation to the religiously 
famished souls of the moralistic Confucianists. Religion became 
more personal and the quest of the blessed hereafter became more 
pronounced. People began to draw thinr religious mspiration from 
all the three ways of life — Taoist, Confucian and Buddhist, 
according to their personal predelictions^ 

Japan, which was deeply influenced by Buddliism and Con¬ 
fucianism alike, developed her spirituality on nationalistic Lines 
with more pronounced loyalty to the crow^n than China did. The 
ruler was the descendant of the Supreme Deity in both the places 
—of Heaven in China and of the Sun-Goddess in Japan, and was 
also the high priest of the natian. Both had deep reverence for 
departed ancestor. But Shinto was more naturalistic than moral 
and^ though it deified the forces of nature, it did not motaliiKe 
them enough p with the effect that Japan had to make large bor¬ 
rowings to feed the hunger for righteousness and devotion of her 
people from other sources. But w^hile she borrowed mostly from 
China, she showed surprising originality in developing new* sects 
and effecting compromises with the indigenous creed (Ryoby 
Shinto). Provision was made to satisfy the religious need of 
different types of mind — the meditative had their Zen (DAya^iij) 
Buddhism, while the devotional bad their Amida as 

refuge. But the paramount interest of the state was never for¬ 
gotten, though an idealist like Nichiren wanted Japan to be the 
centre of the Universal Buddhist Church also. Possibly the passing 
aw^ay of old political organizations in both China and Japan will 
bring about a new spiritual orientation. 

But it is to India that we must turn to get a complete picture 
of the attempt of man to understand the needs of the spirit and 
bring about a fulfilment of those needs. Brahmanism, which^ is 
DOW the oldest living religion of the world, kept its doors wide 
□pen for letting in new ideas in religion and absorbing ne\v popu¬ 
lations within its social organization. ITie pre-Aryan stocks lent 



tlmr belief to the conquering Aryans and in tum imbibed their 
culture. The cult of Siva rcinfotc^ the Vedic laudation of Rudra 
possibly after the Indus Valley civilization had had time to infect 
the conquerors. 1 he mother goddess might have come both from 
that source and from the Kolarians^ and it has been suggested 
that Yoga (itiedilation) and possibly the theory of tTansmigraliQn 
came from the pre-An^an inhabitants of India. It has been sug¬ 
gested also that Jainism and Buddhism might be regarded as 
continuing the Mohenjo-Daro tradition of meditation in prefer¬ 
ence to sacrifice to the gods, and that the Upanishadic emphasis 
upon knowledge and meditation might also have come from an 
alien source. The absorption of the Vratyas (fallen, possibly alien 
mces) was regularized by a ceremony in later Vedic times; but 
later immigrants like the Sakas, the Yavnnas, the Pahlavas, the 
Hunas, the Parasikas, the Gurjaras and others ivcre imperceptibly 
absorbed and some features of their religions also passed into 
Hinduism. Some autochthonous deities also effected an entrance 
into the pantheon. Partly as policy and partly out of an insatiable 
craving for multiplying gods from the Vedic times dovvnwards* 
Bralmnanism found itself in possession of a multitude of gods and 
goddesses, and so ritual came to be regarded as a part of spiritual 
practice, VMien forests abounded on all sides and cattle consti¬ 
tuted the main wealthp the pouring of clarified butter on fire as 
oblation to the gods was the way of approaching the gods. Sacri¬ 
fice w'as really incurring material loss to please the gods who were 
expected to further the interests of the worshippeis both here and 
hereafter. \\Ticn image worship w^as later introduced, the rituals 
became more goigeous hut the minor gods progressively lost the 
afiection of the populace. Formal worship with materi^ ofiering 
to images in temples remained attractive to those who could not 
understand deep philosophy or appreciate the adoration of a 
formless divinity with prayers and meditations only. This type of 
spiritual practice lost favour in course of time through a variety 
of causes. When the period of the hymns was over, set formnlae 
took their place as laudations^ and this proved distasteful to those 
who were against all types of spiritual barrenness. The sacrifice 
of animals also touched sensitive hearts, and Jainism and Bud¬ 
dhism made a fronts attack against this practice. As Vedic sacri¬ 
fices fell into disuse and the new di\dnities, with the exception of 
the Sakti goddess^ had a new mode of offering evolved for them» 
cruelty practically disappeared from religious worship, and this 


in turn ser\"cd to modify the Vedic ^acrificas themselves, inxTaTnucb 
as in the meantime vegetarianism had spread among the higher 
classes due to the acceptance of the principle of flAijjisa (non- 
injury) by different religious groups. In the Bhagavadgita material 
offering figures lowest as spiritual practice; and ascent is progress 
sively made therefrom to penances^ meditatiouSp scriptural study 
and religious insight. But so long as an image is set up as a syrabofi 
the worship has to be in consouance with the needs of an embodied 
form; and therefore the good things of the earth, like flowers, 
incense, fruit, etc., are offered to the gods. 

But the personified spirits of nature which the Vedic Aryans 
worshipped were so transformed in course of time that polj^heism 
and image worship both lost their literalness. Even during Vedic 
times the question of a supreme god had been mooted: and as an 
alternative the device of treating each deity as supreme for the 
time being had been attempted. Then again, personified abstrac¬ 
tions jostled with personified powers of nature for the adoration 
of men as in Zoroastrianism, though on a lesser scale, and even 
accessories of worship w'cre deified. But w hat affected the status 
of gods most was thp idea that they were all nvanifestatioris of a 
unitary Being though differently named-—a vein of thought which 
tciminated in postulating a One without a second as the ultimate 
w'orld-ground and in treating all plurality as mere names and 
forms (wfiswarw/fa) w^hich were illusorj' in an ultimate reference. 
The way for this was prepared in the sub-Vedic literature called 
the Bnihmanas^ w^here faith in the efficacy of mantras (sacred 
verses) used tn worship turned them into veritable incantations 
which could coerce the gods into beneficent acts and dispense 
with divdne grace for achieving temporal and spiritual benefits^ 
Tlie doctrine of karpi^, when rigidly interpreted* made man the 
maker of his own destiny and, while making him more moral, 
tended to make him less devotional; and whatever small place 
W’as retained for God in the Brahmanical version of the theory 
taken aw^y in the Buddhistic and Jaina version, for boon^ 
gridng gods had no function in an autonomous moral law', which 
provided enjoyment according to the merit of the moral agent, 
and in Buddhism dispensed with the identity of the soul even, so 
that kama there became an impersonal moral energy capable of 
acting without reference to any abiding personality. A tradition 
that even gods are bom came down from Vedic timeSp and to this 
w'as added the complementary' belief that they die also and that 

209 o 


there has been a succession of gods halding the same title. Heaven 
was looked upon as a transit camp for moral souls enjoying their 
well-earned rest and recreation in a pleasurable abode for a period 
determined by their merits but returning to fresh embodiment 
when the merit was exhausted. It is only when we come do\™ to 
the time of the Purinas that devotion returned to its own and 
reiterated the necessity of surrendering to the will of God ij>ra- 
paili, Sararjiagiiti) whoiae grace operates without reference to per¬ 
sonal merit to save the sinner and who is above the law of 
kdrma. Post-Sankarite commentators of the Vedanta Sidras of 
Badarayana, among whom the devotionaUy incliried South 
Indians preponderated, possibly because of their temperamental 
and racid make-up, brought about a religious revival by acknow¬ 
ledging the new scriptures* the Pur^ias and the Bhagavadgita, as 
canonical and also the vernacular religious relics of the devout 
and the mystical souls. Their example was copied by the mediaeval 
saints of North, East and West India, till a mighty current of 
devotion swept all over the country' and made the lowly in spirit 
the men of God, thus fulhlling to the letter the Upanishadlc 
dictum that it is divine grace and not much learning or native wit 
that makes self-realisation possible. Or, as the Bhagavadgita puts 
it, the vision of God is vouchsafed not unto those who are learned 
in the Vedas or who perfomi sacrifices or who make many gifts 
or who practise austerities but unto those who have single-minded 
devotion to God* those who labour in the cause of God* those who 
pray to God, those who are not swayed by personal considerations 
but seiv e all equally in a spirit of detachment and harbour no 
ill-will tcn\mds anyone. It is this ideal that the medieval saints* 
who came from all strata of society, put before themselves and 
their disciples and hearers. 

But the Indians did not forget the importance of taking the 
whole man into consideration when dehning spiritual progress. 
Tlie body had to be made into an ally and <livested of its disturb¬ 
ing character. Elaborate rules w^cre laid down for securing equa¬ 
nimity of miud by a proper control of the bodily fimctions. 
Regulation of breathy assumption of correct posture, withdrawal 
of the semes from objects of the external world, control of the 
mental process through proper fixation of the gaze, fasting, 
regulating diet, cleaniiness and chastity^—^these are all essential to 
induce a spiritual frame of mind. Similarly, speech must not hurt 
others or hide the truth but must be pleasing and helpful and 


the concept of the spiritual 

measured in quantity and devoted to the acquisition of knowledge 
through repetition to serve as a true vehicle of spiritual advance. 
The mind must be traniiuil, free from impure and harmful thoughts 
concentrated and contented and transparent, to serve as the 
proper medium of noble thoughts and spread the contagion of 
benignity , dignity and grace. A body that has been so purified in 
its pbj'siological functions, vocal expressions and mental attitude 
is fit to be the seat of divinity. In consonance with this idea, the 
Tan trie worshipper places different deities in different parts of 
the body and conceives of himself as having become identical 
vith the principal divinity, so much so that the materials of 
worship are placed on the body of the worsliipper himself as if he 
is the God that is being worshipped, thus practising religiously 
the philosophic precept, *T am the Brahman," which would sound 
blasphemous to Semitic faiths even though Christ has said. ' I 
and my Father arc one“ and “He that hath seen me hath seen the 
Father." Wandering minstrels and mystic saints have preached 
the purified and transformed body as the temple not of the finite 
soul alone but also of God Himself, and some forms of Vaish- 
na\'ism invariably use the term “divine image" {vigtsha) to 
signify the human body. If all things are Br ahm an, then even 
idolatry becomes sanctified (for there is nothing in which God 
cannot be}, let alone the human body. 

Those w'ho were devotionally inclined have left a rich legacy of 
literature in which the constituents of devotional faith have been 
minutely analj'sed and bhahti difierentinted from knowledge, 
worship and faith. They have insisted on the personal character 
cl the ultimate principle so that a relation of affection, reverence, 
dependence and submission may be established between the 
worshipper and the worshipped. In the Bhagavadgita God is the 
supreme personality [PufushoUama), beyond the transient world 
(AsAoru) and beyond the impersonal and immutable Absolute 
{ahshara), who is the only object of adoration. In aU Vaidinava 
systems the duality of man and God has been recogniaed and the 
state of deliverance has been identified with the enjoyment of 
God, not absorption in Him. True, there was difference of opinion 
as to bow God would be enjoyed, w'hether in a spirit of resignation 
to His will (ianfa), or in a spirit of service to Him (disya), or in a 
spirit of friendliness or comradeship (soMya) with the distance 
between God and man diminished, or with a feeling of tenderness 
bordering on parental love and a rapturous emotion 


faph akrishnak 

{mddhurya) akin to the passionate attachment of lovers. God had 
incarnated Himself many times to save the sinners, to uphold 
the righteous and to punish iniquity. Buddhism and Jainism, 
which did not believe in God or Incarnation, could still believe 
that Buddhas and Tirthankaras had come a^in and again to 
preach the true law which had been forgotten by men in course of 
time, so that men may rectify their conduct. The preceptor w'ho 
can open men's eyes to the imperishable truths of the spirit—the 
guru — is worthy of the highest reverence, for the book of religion 
needs a trained instructor and cannot he read by all. In fact, 
without Dhinc grace spiritual illumination w'ould not come to 
anyone, and without guru’s help to most. 

Those who were intellectually inclined naturally did not think 
that emotional rapture was the proper metliod of attaining God. 
It is ignorance that is responsible for all our woes and entangle¬ 
ments, and it is knowledge that alone can dispel ignorance which 
is responsible for our mistaking evanascent things for eternal 
ones, impure things for pure ones, painful things for pleasurable 
entities, and nqt-self for self. To know' one's self one must cultivate 
the habit of dispassion and get beyond love and hate alike. The 
transcendence of duality in all forms is the correct spiritual 
attitude—like a steady flame the mind must not be swayed in 
any direction. Even ordinary morality suffers from hetenonomy 
inasmuch as it aspires after good ends. The pleasures of Heaven 
are as much hedonistic motives as the desirable things of the 
world are, A wise man must abjure even transmimdane attrac¬ 
tions, and try to obtain mental equipoise, so that good and evil 
might go equally unnoticed. To rise above wants of all kinds, to 
defy all kinds of privation, to be a detached spectator of the 
world drama even as enacted in one’s o^vn life and to reduce 
personal activity to nullity are the ways of spiritual living. To know 
that the things that take shape before our eyes are mere shows 
(mayti), behind which the non-changing reality hides itself, and to 
realize one's identity with this primal changeless unity ^behind the 
seeming diversity of nature are the methods of regaining the truth 
of one's being. Distinctions are meaningless, finites are reality-less 
and the duality of the finite and the infinite is an illusion in an 
ultimate reference. There is one reality without a second {ehame- 
vadvitiyam), an impartible essence that negates difference of all 
kinds inside and out, and this undifferentiated unity is Brahman, 
the all-comprehensivc unique Being with whom {or which) the 



finite i5 to realize its oneness by a kind of absolute cspericnce. 
Thus self-knowledge and Brahman are identical in character, for 
in the very act of knowing ourselves we expand ouiselvcs to 
infinity till we lose ourselves, altogether in Brahman. It is thk 
philosophy which the Upanishads preach according to Sank^- 
chaiya, though in a composite literature like the Upanishads, it is 
not difficult to find support for theistic views also. 

It is obvious that this high philosophy cannot be the oommon 
man’s creed, and so the thinkers of India wisely decreed that life 
and thought are relative to the levels of spirituality attained. All 
are not competent {adhikarJ) to search after Brahman—men 
must plod patiently the tedious path of spiritual discipline by 
performing the duties of their station according to their varifa 
{caste or type) and Sirartui (stage of life), WTiiie the ignorant 
should not be distmbed in their simple faith, the wise should not 
stick to an outworn creed when truth has dawned upon their 
mind. Images and even gods themselves have no meaning to a 
man who has realized the falsity of plurality in all forms. Reli¬ 
gious prescriptions as laid down in the scriptures have no binding 
force; and they are free to disregard the duties of their original 
caste and the five sacrifices enjoined as duties on householders, 
namely, to read the scriptures, to offer oblations to the manes, to 
worship the gods, to feed the animals and to entertain the guests 
(panchamaJidyitjna). £ven the simple rites performed by the 
forest recluses (which men above fifty were expected to be) could 
be abandoned and the life of a wandering mendicant could be 
adopted so that a life of complete detachment might be embraced. 
In Buddha's time th^ parivrdjdkas (wanderers) belonged to all 
castes, and some of them gathered round themselves considerable 
bands of disciples. 

Spiritual di^ipline took the form not only of understanding 
the nature of reality but also of controlling the thoughts, emotions 
and impulses so that a complete development of personality 
might take place. Strangely enough, the moral discipline was 
most severe among the Buddhists and J ainas, who had originally 
no theistic bias in the ordinary sense of the term, though latterly 
both succumbed to some sort of devotional attitude. Right belief, 
right aspiration, right speech, right conduct, right livelihood, 
right effort, right mindfulness and right rapture constitute the 
noble eightfold path which Buddha laid down as the ind^pen- 
sabte prerequisite of the spiritual life. He taught moderation in 



all matters as the foiUAda.tion of a correct attitude towards the 
world, which means avoiding the two extremes of indulgence and 
mortification of the fiesh. Disbelief in the reality of a substantial 
soul does not imply rejection of the moral law, which grinds out 
the moral destiny of succeeding generations relentlessly, Knov;- 
ledge consists in seeing through the spiritual bondage which 
starts with ignoinnee and ends with repeated births and deaths. 
The cycle of samsara must be ended by the attaimuent of nirvafM^. 
which, if not anything more, is certainly inclusive of the extinction 
of all desires. 

Mahayanisra. which developed speculative features and posited 
a Dharf/f^kdya (Body of the Law) of the Buddha in addition to 
hb earthly manifestation (Ninivd^akdya) and heavenly pre- 
existence almost as a god {Samlhogakdya), propounded new 
concepts of the spiritual life. The Dhamakdya hovered between 
Brahman and Isvara of Brahmanism, and Buddha rvas invested 
not only with supreme wisdom but also with surpassing 

pity for the suffering w*orId {kanttm). A new ideal of spiritual life 
sprang up in the doctrine of the Bodhjsattva which every devout 
soul was advised to become by practising virtue and straining 
every nerve to save the smner by spreading enlightenment and 
morality and by turning over his own merit for the salvation of 
his erring brethren, if necessary. One's own salvation is a selfish 
quest unless supplemented by an endeavour to rescue the sinners 
and lead them all to the land of bliss and final liberation. 

The j aina ideal is not much different so far as thebm is con¬ 
cerned; for, according to it, there b no God, and when we adore 
religious prophets and heroes ws are not praying for blessings hut 
remembering their virtues and ins tilling them in our own hearts. 
The "three jewels” (fn>«f>(fl)=right faith in the Jinas, right 
knowledge of their doctrines, and right conduct whidi is almost 
synonymous with ascetic practices—sum up the ingredients of the 
spiritual life. The cardiual virtues of India—^non-injury, truthful¬ 
ness, non-stealing, chastity, and renunciation—turn up in Jainism 
as in Buddhism and the Yoga system, though the final objectives 
differ in some respects, the Jainas poriting a realm of perfect 
enlightenment, unending bliss, undisturbed quiescence and com¬ 
plete actionlessness for the saved. In all these sj'stenis, as in the 
Kafka Upanisftad, the way of the good b dbtingubhed 

from the way of the pleasant and people are advised to 

follow the path of renunciation for destres fulfilled bring 



moT® desires in their train and make for bondage. If action has to 
be performed, then it must be done without a view to personal 
gain. In the theistic systems kartna for its o\m sake is recom¬ 
mended. and the religious man is advised to dedicate the fruits 
of action to God. 

It cannot be gainsaid that the message of India to the world 
has a great moral for mankind. To lessen pretensions rather than 
increase success, as William James pointed out, is the best means 
of securing a self-feeling. Limitation of wants will automatically 
minimize conflict of interests, class war and international jealousy 
and rivalry. In a word which has become classic, the wise is 
advised to practise the four sublime meditations {brahmavihara- 
bhdvana) of joy at the happiness of others (wMib-i), pity at the 
distress of others (Jtnrufla). delight at the virtuous conduct of 
others and indifference at the ricious behaviour of 

others {upekshd). When insight pervades human dealings ^d 
morality follows closely on the heels of wisdom, all temptatiorts 
to aggrandize oneself at the cost of others end. When finally it is 
realized that all beings are identified through their common 
origin in God or Braliman, the whole world becomes an expand^ 
self of the agent and egoism and altruism coincide. Such a mystic 
vision may come through Divine grace; but preparation for such 
enlightenment is in the hands of ail. Ev-il tendencies have got to 
be checked and a proper gradation of values established, if the 
spirit is to triumph over matter. 

Wliether the East is more quietistic and the West more active 
it is immaterial to discuss, for active charity is not unknown in 
the East nor passive contemplation in the West. Periiaps a more 
fundamental distinction is the more theistic attitude of the West 
and the more pantheistic and abnegatoiy attitude of the East. 
Temporal and external things have counted for less in the estima¬ 
tion of all spiritually-minded people all over the world, and their 
conviction that bothly difference has no bearing on the ultimate 
sameness of all spirits has enabled them all to preach a mes^ge 
which is not reserved for a special class or a particular clime. 
Peace on earth and good-will towards men sura up their life s 
philosophy and their never-ceasing prayer is that the kingdom^ of 
God or the Holy Spirit descend on earth so that humanity 
may become one family svith identical interests and common 
endeavour after good life. May their dream of universal happiness 
be fulfilled 





oJ AlUlisbMt IwSlfl 

Every enquiry into reality has to face an initial paradox which 
may be presented in the fonn of a dilemma. If reality Is external 
to knowledge^ no enquiry can start; if, on the other hand, reality 
is within knowledge, the enquiry is gratuitous. It is, no doubt, a 
plausible reply to say that the alternatives are not exhaustive 
and that it is possible to escape between the horns of the dilemma 
by distinguishing unreSective from reflective knowledge and then 
insist that though we have, before the enquiry', a sort of vague, 
unrcflective knowledge of reality, yet the aim of philosophy is to 
convert it into clear and distinct apprehension. Reality accord¬ 
ingly may be said to be neither wholly external to knowledge nor 
wholly within it, and philosophy does not represent a passage 
from ignorance to knowledge nor docs it stultify itself by aiifling 
at what is already an accomplished fact. 

This reply, however, though favoured by many philosophers, 
ancient and modem, does not go to the root of the paradox. 
Granted that the function of philosophy is to convert incomplete 
into complete knowledge, yet this does not explain how this 
intellectual conversion is ever possible. That philosophy, like 
science, has its root in the rational demand for clear and syste¬ 
matic knowledge which is not satisfied by what goes under the 
name of common sense; or that reality reveals itself gradually 
through the ever-piogressive process of unification and systemati¬ 
sation, may be admitted. But thb admission leaves unresolved 
the paradox of cither denying that there is any progress in know¬ 
ledge at all or affirming that philosophy aims at accomplishing 
the appaiantly impossible feat of converting ignorance into 
knowle^e. For, if reality had been really external to knowledge, 
there could be neither the desire to know it nor the belief that in 
knowledge there is a progressive approximation to it. Thus 


Ignorance of reality can by no meam be converted into know¬ 
ledge: but, on the other ban dp if we had known what reality is 
by reference to which the stages of knowiedge are to be measored, 
the quest of reality loses its raison 
The only way, therefore, in which the paradox is capable of 
being resolved is to catch the dilemma by both the homs, rather 
tiian try to escape between them, and thus realize that Reality 
fe inside as well as outside of knowledge. The distinction betw'een 
knowledge that b inadequate at one stage and that w^hich b less 
inadequate at another stage presupposes an absolul^ criterion by 
which we measure the dbtance that separates knowledge at a 
fuarticular stage from reality, and this criterion of absolute 
knowledge, far from being attainable at a future time, must be 
already in out possession to enable us to adjudicate upon the 
degree of approximation of knowledge to reality. This, of course, 
does not exclude the possibility of growing knowledge; it would 
be absurd to deny the plain fact that our knowiedge of the uni- 
verec develops, and that there is a sense in which knowledge 
involves a temporal process. But^ on the other hand, it ought to 
be equally plain that the concept of the development and gradual 
approximation of knowledge to reality carries with it the implicit 
admission that in certain respects wo are in possession of an 
absolute knowledge of reality which itself b not subject to 
growth or anv form of the temporal process. Thb non-temporal 
absolute knowledge is the eternal fulcrum without which the ever- 
progressive knowledge of reality would miss its support. Every 
sound motaph^i'sics must be based upon the clear recognition of 
thb double aspect of knowledge or of reality + It must^ in other 
vvords^ recognize that knowledge regarded sub specie tampons has^ 
for its logical basb or presupposition, certain principles which, on 
that account, may be said to be supra-tcmporal, and, as such, 
constituting a body of knowledge regarded SJid 
This, of course^ b not intended to mean that everyone b clearly 
conscious of them, any more than it would be correct to say that 
everyone who thinks or speaks b clearly conscious of the laws of 
logic or of gTammaXj which none the less govern hb thinking or 
speaking. All it means is that none could ever know' that know- 
ledge b gradually progressing towards perfection, or that Reality 
is being gradually revealed through knowledge* except on the 
basb of a vague knowledge of Avhat perfect knowledge must be in 
its general features* 



We raustp however, m the interest of a further elucidation of 
this double aspect of knowledge make a briefer reference to one 
or two doniinant tendendea of contemporary thought tepreseuting 
a sort of revolt against the supra-temporal principles of know¬ 
ledge and reality, Kirowledge. it has been contended, is not only 
through and through historical it is only one aspect, and for the 
matter of that not the most important aspect, of human life and 
experience. The function of metaph3^ical is to Interpret 

life as a whole in all its richness and marufestations without 
abstraction and mutilation. One of the most distinguished 
philosophers to have attempted this reinterpretation of life is 
W. DHthey, whose revolt against the predous metaphysical con¬ 
structions on the ground of t]\eir sepamtion from life and mutilated 
foundation has moulded the characteristic outlook of German 
philosophy represented by Jaspers and Heidegger His diagnosis 
of the causes of the decline of metaph]^cs after Hegel, based 
upon a scholarly analysis of the previous systems, results in the 
interesting discovery that the whole of what he calls unmutilatcd 
experience or “kultur'' has never been made the basis of philo¬ 
sophy; on the tontraly^ philosophy has been modelled on the 
anaJogj^ of objective, geometrical thinking separated from the life 
of humanity. It is this separation of philosophy from man's 
attitude towards liffij from his Wtitanschautwg^ that has brought 
the decline of metaphysics. The proposal of Dilthey, therefore, is 
to replace The Criri'yiic of Pur^ Rcasm by a Critique of Historical 
Ee^sson, and to revise the prevailing epistemology, w^hich confines 
itself to the forms of thought, in the light of the ''kultur'' which 
is formed more by the ethical and social factoid of life than by 
abstract thought. 

DUthey's reaction against the older type of philosophy repre¬ 
sents only form of the general reaction, its other forms being 
reflected in the thoughts of many other contemporary philo¬ 
sophers, within and outside Germany. Thus, for instance, Husserl 
and his follow^ers insist on the recognition of the ^'essentials*^ in 
the physical things as ivell as in memory, imagination, aesthetic 
enjoyment, ethical values, etc.; Kierkegaard, Jaspers and Hei¬ 
degger seek to replace the purely theoretical epistemology by ^ 
' existential" analysis and "existential'* thinking; A. N. WTilte- 
head finds in Kant^s analysis of knowledge a fruitless endeavour 
to show that "the world emerges from the subject/' arising out of 
Kant's failure to realize that "the subject emerges from the 



world,^ and that it is "a supeiject rather than a subject": and 
R. G. Colliugwood refuses to accept Kant's analysis in the Tratts- 
ccttdental Analytic except when it is interpreted as “an historical 
study of the absolute presuppositions" of the natural science of 
Kant's own time. 

An adequate critical ^tmaate of these highly cntical adventures 
being out of tbe question within the prescribed space, wc have 
selected, almost at random, only such remarks as are not only 
representative of the general reaction against the old epistemo* 
]Qigy^ hut are valuable for appreciating some vital points on which 
tlie new outlook differs from the old. In what follows an attempt 
will be made in a general w'ay to stress some points of the old 
epistemology which do not appear to have received thc^ attention 
they deserved. It is not, of course» denied that there is in it an 
aspect of intricate ruggedness and an unhealthy reluctance to 
push the issues to their legitimate consequences, and these cir^ 
cumstances alone would justify new enterprises. But as far as we 
can see, there does not seem to be much justification for ignoring 
altogether the value of the old structure and, in the name of 
reform, demolishirig it to its foundation. 

This overemphasis on the historical method and. the historical 
aspect of knowledge flings to the winds Kant s famous distinction 
between the problem of quid fa^li and fiw'd juris. Even^ ii it be 
conceded that what brought about the philosoplucal crisis after 
Hegel was the assumption that a Wsll^fisckuuuTig is susceptible of 
logical proof—an assumption bom of the ignorance of the truth 
that every system of philosophy^ like art and religion, is a parti¬ 
cular expression of the W^tanschauung —does this discovery 
nullify the distinction between the problem of origin and the 
problem of validity? The assertion of a particular origin of philo* 
sophy, DO rnatter what theory of the origin is favoured by the 
philosopher, makes, by virtue of the mere fact that it is an asser¬ 
tion, a claim to be true. This truth-claim cannot be justified by 
reference to the origin of philosophy* In other words, eveiy theory 
of the origin of philosophy has epistemological implitations which 
refuse to be explained by the laws that govern the origin. It may, 
no doubt, be said in reply that even the truth of a theory of origin 
Um to be guaranteed by history j it is not by a static logic that 
the historical origin of philosophy is to be judged because a his¬ 
torical fact needs a dynamic logic for assertuig its truth. Such a 
reply^ if we were to avoid confusion of issues, does not solve the 



problem of validity; on the contrary^ it renders the problem of 
validity in respect of the origin of philosophy doubly insoluble ; 
because, while the assertion that philosophy originates from 
is based upon the unproved assumption that it is 
a true doctrine of its origin, the reply adds to it the further assump¬ 
tion, equally unproved, that the truth of the particular doctrine 
of the origin of philosophy is itself to be proved by historj% which, 
when put in plain language, means that an assumption is true 
because, as a matter of fact, it has been made by some people or 
a generation of people^ This, again, signifies that the truth of an 
assumption is not susceptible of proof. This r£duciio ad ahsurdmn 
of what has been called d^oiamic logic, far from being accepted as 
its fundamental defect, is sometimes swallowed and taJeen to be 
its merit- Thus, for instance, ColUngwood has repeatedly re¬ 
minded his readers that the logical efficacy of a supposition does not 
depend upon the truth of what is supposed, or even on its being 
thought true, but only on its being supposed. It is difficult to 
surmise what would be his reply if it had been pointed out to 
him that in that case he forfeits his right to question the sup¬ 
positions of the static logic. 

The latent self-contradiction of dynamic logic and of the 
exclusively historical method may be brought forth from another 
side. Every^ historical account has for its foundation thrae very' 
principles of which a historicai origin is explained; to put it in 
another form, except in the presupposed universal truths of the 
first principles of knowledge, every historical account loses its 
meaning and foundation. A Wstorical account of causahty, for 
example, has, on pain of being unintelligible, to accept the uni- 
versal validity of the causal connection between one stage of 
history^ and that which follow's it. If, on the contrary, one stage 
could be conceived as being follow*ed by any other conceivable 
stage without a fixed rule, we could not intelligibly think that one 
phase of hlstoiy "'changes into another because the first phase 
was in unstable equilibrium and had in itself the seeds of change” 
(CollingW'ood}. In face of this irreprcssibility of causality hi a 
histoncaJ account, to seek to prove that causality is a mere 
""absolute presupporition” in the Pickwickian sense in which 
CoUingw'ood uses the phrase, is to w'aste ingenuity over an irrele¬ 
vant issue, Ii is, in fact* a case of that same hysi^ro^i proUron 
which vitiated Hume*& proof of the illusory' nature of du^lty^ 

That the historical method b only a modified form of the 



empirical and inductive method is clearly brought forth by 
Dilthey's observation that the function of philosophy must be 
"empirically deducted from history” and that all knowledge must 
originate from the historical life of humanity. He does not, 
apparently, see that empiricism, whatever form it may assume, is a 
philosophical position of which Hume has already sho™ the 
bottom. An empirical deduction of the nature and function of 
philosophy will never give us a philosophy of philosophy; vrhat it 
is capable of yielding is the historical ]«^n that scepticism is the 
inevitable consequence of a purely empirical study, Locke's 
empiricism inevitably developed into a sceptical paradcHc, but its 
classical implication has been evidently lost upon the apostles of 
the historical method in philosophy. 

It is difficult to enter into a critical estimate of the phenomenCK 
logical method in philosophy in view of the divergent purpose 
for which it has been used by Husserl, on the one hand, and his 
followers on the other, WTiat is, however, dear is that Huswrl's 
distinction between fact and essence, and his view on the intuition 
of the '‘essentials" aim at stripping exiierience of all the features 
that are involved in referring it to reality. Whether such a 
phenomenal reduction of the '■bracketing” is ever possible or not. 
and whether there can be any analysis of such a radical type that 
the focussed essences discovered by it will remain un chan ged and 
uneffecterl even when experience comes to have a reference to 
reality, may be questioned, and in fact they have led to a pro¬ 
tracted controversy, in the history of Indian and Western philo¬ 
sophy. on the role of thought in experience. But even if it be 
granted that the phenomena arc beyo'nd the region of validity or 
invalidity, this itself claims to be a true assertion, and. as sudi, 
cannot be indifferent to the conditions which make an assertion 
true. Thus the epistemological problem about the conditions 
which every true assertion must satisfy is not solved by the pheno- 
menologic^ method, whatever its value might be in a special 

This confusion between epistemology and a special science is 
also implied by the claim of "cxistentiai thinking" to offer a 
deeper knowledge of reality than the older type of epistemology 
w'hich was concerned with the forms of the understanding. £ven 
if it is true that ‘'Exisiens:' as distinct from existence, is c^ed 
forth by the attitude of the individual and his momentous decision 
when confronted with the critical situations of life, this can 



hardly be taken to be the clue to the elution of the problem of 
truth and the implications involved in the truth-claim of an 
assertion. The starting point of thought may be the inner decisions 
of the individual, or instinct, sense-iata, etc.; but none of them 
can be identified ynth thought or the principles of logical thinking. 
Thought, which b involved in thinking of anything, and the 
epistemological principles involved by every systematic account 
of the inner decisions cannot be denied, except when we refuse to 
think or refuse to give a sjfstematic account of tliese decisions. It 
is, therefore, wrong to think that "'existential thinking'' is a kind 
of thinking different from, and superior to, that typ^ of thinking 
analj'sed by the older type of epbtemologists, like Hegel and his 
followers. Thouglit being the universal presupposition of every 
doctrine of reality, it cannot be criticized fli exlra^ nor can its 
principles be denied; to do so would be tantamount either to 
refusing to think or to reasserting unconsciously what is consciously 
denied. Thought may so far be called svdy^m-siddka as dbtinct 
from the items of knowledge. 

It also follows from this line of analysis that "thought,'* as 
used in psychology, has hardly anything to do with "thought" as 
it figures in epistemology. Psychology takes "'thought" in the 
sense of one item by the side of the other itemSp such as feeling, 
volition, will, etc., while in epistemology it is the $i^yam-^iddka 
universal supporting and giving meaning to all the items or parti¬ 
cular psychical processes which fonn the subject-matter of psy¬ 
chology. It is the ambiguity in the term "thought*" which lends 
plausibility^ to the doctrine of existential thinking* No proposal 
to reform the old epistemology is likely to be fruitful while the 
terms "thought," "knowledge/' "self," etc., are used by its 
critics in a sense entirely different from that in which they were 
used by the so-called epistemologists. Such a proposal would be 
like that of first injecting the germs of a disease into a patient and 
then setting about curing him. 

As another illustration of the confusion of epistemology with 
psychology to which even philosophers of recognized ability may 
easily fall prey, we may refer to A. N. Whitehead's view, quoted 
above, that the subject emerges from the world. Whitehead, of 
course, cannot be unfamiliar with the revolution Kant brought 
about in epbtemolo^ by his theory of transcendental apper¬ 
ception with its implLcation of the double aspect of mind,, namely, 
mind as one object among other objects, and mind as the ultimate 



presupposition of £l 11 objects. Nor can he bo unfamihar with tho 
fact that the term ^'subject," as it is used in the idealistic aualj^is 
of fcoowlcdgCj does not convey the same meaning as ''mind'' does in 
a psychological analj^s. The relation between mitid and matter, 
for example, is not identical with the relation between subject 
and object. The subject-object relation, on the contrary\ is the 
most generic relation which is presupposed by eveiy specific 
relation, such as the jnind-matler relation, A full discussion of 
Wiitehcad s theory of knowledge would need a much greater 
space than is at our disposal^ yet we shall not be far wTong 
when we remark that he has. rather too uncritically, accepted the 
psychological analysis of knowledge ^vhich, on account of its 
obviousness and its eas}^ appeal to unreflective common sense, has 
influenced the common theories of knowledge. That in his polemic 
against the ideali£t*s account of "the subject-object structure of 
experience."* or the "knowm-knower relation."' he is not doing 
sufficient justice to the distinction, the idealists have alw’aj-'S been 
careful to make between the subject-object relation and an inter- 
objective relation like the mind-matter relation, b sufficiently 
evident from such remarks as that "the basis of experience is 
emotional;" that "all knowledge is conscious dbcriminalion of 
objects experiencedi'" and that "consciousness b the crown of 
experience only occasionally attained, not its neceasaiy^ base/' etc* 
The long-drawn-out controversy between naturalism and 
idealism and the triumph of the naturalistic method of analysb in 
contemporary epbtemology indicates nothing more than tliis: 
that language, though indispensable for self-analysb as well as for 
communication, yet presents an obstacle which it is difficult even 
for able thinkers to surmount entirely. That knowledge or con¬ 
sciousness b a three-term relation involving that which knows, 
that which b kno\™# and the process of knowledge, b apparently 
too simple an analysb to be replaced by another, or to need an 
elaborate defence; ytt its utter inadequacy for providing the 
basb of a sound epbtemolog^'' b concealed from us by the struc¬ 
ture of language and by the forms assumed by thought when they 
are dictated, too exclusively, by the grammatical forms of lan¬ 
guage, And then, instead of realbing that thought, knowledge or 
consciousnesa b the foundational principle which invests each 
term of the triple dbtinction with meaning and significance, we 
fall into the error of supposing that knowledge b the product of a 
certain t}T>e of relation between one thing and another. And once 



the false analysis is on the scene* it gives rise to insuperable diffi¬ 
culties needing for their resolution a number of fanciful and far¬ 
fetched hypotheses. "My thought/' "my knowledge/" "my con¬ 
sciousness/^ are some of the phrases that have been the breeding 
ground of inextricable quandaries in epistemologj": yet they axe 
but the natural ofisprmg of the triputi (triple di^Tsion), White- 
head’s analysis of knowledge along mth his explanation of prr- 
htnsim as involving three factors Is directly bom of the perverse 
implication of this iriputi. 

In a triple distinctiQn the foundatlonaJity of thought is missed> 
leading tn its identification with one of the superstructUral items: 
thought is accordingly dislocated from its transcendental locale 
and placed alongside of the items supported by This serious 
mbtaie^ which may be called the fallacy of transcendental dis¬ 
location ^ is ingrain^ in our natural objectlvistic attitude of mind 
looking always forward to what ties before it and thus missing 
what lies at the foundation of knowledge. And the result is the 
disastrous transference of the characters of the object of thought 
or coDsdousness to IhougM itself* knosvn as odhydsa in Indian 
philosophy. This transcendental dislocation or adhydsa^ so 
characteristic of the realistic and empirical analysis of knowledge, 
generates a radically wrong perspective foredooming the quest of 
reality to an inevitable failure. It is as impossible to have a 
correct nation of consciousness by ascribing to it the characters 
of the objects presented to it as to gauge the infinite space by 
means of the properties of a triangle or to take measure of mahd~ 
kditi by using the as our units. 

WTtat we are driving at is that a foundational principle, such as 
thought or consciousness, can neither be denied nor refuted; it is 
an irrepr^ible principle pcsssessed of a phoenixes vitality and sur¬ 
viving the blows of the deadliest missiles of destructive criticism. 
All anti'inteUoctual and sceptical contentions owe their plausi- 
bjjity to an uncoDScious dislocation of thought and the conse¬ 
quent flJAyasfl. A successful suppression of this natural tendency 
would reveal that even scepticism and agnostiebra feed upon the 
principles of thought, and they* like every variety of antbiutellec- 
tualism* are essentially parasitical in nature* drawing their 
sustenance from the law's of thought and principles of reason. As 
every philosophical position b develop^ in response to the 
demand of thought or reason which is believed to remain unsatis- 
fietl by the rival positions in opposition to which it is developed, 



the ttJii^’ersal laws of reason are not susceptible of doubt or 
i^futation, proof or disproof. They arCp as we have said above, 
svayam-siddha. The recent attempts to develop philosophy on the 
ba^ of the hbtorical method, or on that of ^'cxistenthd thinking. “ 
in their polemic against the older epistemology^ have confused the 
smy^tft-siddha with the piincipleSp and this confusion 

has arisen out of the dislocation of the former from their founda¬ 
tional position. 

That one of the gravest dangers to correct anal^^is lies in the 
tendency of ordmary thought to conform to the grammatical 
structure of language has been recognised by many philosophers, 
Indian and Western. In particular, it produces what is known in 
the Pdtafijaki system as vikalp^vfiH, a kind of illusion of difference 
in thought corresponding to w'hich there is no difference in reality. 
Hence again, the Buddhists compared language to a soiled gar¬ 
ment which conceals the gem of truth. and the ^^advaita'^ philo¬ 
sophers recommended piercing through the veU of Mdyd^ of 
which name and form are the constituent elements. Whitehead’s 
misinterpretation of the subject-object structure of experience is 
a briUjant instance of the ascription of a mere vik&tpavriii to 
reality^ In fact^ he here sails on the same boat with a large number 
of philosophers, both Indian and Western, who have been slow to 
appreciate the great value of Kant's criticism of Tational psycho¬ 
logy or of the "advaita" philosophers" warning against the mis¬ 
application of the categories of substance and causality to the self* 

We may now realise the shortcomings of a democratic concep¬ 
tion of the univeme according to which kno^viedge is the relation 
of compresence between the knower and the known, or subject 
and object, or, again, betw^een thought and the object of thought* 
The situation does not change in the least if in place of these 
dualities, knowledge is taken, as in contemporary realism, to be a 
relation between mental acts and objects. In these empirico- 
realistic approaches and the couEcqueut democratic conception of 
knowledge, the mistake lies in placmg the transcendental principles 
on a level with the objects conditioned by them, cmd this mistake 
is analogous to placing the Law of Non-Contradiction on a level 
with the Judgments which it conditioiis. But has the idealist 
approach been altogether free from this mistaken dislocation ? 

Here, again, we have to be brief, and must, therefore, restrict 
ourselves to a few observations on F* Bradley's criticism of 
thought. One of the main difficulties in interpreting Bradley's 

225 P 


position lies in the circumstance that he is constantly aihrming 
unconsciously what he is consciously denjang. Thus, for example, 
he himself mates a large number of assertions about reality and 
yet this docs not prevent him from anathematizing jndgment; 
similarly, while claiming absolute validity for his own philosophy, 
he condemns philosophy as a self-discrepant appearance and 
truth as not being quite true; while believing that his own theory 
of the Absolute is Uie result of consistent thinking, he yet seeks 
to expose the claim of the Law of Non-Contradiction to be an 
absolute criterion except in the field of theory. He does not 
ap jKiar to sec that the method of destructive dialectic is baffled 
by the irrepressive principles. If the Law of Non-Contradiction, 
for example, is such that its truth is reasserted in the very process 
of its refutation—and this is rightly taken by him as an absolute 
criterion—then it is but wasted ingenuity to proceed to show 
that it is a mere assumption which has validity in theory alone, 
and, as such, this law, though inUfUclunUy corrigible, may be 
corrected by passing outside the intellect. Is it at all possible to 
attach any meaning to supra-intellectual corrigibility of a principle 
which is intellectually incorrigible? If it be admitted that we 
cannot "proceed to judge at all" without being forced “at a 
oertain point, to assume infallibility," it is merely a play of words 
to assert at the same time that this infallibility is restricted to 
our theoretical function alone. The mischief here is due to Bradley's 
adherence to the antiquated faculty psychology according to 
which intellect is only one faculty in the midst of other faculties 
having thought as its function. This interpretation of “thought" 
runs counter to the meaning it carries with bis brother idealists. 
In a significant passage, Hegel, for instance, remarks: “Thought 
has a different part to play from what it has if we speak of a 
faculty of thought, one among a crowd of other faculties, such as 
perception, conception and will, with which it stands on the 
same level" (Logic, Wallace's translation, p. 46 }. Thought, in its 
objective meaning, is the Nous, it is not a subjective process; we 
must, therefore, realize that “Man is a being that thinks," and, as 
a thinker, he is "universal,“ and "feeb his own universality/’ 
SLmilaily, Bradley admits that thought cannot assert “the exis¬ 
tence of any content tvhich was not an actual or possible object of 
thought,” and that even “thatness seems a distinction made by 
thought," From this it would follow that thought, as the universal 
background of all distinctions, cannot be identified with a parti- 



cular faculty: on coutiary, it is the universal, LrTepressibk, 
trausccndenta] principle at the foundation of all that we 

can ever think of and of all distmetiom existing between one 
object and another. But the admission remains as a passing in¬ 
sight which is brought to birth in Bradley whose dialectic 
predilection always veils front his view the transcendental locale of 
the foundational principles leading to their misplacement along¬ 
side of wbat they condition. And once the misplacement is thcrej 
the transference of the characters of the one to the other follows 
as a matter of course^ This adhydss is further illustrated by 
his discussion of the ideality of finite existences. 

That the finite things are self-transcendent, and, as such, can¬ 
not be absolutely real, has been recognixed by pbdosophers of 
widely divergent traditions. In Indian philosophy its detection 
dates as far back as from Nagmjuna and the other Buddhists, 
Their interpretation of the doctrine of pratifyasamuipdda (depen¬ 
dent origination) brought out the absolute relativity of the finite 
things 'which are pressed into the service of the HatriUmyavado 
(doctrine of no-soul) of their tradition. The conclusion which 
was drawn from the ideahty of the finite w'as that the ultimate 
reality was Swiya (void). In the *'advaita” school, on the other 
hand, the recognition of the ideality of finite existences led to the 
belief that the Infinite was an unconditioned conscious principle 
in which there is no distinction, not even the distinction between 
knowledge and cxistenoe, Bradley's remedy for the disease of 
ideality comes very close to that of the "advaita" tradition. He is 
obviously dissatisfied with the Hegelian conception of reality. 
For Hegel, reality lies neither in the mere individual taken by 
itself, nor in the mere particular related to other partlculais. 
Reality "lies in the relation, or the principle of relation itself—in 
the universal which differentiates or particularizes itself and yet is 
one with itself, not by the absence of difference, but rather by 
means of the difference, which it at once asserts and overcom^. 
Thus unity and diHeience are the inseparable aspects of reahty. 
When the unity is absolutely separated from the differences, the 
■'one" is separated from the ''many," both terms are deprived of 
their meaning. Hence, Hegel calls the Absolute a spiritual unity 
which conveys "the idea of antagonism overcome, contradiction 
reconciled, unity realized through the struggle and conflict of 
elements, which, in the first aspect of them, are opposed to each 



Bradley's dissatisfaction mth Hegel's remedy for the ideality 
of finite things is reflected in his contention that the whole which 
reconciles all contradictions is not to he found on the relational 
level of thought. It is true that thought desires an ideal which will 
be an individual, self-subsistent reality, but thought itself being 
dualistic and relational, it cannot reach the non-relational w^hole, 
and has consequently to commit suicide, “ReaUtyi and self- 
transceitdenoe, or. as we may call it, ideality, cannot as such be 
the ultimate character of Reality; but all finite existence is 
incurably relative and ideal.” ‘‘Finite elements are joined by 
W'hat divides, and are divided by what joins them." Identity, he 
remarks, is a fact, but not real ultimately, and similarly, differ¬ 
ence is phenomenal and not ultimate. Bradley, therefore, distin- 
guishes phenomenal identity or factual identity and pheno¬ 
menal difference from the ultimate unity of reality. It is true, he 
continues, that unity, in its more proper sense, is known only as 
contradistinguished from plurabiy. Unity, therefore, as an aspect 
over against and defined by another aspect, is itself but appear¬ 
ance. And in this sense, the real cannot be proj^rly called one. 
But reality, while owning plurality, is yet above it. Such a "one” 
is not "defined as against" plurality but ‘‘absorbmg" plui^ity 
"together with the one-sided unity which forms its opposite," 
This non-relational unity is realized, Bradley says elsewhere, in 
"feeling which is not an object"; in all experience and at all 
moments "the entirety of what comes to us, however much dis¬ 
tinguished and relational, is felt as comprised within a unity 
which itself is not relational" {Traih ajid RialUy, p, 178). Thus 
Bradley, while accepting and defending the Hegelian principle of 
unity of opposites over against the principle of abstract identity, 
yet thinks that the Hegelian principle itself does not apply to the 
ultimate reality. 

Proceeding on these lines. Bradley finally arrives at the famous 
doctrine of immediate experience which is considered as opening 
"the one road to the solution of ultimate problems." Immediate 
experience, he contends, is "an immediate feeling, a knowing and 
being in one." And "the entire relational consciousness," it is 
supposed, "is experienced as falling within a direct awareness" 
which is "itself non-relational." It can neither be explained nor 
described, because "description necessarily means translation into 
objective terms and relations.” That this comes very close to the 
''advaita” view of reality as the aparoksba anubhUti in which 


reality and ideality 

consciousness is being and being is consciousness, is too obvious 
to need elucidation. 

The conclusion Bradley should have drawn from his an^ysis of 
iimnediatc esjjerience, and which he does not draw explicitly', is 
that the term ''thought" when used in the transcendental sense, 
falls heyond the relational description, and yet, it supplies the 
basts ot of ev'eiy of thought that is necessarily ideal. 

WTiether this non-rdationaJ foundation of Imowledge should be 
called thought or consciousness, or direct ais-arcness^ is after all a 
matter of noinendature. What, howeveFi is important to note in 
the present context is that '"thought," as used by the idealists^ 
does not connote a subjective process of miixde ou tte contrary, 
every subjective process—^uch as thought, feeling, \4ill—is 
grounded in the objective thought or Nous, as Hegel had observed. 
If Bradley had consistently adhered to this transcendental mean¬ 
ing of '"thought/* he could’easily realisje that ideality is an inalien¬ 
able feature of all finite thin^, yet it would be a disastrous 
itdhy^sa to characterize thought itself as ideals 

It may have been apparent by this time that the contemporary 
theories of knowledge which seek to replace the old epistemolo^ 
have not done full justice to its doctrine of transcendental prin¬ 
ciple and to the method of transcendental analysis which^ aims 
at drawing our attention to the foundation without objectifying 
what lies there. As a result, there arises the fatal mistake of 
ascTibing to the foundational principles those characteristics 
which belong to the superstructural entities. Origin and destruc- 
tion^ growth and evolution, causality and ideality—all these are 
univ^ersally valid within the world of finite entities, they are 
altogether inappUcable to the ultimate foundational reality. But, 
on the other hand, reality does not reside, like Kant^s Thing 4 n- 
itself or Plato's Ideas, m a world lying beyond the world of finite 
objects, nor does it reduce itself to a mere naught. That w'hich 
gives meaning to the finite cannot be a meaningless abstraction 
simply on the ground that it resists the mechanism of ordinary 
definition. Definition is always delimitation and, as suchj implies a 
limit; to attach a "w'hat*' to a "that" is to hinit the latter by 
another "Uiat.*' This mutual delimitatioii> however; through 
which the finite entities ore invested with meaning would be 
impo^ible in the case of the Infinite Principle on the basis of which 
the mutual delimitation of the finite entitle is possible. The 
Infinite is not externally determined' this is true. But does it 



follow from this that it is internally detennined? The concept of 
intemai detemvmation still implies difference, and, as difference 
Itself is a relation, the terms between which it obtains most fall 
within a unity which itself must be beyond all rdations, indudii^ 
the relation of difference. 

If the foregoing analysis of Infinite Unity is correct, then, the 
foundational reality may he called thought, knowledge, or 
consciousness, free from ideality, relativity or sdf-transcendence. 
There could be no knowledge of the sclf-transcenderice of the 
finite if knowledge had been itself ideal or self-transcendent; or, 
to put the same thing in a different form, there could be no 
thought of the ideality of the finite if thought itself had been 
ideal. This, again, is another way of saying that all that we can 
ever know or think points to an Infinite Knowledge or Integral 
Knowledge, beyond all relations, external or intemai, which can 
as little be denied while we affirm the finite as the infinite space 
while we affirm the geometrical figures. 




ImJwr iFrtiiitiiE at PiikPcjOssTp Amolfiiar^ lodJi 


I. The importance of the coraept of eoneciousrtets: The concept of 
consciousness is en iroportant one for my system of philosophy. 
It is the key to the solution of some of the most impoiiant and 
difficult philosophical problems. In general, it determines our 
whole attitude towards the nature of Ultimate Reality. A material¬ 
ist denies the very existence of consdousness. For him, reality is 
all physical, the other extremity is the Advaitic system of 
Indian philosophy, which regards consciousness as the sole 
reality. .^11 other phenomena, both physical and mental, just 
appearances of this reality. Between these two extreme views lie 
all the other systems of thought which recognize consciousness 
more or less, and attach varynog importance to it in the system 
of things. An attempt is made in these pages to ci^Iain and to 
justify the Advaitic 'view as the only right and consistent view? of 
consciousness. In the process, we shall critically examine all 
those other views which naturally lead up to it. 

2. Cimsciousness ao an epiphenomcnoti: The materialist denies 
the independent existence of consciousness. He cannot, of course, 
deny mental phenomena altogether. Only, he regards them as 
dependent upon physiological or neurological processes. Con- 
scionsnesa is a by-product of certain processes in the brain. The 
brain secretes thought as the li\^r secretes bile, they would say. 
Or to change the metaphor, consciousness Is to the body what the 
whistle is to the steam-engine. 

In psychology, this view has led in modem times to behaviour¬ 
ism. The bchariour of the organism is all that is given to obsen'a- 
tion and scientific study; and this behaviour can fully and wholly 
be explained in terms of certain refiexes- There is determinism 
here as there is determinism in the physical world outside. There 



is no entity, called consciousness or spirit, which can initiate a 
bodily moveniEnt on its own account, or interfere in the causally 
determined series of bodily reactions. There is no freedom any¬ 
where. The realm of reality is coextensive with the realm of 
causality—just the opposite of what Advaitism would hold. 
Mental facts of some sort, such as images or p^, are not denied. 
But they are regarded as private to the individual. They cannot 
be scientifically studied. The so-called method of introspection is 
not a proper method of knowledge at all. There are no public 
objects which it can tackle and study objectively. Psychology as 
a science must outgrow this antiquated method, and ignore the 
facts which it is supposed to study. Psychology is not a science of 
the mind or the psyche, but a science of behaviour. 

3, Epi^mtfkgical nali^tis: The crude form of ontological 
materialism has been replaced in'modem times by a subUer form. 
The problem is treated epistemolc^ically. We thus get a fonn of 
thoroughgoing epistemological realism. Consciousness is not 
denied altogether, but its function is so restricted and explained 
that we can do mthout consciousness in the accepted sense. We 
can study consciousness only in the knowdedge-situation; for that 
is its pre-eminent function. In that situation, the object is every¬ 
thing. There is no other mtUy called consdousness. There is no 
dualism of matter on the one hand, and mind or spirit on the 
other. There is a real monism. The only other entity required is 
the body. The difference between an object of which we are said 
to be conscious and one of which we are not, is that the former is 
related to a body and defined by a specific reaction of its nervous 
system, while the latter is not thus related and defined. This 
relatedncss and definition is all that there is over and above the 
object in a knowledge-situation, and it is a function of the nervous 
system. What we know at a time is a certain cross-section of the 
physical world. This cross-section, defined by the various systems, 
is all that we should understand by consciousness. A flash-light 
does nothing more. It defines a crossr-section of reality. But the 
flash-light is not the conscioumess. What is defined by it is the 
consciousness. In ^ort, the physical world and the ph 5 ’ 3 ical 
organism which forms a part of it are the only ultimate reality. 
What w^e call "bemg conscious” is to be understood in terms of a 
certain relationship between these tw'o—^the wnrld outside and 
the oiganisra responsive to it. There is no problem, in knowledge, 
of relating two heterogeneous entities, called matter and spirit. 



It is a strict metaphysical monism based upon a realistic episte¬ 

3(n). Criticisjn of malo-iaH^n: Metaphysical monism is a necesr 
sity of thought. But can we have it at the level of matter? Facts of 
experience prove otherwise. Matter and consciousness are dia¬ 
metrically opposed in nature. Consdousness is like light. It 
reveals itself and reveals other things. Matter is darkness, which 
reveals neither itself nor other things. They are so incompatible 
and opposed to each other that they can never reside together in 
the same locus. How can consciousness, thenp emerge out of matter, 
or be a quality of matter, or reside in matter? In fact, conscious¬ 
ness is a higher form of reality inasmuch as it reveals matter 
itself as material, ie. as dead. Inert and unintelligent matter, on 
the other hand, has no such fundamental relation to consciousness, 
and provides no sort of evidence for its reality. It is passive and 
unintelligent. In the realistic account of knowledge given above, 
the nervous response can define a cross-section of the phpical 
svorld only in so far as it is an intelligent response, and not a 
blind physical reaction such as any chemical substance is capable 
of. Tliis intelligent response cannot be a quality of the mat ter which 
constitutes the nervous sj^stem. Intelligence, speaking meta¬ 
phorical! v, may be said to ride on matter as on a vehicle, but it 
cannot 1^ a quality of matter. The heterogeneity of matter and 
consciousness is an original datum of our experience. We ignore it 
only at the peril of intelligent discourse. Those who do not recog¬ 
nize the heterogeneity to begin with, have no right to speak of 
monism of any kind. They have no problem of reconciliation or of 
unification. Monism for them is a mere dogma. It has solved no 

4. Mifui as the enkiechy or the inklligenl frimipk of the body* 
Consciousness may not be an evolute of matter or a quality of 
matter. It may be an original reality. But can wc not agree that 
it is not an independent entity? It is depeudeDt upon the body. 
Mind is not a distinct entity or substance encased in the body* 
For that would kad to a materialistic view of the mind. We 
should be obbged to think of it as a stuff put away in a box. To 
save its spiritual character and to do justice to the facts of experi¬ 
ence, we must conceive a more organic relation between it and the 
body. The mind is the entelechy or the informing principle of the 
body. The entelechy cannot subsbt of itself. It is like the form 
which can only subsist in matter* In other words, the mind can 



only function in and ttirough tiic body. An embodied mind is the 
only mind there is. Accordingly, the mind cannot survive the 
body. There can be no such thing as a disembodied mind or a 
disembodied spirit. Spiritualism, and all that goes vdth it. are pure 
nonsense. Instead of the spirit or the soul havir^ an independent 
existence and growing a body for itself, it W'ould be truer to say 
that the body grows a soul. The body can be independent, at least 
so far as its physical basis is conocraed, not so the soul. 

Tliis is another revision ol materialism. The Carvakas of Hindu 
philosophy thought likewise. When the body is dissolved at 
death, it is the end of the soul. Nothing whatsoever is left except 
what we can see. And yet, strangely, this entelechy-notiou of the 
mind is supposed to rise above the materialistic view and to be an 
answer to it. It is a view which is too empirical and too short¬ 
sighted. It does not take into account the supremacy of mind 
over matter, and the sense of realism and significance which the 
former brings to the latter. 

5 . Thcologuins' view cf relatitfi\ cf ihe soul and the body: Is 
there then a soul encased in the body, as the theologians say? ft 
is argued against this, that the artificial union of the soul and the 
body is like the union of a ghost and a corpse. The two are so 
distinct that they cannot possibly get unit^ into a single and 
integrated entity. But what is wrong about this image? ^e 
corpse as united to the ghost is no longer a corpse, but a living 
thing. It becomes an instrument of the spirit and a vehicle for its 
activities. When it has ceased to be this, it is truly a corpse which 
w-e bum or bury. This view of the relationship of two distinct 
entities, matter and spirit, prairii and pura^, is by no means 
absurd. The spirit itself is embodied. But its goal is not an em¬ 
bodied existence. It must give up attachment to the body and its 
cravings in order to be free. This b the spirit behind Hindu 
religion and philosophy, and it b the theologians' goal. 

We no longer thiiik of the life here as the end of all life. Our 
vbion b carried beyond the immediate needs and the necessities 
of the bodv to values everlasting. Religion and morality get a 
meaning. In fact, religion is impossible without a belief in the 
hereafter. If there is no hereaiter, there is no inducement to 
sacrifice our present and mundane interests for a greater or a 
higher good. Self-sacrifice as a principle of individual or social 
conduct disappears. And the one stabilizing force in society, the 
dbinterested service of man for the greater glory of God or for 



the achievement of an intrinsic, ultimate and lasting good, ceases 
to operate. In this respect, the theologians are more socialistic 
than the socialists, who derive their philosophy for the improve- 
ment of society from purely sdentihe and materialistic considera¬ 

In any case, it is evident that belief in the distinctness of the 
soul from the body shifts the emphasis from the tatter to the 
former. The life of the soul, because it extends beyond the life of 
the body, becomes more important than the latter. We can more 
significantly say, in the W'ords of the Bible, "thou dost not live by 
bread alone/' Our whole valuation is reversed. The soul grows a 
body for itself, not vice versa. It is only a sojourner here. Its goal 
is far and distant. Our present life is only a preparation for death 
and what lies beyond. Immortality is the birthright of the soul. 
What we further demand is to add x-alue to existence. The taber¬ 
nacle of the body is valuable only in so far as it enshrines tlie soul, 
whose larger purposes it must serve. The soul throws away the 
body, as we do tattered clothes which have worn thin and served 
their purpose, or as the snake throws away its useless outer skin. 
It is a view in conformity with common sense, scripture, and even 
with national requirements up to a point. ITiere is certainly no 
evidence against this "view except a certain amount of muddled 
thinking. The house does not throw up its occupant who then 
proceeds falsely to own and to possess it. The sense of possession 
b clear evidence of the dbtinctness of the possessor and that 
which b possessed. And then if the soul does not survive the body, 
why not make merry now and enjoy life to the fullest? There can 
be no question of any higher or ulterior values. It becomes purely 
a matter of taste whether I take pleasure in physical and carnal 
enjoyments, or in the so-called higher joys of art, morality and 
religion. The end is the same. Each one has lived according to hb 
desires. There is no supernatural existence which may be affected 
one way or other by our present activities and the motives which 
inspire them. Religion and morality without an independent soul- 
life make nonsense. 

It b true that the theologians’ view of the soul b not free from 
a touch of materialism. Only a body that can occupy space can 
be enclosed within another body. The completely disembodied 
cannot be enclosed. Accordingly, we are obliged to conceive of the 
soul that leaves the body at death as possessing a rarefied or a 
subtler body. Thb materialbtic implication of the conception of 



the soul, we shall seek to dispel in the sequel We shall replace 
the notion of the soxil by the notion of the intelligent and absolute 
Self. Here we want to insist that the dualfein of the soul and the 
body involves a more ad\‘anccd and refined view of the soul than 
the alternative view that the soul and the values which it 
achieves are real only in the body. The soul has a life of its own 
independent of the body. It gathers merit and demerit, df^irtna 
and adluintta, in its empirical existence. This dkartna acts as the 
ir\TSible cause of our present well-being and future destiny. We 
make or mar our destiny, and the stake is divine joy. Ihe super- 
physical reality of the soul is the only guarantee of a religious and 
a serious attitude towards life and things- 

Religion may be all superstition. But experience is not super¬ 
stition. It is the ground of truth. This experience requires that 
consciousness, which is a fact, must be grounded not in matter, 
which is directly opposed to it in nature, but in an intelligent 
principle which we call the soul. The soul by itself may be mj'thi- 
calj for no one has ever seen it or known it. But the soul as the 
basis of conscious experience, or as that in which this experience 
arises, is not mythical. Experience, without a substantival basis, 
is in the air. It requires a medium in w'hich it can occur. If we do 
not supply a substantival basis to it in the form of the soul, we 
have to supply it in the form of matter. That which occurs is a 
mode of substance. We cannot do without subslatue. If conscious¬ 
ness arises in matter or in a spatio-temporal occasion, we have 
reverted to materialism, reverb the values of existence, and 
committed the fallacy of misplaced concretion. Matter by itself is 
an abstraction. It is vacuous reality. It caimot be the substantival 
basis of experience itself. The real basis of experience is to be 
found in that which owns experience. .Vll experience is my experi¬ 
ence, It is / that knows, feels, wills, etc. It is tliis J, then, in which 
all experience is grounded. There is eoid<int sameness in this 
ground. The 1 that sees a flower is the I that later smells it, and so 
on. I go back to the past and review it in memory as the experi¬ 
ence of the self-identical myself. In fact, the aw-areness of self- 
identity is inalienable from the awareness of myself. There may 
be reasons against this view, not very cogent ones in our opinion. 
But ptitna facie at least there is a case for identity and therefore 
for substantival existence of the I in some sense. We call this 
substantival existence of the 1 by the neutral term "soul.'* The 
soul thus becomes the ground of consciousness. 



6 . Denial of pure co«scio(fSrttf«$,' The fart of consciousness as 
something quite distinct from a purely physical or physiological 
process may be recognized. Consciousness is something stii generist 
requiring a spiritual substance for its basis. But consciousness, as 
we know it, is not itself a substance. It is not something static. 
There is no such thing as pure consciousness. Consciousness is 
something dynamic and flowing. It is a series of acts or states. It 
may be pictured as a stream without the implication of something 
substantival and self-identical moving in the stream. There is 
more properly becomit^ iu it, w'hich means that one entity dies in 
order that the succeeding should be bom. 

There are phiiosopheis W'ho have held a somewhat different 
view about consciousness. They have argued that consciousness 
as such is a real entity. In the knowledge-atuation, we can find 
this entity. There is the object outside, and there is the avfareti£ss 
of this object. Tltings are there whether we know them or not. 
But when we know them, they get related to aw'areness. This 
relation is quite external to the two entities. On analysis, there¬ 
fore, we can find the object on the one hand, and aw'areness on the 
other. We can find its awareness, if we sufficiently attend to it, 
and if we know that it is there. Only we must remember that this 
awareness is too diaphanous, so that when we want to look at it, 
we merely look through it. 

This view of the dualism in knowledge appears to us to be an 
exaggerated one. No arnoimt of attending ever discloses aware¬ 
ness as such. It does not stand up to our introspective view. 
Introspection only discloses definite entities, e,g. knowledge of A, 
a feeling of pain, etc. These facts, distinct, separate and successive, 
are all that we know as constituting the stuff of mind or the stuff 
of consciousness. Pure consciousness is never our object. Those who 
think otherwise merely prove that the method of introspection is 
slippery and unreliable, and that introspectively we tend to 
perceive what w'e want to perceive. 

It might appear strange that w'e should reject the reality of 
pure consciousness, when it is the very object of this pa^r to 
establish that reality. But we cannot worship at the shrine of 
false god. Consciousness as known would not be consciousness, 
even as god who is finite would not be acceptable to us as a real 



god- If consciousness is real, it is real only as the Absolute Subject, 
never as object. 

7 . Do me not know ecnscioiismss?: It may now be said that we 
ate attaching some special significance to the concept of conscious¬ 
ness when we call it pure. Consciousness is a term in a relation, 
the relation of knowledge, In this relation, we do find conscious¬ 
ness as it is, without any modification. It Is quite pure as far as it 
goes. We are, for example, aware of blue. This awareness we 
know. It is distmct from blue. At the same time, awareness is not 
blue. It is unmodified by its object. It is in the sapts isnse that we 
know, whether we know' red, blue or violet, or some other sense 
datum altogether. We can thus be said to know pure awareness 
as a factor iti hnowkdge. There is no mystery about it. All we can 
say is that it is a unique entity. 

Now it appears to us that this \iew is at least questionable. We 
take it for granted that we can directly know any piece of know¬ 
ledge, such as awareness of blue, and analyse it for what it is into 
its elements. But we contend that the awareness of anything 
whatsoever is never knorni directly in its complete subjectivity. 
Tlie knowing itself is never known. It is only when we cease to 
know, and w'e reflect back, that we may be said to become aware 
of a knowing. A‘s it Is said, all introspection is retrospection. In 
other words, direct knowledge of awareness or consciousness of 
anything is ruled out. Reflective knowledge is not direct, and its 
object is not awareness as such, but some kind of mental event 
which we call a knowing. Where is that pure and unmodified aware- 
ness which is the same whether it is related to red or to blue, or to 
any sensible object whatsoever? It is a misleading analysis of 
knowledge according to which we not only know an object A, 
but W'e ^so know the "knowing" of A. 

Some philosophers have found a way out of this difficulty. 
They recognize that knowing is not in its turn known. They 
therefore make a distinction between knowledge by contemplation 
and knowledge by enjoyment. The object A is contemplate. But 
its knowledge Is not in its turn contemplated, but enjoyed. Now 
it appears to us that the use of a term which is quite appropriate 
for feeling is unwarranted to describe a species of knowledge. It 
helps merely to confuse the issue. The subjectivity of knowledge 
is neither known nor is it felt. When we feel, wc can still make a 
distinction between feeling and that which is felt, although the 
subject and the object are more intimately related here. But the 



knowledge of aiiything is not even fcU to be distinct from the 
supposed enjoying of it, for the very simple reason that it is not 
known in any sense. The enjojdng variety of knowledge is a mis¬ 
nomer* It involves a confusion between knowledge and fcelingn 

6 , The sense in wkkh cmscwusness is undeniable; We do not, and 
cannotp know knowing itself. But we do not on that account deny 
Ipiowdedge of things. Only our reason for this belief is different. 

We do not accept the view that there are only two factors in 
knowledgep an object and an unmodified awareness. Such an 
awareness cannot take mental note of the object, and cannot 
therefore know it in the simple sense. This taking mte is an act of 
the mind, determined in an important sense by its object- We 
cannot separate the act from the object of the act. The act of 
knowing A is distinct from the act of knowing B. They arc dis¬ 
tinct mental events. They are objects of a kind. There is no real 
kn{?mng in them. One object cannot know another object. They 
are not instances of awareness as suchi which is the proper subject* 

We are accordingly obliged to go beyond the acts to the aw'are- 
ness in them. We speak of the acts as different but not of the 
aw^areness as different. Awareness is just the same whatever we 
may happen to know. Thus we have to make a distinction where 
none w^as suspected We speak of the act of knowing as though it 
is a simple and ultimate tmtity. We have to break up this entity 
into a mental ocenrrenee which we may be said to know, and 
which is different for every different object and assumes the form 
of that object, and awareness as such which we do not know, 
which is not a mental event of any kind, which is never different 
whatever may be the nature of the object^ and which is unchang¬ 
ing and immutable like substance. 

We cannot deny the reality of knowledge. But it is only in this 
sense that we must admit it. There is something in it w^hich we 
know^, the mental occurrence; and there is something which we do 
not know", the non-mentaJ and non-ciccurring awareness. It is the 
latter that is the reality of knowledge. The act by itself cannot 
know* It is not by nature intelligent. It is only as it can reflect 
pure consciousness in itsdf or get identified with it. that it ac¬ 
quires the intelligent character* We say that the act is the knower, 
the tliought is the thinker* It is a misapprehension. The mind, like 
the sense-organs, is an instrument of Imowdedge only. It is not the 
real know er. We commonly say the eye sees. Similarly, we say 
the mind knows. But it is only a metaphor. Neither the eye sees. 



nor the mind knows. The seer is beyond the eye; the eye is only 
an instrument of seeing. The real kncnver is beyond the mind: the 
mind is only an instrument of knowledge. Those philosophers, 
therefore, who search for the reality of the self in the mind through 
the method of introspection, search for it in the wrong way. It is 
not at all surprising that they do not find it, and conclude that 
there is no such thing as the self. The truth is that the real self, 
partaking of the nature of pure awareness, is not an empirical 
entity which w*e could know through empirical methods such as 
introspective evidence. 

9. Mental ti/e necessitous o non-mstttal an;arencss: We take it 
for granted that wc know introspoctively mental acts at least. 
But how is this possible? There is no comprescnce betrveen intro¬ 
spective knowledge and that which it presumes to know. The 
later cannot know the earlier. There is only one way in which the 
past can be known; and that is memory. But memory presupposes 
direct awareness at an earlier moment of time. Can we provide 
for this on the basis of a temporal series in which no term is co¬ 
present with another? Evidently not. How, then, do we acco'unt 
for the knowledge of the terms of the series? 

The philosophers of the Nyaya school argue that every act of 
knowledge is invariably and immediately followed by another, 
which is the knowfing of the first act (anmyavosaya). My know¬ 
ledge of A, for example, is immediately followed by another piece 
of knowledge w'hich is the knowing of my "knowing of it." The 
objection that the successor cannot know the predecessor may be 
circumvented in some way. It may be said that no empty interval 
of time is involved between them, and that they are contiguous 
so that the later almost contacts the earlier. But this is a make¬ 
shift and device. The two entities, the know'er and the knotvn, are 
cither successive or they arc simultaneous. There is no middle 
position. And either course w'ould be suicidal. Some philosophers 
hold that the memory of the immediate past is absolutely certain, 
and is as good as direct perception. But memory is not percep¬ 
tion; and if it is a case of memory, then who perceives the original 

Granting the Nyaya contention that the later somehow fcno^T5 
the earlier through some mysterious transference or communica¬ 
tion as some European philosophers seem to think, we shall have 
to suppose a whole series of acts of greater and greater complexity 
going on almost to Infinity as a result of a single knowing, so that 



we cannot attend to anything else in life. To obviate this diffi¬ 
culty, we shall have to say that an act of knowledge ne^ noi be 
followed by another act, which is the knowing of the first act. It 
is purely a matter of convenience and of subjective inter^t. We 
may seek to know a particular mental act or we may not. It is 
only in the former case that we initiatG another act, which is the 
kno^ving of the first. This means that the original act of knowledge 
may occur without being known at all. In that case, the act is 
lost to our knowledge for ever. Since It h not known immediately 
after its CMCcumence, it is never knowm at all, and cannot be re¬ 
membered later on. In this way, most of our ordinary knowledge 
should be lost to us for ever, for we are rarely interested at the 
time in knowing it. Unless there is some kind of knowledge which 
is inevitable at the time the act occurs, we can give no satisfactory 
account of our knowledge of mental life. Is there any alternati ve 
to a non-mental and a higher kind of awareness which is present 
at the time the act occurs, and which does not pass away when 
the act passes away? How this aw^enesSp which b itself pure, 
actless and timclessj reveals that which b in time b another 
question p which may be difienently answered. But the necessity of 
this awareness cannot be denied. 

10, Universal emsciomness us conceived by Wesiem id&tlisis: A 
higher sort of consdousnesSp or universal consciousnesSp which is 
not in time, has been recognized by many Western idealists. 
They have argued that a temporal succession cannot be known 
except by a ncm-temporal consciousness. In order to know that 
A and B are successive, there must be a consciousness which first 
apprehends A, then it apprehends B, and finally it bolds A and B 
together in the apprehension of their succession, Ttus conscious¬ 
ness itself cannot change in the process and must be regarded as 
timeless. WTiile we cannot deny that such a consciousness is 
demanded by the knowledge of a temporal series, we cannot 
accept the view that thb consciousness itself must he active, A 
consciousness which b active apprehends A, it b determined in a 
particular way through the exercise of thb particular function. 
When it apprehends B, it b dijfferently determined. When it 
apprehends the sticc^ion of A and Bp it b determined in a still 
difierent way. How can we say that the consciousness remains the 
same throughout and b imchanging? If the different acts really 
belong to consciousness and are part and parcel of it, then the acts 
make a difference to it. In fact, in place of a self-identical unity of 

241 Q 


consciousness, we get only a succession of acts. A Htmless conscious- 
ness could not act. It would Kavc to be a pure and actless awareness 
beyond the mind. The European idealists fail to distinguish be¬ 
tween its awareness and thought, which is a function of the mind. 
Thought is universal in so far as meanings are concerned. But my 
thinking is different from your thinkingj and my thinking at one 
time is different from my thinking at another time. There is 
nothing timeless about it. Timeless thought is a contradiction m 

terms. . 

11. Tite distinctvn: of transcendental consciousness and empirical 
consciousness: \^TiEn we know an object, the self that knows 
stands related to the object. It makes use of certain means or 
methods {praf»d\ias) of knowledge. This self may therefore^ be 
called the prajn^d, the actual knower that knows m an empiric^ 
way. It discovers the object; or alternatively, we might say that it 
form to the object. This self and its actual awareness are 
both evidently cmpirtcal in character. But they are not the whole 
thing. They j fflss away, and we know it. Beyond this U an aware¬ 
ness which does not pass away, and which wc cannot know; for 
there is no other awareness to know it. Any other awareness 
would be just a sub species, and therefore quite empirical in 
character. This ultimate consciousness, which we cannot know, 
is the only transcendental consciousness there is. We may call it 
the sdksi. Like pure radiance, it remains unrelated and unaffected 
by the objects which it lights up or reveals. 

Kant also found a transcendental element in all knowledge. 
But it was not transcendental in our sense of the term. The purely 
formal or logical element in knowledge he called transcendental, 
He discovered it through a certain analysis of knowledge. Indeed, 
the process of knowledge could not be analysed. For knowledge 
does not proceed in distinctive steps to a climax. He therefori. 
caught hold of certain judgments in use or the judgments of 
completed kttojskdge, and read his formal or transcendental element 
into them. In any case, he discovered the transcendental; and to 
that extent, it is really empirical. The transcendental unity of 
apperception is just the active ego, which would be quite empiric^ 
in our of -^e term. There is nothing really transccaidental in 
Kant's philosophy, except his critical siandpoitU, w'hich he failed 
fully to lecognke. He ought to have gone a step further, and 
retreated further into himself, and raised the question, Ao® is 
criticism of knowledge Usdf possible? It is possible because there 



is an awareness of knowledge, which itself is noQ-emplrical^ trans¬ 
cendental, pure and above criticism. It is from this standpoint 
alone that empirical knowledge or eKperienoi is any datiim at all 
and a possible subject for criticism. 

Pur^ consciousness as ike thhig-in-ilsd/: We have said that 
we do not know consciousness proper^ either in the form of know- 
iedge of things or in the form of pure awarcTiess. What we know is 
the act, which is dead, past and unintelligent. But can anything 
be real which we do not know, and which is not even a fit object 
of knowledge? Wlien philosophers reject the reality of pure con¬ 
sciousness, it is on the ground that no such thing is discoverable 
in our experience. WTtat is not kno\ra, and not knowablCp is 

It is now evident that this argument proceeds on the assump¬ 
tion that the reality of knowledge is the basis of the reality of 
anj^hing whatsoever. In other words, the reality of knowledge 
itself cannot be denied, and is therefore ultimate reality* Know¬ 
ledge Ls the proof of reality. But if knowledge is the only proof, 
what proof can we give of knowledge itself? Proof must stop 
somewhere, and it can only stop with w'hat is self-proved and 
requires no proof. The reality of knowledge, then^ and therefore 
of consciousness as such, has to be taken for granted as unques¬ 
tioned and as self-evident, in order to raise the very question of 
the reality of anything whatsoever. Here there is the reality of 
something which we do not, and cannot know, but which yet 
provides the ground and the proof of the reality of other things. 

^^"e may admit this reality in some sense. But our doubts are 
not at rest. Is consciousness some kind of stuff quite static and 
passive in itself? As far as we seem to know consciousness at aU, 
If is the verj* opposite of a stuff. It is something essentially 
djmamic. It b of the nature of thought, which never merely is* It 
b, only in so fax as it posits something or creates something and 
thereby transcends its mene subjectivity. The self b dynamic 
spirit. It is of the nature of thought, or Idea, or x\bsolute Spirit. 
It would be wrong to say that I am consciousness or awareness 
merely as such^ I am conscious only as I function consciously. I f 
I exercise no intelligent function, I lapse into unconsciousness. 
The reality- of consciousness, then, b the reality of a creative func¬ 
tion or activity, not the reality of a substance. 

Thb view b quite justifiable empirically. Consciousness is 
equated with the conscious act, or the explicit awareness of a 


content involving thought, with the possibility of self-conscious¬ 
ness, Where sclf-consdousness is ruled out, consciousness also is 
ruled out. Any immediate awareness in which thought has no part 
is lost to us. We do not regard it as an instance of consciousness. 
Philosophers have, therefore, coined other words for this kind of 
blind or unthinking awareness. They have called it immed^te 
feeling, or prehension, etc. Consciousness is reserved for conscious 
acts, which are only possible in higher animals, particularly man. 

But we ate not here concerned with levels of consciousness 
which we can empirically distinguish. We are concerned with 
what all these leveb presuppose. Is there not an awareness which 
remains unbroken and unintcmipted, whatever the level of con¬ 
sciousness? WTiat moves and changes is merely an expression at 
the mental level of w*hat is unmoving and unchanging. As we have 
said beforCi the latter reveals the former, and makes its awareness 
and its criticism possible. We can only criticize "knowledge at 
the empirical level," but not from that level itself. Unless we can 
rise to a higher and non-empirical level, we cannot take experience 
as a whole as the subject-matter of our criticism. Our problem may 
not be the Kantian problem of the limits of all knowledge. It may 
be the fundamental problem of all epistemology, namely, the 
adequacy of our knowledge to reality as such. But all epistemo¬ 
logical criticism involves a transcendental standpoint. We shall 
fmd in the end that this startdpoint is no other than the stand¬ 
point of pure awareness, which alone is truly transcendental. It is 
beyond criticism, because it cannot be known. We can criticize, 
only when we are, perhaps unconsciously, certain of a higher 
truth. Kant felt that in his analy^ of knowledge, he was face to 
face w’ith certain absolute certainties. The transcendental scheme 
which he delineated was absolutely certain to him. It is not so to 
us. It is to us merely a factual aflair, or something which he 
seemed io perceive through his reflective imagination. The only 
real certainty there is is the certainty of that pure awareness, 
which no one ever perceives, but which is presupposed by all 
perception, including the seeming perceptions of die reflective 

We are thus obliged to go from the notion of consciousness as 
act to the notion of consciousness as actless. The latter is the 
only real consciousness, the former is so only metaphorically. 
The analogy is that of fire and the red-hot iron in contact with it. 
The iron is said to bum. But what bums in it is the fire which is 


no part of its own nature. Pure consciousness is the fire. It is the 
only real knower. 

13. The notion q/ soul flTkf Us rdaiion to consciousness: It is 
recognized by many philosophers that the series of mental acts 
or events is not the whole reality of the subject. There is some¬ 
thing beyond the series> which is relatively permanent and stable. 
They call it the soul. The soul is not essentially conscious. It is 
certainly not consciousness merely as such. It is capable of pro¬ 
ducing consciousness or of becoming conscious. Consciousness is an 
impermanent quality of the soul. According to the Nyaya ^'^ew, 
when our object is presented to our senses, and "when the mind 
through attention ootmects the object with the soul, consciousness 
arises in the latter. Similarly, according to Lotze, the soul reacts 
intelligently only when it is stimulated from outside. The soul is 
not an ever-present awareness. But then how is consciousness 
produced in it? Consdousness cannot be produced in mere matter 
which is opposed to it in nature; and a soul which is not conscious 
by its o-wn nature is as good as mere matter, however fine or 
subtle. As a matter of fact, constwusiwss canttoi be ptoiuced. If it 
could be produced, how could there be any awareness of this 

We arc thus compelled to substitute for the notion of the soul, 
the notion of the intelligent self. This self is not conscious, but it 
is pure consciousness itself. It never, therefore, ceases to be con¬ 
scious, and never goes to sleep. What goes to sleep is the mind. 
WTiat wakes up is the mind. The self is like the eternal Same that 
is never extinguished. It is the light that is always present and 
alwa^'s radiant. It lights our knowledge of things, which is an 
empirical or mental affair. It equally lights our ignorance of 
things, as when we confidently assert that we do not know certain 
things. It could not be hidden or covered up. It reveals the cover¬ 
ing itself, ignorance itself. We recognize this light of intelligenoe, 
when it is reflected by some object or held up by an empitrcal 
situation which we are said to know. In truth, it shines even in 
darkness. But the darkness knows it not, 


14. TAtf ontoiagicai of consciousness: DifTerent things are 

differently related to our knowledge, and thereby they derive a 
certain ontological character, (a) There are things which are not 



known by us and wbich offer no problem of knowledge whatsi>- 
ever. They do not represent any meaning. These are things such 
as a hare's horn, a sty Sower, etc. We regard them as simply 
unreal. They are at the bottom of the ladder* Technically they 
may be called i.e. non-significant, 

( 4 ) There are certain other things which also are not known. 
But they are not wholly unrelated to knowledge. They represent 
a certain meaningp and offer a problem. Accordingly, we take 
them to be in some sense real* ^though not known. These are 
things such as atoms> electrons, etc. WTien we use these terms, we 
mean certain entities which arc only inferred* An atom is not 
exactly knowTt. It is eertainly not known as any material mass is 
known,. Wc study the constitution of the atom in the laboratory 
and even break it up* But it cannot be said that the atom or its 
constituents, the electrons, etc., are actually seen or known. WTiat 
is knowm are certain effects produced by therUj and these effects 
are visible effects, like matter in mass. Ko one has photographed 
an electron. What is photographed is a certain visible effect pro¬ 
duced by it I a streak of light that traces the movement ol the 
electron. Electrons, etc., are only hypothetical entities. We can 
never expect to know them perceptually or directly. They repre¬ 
sent certain workable ideas in science. We do not demand any 
direct proof of them, for we know that none wiU ever be forth¬ 
coming. They have a scientific value, and therefore reality of a 

(f) There are other things which are known just in the ordinary 
way, through some kind of direct evidence, w’hich is practically 
and socially true. The^ are the ordinary sensible objects. Our 
knowledge of them is only relatively true; for it is mediated and 
subjective. Doubt and error cannot, therefore, be completely 
eliminated from it. The ontological status of things that are thus 
knowm is not that ol reality pure and simple or ultimate reality. 
It h the status of practical reality or vyavahdnc saiid. Philo¬ 
sophy seeks a higher reality or absolute reality* 

(d) Finally^ there is the reality of kfiowl^dgs itself^ or of awar^^ 
mss which Es present in all knowledge. We do not know this 
awareness. And yret it cannot be denied. We always speak of it as 
something quite immediak. Unlike things which are unreal and 
things w^bich are hypothetical, if is noi known but at tiie sam^ thne 
imTnedialc in all our speakings Unlike things which are known ^ 
there is demand for proof, when something can be known objec- 



tively; and what is thus known can alu^^ys be doubted or mis- 
perceived. Awareness or consciousness cannot be kno'WTi objec¬ 
tively, and there is no scope for any doubt or error wth respect 
to it. WTiatever the nature of the object that is known, and 
whether that object is real or illusor>\ the awareness involved in 
the knowledge of it b necessarily true and absolutely true. When 
we are aw-are of the iJlusorVp the awareness itself is not illusory— 
it reveals the illusory itself and is therefore unaffected by it. 
Here, then, we get something that is absolutely certain and true, 
and therefore pre-emineiitly and ultimately real. The ontological 
status of consciousness is that of absolute and unconditioned 

15. C&nsctmisness as sdf~m^&iling or seapmk^a: There is in 
Indian philosophy a school of thought* purva-mnidfksa, which 
holds the view that knowledge is never knowUp but that it is 
self-revealing. It criticizes the Nyaya view that nothing is real 
that IS not objective and that cannot he known. Knowledge itself 
is not further knowm. It is in a sense sell-known. The factors that 
are necessary to constitute it knowiedge of an object are the 
factors that are necessary to constitute it knowledge of itself. No 
new^ factors or satnagri are needed for its self-knowledge. We have 
no need to enter upon a fartfi^r process of knoVr*ing in which new 
factors will come into operation. In other words, knowledge which 
reveals the object simultaneously reveals itself, AU pripia facie 
knowledge has this character. It is svaprakdsd- 

A piece of knowledge can be analysed into three factors. There 
is the object^ the self that knows* and knowledge itself that 
relates the other two entities. Of these three factors^ knowledge 
occupies a special position. It reveals the object* it reveals the 
self, and it reveals itself—all at the same time. The example 
given is that of an earthen lamp with oil and wick. Wlien the u^ck 
is lighted, the light given by it lights the objects outside. It also 
lights the whole paraphernalia of the lamp containing the light. 
And lastlyp it reveals itself. We do not require another light to 
reveal the light of the original lamp. The same is true about know^- 
ledge. It is like light simnitaneously revealing itself* the object 
and the subject. There is no knowledge of knowledge. 

We only want to add in this connection that the knowledge 
which is self-rc\'ealing in this sense is not a mental act or vfiti, 
which is itself in a way known. It is pure consciousness alone. 
Further, this consciousness does not reveal the knowing self. It Is 



the real knower in the last analj^$. There is no other knower. 
This knower reveals the subject, understood as an act or a function 
of mLnd^ and through the subject, it reveals the object But no 
one reveals it. For who can imow the knower? It is truly selT 
revealing—being unknown, it is capable of entering into our use 
and our speech as what is quite unmediate salt (tp&Fok^n 

i^avahart^yogyotvam] . 

i6. Trtith as se^^ealhtg and as sdf-cvtikni: We have said 
that knowledge is self-revealing in a certain sense. But knowledge 
is of reality. So far it is either true or false. Can we now saj*" that 
the truth or the falsity of knowledge is also selTrevealing? It is 
evident that falsity is not self-revealing. A piece of knowledge is 
false, when the falsity of it is revealed by some other piece of 
knowledge vrhich cancels it. In other words, false knowledge is 
not self-revealing m its falsity. It requiriBs a true piece of know¬ 
ledge to expose it for what it is. 

Can ^ve say the same thing about a true piece of knowledge, 
namely that if requires another piece of knowledge to reveal its 
truth ? It is argued by some philosopheiB that it does. Truth, like 
falsehood, is not self-revealing, A piece of knowledge is not known 
to he true in itself or by itself. It has only a claim to truth. But 
this claim has got to be substantiated. The claim may prove to be 
false w hen we know belter. There is need for confirming know¬ 
ledge. We often, therefore, go to work to substantiate the claim 
through further knowledge the moment a doubt arises. This 
process of substantiation or oonfinnation crystallizes itself into 
the coherence theory of truth. An isolated piece of knowledge is 
neither true nor false. Truth and fa]sehcx>d can only be deter¬ 
mined through a reference to the rest of oui experience. To the 
extent to which a piece of knowledge is in conflict with this ex¬ 
perience, it is clearly false. But in so far as it remains unaffected 
by it 4 Lnd keeps intact, it may be said to be true- We might even 
go further and say that no piece of knowledge is absolutely true 
or absolutely false^ It invariably undergoes a certain amount of 
change or modification in the context of the whole. At the same 
lime, it retains some truth, and contributes its quota to the mean¬ 
ing of the w'hole. It is thus both true and false. There is such a 
thing as '“degrees of truth and falsity/' 

This \lew is not free from difficulties. If true knowledge re¬ 
quires another piece of knowledge to confirm it, what about the 
confirming knowledge? Will it not require to be confirmed in its 




turn? The process will not stop and truth will not be attained. 
Logically, it involves ns in a vicious circle or in a vicious inhnite 
series. No piece of knowledge can really add anything to the 
internal evidentness and the truth of another piece of knowledge. 
The process of conhnuation has no logical value, ft has only a 
psychological and a practical value. Again the view that there are 
degrees of truth and falsity is opposed both to common sense and 
to reason. There can be no compromise and no middle position 
between truth and falsehood. The coherence notion of truth is not 
logical, although it is offered by philosophers who make much of 
the logic of consistency. They refuse to face the possibility that 
falsehood, too, may be self-consistent and coherent. A dream¬ 
world has an interim] order, however fantastic. Falsehood can 
imitate truth in this respect. 

Truth is not like falsehood. It must be self-evidently true or 
not true at alL It does not require any outside confirmation. 
While therefore false knowledge requires to be revealed by 
another, true knowledge ought to be self-reveahng—to know is to 
know as true. We have to add that no empirical pitxie of know¬ 
ledge can ever be self-evidently true or even self-revealing. Pure 
consciouSDess alone has this character. To know it in some sense 
would be to know the truth as sdf-revealing and as self-evident. 

xy. Stl/-c&HSci<ms/ne$s and truth' Some philosophers have argued 
that to know the self is to know the truth. Our knowledge here is 
quite immediate and direct. The self knows itself. The idea that 
tlie knower can know himself is not quite absurd. The knower 
know's himself as object. For Hegel, truth consists in the Absolute 
Idea knowing Itself as object* It is the highest form of self- 

We cannot agree wdth the view that the subject can become its 
own object, or that one and the same thing can be both subject 
and object at the same time. Self-consciousness is on a par with 
all object<onscioiisness. We agree with Kant that the self that 
we know is a phenomenal entity, not a noumenal entity. More 
than that our self-consciousness, tike all object-consciousness, 
can be illusory in character. The self that is known is a certain 
subjective function. This function is fundamentally related to the 
object. If the object is illusory, the subjective function is illusory 
also. There are subjective illusions as there are objective illusions, 
A subjective illusion is one in which the subjective act itself is 
taken to have a character different from that which it really 



possesses- Thus, for example, when ive know An iUiisoi^ object, 
we take the act to be cognitive, while in reality it is only imagina¬ 
tive, We imagine an illusory snake where there is only a rope and 
■we take this imagitiation to be a fact of cognition. The same is to 
be said about the self that functions. We take the imagining self 
to be a knowing self. Self-consciousness, thus, is no exception to 
all object'Oonsciousness, and does not give us self-eAndent truth. 
We must go beyond the subject-object dualism to the pure con¬ 
sciousness that reveals it. 

i8. How can pwi con^iousne^s kne/w?: We have spoken of the 
pure consciousness as the only leal know'cr. But since it is actless 
and of the nature of being, it cannot/ifncfitm and it cannot actually 
know'. Its knowledge of anything is as good as no knowledge. It 
cannot make for objectivity- 

"We contend that it is the only knower, but that when it is an 
object that it knows, it takes on an accidental adjunct or upddhi 
in order to know it. ft does not know an object without this 
ttpadhi and entirely by itself. It is like the eye that cannot see 
without spectacles. The pow'er of seeing is in the eye, not in the 
spectacles. Yet the spectacles, in so far as they become related to 
the eye, become the means of seeing. It is the eye that secs, not 
the spectacles. In the same way, pure consciousness alone knows. 
But it requires outside aids. It requires the ego or the I-form 
which functions through thought. It requires thought, and the 
sense-organs which are the gateways of the mind. None of these 
entities, taken singly or together, can really know. But when they 
are in the relation of false identity with pure intelligence, they 
acquire a new character. We say the ego knorvs, etc. We confuse 
the instruments of intelligence with intelligence itself. We see 
nothing beyond the instruments in an analjfsis of knowledge, and 
we conclude that there is really nothing. Pure intelligence is for us 
a myth. It is at best an abstraction, purely conceptual in character, 
called "consciousness-in-general." We fail to see the reality of the 
self who sees rvith the ej'e, thinks with the mind or baidhi, and 
knows with the ego. As long as we see the instruments, we cannot 
see the wielder of the instruments; for in respect of these, it is 
truly transcendental. 'The eye cannot sec the seer, nor can thought 
know the thinker. It is only when we reject the empirical approach, 
that we can intuit pure consciousness as it is. But then we can 
mtuit nothing beside it—^no instruments, and no objects. For the 
relation in which it enters is never a teal relation as between two 



distinct and independent entities. The only relation in which it 
enters is the relation of false identity, which entails that the 
entities in this relation cannot be separated and known as related. 
We cannot simultaneously know the illusory and its ground as 
two distinct entities in relation. If we know the iUusory, we do 
not know the ground, and vice versa. The same is true about pure 
consciousness, and the entities to which it is said to be related. 

On this view, the ultimate dualism is not that of the body and 
the mind. The body and the mind both belong to the unintelligent 
and the empirical sphere. Them is no problem of relating them, 
there is no gulf between them. There is a dose internal relation 
between them. WTiat lies beyond them and is dir«:tly opposed to 
them in nature is pure consciousness. But this can stand in no 
real relation to them. It can only stand in the relation of false 
identity or Mkyasika iMdtmya, winch leaves it unaffected by the 
relation. It is a pure revelation which reveals all states of the 
body and the mind without itself being in any state. If the body 
or the mind is in pain, pure consciousness reveals the pain thereof. 
If the pain is annulled through Its own intensity, as often happens, 
pure consciousness reveals the state of unconsciousness which has 
thus supervened. It reveals ail states of the psycho-physical 
organism, including slumber, which is a cessation of ment^ life. 
It is thus independent of the ps3.''cho-pbysica] organism; and since 
death itself is something which happens to the psircho-physical 
organism, it is truly deathless. It is by nature that immortal 
existence which, in the words of the scripture, is not killed by the 
sword, nor wetted by water, dried by the wind, consumed by fire, 
etc. In this sense, the embodied spirit is ever and always dis¬ 
embodied in reality. It is through ignorance and error that we 
take it to be a prisoner of the body and therefore subject to its 


19. The different situatitms in our ex^perience which necessarily 
indicate pure consciousness: We are familiar with knowledge at 
the empirical level. Here an object is presented; a method of 
knowledge, such as perception, inference, etc,, is brought into 
operation to reveal the same, and there is the subject that knows. 
The three are called respeciively—^/arM^yd, prapidud. and pra- 
There are certain other things, however, which alsowe know, 



but the knowledge of which cannot be explained through the 
above mechanism. 

(ff) We have already alluded to our awareness of "knowing an 
object." When I know an object A, this knowing of A is not 
known in the ordinary way through the opeiation of some pfs- 
rndiiia. for the simple reason that there is no inner sense to which 
such an object may be said to be presented. There is no passage 
here from the ignorance of the object to the knowledge of it. It 
would not be true to say that the knowing of A is first unknown, 
and that through some process of knowledge it ts unconcerned 
and made known. £ither it is necessarily and always known, or it is 
simply not there. There is no third alternative for it, namely, that 
it 15, but that it is noi known yd. It is directly in relation to p^ 
consciousness. There is no method or process of knowiedge which 
can be said to intervent between its reality and its knowledge. 

My knowledge of "the knowing of A," however, is not the 
knowledge of an unrelated object. It is relative to my "ignorance 
of A," Pure consciousness reveals both simultaneously as neces¬ 
sarily related objects. Thought can function within empirical 
knowledge in order to give form to the objects known in it; it 
cannot function with regard to the empirical knowledge itself and 
know it as its object. 

(A) WTiat is true of the acts of knowledge is also true of pleasure 
and pain. It can never be the case that there is pain, but there is 
no knowledge of pain. To have the pain is to be aware of the pain. 
No process of knowledge b required to reveal it for what it b. It 
b known hy pure consciousness, 

(c) We know the state of deep and dreamless slumber, called 
sufupti. It b evident that when wc are in thb state, thought has 
ceased to function, and the knowledge of the state in the ordinary'^ 
thinking W'ay b out of the question. And yet we know the state 
quite definitely as part of our own experience. When we wake up, 
we declare that w'e slept soundly and blissfully, and further that 
we did not know anything then. Evidently, thb direct awareness 
cannot be a result of the operations of thought which are at a 
standstill in deep. There b no kind of pratna^ or empirical means 
of knowledge which can reveal sleep to us, a state of absolute 
ignorance, it b only a non-empirical and pure awareness beyond 
the mind that can reveal the absence of the mind and of its 

Pure consciousness reveals sleep not as an unrelated object. If 



we slept and slept and oever woke up, vire should not know that 
we ever slept. We know this, because we wake up. ^Vhat pure 
consciousness then reveals is not sleep merely as such^ but the 
tmnsiiwn from sleep to wakefulness* whereby both these states 
are simultaneoiisly kno^vn. Thought itself cannot possibly know' 
the transition from its own absence to its own actmty. 

(d) \Vc are avrare of our ignorance of many things in the state 
of w^akcfulness, I am ignorant* for example,, of what is going on in 
the star Sirius: 1 am ignorant of what is going on in your mind; I 
am ignorant of what is contained in a box lying in front of me, 
etc. This aw'aietiess of ignorance, too* is not possible through the 
operation of any prantdiiia. A pr^mana would have to reveal not 
only my ignorancej but also the object of which I am said to be 
ignorant; and this would dissipate the ignorance. How. then, could 
I be aw-aie of ray ignorance of a thing? The fact is that our aware¬ 
ness of ignorance is incompatible with the knowledge achieved 
through a Besid(s, it is quite evident that ignorance 

does not require to be uncovered or discovered through a process 
of knowledge. It does not require to be related to consdousness. 
It is always and essentially thus related. There is no time when 
there is ignonmce, but no relation to our awareness. Our aware¬ 
ness of it is quite direct and immediate. 

It is now arguable that there are mfimte things in the univcr^ 
of which we are ignorant* but that we are not aware of this 
ignorance. There are stars which have not yet a^pie to our view* 
There are people and regions on earth of which we have never 
heard. We cannot formulate our ignorance about them, and are 
not aware of ignorance* All that this proves, however, is that 
ignorance is a related object. Taken as unrelated# it is no object 
of any kind, and w^e simply cannot be aw^are of it—its being and 
the being of pure awareness coincide. 

Ignorance is related to knowledge* It is only when I know a 
thing that I become simultaneously aware of my ignor^ce of it 
till ihert. This ignorance is beginningless, but the beginningless 
ignorance b€^comes our object only when knowledge arises. Thus 
w'hat the pure consciousness reveals is the transition from ignor¬ 
ance to knowledge^ and not each state in turn and in succession. 
This also ensures that our prior ignorance relates to the very 
thing of which we are later said to have knowledge. In other 
words# we direclly and simultaneously knosv the object as first 
unknown and then as kno^vn* 



It may here be said tbat our awareness of ignorance does not 
necessarily arise knowledge. We can be a^^'aie of ignorance 
before knowledge has arisen. Before I know the contents of your 
pocketp for example, I am aware that I am ignorant of those 
contents. Here, evidently^ there is ignorance without knowledge. It 
%vilk how'ever, be admitted that I have some knowledge in this 
situation. 1 know you, I know your pocket, 1 know that the 
pocket has an inside, and 1 know that a thing contained in it 
must have the limitations of the pocket, etc. It is a case then of 
knowledge limited by ignorance* All our empirical knowledge is 
thus limited. If I know the from of a sheet of paper held before 
me, I do not know' the back part. If 1 know a chair fram one 
angle, its view^ from the opposite angle is shut out from me, and 
so on. So far I know, beyond it I do not know* My knowledge is 
selective, and necessarily implies my ignorance of what lies be¬ 
yond my purview. It is in this sense that I am aware of ignoramce. 
It is still correlated to knowledge. Its object is the indefinite that 
lies beyond what is defined by knowledge. Here it w'ould be 
meaningless to say that I am ignorant of this or that thing, or that 
1 am ignorant of the very thing of which I later come to have 
knowledge. There is no common object for both knowledge and 
ignorance. Once I have drawn the line of knowledge, that line has 
divided reality for me into two separate spheres^the definite 
w'hich 1 know% and the indefinite which I do not. Ignorance is 
once again related to knowledge. 

(f) VV^e are aw^e of the iIlusor^^ The illusory cannot be kno^ra 
in the ordinary" way. It is not a matter for pramana or a valid 
means of knowledge, which only uncovers an existing thing, or a 
thing that exists independently of the knowledge of it. The 
illusory does not thus exist. It exists only in knowledge and for 
knowledge. For it, to is to be known. It is necessarily related to 
know^Icdge. We cannot say of it that It may be known or it may 
not be known. It is what it is, only as known. Accordingly, no 
process of knowledge b needed in order to know it. It is known 
directly and immediately to a consciousness which does not 
operate through any pramdpa. Thought is present here not as a 
function of knowledge, but as a function of creative imagination 
which makes the illusory. The awareness of the illusar>' is beyond 

The illusory, once again, is not known as an unrelated object* 
If it U taken as unrelated, its iUusoriness would not emerge. If 



for instance, we a snake, which vvas in fact illusory, and we 
tiirned back and ran away W'lthout further investigation, the 
iUusariness of it would not be revealed to us. We would naturally 
speak of it to our triends as an ordinary snake^ and even warn 
them against it. The snake, being in fact illusory * is not known as 
illusory* There is no awareness of the Ulusory- This is only possible 
when, and if, we bring in the cancelling knowledge. Our awareness 
of the illusory then is not independent of, and prior to our aware¬ 
ness of the cancelling knowledge. The consciousness which reveals 
the one simultaneously reveals the other; for it is consciousness 
of the cancellation or It is a non-cmpirical and pure con¬ 

sciousness above thought, which reveals the relatedness itsell. 

20. Tii£ naiurc 0 / pure comciQUsness to be known: 

Wc have said that pure consciousness is self-revealing or svapra^ 
kdia. But although we cannot know it in the ordinary we 
need to reah^ it as the absolute reality. 

(ii) Since it IS a pure revelation, it has no state or modiheation 
ol its o^vn. It is tmly called ninnMm cUL It reveals the states of 
the mind and their succession. Accordingly, it is of the nature of 
bchtg that is immutable and unchanging. It is a sort of super- 
awareness beyond the mind. The mind sleeps, but this awareness 
does not. 

(b) It is unborn {aja). If we can know the birth of anything, 
consciousness is before it. Who AjwKiJ //j£ birik of consciousness? 
There never was a time when consciousness was not. To know it 
is to know it as the ancient one, that is before ail thmgSH What is 
l>om also passes away. It is necessarily impermanent; and the 
impermanent is essentially unintelligent or jada. The Buddhistic 
doctrine of anatid, or not-self, naturally follows from its doctrine 
of momentarrness or k?^nikatua. 

(c) It is not capable of being known or proved to be real p 

For who can know the knower? It is presupposed by everything 
that is known to be real. We can doubt the latter, we cannot 
doubt the former; for it reveals the doubt itself. 

(if) It is inEnite (aMMla). It is not an element in a manifold or 
one among many. Indeed, it appear^ as though there is a pure 
consciousness in you, and there b a pure consciousness in me, and 
50 on. This is an illusion. What cannot be kno^vn cannot form 
part of a manifolds The svaprakdia cannot be known. If it b a 
mere known it would cease to be sv<^prfikdi<i^ Our mdividuality b 
a product of certain limitations which render it an object ol a 



kind. There are accordingly many individuals. But the pure 
awareness in the individual has no such limitations. Accordingly, 
it is the same identical awareness in ail individuals. There cannot 
be two entities of thb kind. We make difierences in it through the 
accidents of the body and the mind. They are purely imaginar^^ 
differences. Consciousness is in this sense without difference and 
infinite m character. It is the real self of all individuals. 

(t) Pure consciousness is immortal. It may now be said that all 
consciousness ceases when the mind ceases to function. \^Tio can 
then vouchsafe for the continued existence of consciousness when 
all life ceases at death? But death, like sleep, can only enter our 
experience as something that happens to the pS3^cho-plij^cal 
organism. It cannot touch pure consciousness, which is beyond 
this organism. If it could affect it in any way, w^e should have no 
possible experience of death itsell We can only experience death 
as an indefinite sleep. But duration has no meaning here. Where 
there is no mental activity and no tension of any kind, there is no 
duration. An indefinite sleep is just like ordinary sleep; and this 
sleep IS nothing if it is not known as an iuterval between tw^o 
states of wakefulness. Death must be likewise in its essential 
logical form. It is rightly called the twin-brotber of sleep. Death 
is but a sleep, not an end of all life. We throw' off the body as we 
do worn-out clothes. Pure consciousness is by its very nature 
deathless and immortal. 

(/) Pure consciousness is the Absolute: pure consciousness we 
have seen is intolerant of any difference, the moment it is distin¬ 
guished, it is distorted, and it ceases to be itself. It is the reality 
behind the world of matter and of individual selv-esn It Ls the 
ground of these. We know the world, and we know other selves, 
as long as we do not know' pure consciousnessj which is the uni¬ 
versal self. Pure consciousness is like the w'all with pictures painted 
on it. We see the pictures and fall in love with them. We do not 
see the wall. And yet it is the existent reality in front of us, not 
the pictmes. The pictures are in point of reality just the w^all 
itself, and nothing apart from the wall. The pictures are real only 
in conceptual enjojinent. not in point of fact and truth. The 
lines and the paint are part of the wall, and yet w'e call a part of 
the wall "'a lion/' another part beautiful meadow," etc. We see 
the w'all, and yet wt see it not; we think w'c see the pictures, and 
are engrossed by the reality of the pictures. In point of fact, there 
is no lion, and no meadow; there is only one smooth and even 



wall, in which one part of the wall is just like another part—^just 
bricks, mortar and paint. In the same way, pure consciousness is 
the ultimate reality, ever present, ever immediate. Through 
ignorance of thi.t reality, we have made distmetions in it, and 
created an endless variety of names and forms which constitute 
the entire world of our experience. But this world which alone 
arrests our attention is not the reality, but just a matter of 
imagination. Knowledge of the reality ought to dissipate the 
creations of our imagination. 

(g) Pure consciousuess is the bliss of the Sell. VVe seek joy in 
thingjii outside. We seek it at the mental plane. Here we have 
certain desires and certain interests which we seek to satisfy 
through some kind of activity. We know the joy of becoming, w’e 
do not know the joy of being. But there is no comparison between 
the joys of the mind , dependent, impermanent and negative in 
character—and the joy of the Self which has no limit, which 
cannot be exceeded, and which cannot be lost, being the nature 
of the Self Itself. The latter alone can fulfil. It is the highest value, 
not the momentary attractions and fascinations of the mind. 
There is a joy above the mind, where the mind rests in peace; for 
it has nothing to achieve and nothing to do. Such is the joy that 
is immanent in the nature of pure consciouaiess, and is that 





B. K. M A L LI K 

Kxiwf Calkifc, QMjqri 

The note that ha& persistently rung in my ears for over a quarter 
of a centurj' coincided in its date of origin with my sudden ac¬ 
quaintance with Radhakrishnan in the year 1923^ the year I got 
hack home after a stay in Oxford for eleven long years. By its 
persistence alone even a novice in the school of ptophecy, what¬ 
ever its historic form^ would take it either as a message or a 
prophecy; to me it is at least a s3mibol with its base deep down in 
the heart of my ancestry^ I never can hear it except with breath¬ 
less expectation as people in the tropics listen to a tidal wave or a 
storm as it sweeps on from a distance as an opening prelude to 
some fresh, quickening flood or downpour that sweeps away the 
dec^pitp w'om out and the dead. It firmly assures me that a new 
spring is on the way^ tiiging the blossoms after long centuries to 
break through the hea%y clouds that still lie pressing on their 

Would it be unseemly if 1 placed Radhakrishnan somewhere in 
the neighbourhood of this imminent springtide? Could not one 
find the very keynote of his whole career in the vivid message 
which this long-expected flood must be bearing in its bosom? 

Personally, I have found nothing in him so constant and firm 
as his eagerness that this flood as it skirts our shores should reach 
out to every other shore and dime, that it should ruthlessly 
cleanse all lands of all the Impurities that had ever settled on 
them, Most unmistakably 1 find him to be a Hindu above every'- 
thing eke and that is perhaps the only true and faithful descrip^ 
tion of him. In him, if one gees to his deepest rootSp one wDl find 
nothing but the life of the spirit ruling; nothing that is not of the 
spirit touches him. Even those who know' him but little W'Ould not 
miss th^ patent fact that he moves on like a pilgriiti in the tortuous, 
labyrinthine mazes of political life. And those who know him well 
enough would unhesitatingly claim that he is ever on the watch 



for the blue moment when the lotus of his beloved Krishna will 
bloom again in the deep waters of his ancestral calm. And if 
divine grace is vouchsafed to him when his round on this earth is 
done, he will crave for nothing but the rare chance of closing his 
eyes on the steady, radiant light from the blue waters stninmering 
in the glow from Krishna's crimson feet in the creamy rapture of 
the lotus. 

It was exactly w'hen the long night of the last stretch of our 
humiliation was definitely on the wane that Radhakrishnan was 
bom. The European onslaught had passed its peak, and the 
stupor that lay like a heavy mantle on the world of the ^lite was 
slowly but steadily lifting. The Indian mind had already tested 
the cultural and spiritual value of the Western creed. The mood 
which ruled it now was one of exploiting that creed if that were 
possible. Its violent and persuasive phases, disproportionate as 
they were, were not a preparation for the advent of Gandhi's 
movement which was to restore confidence in the whole country 
and begin a true revival of the Indian faith. 

The time had come for reorganizing the great classic work^ so 
well begun by Vivekananda almost a decade before Radha- 
krishnan was bom. The wisdom of India from now on had to be 
oousdentiously delivered to the Western world if only to dissipate 
finally the long illusion that the creed of the European was the 
only true creed for the human race. It w^as time for the Western 
mind to realize that the European experiment in Asia for the last 
two centuries had failed as it was inevitable that it should. The 
hour indeed had struck for what may be called a strategic, cul¬ 
tural move. There was no alternative for the Indian but to join 
issue with the real authorities on the European claim. As a matter 
of sheer necessity, the pompous European in Asia had to be cut 
off from his base and, perhaps, a fresh basis for a new life between 
the European and the Asian would be laid if that very desirable 
end could be reached. 

It was in this urgent^ strategic move that Radhakrishnan, stiU 
very young, was called upon to take a leading, prominent part. 
The youth in him, with a fresh dominant faith, was ofiered the 
rare chance to carry that movement right into the heart of Euro¬ 
pean life. It was for him as a philosopher and historian to deliver 
with au thority the Indian message straight to the seats of learning, 
to compare notes w'herever possible with the leading European 
minds and firmly to challenge the absolutism of the European 



dalrn. It ^vas indeed a tnission fora healthy, mutual understanding 
Ijetween Europe and Asia; its keynote was to convince the Euro¬ 
pean that there was no room in Asia for Christianity, Democrat^ 
and Individualism in the senses in which the European minds 

took them. * . 

The Upton Lectures which Radhakrishnan delivered m Man¬ 
chester College, Oxford, at the invitation of L. P. Jacks, marked 
the first serious beginning of his long, sustained effort to restate 
the case for the Indian outlook. The restatement had faEen due 
for two special reasons:—(i) the average European mind bad 
never had a dear and precise statement on it which was easily 
intelli|ible, {z) whatever view about the Indian outlook was 
known in Europe, it was overlaid with uncalled-for interpretations 
which the Orientalist and the missionary between them unavoid¬ 
ably produced. No Orientalist, much less a missionary, ^uld 
possibly escape the nemesis of w‘hat is called the conditioned 
mind, since neither the stock from which they descended nor the 
social or cultural Piiluiw in which they were brought up permitted 
a dispassionate or rational approach to the Hindu view. The 
Hindu proverbially was the opposite pole of the European, while 
the Christian was at considerable variance with the Hindu on the 
score of the "creed" which was the direct result of the Christie’s 
audacious, historic attempt to compromise the mystical faith. 
Europe, natuiaDy. bad no legitimate or accurate account of the 
Hindu ideal; it made no difference if the T^eosophist and the 
German savants sought hard to aedimatize It in Europe. There 
was a dear need for a restatement of the Hindu case and this was 
supplied by the Upton Lectures in which a concise and robtist 
account was given which any European could follow. Here began 
the renaissance of Hindu civilization in the very' heart of Europe. 

It is for others, however, to trace the gradual and steady 
development of this renaissance by recording the v'aried activities 
of Radhakrishnan in the course of a long period. They yielded an 
enormous coDtributiou; and to-day after a quarter of a century 
there is a large clientele in Europe who judge Indian civilization 
totallv on the authority of Radhakrishnan. Both scholars of great 
distinction and the intellectual public form this clientele and it is 
not possible to-day that the Orientalist or missionary' who still 
cultivate the old archaic views on Indian thought should fasten 
their opinion on the European mind without an mstant challenge 
even from their own clientele. 



The culmination of this period, hewever, was not reached till 
Radhaktishtian was offered a permanent Chair in the University 
of Oxford. It was indisputably a historic event in the annals of 
the University. To say tjie least of it, the founding of this Chair 
was a tacit acknowledgement that Radhakrishnan had succeeded 
in establbhing in Europe the case for the Indian outlook and so 
created a European need for frsh and much fuller knowledge of 
the Indian civilizatiOR, And thereby a whole principle was con¬ 
ceded as to what should be the nature of the authority who had 
the right to preach and teach the essentials of a dvilkation. The 
principle was that the authority for formulating and teaching the 
essentials belongs to those who profess and practise it as a matter 
of faith, as if by an implidt mandate from the nature of the 
culture. The case for the missionary was instantly gone and the 
Orientalist survived only as an enquirer or critic rather than as 
an authority. StUJ it may seem rather strange that it should have 
been left to the ultra-conservative mind of Oxford to see the light 
on such a deep intellectual point. The fact is that it did while 
others did not. The University, however, was nobly led into this 
clear vision by the breadth of view of at least one English gentle¬ 
man, Mr. H. N, Spalding, the founder of the Chair. How at times 
some individuals seem to consolidate in themselves w'hat a whole 
community has been struggling to express for a ivhole generation! 
Even Oxford University was grateful to him for articulating what 
many of its members had been groping after and at least a good 
portion of the English community frankly wanted. One almost 
wished every university in every land had a Spalding to stimulate 
their '■faculties’' with broader vision and incidentally to lay the 
foundation for truth. 

The leadership of Radhakiishnan, however, in the rerraissance 
of Indian thought in Europe did not mean merely a restateroent 
of the Indian case in its philosophic and historic setting. It was by 
no rneans a wholly academic function although the raison d'etre of 
it lay in carrying the Indian thought to the seats of learning. It 
was, indeed, from its very inception a many-sided function. The 
foundation of it was no doubt laid by Radhakrishnan's pioneer 
work in his two volumes of Indian philosophy. But scholarly 
preaching on the esoteric and mystical aspects of the Indian 
spirit soon came to constitute its main feature as gradually 
Radhakrishnan had to deal with the larger educated public outside 
the pale of the universities. And it was here that Radhakrishnan's 


^>ccial ipft 3£ a speaker came out. In recalling the Indian esoteric 
claims out of his intiinate spiritual experiences and profound 
scholarship for the benefit of his audiences he 'was lavish on his 
spontaneous outpouring of soul. The audience swayed at times 
to his chant; and one felt as if the barrier between the East and 
West was gone. 

Soon, however, the duty and function of a statesman was added 
to his academic efiorts and pneachmg. By the e}dge[icies of un¬ 
usual conditions be had to play the part of a scholarly mediator 
between India and England, and that on issues that were at once 
delicate and responsible. And if I am allowed to quote a very 
astute Jewish authority, Radhakrishnan easily out rivalled the 
achievements of cardinals in the Catholic Church. As a direct 
consequence of the varied, multiple calls on him, however, he had 
to move about constantly, skirting the whole of the inhabited globe 
year in and year out. As if by an age-old tradition of his ancestry, 
he had to cut himself off from the roots of the home in which he 
was bom and find a shelter as a bird of passage in the wide world 
of humanity. Nothing, however, gave him greater joy than to 
mediate between the jarring and incompatible tjTjes of manhood 
who inhabited the two hemispheres of Asia and Europe. 

Yet in realizing all these multifarious duties his one aim has 
been to make the world free from the virus of conflict and hatred 
by the establishment of peace. 

There Is no occasion, however, to call him an ascetic in a teeb- 
nical, orthodox sense. We do not have to deal with an ascetic in 
him. His food ts very simple indeed, but it does not suffer from the 
ascetic scruple. His garment, again, is equally simple but it never 
dwindles into the proportion of the ascetic pattern. His hair, 
again, is never combed but it never aspires to Siva's '"knotted 
pile." In fact, "Drewie" of the High is trusted to keep it from 
running unduly wild. He entertains all and sundry with strictly 
simple and vegetarian fare but be does season it with briUiaiit 
talk. Not even a Bishop or Archbishop, not to talk of Cabinet 
Uinisters and Generals, escape the stimulating effect of tenuous 
discourse. In fact, like the sages of old who practised asceticism 
within the four walls of a social home, he is a loving husband to a 
devoted spouse, an affectionate father to brilliant children, a 
trusted friend and sert'ant to all in the community in which he 
lives. There is no position which he did not or could not have 
held, and yet any authority that he ever exercises sits lightly on 



him He is approachable to all and sundry and at all hours of the 
day and evening. Even his secretary, however energetic, cannot 
get the chance of wielding a part of hii delegated power. 

Whether ah these evident marks of humility and simplicity 
make of him a prototype of Janaka Rlshi in our modem age, I 
leave it to my readers to decide. But not even Janahi, the Rishi's 
adopted daughter, could have had a more loving or affectionate 
mother than Radhakiishnan’s children. It ts a joy to me to note 
that his wife in this difhcult century has been an embodiment of 
the t3rpe a Hindu woman is expected to reach. Some say that the 
days and nights she has spent with her husband under the same 
roof can be counted on one's lingers. They were joined in nuptial 
tie when they were young and if he had one blessing in his earthly 
life to which be could trace his life of purity, steadfastness and 
loyalty, that blessing was brought to his life by his wofe. What¬ 
ever the stature of Janaka in the sphere of pure living, one can¬ 
not miss the fact that Radhakrishnan comes very dose to it. 
His ever-bounding energy in spite of his frugal meals may make 
him undergo discipline of his own making and in varied forms. 
His days since he w-as young might have abounded in depressions 
of spirit and perpetual occasions for religious calm in the midst of 
varied foreign and discordant challenge. But he kept to the true 
path at enormous sacrifices and administered the affairs of the 
State or the University with a calm and goodwill w'hich would do 
credit to Janaka if he lived in our modem age. 

His detachment of spirit, again, might not compare with that 
of the orthodox ascetic, but be certainly was not attached to the 
j03fs and values of life which any position could offer him. He sat 
at the table at All Souls and even said Grace, but he was rarely in 
the Common Room after dinner. The Gaudies, the peak of self- 
glorification in University life, were not an attraction to him. The 
Hall dinner fed him with macaroni and every variation of boiled 
cabbage, while the rest of the table was creaking under the 
weight of the choicest delicacies which culinary art and English 
imagination, whatever that might mean, could easily concoct. Some 
say that he used his private key to go out of the College by the 
back door when he found the front door jammed by celebrities. 
And as for walking on the lawn in the College quad, he never did it, 
except when he was wrapped up in his thoughts arguing with some 
Christian divine or slashing some new'-fangled theories of Positivist 
logic. His detachment took the form of a perpetual oblivion of the 



surroundiiigs to which twentieth-century' existence brought him. 
He remind^ tne of a judge who wrote his judj^ent in the dead of 
night, fast asleep in bed. after hairing listened in the day to the 
counsels of both sides who gave indisputable evidences about the 
cascn The court, the case and the counsels all disappeared and 
the judgment was bom immaculate and pure. Nobody, however, 
has told me that he had his nightly rounds in the beautiful sur¬ 
roundings of Oxford when the last hoot of the motor had faded 
ais'ay. or chanted his hymns not only while taking his morning 
bath to the delight of the Fellows of all faiths and descriptions, 
but also in the long stretch of bewitched stone carr'ed out of 
moonlight, called *'the High." But I have eminent authority to 
vouchsafe for the fact that the HJgb reverberates at some un¬ 
earthly hour with echoes which his chants produced. What this 
means to this historic haunt of quite other chants I do not know. 
But Kadhakrishnan cannot help chanting 'fRama" and "Krishna 
even perhaps in sa3dng Grace, though it was never done to exorcise 
ghosts as it is sometimes done in his native home. Nobody^ at any 
rate, would accuse him of the fear of ghosts m Oxford. 

But whether he is chanting bjmins in his bath or holding classes 
to teach the Vedanta or Dhammapada or addressing statesmen 
to bring politics hack again right within the realm of the spirit, 
he is intent on one fixed aim. the re-establishment of the Indian 
outlook of life in the heart of the human family. The sole burthen 
of his exhortation is that the society of man must go back to the 
life of peace, toleration and purity. There must be an end of 
distrust, hatred and ilbwilL The conflict of interests must cease. 
In no way should the spirit of independence raise its head at the 
cost of fellowship, unity and harmony. Instead* the sense of 
solidarity must prevail, and above all the human aspiration to 
claim divinity as its birthright must once again return. ^'Would 
to God." he would pray, "that all differences might disappear 
in this one, united psx^fundity of aspiration and goal," 

India is free to-day to cultivate her own imssion and Eadha- 
krishnaji Is convinced that the mission will be fulfilled. There 
wtQ be a new age and. if necessary, a new formulation of his 
ancestral goal. Even if the life of the spirit has to be redefined, it 
will be redefined- The discipline that his beloved country has 
gone through since she lost her independence centuries ago was 
but an earnest of that formulation. Perhaps another Buddha, 
another Gita will arise. Perhaps the fulfilment of Gandhi s imssion^ 



whatever its form, was also an indication ol this promise about the 
future. It is India's part by all historic records to bring together 
the races and civilbations oi the earthy to offer them a common 
meeting ground on which they could live and radiate light into 
one another's sphere. It is for her to transmute discords into 
differences, to replace the effort to live at the expense of one^s 
neighbour by the effort to live with his consent and finally to 
abolish warfare in whatever form it may appear. 

It is preeminently with this ideal and outlook that Radha- 
krishnan is truly identified. My own impression of him is that he 
will not choose any one specific expression of that ideal whether 
in thought, practice or emotion^ as a dogma. He is prepared even 
to write off the whole of our history as sheer experiment if the 
main outlook still remains unsolved by them. Two things he wiU 
never do. He will not change his outlook for the spirit of inde¬ 
pendence which forsakes unity and peace in the desert. Nor will 
he tolerate sham or sheer mechanism in the place of real fuIAl- 

Catchwords like socialism and capitalism or autocracy and 
democracy literally do not appeal to him. Whatever ideology will 
bring about peace and barmony he wUl accept. indeed, suffetirig 
and nothing but suffering will bring about that harmony, he will 
welcome suffering. 

Most unmistakably, Radhakrishnan ivould advocate any experi' 
ment or discipline if it were indispensable as a prelude to full 
achievement. And that is perhaps the chief reason why he has 
been mostly propagating the ide^ and making the world familiar 
with the setting in which the ideal so far has been vigorously put. 
His owTi suggestions as to the solution of age-long problems are 
found in his many writings. Personal lyj I cannot help believing 
that his is strictly an open mind, although there is not even a 
shade of scepticism in it. On the contrary, I am fuUy convinced 
that he w ill not aUaw' anjThing to stand in the way of his deep 
faith in the ideal so clearly enshrined in his ancestry. 

(1) The individual is Absolute himself although he is nothing but an 
illusion here and now* He does not seek a mediator. Rather he 
becomes at times a Prophet to himself. 

[2) The home of illusion, again, which is life> can be made safe for 
the quest and fulfilmeot of truth only by harmony, unity, 
toleration. It cannot be served by conflict and warfare. 

There can be no question, however, but that he b a great critic, 



and the basis on which his criticism stands is that the historic 
expression of the faith must, at any cost, be preserved and kept 
in absolute purity. It should not, in any circumstances, be con¬ 
fused with a belief or claim which challenges it. In other words, 
that which holds to intolerance and violence must go. Instead, the 
great doctrine, compassion with restraint and renunciation, 
should be the guiding principle of all life. Under no circumstances 
should life on earth be taken as the sole and only value and 

It may sound strange, but I cannot help thinking that Hadha- 
krishnan is only biding time. As if all that even the very gifted 
amongst us can achieve at the moment is to escape pollution and 
corruption and to ooncentiatG on the one need of strict self- 
preservation. Energy has to be preser\'ed at all costs and not 
wasted in fruitless self-enjoyment, since the great moment of 
fulfilment is in the future. 

It is my most smeere desire as a friend of his to wish him that 
fulfilment. 1 feel convinced that peace in the human home is 
conriing and certainly the night of discipline will ere long dose for 
ever. The light will burst through the doiids and Radhakrishnan 
can assure himself that from the depth of the blue waters with the 
creamy shimmering crimson of the lotus wilt rise again Krishna, 
his Prophet for the human race. 





Pnlmof ChlsctTi Qikmd UnLvEniCj^ 

The history of a philosophical coDCept is often more eidightcjiing 
than its original nature. Even geniuses are not infallible and may 
need correction. Occasionally an important concept receives 
centuries of discussion and emerges changed in its nature. I shall 
here attempt to recount such a development concerning Con¬ 
fucius" fundamental concept, that oljm. 

This term has been translated variously, for example: benevo¬ 
lence (Legge, etc.), perfect virtue (Legge), the Good (Waley), or 
humanity (a popular translation to-day). Confucius himself, how¬ 
ever* defined it by the ordinary Chinese word for love, at, sa3drLg 
that it meant '"love others'" {Awkiis XII, xxii)* I shall accord¬ 
ingly translate it as "benevolent love/' 

Before bis timCp the word had not been used commonly, 
even in literature. Its use indicates that it had denoted the boun¬ 
tiful kindness of an ideal ruler to his inferiors. Evidently Confucius 
did not wish to use the ordinary' word for love, because of certain 
undesirable connotations, just as the writers of the Greek New 
Testament did not use the common Greek w^ords cros or Philos, 
but chose a less common tenn, agape. Confucius' choice of an 
unusual word has misled many modem translators. 

In one case, moreover, Confucius made a pun with the word 
for "manp'" which is also pronounced jon. although wTitten quite 
differently; 'Tf one is jm fhuman)^ but does not possess jm 
(benevolent love)* can he conduct himself properly . ^ . or appre¬ 
ciate good music and poetry.^" (j 4 k. lii). Conhidus intended 
to imply merely that love, or sympathy wth others^ is a quite 
human quality and is prerequisite for moral conduct and even 
for artistic appreciation. This pun has misled some translators to 
interpret jen as "'humaneness" or ""humanity." But /tfn denotes 
far more than mere "humanity/' a fact easily show-n by a study 



of its use. Such a translation is, moreover, unable to account for 
the later development of this concept. 

Confucius made benevolent love the centre of his ethical teach¬ 
ing. Once, when asked the meaning of be replied, "Do not do 
to others what you would not like youTBclf'* [An, XII, U). This 
statement of the Golden Rule is negative only in form—Chinese 
style prefers a negative to a positive form, saying "not good" 
instead of "bad," etc. Confucius interpreted his Golden Rule 
positively, "To be able from one’s own self to draw a parallel for 
the treatment of others—this may be called the method of benevo¬ 
lent love" [An. VI, xxviii, 3), He also used the word "reciprocity” 
(sAu) to denote this virtue. he was asked^ "Is there 

any one word that can serve as an absolute and life-long rule of 
conduct?" he replied, "Would not reciprocity (sAm) do? Do not 
do to others what you yoniself would not wish done to you" (/Itt, 
XV* xxiU), Thus benevolent Jove (jm) is exemplified in the 
Golden Rule and is suiumed up in the word "‘recipnoGity (sAh)"—^ 
here there is plainly a uniEcatiou of the whole of morality under 
one concept. We have then in primitive Coufudaulsm the same 
attitude as in primitive Christianity—the w'hole of morality b 
summed up in the one notion of love for others. It is* then, not 
surprising that occasionally we find Confucius using jm to mean 
"perfect morality," so that Legge at times translated jm as 
'"perfect \drtue.'''' That interpretation b imphed in the conception 
of a SHmmHpi virtue, such as j>ji in Confucius^ thought. 

But Cbnfudus' conception of jm, or benevolent love, was not 
the same as the Chnstiaii ideal of equal love to all men. Ancient 
China was a feudal country' and Confucius was a man of hb time. 
Jen denoted benevolence rather than love. It was the attitude of 
a bountiful lord to his inferiors—the superior manifests a benevo¬ 
lent kindness^ For the inferior to be benevolent to his superior 
would be presumption—the inferior should instead manifest the 
attitude of lo}^ obedience, Thb aristocratic dbtinction has clung 
to Confucianism throughout its history and b one reason that 
Confucianbm b so much in disfavour in republican China to-day. 

Confucius was moreover a practical man^ who recognized that 
people love roost the people closest to them, especially their 
parents and relatives. So he qualified hb teaching of love to state 
that it b ooirect to love relatives more than others. This is a quite 
natural human attitude, which came to be stressed in China per¬ 
haps more than Confucius intended. One day. w'hen Confucius 



was \-isiting the Duke of a neighbouring state, "the Duke . . . 
observed to Confucius, 'Among us there are persons so upright 
that when a father appropriates another man's sheep, his 
son bears witness of it.' Confucius replied, 'Upright persons among 
us are different. A father will screen his son and a son will screen 
his father—and there is uprightnes in that' " (j 4 «. XlII, xviii}. 
This attitude of special love towards one's own family and clan 
was part of Confucius* ideal: "when gentlemen are munificent (du) 
to their relatives, then the common people are stirred to benevo¬ 
lent love (jen)'’ (An. VIII, ii. u). Benevolent love is then graded, 
greater to those closer to oneself and lesser to more distant per¬ 
sons. The Confneian virtues of filial piety (Asfno) and brotherly 
respectfulness {/>)—special care for those in one's family—are 
consequences of this emphasis upon graded love. 

To sum Up : Confucius made fundamental to his ethical teaching 
the conception of love for others. But it was a graded love. His 
grandson emphasized "the decreasing measures of love to more 
dUtant relatives" {Doclrine of ihe Mean. XX, 5}. We must now 
see what happened in subsequent ages to this central conception 
of graded love. 

Mo-Tzu (c«. 475”393)t who was bom about the time that Con¬ 
fucius died, seems to have been trained in the Confucian school. 
But he was willing to thirrk for himself, disagreed with some of 
the Confucian teachings, and had to leave his state for another 
one. He accepted the Confucian teaching of love for others as 
central to ethics. But China was being dcstnoj'ed by the continual 
wars between the great noble clans, all of whom were closely 
related, much as were Europe's royal families. He furthermoire 
saw that a graded love can actually be the cause of crime: 

A thief loves {«») his own family and does not love other famihes, 
hence he steals from other families in order to benefit his o™ family. 
Each grandee loves bis own dan and does not love other dans, hence 
he causes disturbances to other dans in order to benefit his own dan. 
Each feudal lord loves his own state and does not love other states, so 
he attacks other states in order to benefit his own state. The causes of 
all disturbances ... lie herein. ... It isalwaj-s from want of equal love 
to alL {Mfi. p. 79.) 

The thief and aggressor are not without any love. Their love is 
merely restricted. Because their loves are graded so sharply, fixed 
upon their own persons or their own states, instead of upon all 
equally, they rob or attack other persons or states, so Mo-Tzu took 


the important step of bre^ening Confucius’ jen into his own 
fundamental concept of equal love for all (jiVnai). He moreover 
reinforced it by the religious teaching that there is a single supreme 
God, who loves all men equally and wants men likewise to love 
each other equally. Only by so doing can the evils of this world 
be removed. Here is the highest possible standard of moraiity 
combined with a logical and trenchant attack upon the Con^ 
fucian doctrine. For almost two centuries the debate went on 
between the Conlucians and the Mohists. 

Mendus (372^98), the doughty champion of Confucius, replied 
that equal love for all is unnatural. People naturally love their 
own parents more than those of others. Everyone has certain 
special duties to his own parents. Anyone who does not recognize 
bis special relatioDships to his family is less than human—a beast. 
Mo-Tzu’s philosophy is then bestial. It was an elective answ^er to 
Mo-Tau, even if not a logical one, Mo-Tzu had not discussed the 
relationship of family duties to his teaching of equal love to all. 
Neither did Jesus of Nazareth, 

Through Mencius' powerful influence, Mo-Tzu became the arch- 
heretic of all times. Filial piety with its teaching of a 

necessarily graded love, was elevated to be a central virtue. 
Nevertheless, Mo-Tzu’s trenchant argument left its impression 
even upon Confucian literature. In the Classic of Filial PUiy 
a Confucian tract that became a univeisally used 
primary textbook, there is the statement that the ancient sage- 
kings "took the lead in influencing the people by means of their 
universal love (&o-uty' (Ch. vii)—a term different from that used 
by Mo-Tzu, but clearly expressing his notion. So Mo-Tzu's equal 
love to all was relegated to the golden age, while Confucius' 
graded love was taught as appropriate to the contemporary world. 
It implies the subsidiary virtue of specially loving or favouring 
one's rela- lives 

’When, in the last century B.C., China became officially a Con- 
fudan State, the superior was naiuialiy expected to be an example 
to his people. He accordingly put his relatives in high positions. 
His paternal relatives were possible rivals for the throne, so they 
were ennobled, carefully watched, and kept out of the govern¬ 
ment. But his maternal relatives, especially his eld es t roatemal 
uncle, could be rehed upon. This man was usually given the key 
position in the government. His power depiended upon his relation¬ 
ship to the emperor. He knew that he would be displaced when 


the development of altruism in CONFUCIANISM 

another emperor came to the throne, so he carefully protected his 
nephew. But he and his elan had to prepare for the future. He 
knew that he must acquire enough wealth during hh nephew's 
reign to make bis clan pernianantly rich and influential. Corrup¬ 
tion was consequently inevitable. This uncle could not, moreover, 
be removed from power by the emperor, since to do so would be 
violating the duty of loving or favouring one's relatives. So 
nepotism, comiptioni and misgovernnient spread through the 
bureaucracy. The increasing discontent of the people thereupon 
produced rebellions and the eventual downfall of the dynasty. 
The inadequacy of a graded love has been an important factor in 
the decaj'- of dynasty after dj^asty. There has been a typical 
cycle in Chinese history that has frequently manifested itself. A 
new dynasty produced reforms and called capable persons to 
office. Confucianism furnishes an excellent training for govern¬ 
ment ofSice. Hence it finally became the official philosophy. But 
w^hen^ accordingly, the imperial nelatives came to power, the 
administration decayed. Nepotism could not be stopped, because 
the Confudaii official philosophy approved of it. 

This ancient defect in Confudanism had its repercussions. With 
the fall of the Han dynasty, Confudanism lost its hold upon 
intellectual leaders. First philosophical Taoism, then Buddhism 
took its place as the dominant cult. 

This fundamental ethical inadequacy underlies the repeated 
break-up of China during the first millennium a.d. With an 
honest Weauemey, China could ward o 5 any invader as long as 
the people remained loyal to the throne. In the period B.c. the 
Huns were the northern neighbours of the Chinese. But the 
Chinese resisted and finally subjugated them, driving w'est those 
who would not submit, Whtte they eventually conquered much of 
Europe. But after Confucianism had dominated the government 
for three centuries, the remaining Huns conquered China. With a 
corrupt bureaucTacy, China could resist no organized enemy or 

Sbe centuries after Confudanism had ceased to be dominant, 
there appeared Han Yu (a-U. 76S-824}, one of the greatest Chinese 
In his time, the deficiendes of Taoism and Buddhism 
were beginning to be realized by intelligent men. He did more 
than any other individual to revive the influence of Confudanism. 
He was, how'ever, quite ready to think for himself. Buddhism had 
for centuries been teaching an ovenspreading compassion for all 



bemgSp wbich bad proved attractive to liie Chincsep Han Yu,^ 
moreover^ read Mo-Tzu and approved of him. He even wrote a 
brief essay praising Mo-Tzu. But the mfiuenoe of Mendtis was too 
strong to allow a general acceptance of this view. Han Yu's most 
wdely-read philosophical essay begins thus: ”A universal love 
(bo-a^ constitutes benevolent love (jcfi); to practise this virtue 
constitutes righteousness (yt). and to foUow this virtue constitutes 
the Confucian way (fflo)." Here is a new emphasis in Confucian 
ethics. Morality is again unified under one concept, this time not 
of graded benevolent lovei but of universal love for all. Without 
this new orientation, Confucianism might indeed not have agam 
secured the approval of intelligent men. Confucian traditionalists 
could moreover not object to this teachingp since the term ''uni¬ 
versal love"' is found in one of the ancient and by this time authori¬ 
tative Confucian classics^ that of FUml Pidy^ Han Yu'^s statement 
became authoritative for the Neo-Confudan school, of which he 
was the precursor. In his thinking* the term jdi had lost its con¬ 
notation of amtocratic "benevolence'* and meant general "Tove 
for others/* 

Jou Dun-yi of Lien-hei {1017-1073) > who actually founded the 
subsequently dominant Nco-Confucian school, repeated Han 
Yu's statement that love (^^J) constitutes benevolence He 

stressed one ol the virtues subordinate to universal, love, namely, 
public-spiritedness or impartiality (gung). “The way of a sage is 
to be completely impartial fenwg)'* (Tung-shu, Ch. 37). ''He who 
is impartial with regard to himself is impartial towards others. I 
have not heard of an3^ne who is partial to himself and is able to 
be impartial towards others" Ch. 21). Here is a complete 

denial of the ancient Confucian virtue of special love towards 
one's relatives (isiii-/si>j). Universal love now became orthodox 

Jang Dzai of Heng-chu (ioacKiQ77), a younger contemporary 
who also became an important Neo-Confudan leader, went stUl 
further. Like Jou Dun-yi* he adopted a universal pantheism, 
similar to that in certain Buddhist philosophies. Being a Con- 
fucian* he however dreiv ethical conclusions from this pantheism. 
The universe is one whole, of which you and i are merely tem¬ 
porary' manifostations. Hence there is no place for any real dis- 
tmetiou between mine and thine and no justification for any 
selfishness. ''He who enlarges his mind is able to treat equally all 
living beings in the universe" (Works z, zi; Cb. 7). This may be 



called the pantheistic argument for altruism. It became standard 
in Neo-Confucianism. ''All people are my brotherSp all things are 
my relations"' {The Western Inscription). Bolder than his prede- 
ceKorSp Jang D/d actually used and approved of Mc^Tzu^s term 
''erjual love for all (/mi-ntijy' (2: 17b). He popularized the ancient 
sajdng, All within the four seas (which encompass the habitable 
earth) are brothers'" {An. XIl, v, 4). This statement weU repre¬ 
sents the ethical attitude of Neo-Confucianlsm. 

Thus in reformed Confucianism, under the influenoe of Mo-Tzu 
and Buddhism, there was a remarkable broadening of Confucian 
ethics. Bitter experience of the evils that graded love had brought 
upon the country, together with prodding from criticism, led 
intelligent Confucian leaders to reverse the traditional attitude 
and teach "urdvei^l love'' and '"impartiality," instead of the 
earlier virtue of "favouring one's relatives."' 

But, alas, human nature does not find easy such a high ideal as 
universal love. The Neo-Coofneians were, moreover, unable to 
contradict the ancient and lower ideal. For Confucianism is 
fundamentally an authoritarian philosophy, which nests, for its 
validity, upon the ipse dmi of ancient sages. N^Confucianisin 
could only reinterpret ancient terms, sajing that Confucius' word, 
jen^ actually meant ''universal love/* It could not, however, deny 
the plain meaning of various passages in the ancient classics 
urging that one's relatives should be favoured. In the Middle Ages, 
in China as in Europe, new' ideas were not approved nor desired. 
Consequently, when the learned Chu Hsi (x 130-1^00) compiled and 
systematized the Neo-Confucian teaching, he was compelled to 
adjust it to the ancient doctrine. In his comment upon Jang 
Dzai's statement that the universe is one family, Chu Hsi wTote: 
"Although the universe is one family and China is one person in 
that universal family, yet Jang Dzai does not fall into the error 
of Mo-Tzu's equal love for ail {jim-ai). ... He puts forward the 
richness of loving one's relatives (more than other persons) by 
means of the great bnpartiaJity of non-indiWduaKty 
ipi(-iro)" (Jang Dzai's ll^wAs^ i: yaj. So Chu Hsi brought back into 
Neo-Confucianism the ancient ideal of graded love and placed it 
alongside the new Neo-Conlucian ideal of universal love. Since his 
time, these two ideals have persisted together. Both are held to 
have been justified by ancient authority. Whichever one is chosen 
depends upon one's individual predUection. Thus individual 
selfishness was by no means exorcized from Confucian teaching, 




Chu Hsi was not the last great Neo-Confucian, Wang Shou-ren 
of Yang-mjng (1472-1539) was in many respects the greatest of 
all, especially in his own character. An objective idealist and 
monist, he declared that there is only one true reality, which is 
universal Mind, The central virtue is love or which he sup¬ 
ported by the pantheistic argument for altruism. "A great- 
minded man considers that heaven, earth, and all things form one 
unity. He views the world as one family and China as one indi¬ 
vidual in it. If he makes a distinction in it between you and me on 
account of figure or bone-structure (i.e. wealth or race), he is a 
small-minded mari'" (Henke, p. 204). "Prince and minister, hus¬ 
band and wife, friend and friend, even mountains, rivers, gods, 
spirits, birds, animals, plants, and trees, to all we should be truly 
affectionate (ism), in order to attain to the love (jiH) which 
makes us all one unity" [ibid., 306). Virtue then consists in a 
moral love for others and vice consists in selfishness. Here U a 
high moral teaching indeed. 

Nor was this mere exhortation. While W^ang Shon-rcti was once 
exiled from the court and a minor official among barbarians', an 
epidemic laid low hU retinue. He himself nursed his ill servants, 
Chinese and barbarians alike, himself chopping wood, carrying 
w^ater, and cooking for them, regardless of his superior position. 
No wonder he was loved by all! 

But Wang Shou-ren’s moral idealism has remained in China 
devoid of official support. Political considerations had made Chu 
Hsi's philosophy authoritatii^ and Wang Shou-ren was declared 
heterodox. Although that ban was later lifted, j-et Chu Hsi con¬ 
tinued to dominate official Confudan dogma, until the Chinese 
Revolution freed the Chinese mind. 

The political consequences of this justification of qualified 
selfishness continued to manifest themselves. Nepotism and 
favouritism led to corruption and the eventual fall of dynasties. 
But the Neo-Confucian emphasis upon universal love and impar¬ 
tiality slowed up thi<i process. It is noteworthy that during the 
last half-milletmium there have been only two dynasties, both of 
which have been officially Confucian; the present Republic, 
has adopted no philosophic code. 

To sum up the developments of these more than two millennia: 
Confucius made central in ethics the high moral concept of love 
for others. But, in an endeavour to make it congenial to human 
nature, he qualified it by making it a graded love, greater to those 



closer to oneself. There conseqnently came to be an empbasis upon 
filial piety and favouiing one's relatives. Mo-Tzu, however, pointed 
out the necessity of equal love for all. But human nature does not 
desire oveT'high ideals. Mo-Tzu's ideal made little permanent im¬ 
pression In ancient times. But the Chinese are a practical people, 
who put their philosophies to the test of practical experience. 
This test demonstrated that Confucianism, in spite of its great 
moral eminence, nevertheless contained a vital defect. So Neo- 
Conftidans were driven to the same conclusion of universal 
altruism as that adopted by the best Occidental thought. Yet the 
Chinese did not remain upon these heights. Alongside this new 
universal altruism there w’as also perpetuated in Confucian dogma, 
the same graded love that had been so congenial in andent days. 
Chinese family loyalties arc still the source of much of China's 
trouble. History has shown that Mo-Tzu was right. But we can 
hardly criticize the Chinese. Can we show that we have lived up 
to our highest ideals much better than the Chinese have lived up 
to their doctrine of universal love? 






ol iVkiag: Utit^EnLEf, Ptaipfqgi Cbina 

was the first methtxi by whicJi Chinese scholars attempted 
to sjTithesizc Indian Buddhism and Chinese thoughts This tenn^ 
together with its definition p appears in the Kaa-se 7 ig-{:huan^ [by 
the bomae Hui-ChLao of the Liang Vyn^ty). The biography of 
Chu Fa-Ya, in chuan 5 of this work, contains the foilomng para¬ 

**Ai that tune, all the followers of Y^p^ were well versed in secular 
literatnre, hut were not good at Buddhist reasoning. Therefore Ya, 
together with K'ang Fa-Lang and others, taking the Shib-shu (cate- 
goiies) W'liich w^re mtMn the setiptunes, compared and paired them 
with the outer books, thus making instatices fe^amples) to promote 
undeistanding; this he called ^*Ko-yi/' Ands PH-Fou, T'an-Hsiang and 
otheis also made use ol Ko-yi in order to instruct their disciples/' 

The term “Ko-jd,^* thu 5 definedp very seldom appears in Chinese 
Buddhist books; it designates the methcxl used by the Chinese 
devotees of Buddhism prior to the W^estem Chin Djmasty; with 
the advent of the Eastern Chin, Seamed Buddhists discovered its 
defects and discarded it. Therefore there were very few men who 
knew it.® Three aspects of this method, discernible in the para¬ 
graph just quoted, should be noted: 

> Tnixtslatcd into English by M, C. Hoser^p M.A,p of Cilifaraia.- 

* Ko-yi: = tie equation ol couCEpta: tits Wade-Gllis aysteiii of mmaiiszaticin 
is TisEd this article, 

J Taifibo cSitLqn ijf Trip!tala abhrev., VoL 5*. 

P 347 

i ''Ya" and “Fa-ya” are abbreviated fenms of "Chu Fa-Ya**j ainsiLixly, 

Bjsd ^'Tao-An"^ are used for "'Slih Tao-Au," and "Tai"' and "’^Fa-T'pii'' for '"dti- 
Fa'T/oj/^ All thcae thiw lEarped Buddbiffla ans oi the Chin Dynasty (263-4^0 

I " And^': chi B; Kune texts have naJ B, which doei not maloE ifin^ ja this can- 

4 the arttclo "The DDcirine qf ClEb Min-Tu," by ProJcMor Tchen Yin- 
K 6 h, in Ti'm Hsifn-Shmg (SttaFUqd presiented to Ta'ai 

Yuan-Fei on hU sixty-bftb birthday, I¥ipipg, 1935.! 



(1) Ko-yi was a method used for teaching students. Chu Fa-Ya, 
K'ang Fa^-Lang^ and others used it for this purpose, as did Pl- 
Fou, T an-Hsiajig and still other men; its use. then, was mde- 
spread. Moreover, it can be surmised from the wording of the 
quotation that PH-Fou and 7 'an Hsiang were Juniors of Fa-Ya, 
perhaps his students, while K'ang Fa-Lang was hts co-urorker and 

(2) In Ko-yir ideas originally Chinese are made use of; they are 
compared with those of Buddhism, in order to enable a student 
familiar with Chinese concepts to come to a full understanding of 
the doctrines in India. By the "secular literature" referred to in 
the quotation is meant the this-worldly" works of China as con¬ 
trasted with the supermundane doctrines of Buddbistn- Moreover^ 
from the standpoint of Buddhism iti both India and China, a 
proper designation of the Buddhist scriptures was ''Inner Books" 
(Chinese "nei-shu")^ while the books of Chinese origin were 
"Outer Books" (Waishu). Chu Fa-Ya*s students were Chinese and 
had already an understanding of Chinese concepts; hence Chu 
Fa-Ya taught them to use these concepts for purposes of com¬ 
parison, in order to bring them to a full understanding of Indian 
thought. Not only did the students approach their studies in this 
way, but the BuddMst teachers of that were, from the outset* 
well versed in Chinese learning. Chu Fa-Ya^s biography in the 
Kao-scf^g-chiaji says: 

^■\Wien [Chu Fa-Ya] was young, he was good in the ^outer siudies* 
Cwai-hsikeh^; when be grew up^ he becarce versed in Buddhist thought." 

It further: 

"[He] lectured on the 'outer books' and on the Buddhist scriptures, 
both alternately and in mutual association. Each time he, together with 
Tao-An and Fa-T"ai, unravelled the knots of perplexity and inesolved 
doubts, they jomtly exhausted the cssentiai purport of the scriptures." 

Probably Fa-Ya had originally arrived at his understanding of 
the Buddhist works from the standpoint of comparison with 
Chinese thought, 

(3) Of precisely what does the Ko-3ri method consist? It is not 
simply a broad* general comparison of Chinese and Indian thought; 
rather it b a very detailed process by which each of the ideas or 
terms of the respective regions are individually compared and 
equated. "Ko," in this contexts has the meaning of "to match" 
or "'to measure": "y'i'' means "name," "term," or "concept"': 



“Ko*yi” is (the method or scheme of) matching ideas (or terms), 
or ‘'the equation of ideas/' 

Buddhism, from the time of Sakyumuni, stressed analysis. 
Therefore, in the Buddhist books, we have many and various 
analyses of human life and the universe. The products of these 
analyses are the '‘categories of the Dhannas‘* (“Fa-shu,” lit. 
“dharma-numbers”), or, as they were called by the early Chinese 
Buddhists, the "categories of things" {‘'Shih-shu,” lit. "thing’ 
numbers"). The Conunentary on the W (Literature 
Section) of the Shih-shat>~ksin-yu says: 

"By 'shih-shu' is meant such classes as: Wu-yin (the five Skandhas), 
Shih-erh-jn (the twelve Ayatanas). Ssti-ti (the four Satyas), Shih-^rh- 
yin-yuan (the twelve-fold Pratitya-samutpada), Wu-ken (the five 
Indrijras], Wu-U (the five Balas). Oi'i-chueh (the &ven Bodhyangas)." 

The early Chinese converts to Buddhi^, on reading the 
Buddhist books, must have got the impression of an overwhelm¬ 
ing abundance of enumerations of numbered ideas and terms; 
these were not only troublesome, but were difficult to understand. 
Because of this, men like Fa-Ya searched out similar analyses 
from the Chinese books; they compared them with the Inffion 
ones and fashioned a great many "instances" ("examples"), by 
means of which understanding was produced in the minds of 
their disciples. Just how Fa^Ya w'orked them out is not now 
known; however, in the Buddhist books of the period between the 
Han and the Chin, the Indian concept of four elements (the 
MahabhQtas) w'as often interpreted in tenns of the Chinese five 
elements (Wu-hsing); such a compariBon of the categories of the 
tw'o countries may be taken as an example of Ko-yi. It is probable 
that also in the Han and Three Kingdoms periods many of the 
Buddhist ideas ivcre explained in this way,' and were somehow' 
made identical with Chinese concepts. We may also conjecture 
that some of the '‘instances” of Chu Fa-Ya's Ko-yi are attributable 

t lini-JuL, ill his Cb. 5, TdilAJ, V0I, 41], 


''At til? of tht Hui uid th? heginninE th? W?i . , . th? iv^rtiLied wba 
smigbt tbe f 3s«nf:c [BuddhJat] idem begaji to Mve [fixedj Icuturm^ plaix^. 
Tbcy tixtra^'ftgutly eeiEafged t^cir IcctunM] by means Ko-yl &tid pcdiad- 
caliy distorted them by pairiog ciplanatians [p'ei 

It tbil here, '“Ko-yi'' mitl '“P'ci abuo” refer to one and tht ^lor nictluid, 

Thu:^ it apparenc that in Han and Wei timei eitpounding tb? Kriptures fre¬ 
quently con^i^tEd of paiiin^ CbincH fljid Indi&n tertos and ?3tp!ta£iLiiig th?in sid?' 
by-aide. It waa Chu Fi-Ya, in the Wc^ttra Chin, who praetised thLssystcmatitalty 
u.d on B Large scafe. 


ON ^'KO-YI*^ 

to the comparisons qxjradically made by the Buddhists of the 
preceding age. It is not known whether or not the results of this 
method of comparison* item by item and set by set, of the Chinese 
and Indian terms or concepts, were ever ™tten down as text¬ 
books by Fa-Ya. However, we can be sure that Fa-Ya and his 
colleagueSp in their oral expositions of the scriptures, had a de¬ 
tailed and definite method of comparative procedure, as a result 
of vrhich, moreover, they gave numerous instances for the purpo^ 
of promoting the full understanding of their students. Such, m 
generalp was the method of Ko-yi. 

Before proceeding to a discussion of the origin of this method* 
it would be wel] to note the time and place in which it flourished. 
ITie dates of Cbu Fa-Ya's birth and death are unknown. Howeverp 
according to statements in the Kaa-smg-chu^n^ he and Tao-An 
were both students of Chu FQ-T^U“Ch^erigp and Fa-T^ai was at one 
time a felJow^-student of Tao-An;* it is further stated that Fa-Ya^s 
disciple T'an was respected by Shih-Hsuaii. Tao-An was bom in 
312 A.D. and died in 385 Shih-Hsuan was killed in 348* Therefore 
Fa-Ya w'as somewhat earlier than Tao-An; he lived in the latter 
half of the third century and the first half of the fourth. He was a 
man of Ho-chieUp^ and once founded a temple in Kao-i*^ The 
Ming-^g<huan-^h'ao (-^Selections from the Bickgraphies of Illus¬ 
trious Monks") calls hhn "Chu Fa-Ya of Chung-Shan" ("Chung- 
shan Chu Fa-Ya") K‘ajig Fa-Lang who, together with him, 
made use of Ko-yi in teaching scriptures, also lived in Chung- 
shan.* Chu Fa-Ya"s student T'an-Hai was respected by Stuh- 
Hsiian, hence w^c know that he bad been in the Later Chao capital, 
Yeh.7 Chu Fa-Ya's master, Chu Fo-T"u-Ch'eng, also did most of 
his preaching in Yeh. These places are all north of the Yellow 
River and are the places where Chu Fa-Ya's fellow-students 
Tao-An and Fa-T'ai spent the early part of their lives; thiSp then, 
is the region where the Ko-yi method flonrished. In the time of 

* In Cfcti Fc-T’ti-Ch'eng's bifl|rt.phy, Ch. 10 (TatjAd* V&l. jo, 

p. it is sta^tcd that Fa-Y* Tao-Aii were Cbu Fo-T'ii-Cli'ciig*s disciples; 
Chu Fa-T ai‘s biography, Ch. 3 the same wtirk Vot p. 354 ) 

that Fa-^T'ai was a fi^ow-atudeiit: Tao-An. 

* Ta^An'a chronok^^ and related data ffH-eu in this arUcle m in accord with 

those in the autbor't A History of Buddhitm bifiiTt fh* Su i Dynasty (C&uuiierciaJ 
Press, 1^361 r ^ Hopei, Ho^chien bJaen. 

4 In modem Hopd, Pei-hsiang hsien. 

t Cbu FoTu-Chen^a bioffrmpby alfo refers to him thus. Cbung-shan ia, in 
modera Hopei* TLoff uien. 

* Kidf the biofr&phy of K'ang Fa-Lab^ Ka^fmi^kvan.Ch. $ {TaisM, Voh 50, 

p, 7 In modera Honan, UDg'thani; haieu. 



the Weitcm Chin, the region north of the Yellow River was the 
most important one from the standpoint of Chintse Buddhism; 
alt the Eastern Chin Buddhism of both north and south was later 
to be influenced by jt. 

As for the origin of the Ko-yi method: in the first place, traces 
of it can be discerned in the pattern of Han thought. The scholars 
w’ere very fond oi matching concepts with concepts. Both the 
Confucianists of that time (e.g» Tung Chung-Shu, ca. 179-104 
B.c,) and the Taoist thinkers (c.g* Huai-nan Wang, d. 122 B.c.) 
freely borrowed from the Yin-yatig school of ancient philosophy; 
they made use of the dual principles Yin and Yang, the five 
elements {^vn-hsing), the four seasons (ssu-shih). the five notes 
(wuyin), the twelve lunar months (sbih-^h-yueh), the twelve 
semitones (shih-erh-luj, the ten heavenly stems (t’ien'kan), the 
twelve earthly branches (ti-ch‘ih), etc., and paired them one with 
another. Even up to the Western Cbtti, this was the type of 
learning which, with its accompanying methodology, was taught, 
and was very familiar to the scholars. Although it was a new 
epoch in which Chu Fa-Ya and his colleagues lived, stdl they had 
not renounced the pattern of Han D3masty thought. For example, 
the works w’hich Tao-An wrote when he was in the region north 
of the Yellow River {312-365 a.d.) were (I think) deeply coloured 
by the Han learning. 

Secondly, the origin of the Ko*yi method is probably related to 
the nature of the Buddhist studies which came into vogue in the 
closing years of the Han Dynasty, In the time of Huan-ti of the 
Han, the famous Parthian monk An Shih-Kao came to Loyang 
(148 A,D.). He seems to have been the first learned man of the 
West to come to China, and the first to translate a considerable 
number of sacred books. According to the earliest records, he was 
an Abhidhaima Master and was deeply versed in the section of 
meditations (dhyana) which are expended in the Abhidharma. 
Tao-An's Preface to the An-p’an-shou-i-chit^ {Andpatta-stnrlyupas- 
thana-siiira)^ says: 

*'An Shih-Kao studied widely and searched out the andent ways; he 
specialised in the learning of the A-p'r-t'an; in the books which he 
produced, the Ch‘an shu (the categories concerning dhySna, lit, the 
Ch 'an-numbers) arc set forth with greatest completeness." 

"A-p'i-t'an" is a transcription of Abhidharma; by "shu" is meant 
"Shih-shu" (Categories of things) or *'Fa-shu'' (Categories of the 
» Seng'VuV Ck*u- 7 an-isan^-€:hi-ckt, Cb. ^ (Ta/jAo, Vah 55, p, 43J, 


ON ‘'KO-YT" 

dhannas): hence, ‘'Ch'an-shu’' has reference to the Shih-shu or 
Fa'Shu of the Ch'an (dhySna), The Abhidhanna spoken of here 
presumably followed the arrangement of ^I&tpka, i*e. the whole 
book is airanged by divisions and subdivisions according to the 
serial order of Shih-shu or Fa-shu, This is precisely the case with 
such works as the Yin-ch’ik-ja-ching,*^ w'hich he translated; in the 
beginning of this work, the Law of the Buddha is divided into 
three parts: 

(1) Yin. i.e. the five Skandhas. 

(2) Ch'ih, i.e, the eighteen Dhatus. 

(3) Ju, i.e. the twelve Ayatanas. 

Then, under "the five Skandhas," are listed: 

(1} Rupa 

(2) Yedana, etc. etc. 

Further, under "Rupa,” the ten kinds are explained; 

(i) Visual Organs 

{2) Oiloui, etc. etc. 

This manner of enumeration and exposition by divisions and sub¬ 
divisions continues throughout the whole book. Indeed, it may 
have been the original format of the Abhidhanna books of Bud¬ 
dhism,* and we know of not a few still extant books in the 
Chinese Abhtdharma-pitaka which are arranged in this way. 

An Shih-Kao was a specialist in the third pitaka; therefore, 
after coming to China, he pve lectures according to the serial 
arrangement of the Abhidhanna, that is to say, he orally explained 
to his Chinese pupils the categories, one by one, in divisions and 
subdivisions as they were set down in the original Indian texts, 
e.g. the Yi‘Hr<h*Ut-ju~chi*tg referred to above. We leam from Seng- 
Yu's Ch’u-ssn-tsang chi-chii that among An Shih-Kao's w'orks 
there was a Ching (sQtra) called A-han-k* 6 H-€hieh-shih-efh^in- 
yiian (i.e. a sutra orally expounded, on the twelve-fold Pratitya- 

(VqL 1 j). Thii ^rork designated as dblo^ leaJly 

sfioukl tn as AbhidliArma, In inct, in its preface, it 

■was written after the compibitiDii o\ the l^ipipika, and hciM cannot be properly 
called a sQtra. 

^ fii fact. durLng^ the period of the She DynaistEeA, the term "Shn-lan” ("Nninber 
Dtssextatiens^"} was frequently used tci tlesi^iiairc the Lun^tsang {Abhidbafiua- 
pitaka) cr the HAiao^h'eng-lun {Hlimy^liiA Abhidharma. especially of the 
stiT.'adlnsl i Hlnayana Abhidhanna study or learning was frequently reJemd to aa 
"Shu-hsuch'^ (Study of the Nnmbicnf], I TitisAv, voj, 55, p. 6, 



samutpSida in the Agama), and also that Tao-An, in his bihliO' 
graphy of Buddhist scriptures, said that An Shih*Kao wrote the 
following Chings (sutras); 

the (four Satya) 

the K’ou^hUlt ("Orally expounded," and abbreviation of the 
sutra on the twelve-fold Pratitya-samutpada 
referred to above) 

the SAiA-ss«-i (the fourteen Srarti?) 

the Ckiu‘Shih~pa-chifk (the ninety-eight Anuiaya), 

The significant fact to be noted here is that all the works listed 
deal with categories or numbered sets of the dhannas: hence, as 
written by An Shih-Kao, they have really the character of the 
Abbidharma, though designated as "Ckin^" (suttas). On the 
basis of this we may conclude that in both his oral and written 
instructions. An Shih-Kao often adopted the procedure of item- 
by-item exposition in accordance with the arrangement of the 
categories in the Abhidbarma books. 

Moreover, the Preface to the Sha-mi-shik huinihang^cku (a 
commentary on the Ten Wisdoms of the Sramaijera), by An 
Shih-Kao's disciple Yen Fou-Tiao> says: 

“Things cannot he define without being put into the categories" 
(lit. “the numbeis"). 

And again; 

“Only about the Ten Wisdoms of the Srama^era did we not hear 
[An Siuh-Kao^s] expiariation in detail." 

Froin these statements we can conjecture that An Shih-Kaa laid 
much stress on the importance of a dear knowledge of the Shlti-shu 
for the proper comprehension of Buddhist thought, and that his 
lectures consisted of item-by-item expositions of the categories of 
the Dharmas, with the exception of the Ten Wisdoms of the 
Sramanera, mth which, as his disdple complains, he did not deal 
very thoroughly. 

An Shih-Kao's influence prior to the Western Chin was very 
great.* Tao-An* in the works which he wrote while living id the 

I Ch. lO VqJ, JJ, p, -Sg). Yen Pou-Tidxi k tiui 

earliest kavm Chinch Buddhist mcinlf: die name he used. 

to be of Indiu langia; w4s, in aiiotiher monk;, Fou-Tiao^ of die Ctua. 

who was uiij to be Indtafi. 

■ rhih Ch^u (or Chih Lo'CMft'Ch'auL), « contempftT^iy of An Shih^ 

Kmo, i 49Q had great irLduencc at that time. 


OK "'KO-Yl"' 

region north of the Yellow River, expressed great esteem for him. 
At that time, his studies were devoted expeciaily to An Shih-Kao‘s 
works and the Ch‘an-shu {the Categories of dhy^a or medita¬ 

In his Pr^/ac^ io the Skih-f^-Chti-i,^ Tao-An said that the 
Buddha's great disciple MaudgaJyayana paid good attention to 
the knowledge of the categories (the numbers), and that An 
Shih-Kao, among those teachers who came to China, applied his 
genius to thb subject; he also reported that no Learned man of 
India would neglect to study the Abhidhanriap which was the 
depository or treasury of the categories. He expressed his agree¬ 
ment with Yen Fou-Tiao by saying, "there is no clearer knowledge 
than the delineation of the categories (i.e. the numbers)." We may 
safely conclude, therefore^ that under the influence of such a 
great Master as An Shih-Kao, the Chinese scholars of the period 
from the Han to the Western Chin frequently gave their lectures 
on Buddhist doctrine in the form of itemTby-item exposition of 
the categories J 

We have seen that the ttme-honoiircd practice of the Han 
scholars was to match or pair concepts with concepts^ and that the 
fashion of the Buddhists from the Han to the Western Chin was 
to expound item-by-Hem the Shih-shu or "Categories of things." 
Since the meanings of the Indian categories were not easily 
grasped by the Chinese devotees, they sought better understanding 
by interpreting them in terms of Chinese concepts. Such match¬ 
ing, or establishiiig one-to-one correspondence between Indian 
and Chinese ideas, is not to be wondered at;, the precedent was 
already firmly established by the Han scholars among whom such 
a practice, involving only Chinese concepts, had flourished for 

^ Ai to what the pippodctita ol Ko-yi {Chu Fa-Va^ K'ang Fa-Lang, P'i-Fcu. 
and T'an-Haiang) were ?rud>’in^ at that lime there u no histarical record; how¬ 
ever, ttkdir atiadicft vtere probably nol very different fmm those with which Tao-An 
was oceopied. Moreaver. K'ug Fa-tjicg's disciple Ling-Shao especially 

good at the Ch'an-sliu''; thia ia precisely Uae Icaininj^ fer which An Stub^Kao was 

^ Vol. 55, p. 70. "Shih-fa" hem means ‘'Oie dtlATinas of the tens"" (or 

poFisihly "the dharmaa of the numbers up to *-Chu-f/^ In the T ang tSy^ty 

tranalatioujs equivalent to "pqdJlxiha"' (tisuid Ku^tiah reoderinji, "Categories"). 
Hence, Tao-Aa'a Shih-fit-cku i, now lost, may be a worJi "On the Ca.te;gmes oi 
the Tcnfl," and probably of the wne nature ua the Duyttam. 54. liigha-nikaya^ 
i.e. the in the Chinese Di^^mgama, TiijAo, Vo], i, pp. 53-571 

cf. cp. pil.. pp. 755-34 1 j a translation by An Shih- Kao. 

3 At least since the time of Three Kingdoiiii, the Buddhist lectures were con¬ 
ducted by a ' Master of the Law'" ("Fa-shih'']i, with au assistant ("TU’Ohtanp'l. 
This is abo coiuiected with the method of jnatraction accordiiig to the categarie3, 
see my pp. 117-jTS. 



hundreds of years.^ Chu Fa-Ya and his fellow-wotkers extensively 
and systematically compared ideas or tenns indigenous to China 
with simiJaj Indian categories (Fa-shu or Shih-shu), and thus 
supplied thdr students with a great many instances of equations 
of ideas or terms in order to bring about their complete under¬ 
standing; they called tliis method Ko-yl 
Such seems to be the origin of Ko-yi as it Nourished north of the 
Yellow River during the Western Chin Dynasty. How^ever, when 
the Chinese scholars bad studied the Buddhist scriptures a Httle 
longer penetrated a little more deeply, they gradually became 
aware that the method had its defects. The Ka&scng-chmn^ 
Ch. 5, biography of Sen-Kuaugp^ says that when Tao^An and 
Seng-Kuar^ were living together at Fei-lung-shani {ca. 394) 

"An said, "The Ko-ji [practised by] our elders was frequently con¬ 
trary' to reason.' Kuang said, 'Let us aim at happy analj'ses; why 
[should it he] permitted [to us] to pass judgment on the savants of 
former generations?^ An said, 'In propagating and bringing to light the 
[Buddhist] doctrines (li-chiao), wc ^cmld make them fit-and-proper 
(yun-ch'ieh). As long as we all strive to beat the drum of the Law\ 
what matters it whether we are earlier or later 

From the use here of the w^ords "elders'^ (haien-shiu) and "the 
savants of former generations'* (hsien-ta), it can be seen that the 
period in which the Ko-^yi method flourished was somewhat 
earher than Tao-An. In fact, as we have already noted, such 
matching w’US done sporadically long before Chu Fa-Ya's exten¬ 
sive sj'stematiration of it. Moreover, the use of the term 
(femhsi, "to divide and discriminate*") is signiheant: it indicated 
the analytical character of the item-by-item comparison of the 
Shih-sbu of Indian Buddhism with the native Chinese concepts. 

Moreover, TaonAn, in giving the reason for his opposition to 
KcHyin says that the explanations of the Buddhist scriptures 
should be “fit-and-proper" (yun-ch'ieh). In the Ko-yi method, 
comparisons were made in w'hicli not only the numbers, but also 
the meanings vrere different, eg. the comparison of the Chinese 
Wu-hsing [five elements) with the Buddhist Mahabhiitas (four 
elements}; naturally, it was difficult to make such comparisons 

* Tht: reft&un lor tlic Hic AcUoloxti' piadticc wm^, of di^i^rent from tliat 

of tin? Buddhists, who poited tJic Chinc!»? concepts Tilth the IndJu omca; thii 
siih|ect need not be discussed her®. 

* Vol. 50, p. 33. "Seng-hsien" ii u altcmatt? lorm ed the ujudc "Seng- 

Ku^g." the ch&racter ' 'h^ien'' being gmptiicikliy' to "kn(U3g." 

] A mountain Ln Yung-ahih luictl, modem HopeJ. 


ON *"KO-Vt ’ 

"fit-and-pmper.'' Fiirtherniore, the Pufsic^ C<mpientary 
the P*in^l^k\rH-suiru {PH-mo-Io^hieft-l^ j written 
by Scng-Jui (Tao-An^s disciple) m the last years of the Chin 
D>Tia 5 ty^ "Ko-ji is pedantic, and diverges froin the original 
texts ‘ It was inevitable that the matching of ideas and tenns 
would frequently be mdc of the mark, and would not coincide 
with the original ideas. 

It seems that the reason why Tao-An said that this method was 
not ‘^fit-and'proper” because it was frequently '‘contrary to 
reason/* Here we have an idea that goes to a deeper leveh It is a 
noteworthy fact that concentration solely on the similarity be¬ 
tween the concepts and terms of two different kinds of thought 
(whether they have their origin in two different individuals or in 
two countries) cannot bring about a synthesis of them; it U essen¬ 
tial to look for the identity of their basic theories or fundamental 
principles. Comparisons merely of terms and concepts inevitably 
result in confusion and distortion, or, as Tao An said, in the state 
of being '"contrary to reason/' and hence the profundity or 
essential heart of the philosopher's thought or of the religious 
teacher's doctrine remains unfathomed. That Avhich demands 
closest attention is the reason or principle; it is more important to 
comprehend the deeper meanings implicit in a sj^tem of thought 
than to have a superficial knowledge of its concepts or terms. 
Because the thinkers of the Wei Chin Era {the Three Kingdoms 
period plus the Eastern and Western Chin, i.e. a.d. Z20“4I9) 
realized this point, they began to adopt a new method, which 
may be called "The distinction of words and meanings,"^ This 
new method ol procedure played an important part in the trans- 
formation of the whole cultural character and philosophical spirit 
of the Han into the spirit which characterized the new age of the 
Wei-Chin. After Tao-xAu, it was also applied to the work of syn¬ 
thesizing Indian Buddhism with Chinese thought; for this reason, 
Ko-yi was not referred to again.? 

In the Northern Wei (386-535) ^ however, a priest named 
T'an-Ching, between the years 454-464 wrote a spurious sutra 

^ Ch, S; 7 ’ofj.liJ, Vot p. 5^31. 

* RtK^niina tfais new mrth<xl, see the autbor'si Article, "Yen-i-chfli-pt«i" (’Tliq 
oT Words and di>ftTibirtKl in mimeogtAplicd form by 

University, 1^42. 

I Tlie words '*Ko-yi" appear dneo in the bto^pby K uminij ia the Kao- 
sfKg^kuan. Ch, 3 (T'miJbtf, Yol. 50, p, 333); hcKr however, Tauthdr of 

the Ka.j>-,ifng<kuan} icenxA to tiAve the oH^nAJ meaning ol the term, 



called Ti-vei-po-U-ihing,^ in whicli thie Chinese five cardinal 
virtues [WU’Ch'ang) we compared with the five precepts of the 
Buddhist Upasakas: 

Fiutf Precepts 

Five Virtues 

Kot to take Life 

Not to commit adultery 

Not to drink intoxicating liquor 

Not to steal 

Not to lie 




In addition to these, he paired together, also after the fa^on of 
Han philosophy, the Wu-hsing (five elements), the Wu-bsing {five 
planets), etc.;* truly this sort of matching has the appearance of 
Ko-yi- In view of this fact, it is evident that, in matching concepts 
with concepts and tenns with terms, Chn Fa-Ya and his colleagues 
were carrying on one of the practices of Han scholarship. With the 
advent of the Wei-Chin era, a new philosophy, Hsiian-h-sueh - 
(commonly translated "Mystidsm"), became dominant; it emplm- 
sized profound searching for first principles and regarded with 
contempt the matching of concepts; it is not surprising, ^cefore, 
that its proponents, who used the new method of "the distinction 
of words and meanings," would discover the defects of Ko-p- 
However, the "Teaching for Human Beings and Deities" (Jen- 
t'ien-chiao), which was the theme of'the spurious Ti-wei-poM- 
ching, was frequently expounded by the Buddhists of later 
generations.} Therefore, if T'an-Ching's matching can be called 
Ko-yi, then Ko-yi, at least in this one instance, was adopted by 
the later Chinese Buddhism, 

■ I,«. tb« SOfrii of Ttaptaa <tnd Bitllika. TnpuH ud Bdllilu were two metdiAiiti 
to whom the Boddim, imnutdiately after hii «ALi{|hteDiiaeDt, prcadied a sennon ob 
the Riwal cnoduct of huniBLa beiiigs and deitiM. (de-va). 

* For detalU, the luthor'a History d/ Ckinno Buddhism, pp, 

j For exAmpk, this doctrine waj frequently u^ed by tlifl writera ol the 
yun-tsung (the Hua-ycu Sect) u an importiiit part el the Law of the Buddha. 





I'rol^iDr nl Fti41iHapl]]r^ -Btetoa, Uuudkint-tti^ 


Whether in the Orient or in the Occident, philosophy everywhere 
has been oonceraed about metaphysics. Even the current positi¬ 
vistic attempt to refute all metaphysics is itself a concern about 
metaphysics and a tribute to its persistence. In whatever guise it 
appeaiSp metaphysics is an attempt to define what is truly and 
completely real> in contrast with what is illusory or merely 
apparent or fiagmentary. The metaphysical examination of any^ 
thing is, thereforep the attempt clearly to relate it to our truest and 
fullest understanding of the real as a whole. 

The basic metaphysical problem is the question, ""WTiat am I 
Since every being that can ask a question is a self, the problem of 
the self is the basis and root of all problems. It is the "'problematic 
situation"* (to quote Dewey) par excellence. Many men of science^ 
it is truCp as well as men of religion, in all ages, have believed that 
they could begin with the object rather than the subject, with 
things or God or the Absolute rather than with man. It is, of 
courscp a fact that any self or experient may direct its 

primary attention to what philosophers have called The Other. 
The experient may very well be at times more interested in the 
object experienced than it is in its own experiencing; and surely 
our experiencing is not all that there is. A purely subjective, ego¬ 
centric view of experierice h abnormalp partial, and irrational. 
But a purely objective view'^ however natural it may be for primi¬ 
tive man, or the extrovert, or the behaviourist, is just as abnormal, 
partial, and irrational as is a purely subjective view* In fact, a 
purely objective view is, in a senscp impossible; for any view of 
any object as seen by any self is the \new which that self holds in 
the light of its interpretation of the evidence available in its own 
experience. A self cannot appeal directly to the experience of any 



other self, or directly to the "object/’ He must secure his social 
and objective knowledge at second-hand, as reflected in his own 
experience, which is his only direct e^ddence, his only possible 
starting point. His relations to society and to the utiiverse are, of 
course, far more rational and far more precious than his oira 
private and personal self could ever be alone. But these relations 
find their focus in the self. The problem of the self is indeed the 
verj' foundation of all metaphysics, speculative and practical, 

No wonder that Anaxagoras. Greek discoverer of jVows, saw 
rational self as the ruling power in all things! No wonder that the 
Greek Sophists declared that the human self is "the measure of 
all things"! Nor is it surprising that Plato and W^ordsworth found 
in the self traces of eternal and heavenly truth, so that the soul 
came "trailing clouds of glor>%'’ or that Indian genius has seen in 
every self a spark of the Cosmic Self. Brahma. 

The question "What am 1 f" is answered in many languages ^d 
accents, but all the answers ever given by man have one principle 
in common, namely: 'T am more than now appears." Memory 
binds me to a past that is no longer present; purpose points me to 
a future that does not yet appear. If a thinker is materialistic, he 
makes the amaaing assertion: “I am not at all the thinking, feeling, 
willing, perceiving, remembering or purposing that now appear; 
rather 1 am brain, although my brain has never appeared to me," 
so that the materialist is as much a devotee of the unseen as is 
the most ardent mystic, mether I am a psycho-analj'st or an 
inquirer into lofty realms of spiritual attainment, I agree that "I 
am more than appears"; for I may declare that I am in large part 
not conscious, but subconscious or unconscious reality, or I may 
aspire to the superconscious as my true being and my highest 
fulfilment. If 1 think at all. 1 must acknowledge that 1 am an 
effect of mostly unknown causes and a cause of mostly unknown 
effects. 1 am, now, it is true, what actually appears, but 1 am also 
the possibility of who knows what further appearances, 

"1 am more than now appears." Whatever the '’more" may be. 
I am driven to acknowl^e it by what now actually appears. 
There is the "I" of what Hegel calls Scfmh, which we may trans¬ 
late as "the shining present." There is also my laiger "I" that 
includes all the "more." There is, by the same logic, the larger 
whole of the universe of which I (past, pr^nt, and future) am 
somehow a niembcr. For my experience is objective as w'cll as 
subjective: it is itself, yet refers to objects that are not itself. 



now or perhaps ever. So far as the present stage of our argument 
is ooncemedp it matters not one whit whether we call this larger 
whole Nature or God, Bralima or AbsoIutCp Reality or The 
Unknowable^ nor does it matter how we view our relations to it. 
WTiat is certain b that the I of the shining present, the "datum 
selfp'' is dep^dent on a larger whole, both social and cosmic; and 
1 somehow' find my fulfilment in this larger whole. As Leibnb 
held, every monad mirrors the universe: or^ to quote Wlutehead, 
every actual occasion prehends all other actu^ occasions. The 
shining present reflects light from beyond. The self interacts with 
its worlds and is unintelligible without it. 

Thus we may add to the truthj, am more than appears*" the 
further truth* "I transcend myself," a principle which Francisco 
Romero* among others, has been emphasbing. Just as I transcend 
present appearance to find my fuller self, so I transcend myself to 
find my comrades^ my w'orld, or my God. The self, then* is an 
appearance that transcends itself. No thinker dare treat his self 
lightly. To quote CeiA'antes in Don QfoxoU (PU 11 ^ Bk_ IV, Cb+ 
IxxLv), se ha de burlar d hombre cm d that is* ‘"A 

man must not jest w'lih his soul/' 

The fundamental position of the self in reality and in philosophy 
is secure; but the historical positions of millions of selves and 
societies of selves all over the world are most precarious. It is not 
the task of this paper to discus the social and economic miseries 
of humanity* except to point out that every social, political and 
economic situation is what it is because human selves, indivt^ 
dually and corporately, have met the facts of their experience 
(presented to them by the larger whole) with one kind of thought* 
feeling, and will rather than with another. Human selves are at 
the root of all social systems and of aU changes m systems; in 
fact, they are both root and tree, even if they are not soil, rain, 
and sun^ne. A philosophy that is to be humanly useful must 
shed some light on the nature and purpose of selv^ and their 
function in the universe. In the light of such a philosophy there 
would be afforded new light and new hope of lessening the violence 
and injustice now^ prevalent in human life. 

This paper is intended to set forth the outlines of a pensonaljstic 
Tnetaphj^ics of the self. Personalism is a name that has come to 
be w'idely used In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The 
term has been popularized by J. Grate, W. Stem* Walt Whitman* 
Renouvicr, B. P, Bow^e, M. W, Calkins* Mounier, Maritain* and 




others. It designates a philosophy that makes personality or self¬ 
hood the key to all reality. There is at present a tendency to 
extend the term to cover every movement that emphasises the 
importance and the freedom of the self. Thus the thought of 
Nietzsche, and also existentialism, even in the extreme form 
advocated by Sartre, have been called personalism. Here, how¬ 
ever, it viill be used to dcMgnate that type of idealism which 
defines all reality as a society of selves or persons, with a cosmic 
person as its central, visTfying, creative force. Personalism is to 
be contrasted with any form of impersonal or agnostic idealism, 
such as that of Sankara in India or F, H, Bradley in England. 
The systems of Ramanuja, Madht'a (except for Ja 4 a Prakrti^, 
Berkeley. Leibniz, Hegel, Lotze, Royce, and Bowne, for example, 
arc personaiistic, hoivever much they differ in detail, Ewn WTiite- 
head is essentially personaiistic. The personalist thinks of a per¬ 
sonality as a complex, but unified and self-identifying self¬ 
experience; and the human personality is tiewed as being in 
constant interaction and communication with the rest of the 
personal universe. The human sell or person, for example, is. in 
the present stage of its existence, dependent on the body; but the 
body is viewed as activity of the mind of God (or, in the tradition 
of Leibnizian panpsychistic persqpalism, as an assemblage of 
monads or psychoids or psychic cells w'hkh are inferior selves), 
and all interaction ivith the body is part of the person’s inter¬ 
action with God, while all of nature is part of God’s owm personal 
active experience. 

If a personaiistic metaphysics of the self is to be set forth, it is 
well to preface it by an account of some of the first principles of 
personalism. These principles are those of an important current 
of philosophical tradition in both Occident and Orient; but the 
appeal of these principles is not to geography or to the authority 
of any philosophical or religious tradition. They stand or fall with 
the accuracy of the empirical observations on which they rest, 
and with rational coherence of the interpretation of those obser- 

First, then, let us speak of the data of personalism. Its view of 
the data might be called "radical empiricism," to borrow a 
phrase from William James. "Empiricism." because it appeals to 
given experience as its starting point; "radical" because it in¬ 
cludes the whole of that experience, and not some limited, favoured 
area or fragment of it. Evidence of the senses is empirical and 



must be included among the data of personalism. But to restrict 
experience to the sensory is to deny the evidence of experience. 
Traditional empiricism b highly unempirical. No actual self ever 
consisted of sense experience alone, whatever Condillac may have 
tried to imagine* Every self senses; but in addition^ every self 
rememberSp strives (James called the self ^'a fighter for ends"), 
thinks* feels, and wills. Every self experiences many values and 
disvalues* as well as sensory facts. Many selves experience God as 
a living reality: they attain ''realization/' Radical empiricism is 
the demand that all these data be included in our philosophy. 

Secondly, personalism calls for a method adequate to the data. 
The word ^'S3moptic*' diaracterizcs personalisdc method in the 
broadest sense. S>"noptic method is an inclusive method. Its goal 
is the comprehension of wholes, as wholesn Obviously a whole is 
impossible without parts. Hence synopsis—the grasp of the 
wbolc—presupposes analysis, the description of the parts. But 
sjTiopsis is aJwaj'S the goal of thought. The arrow of intelUgjbility 
must fly from whole to part and back again to the ivhole. A point 
of space> when conceived simply, is indistinguishable from an 
instant of time. Each is simple location. Neither is fully under¬ 
stood until it is related to the whole from which it w'as analysed. 
The arrow of intelligibility must fly back to the spatial whole or 
the temporal whok—or the personal whole^before the results of 
anal>^ can be interpretedH The synoptic method thus includes 
and transcends analj^is* It also indudes and transcends intuition. 
Every moment of consciousness is, in a sense, a complex of in¬ 
tuitions. Every mtuition roust be given due weight. But no 
intuition should be viewed analytically or abstractly* apart from 
a Concrete* synoptic view of the whole situation under considera¬ 
tion. Similarly, sjmoptic method^ as will readily be seen* includes 
and transcends the full use of both inductive and deductive 
methods, although its empirical data and function cause it to be 
more dosely akin to the inductive. 

The third principle of personalism is its criterion of truth, 
which is verj' closely related to its synoptic method. That criterion 
is coherence* and specifically* empirical coherence. It is possible to 
view" coherence as meaning a rigidly necessary deductive system. 
But, since empirical data cannot be deduced from each other or 
from anjdhing else, the concept of logically necessary deduction^ 
w'bUe admirable as far as it goes, is inadequate both for science 
and for philosophy. It is, as Matthew^ Arnold and B. P, Bowne 



agree, a system "of rigour and vigour" that does not do justice 
to our exprerimetitaJ or our interpretative knowledge of the real 
world. Hence recourse must be had to empirical coherence, which 
is the effort of the mind to face its experience as a whole and to 
discover and test the most inclusive, most systematic, and most 
consistent hypothesis which it can find. Personalism, therefore, 
cannot Jay claim to absolute logical necessity, nor to finality. In 
not pretending to absolute necessity, it departs from tradition^ 
rationalism; in testing all hypothetical truth claims by their 
coherence with experience and with each other, it departs from 
all irrationalism, unless it be irrationalism to admit that there 
are facts which cannot be deduced from premises that do not 
contain them. 

The fourth principle of personalism is its dualistic epistem^o- 
logy. To be concise, this epistemology starts with a present claim 
of knowledge, an idea, of some self. As we have seen, jt is a uni¬ 
versal truth that " I transcend mj'sdf." As applied to epistemology 
this means that any idea w*hich claims to be knowledge refers to 
something beyond that present idea which is its object. Whether 
1 know about zero—that great mathematical discovery of India 
—or about the events of yesterday, or about my own nerv'ous 
system, or about the heights of Mount Everest, or about a foun¬ 
tain pen in my hand, 1 have in every case to assert that I mean 
something more and other than my present thought or sensation. 
'All knowledge refers to reality. Every' idea has a referent. Every 
sign signifies something. To clarify this dualistic feature of fcnow- 
so ably defended by A. O. Lovejoy in Tfi^ Revoli against 
DitalisM —the present experience or "idea" of the knower may be 
called "the situation experienced," while the object referred to 
may be called "the situation believed in." Epistemologically, 
then, even my cram past is a situation believed in, although meta¬ 
physically it may be an integral part of my total self. It is. there¬ 
fore, necessary to distinguish the epistemological dualism of 
personaUstic thought from metaphysical dualism, w'bich concerns 
a very different problem. 

The fifth principle of personalism is its metaphysics, w'hich is 
its very core. It is, of course, impossible to define and defend a 
whole sj’Stem of metaphysics in a few sentences. Yet, for our 
present purposes, a few sentences must suffice.. The metaphysics 
of the personalism under consideration is through and through 
idealistic, and is in liarmony with a large portion of the ideal- 



istk argiunent of Radhakrishnan. This idealism views all of nature 
as mind; the energies of ’‘matter” are aspects of the will of the 
Cosmic Mind, The universe is a society of persons. Ever>dhmg 
that we call "impersonal'' is really an aspect of personal reality. 
For example, an "impersonal view” is a fair, just, and unpreju¬ 
diced view of persons by persons. "Impersonal reality" is reality 
viewed in abstraction from its membership in a mind; thus, we 
may ^'iew an apple as impersonal when we find it useful to abstract 
from the fact that it is really God's will in action. For idealism, 
ultimately all relations axe personal relations; all reality is personal 

It follows from its idealism that, secondly, personalism is a 
qualitative monism. In a personalistic univ'^erse all the variety of 
being is capable of being included without reduction under the 
category of conscious experience. We have explored but a narrow 
range of conscious experience; it includes, however, a vast variety. 
Space, time, all sense qualia, moral obligations, sufferings, hopes, 
change, permanence, purpose, frustration, reason, ecstasy—even 
the "unconscious" and the "superconscious''—are examples of 
conscious experience in its various levels and qualities. The thesis 
of personalism is that conscious personality is the only category 
capable of including within its scope the entire complex of actual 
and ijossible being. Hence person^ism U a qualitative monism— 
which also includes all possible diversity, yet without introducing 
the impossible diversity of unexperienceable being (such as 
matter is supposed by materialists to be). 

While epistemologically dualistic and qualitatively monistic, 
personalism is, thirdly, quantitatively pluralistic. That is, the 
pcrsonalist holds that the universe is a society of majiy com¬ 
municating and interacting persons and selves rather than a 
single self containing the many as its parts. Sankara, Hegel, and 
Royce—to mention only a few—^are quantitative monists, w'ho 
hold that all finite selves are but members or aspects of the one 
Absolute Self. The personalistic ’^new, which is held by many 
thinkers in India, as well as by many Occidentals, is called dualism 
in India. If there is any self other than the .Absolute Self, there 
are at least two selves in the universe; hence, dualism. God and 
the Other, God and the w'orld—even a world of persons—consti¬ 
tute a duality for Indian thought. But Occidental personalists lay 
stress on the many-ness of the persons other than God, and 
prefer to speak of a quantitative pluralism rather than of dualism. 



Occidental pluralbtic personalists and Oriental momsts would 
agree about the physical world of nature; it is wholly in God, his 
work or—as some Hindus would say—his play, lil:h The differ¬ 
ence would come in the assertion of a plurality of persons. This 
plurality is asserted for two special reasons; firstj it seems inco¬ 
herent to indude in a good and wise God all the error, ignorance, 
and moral evil that we find m human selves: and second* because 
social relations, and especially the relations of love and co-opera¬ 
tion t5etween person and person, lose their meaning when personal 
distinctness is denied and all persons ntelt into one. The person¬ 
al istic ifcdew embodies the r^pect for individual personality which 
one finds in the Kantian eUiics and in democratic practice, as 
well as in bhiikii. 

Finally, personalistic metaphysics is axiological. The real 
universe is not merely the order of nature which, although it be 
divine activity, is subject to technological exploitation. Just as 
the human self includes the experience ol ^^alues, so the cosmic 
self is an experience of values—of truths goodness^ beauty, and 
holiness, as w^cll as of lesser intrinsic values and processes of 
instrumental value. Values exist only as they are experienced in 
some mind^ A distinction, hoivever, should be made betw^een 
valu^ and norms* A true value is an actual experience of what 
ought to be. A norm, on the other hand* is the Platonic Idea, the 
true definition or the rational ideal of what ought to be. All 
norms are known to God* and are realized by him in his values. 
Norms are but imperfectly known to man, and are still more 
imperfectly realised. To know a norm is not to pt^sess a valued a 
norm is but an imperative or a pointer showing the direction in 
W'hich true value may be found. The purpose of personalistic 
universe is the eternal conservation and increase of values in 
accordance with norms. The Amplest statement of the axiological 
goal is: reason and love, or coherent love. In a society of persons, 
creative co-operation, mutual respect, loving devotion to truth, 
and the highest possible attainment of the experience of God, 
constitute the purposive substance of metaphysical reality- 


The foregoing sketch renders available a vocabulary for a more 
specific discussion of personahty. A further remark will clarify 
terms already used. A conscious being—that b, any complex of 



consciousness that ts aivare of its complexity and unity—U called 
a self or an experient. Any self or experient tliat is able to 
|iidge itself rationally and to strive for ideal values is a person or 
personality or mind. 

I-ct us now examiiie the self or personality as it appears in 
immediate experience or ^'the shining present/* WTiiteliead calls 
such experience an '^actual occasion”; Royce uses the phrase 
**tinie span/' Others speak of the “specious present” or the 
* datum self/' All of these terms intend to convey or imply the 
idea that the minimum possible self is an experience of real 
duration {durSc There is no simple mdi\'isible instant of 

self-experience. Every self endures in time as a unikss rnaltipk^ 
(W. Stem). To put it otheivrise, the self in its lowest terms is at 
once a unitary experience and a succession of experiences. In one 
conscious graspj many details are comprehended as the unitary 
structure of one self. 

The first and most basic characteristie of the self^ accordingly^ 
is its temporality indissolubly connected vdth tinie-transcendenice. 
In order to grasp any sentence or any sensory whole or any seri^ 
of events, the mind must be aware, in one actual present, both of 
parts and of whole. It must grasp the temporal succession of the 
partSp and their total meaning in one act of Gestalt-experience. 
Thus every^ time-span is also time-transcendence. Likewise, every 
present experience transcends present time by an explicit or 
implicit reference to past time or future time. Memory, on the one 
hand, and anticipation and purpose, on the other, are always 
present in consciousness and always are temporal experiences 
with transtemporal reference. Even experience of the so-called 
timeless illustrates this same principle. The timeless truth of 
(x + yy = x= + 2xy + y* must, when known, be known in a 
temporal experience w^hich trainscends time; and its timeless 
truth means simply that it b true at all times, 

A second trait of all selves is that they experience both space 
and transcendence of space. Most of our sense-perceptions are a 
grasp of spatial dimensions, although the space reference in 
olfactory and auditory sensation is often vague. But there are 
noteworthy differences between temporal and spatial experience. 
Temporal experience is necessary^ to the existence of a self under 
any conceivable condition. If time were abolished, nothing that 
could be called a self would remain. Further, every aspect of a 
Self's experience is temporal. But if space were abolished, a self 



might conceivably exist as a thinker of arithmetic and algebra (if 
not of geametry), an acknowledger of duty and harmony, and a 
lover of God and man. In short, selves as we know them have 
both spatial and non-spat ial experiences. Further, they transcend 
space, cither by abstraction from all space (as when one considers 
the nature of univcrsals or values) or by trans-spatial reference to 
absent or imaginary spaces. Time-experience seems necessary for 
all possible worlds that stand in any relation to usj space experi¬ 
ence is perhaps necessary only for a space-world, or as one aspect 
of a latger non-spatial world, 

A third elementary feature of selves as we know them is sensa¬ 
tion, Sensation Jacks logical necessity; it is "given." Sensations 
differ among different experients- Some experients are blind, 
some colour-blind, some deaf, some tone-deaf. There is no proof 
that sensations to which different selves give the same name are, 
in fact, identical in quality. Sensation has often been condemned 
as a source of illusion or deception rather than knowledge, or as a 
source of depravity rather than of ideal aspiration. But despite its 
limitations and its perils, sensation is a fundamental function of 
every human experience. Sensation is the point of interaction 
between the self and the wider realm of nature. For the personalist, 
therefore, it is one of the foci of communication between God and 
man. Sensation is a sign to a self that something not his will 
is acting on him and in him. It is»erroneous to view sensation 
as an event in sense organs. It is an event in, of, and for an 
experient. Every sensation is an integral part of some self, and 
has its existence subjectively, i.c. in a subject. But sense as 
immediately experienced is also an e.xamp]e of the principle 
of scif-transcendence, for every sensation points to some ob¬ 
jective source as its cause, and to some objective reality as its 

In the fourth place, every self experiences feeling—^that is, 
liking or disliking, appro\’al or disapproval, satisfaction or dis¬ 
satisfaction. All feeling is present experience, or, as Alexander 
calb it, enjoyment. Feelings are sometimes casual, accidental, and 
haphaiard. More often they are organized by habit, interest, or 
purpose. Although always munediate, present, and subjective in 
its ^ing, feeling may seek purelj* subjective satbfactions or it may 
seek objecti\'e satisfactions. Thus we may speak of feeling as self- 
centred or as other-centred, A self may be interested chiefly in 
itself, or chiefly in its relations to others. On the lowest level of 



fragmentary satisfaction, it may be God-centred. But wherever 
feeling finds its centre, it is an undeniable and an immediately 
present self-experience. 

Fifth, will is a function of every self. Will is effort, as William 
James thought, a fight for ends. More simply, it is choice, a 
"saving yes or saying no." ss Hans Driesch viewed it. Some 
religions regard will as evil, and doubtless much will is futile, 
irrational, and empty. Yet as long as there is conscious being of 
any kind, there is always will—either revolt or acquiescence. If 
will were lacking, there would be neither a desire for change of 
state nor a desire for continuance of the state in which we are. 
Will is integral to every' self at every stage of its development 
Will may be blind or seeing, selfish or unselfish, secular or worship¬ 
ful; but at ail ieveb, to be is to will. Personalism challenges the 
belief of some religions that will is always selfish desire and is 
always a source of unhappiness and evil. The will of a self is not 
necessarily a selfish will. Will may be self-centred or conununity- 
centred; it may be directed toward man alone, or toward God; it 
may be good or evil. When it is evil, the evil derives not from the 
bare fact that it is will, but from the intent and direction of the 
will. Will is the rudder of personality, or rather the pilot who 
directs the rudder. WTiether the pilot steers toward the rocks or 
toward the harbour, he is still the pilot. 

A sixth trait of the personal self is thought. Tliere are doubtless 
elementary selves that do not think; and there are times w'hen a 
fully developed person is not engaged in reasoning. But the power 
to think is essential to a person. To judge and to be able to test 
one's judgments by appeal to experience and logic is a mark of a 
true person. This does not assume that only human beings are 
persons. Quite possibly some so-called lower animals can think, 
and can test first impressions by further inquiry into experience. 
If so, such animals are persons, however elementary. PersonaJists 
believe that God is a superhuman person. But if any being lacks 
the pow'er to reason, such a being is a subpersonal self. Thought is 
what enables a person to move from mere opinion or random 
desire to knowledge and rational control, although no stage of 
knowledge is final, for experience is inexhaustible. 

Seventh, every self is a union of change and identity—what 
William Stem calls tnuUipUx. Every moment of self¬ 

experience, no matter how short, is a changing multiplicity: it 
contains complex processes of perception, memory, imagination, 



desire, and more, and it endures for a measurable time—and 
thereiore changes. Likewise, every self-experience, no matter how 
long-enduring, is an identity as well as a multiplicity. I experience 
myself as one self-identifying, self-remembering being no matter 
how much varieti'^ enters into my oonsciousnesB. To assert the 
changing variety alone is to deny the actual bond of experienced 
unity and identity which every self feels immediately. To assert 
the changeless identity alone is to make the changing variety 
unreal and unintelligible. Pemonality combines in experience 
what never could be combined in abstract impersonal theory. 

The personaJist finds in this complex-unity of self the key to 
the ultimate unity of being. The universe of experience could 
never be understood as the outcome of units such as electrons, 
protons, positrons, and neutrons; whereas electrons and the like 
can be understood as aspects or processes of personal experience; 
not of human experience alone, it is true, but of the objective 
divine experience. The principle of personality is one that forbids 
mere subjectivism because every person refers beyond himself to 
a world. Ever\’ self transcends itself, first, by the intent cf all of 
its purposes and acts of knowledge; second, by its continual intcr- 
action with what lies beyond it; and, third, by its interpersonal 
community and co-operation with other selves. A remark is here 
in order w'ith reference to those who try to explain the reference 
to objective reality without reference to the self. They often 
argue that we designate objects by the act of pointing. But it 
must be lugeJ that the referent of any act of pointing must 
always be in doubt apart from purpose. UTiat, exactly, is selected 
by the pointing finger? What, exactly, is the terminus of the 
pointing? All pointing is dependent for its meaning on its relation 
to the self-transcending purpose of the mind that guides the 
finger. The guiding mind is the interpreter. To this problem of 
self-transcendence we now turn our attention. 


Personalists find, as we have said, that every self transcends itself. 
No self, whether personal or subpersonal, is conscious only of 
itself and Its subjective states. It is true that every self experiences 
itself and only itself directly and immediately. If this were not 
true, there would be no point in speaking of self-transcendence, 
objective reference, or love. If knowledge of the real, whether 



perceptual or conceptual, were immediate and direct, then there 
would be no transcendence. Everylhirtg would be imnianent in 
one magnificent solipsism. But such a view of immanence cannot 
be derived from the fact that all of my experience is mine. R. B. 
Perry's "egocentric predicament"" is overcome as soon as one 
inspects the meaning of self^xperience. 

The self always refers to what is not itself. Traditionally this 
has been called the reference of ego to non-ego. Cav^tii kdor. 
There is a slippery ambiguity in the term ■"non-ego/' It suggests 
that every seif refers to something which is not a self. However* 
idealistic philosophy (and especially personalistic idealism) has 
shown that it is highly reasonable to assume that the non-ego is 
other-self. What is not my self is then your self or God*s self. But 
in no sense does this imply a reduction or denial of the experience 
of transcendence. Every seli, when it knows anjrthing, transcends 
the moment of knowing by asserting that it know^s sonteihifig; and 
that something b the object known, not the mere knowing of it. 
A. N. Whitehead has called the simplest basic act of such know¬ 
ledge of reality by the name "prehension/" in contrast to the 
more complex apprehension or comprehension. 

Transcendence, objective reference, prehension—whatever name 
we use—denotes the fundamental fact that mind reaches beyond 
itself to assert an interrelation with further reality. From this 
cognitive, experiential situation, however^ nothing can be inferred 
about the nature of the beyond without further reflection. A 
claim of trajiscendence, however universal, h but a claim which 
must be adjudicated before the Supreme Court of reason. 

There is no doubt that the claims of transcendent reference 
have both a physical order and a spiritual order as their objects. 
UTiitehead suggests this fact by his postulate that every actual 
occasion has both a physical and a mental pole. The self asserts a 
spatio-temporal order, which b the object of the physical sciences. 
It also asserts a spiritual or an ideal order of purposes, values, and 
norms. The fact of this twofold reference b too familiar to require 
elaboration. In Western philosophy it has often led to irreducible 
dualisms^ such as Plato's worlds of phenomena and of noumenap 
or of Descartes* thinking and extended things. But such dualbtic 
theories, be it remembered, are alwajns theories and not given facts 
of experience. If the dualism to whidi he held led a mind as great 
as Plato's to baffled conjectures about any possible relation be¬ 
tween the two realms, and if the acute Descartes' dualism led 



him to surrender reason when he declared interaction between 
matter and mind to be impossible {yet possible via the pineal 
gland), then it would appear that dualism in the sense of the 
assertion of two (or more) discontinuous and radically different 
kinds of being is a theoretical invention of the mind that causes 
more trouble than it is worth. 

Personalistic philosophers postvdate that every self at every 
level transcends itself by affirming a world bejrond; but they also 
postulate tirat the world beyond any one self is a world of other 
selves. It U given in the expdnence of every normal human self 
that space and time and eneigj’—the constituents of a physical 
world—can and do exist in pergonal consciousness. The personal- 
istic philosopher avoids suppositions that go beyond any possible 
veriheatien in any experience anjTwherc; and the supposal that 
there is a w'orld of matter or impersonal and unconscious energy is 
such a supposal. Therefore (and for many other reasons) a per- 
sonalist affirms that the coherent order of nature discovered by 
men of science is the experience of a coherent cosmic mind; and 
that, likewise, the coherent spiritual order discovered by students 
of value reveals the purposes and achievements of a normative 
mind. There is no good reason to deny that the cosmic mind and 
the normative mind are one supreme, universal person, God. But 
there are man)* personalists tvho insist that so-called "finite" 
selves, at any level, have a self-existence of their own, so that 
they are no part of the divine mind, now or ever. To include 
human selves in the mind of God is to ascribe to God all of the 
ignorance, error, and limitation which finite minds experience, 
and this would make the Absolute God the most incoherent of 
beings. Hence Occidental personalists mostly take a social view 
in metaphysics rather than a monistic or singularistic one. The 
univcise is a society of selves and persons with a Supreme Person 
as its cause and guiding purpose. Oriental philosophers often call 
this view dualism—but it is an idealistic "dualism’' sharply to 
distinguished from the Occidental dualism of matter and mind, 
which all personalists reject. 

In the light of this discussion it has perhaps become dearer 
what is meant w'hen it is said that every self transcends itself. To 
be specific, let us summarize, (i) Ewiy moment of an indiddual 
self, even when it Is remembering its own past or planning its 
own future, transcends the moment of experience and refers to 
what is now absent. (2) "tMien a self refers to any other self, human, 



sub-hiunan, or super-htjinan, it is referring to experients other 
than itself and to experiences which it can never have as its own, 
however well it may know about them, (3) When a self refers to 
objects, events, or pnjocsses in the realm of physical nature, it 
refers to an order of experience in the mind of God, (4) liVhen a self 
refers to a spiritual order of true values, it refers either to the 
ideal norms which God acknowledges as valid for realization or to 
those persons, human and divine, who cooperate in the realiza' 
tion of such norms. These items include ^1 of the actual and 
possible objects or realities which are experienceable, thinkable or 
mentionable. Hence the personalia finds in bis interpretation of 
the transcendent reference of self a sound metaphysics which sets 
forth a reality that transcends the experience of any particular 
self, yet does not transcend the entire society of persons.* 


From the transcendent reference of self it is a logical next step 
to the assertion of interpersonal relations. Personality is indi¬ 
vidual. It experiences itself. But it stands in sodal, that is, inter¬ 
personal relations. These relations may involve the and thou'' 
M’hich Martin Buber has so brilliantly intepreted; and the "thou” 
may be a human friend or the Divine Being. Or they may involve 
a larger group—a family, a nation, a world, the Kingdom of God 
—with the collective interests and communitarian experiences 
w'hich such a group entails, A person, then, stands in a wide 
variety of interpersonal relations without ceasing to be a person 
or becoming ab^rbed into his relations. When these relations are 
rightly ordered, they cnlaige and enhance the person. 

First of all, it should be noted that persons are in continual 
interaction with each other, whether they knovv it or not, We 
initiate causes, and w'e suffer effects. Every act that every person 
performs affects other persons to some extent. The Divine Person 
is in endless interaction with every human person. But I, the 

■ Tlic view dfrposed to idoaliain ii tuuoity’ caUed ri&lism f it iucJudcB 

typ^ Qt nsitunilisrn] f and daaiism. Tins a^g^menti oa wbi^ such 

ByfitetUA rest artF briefly stated- (i) The appeal to mstliactive recognitioii ol 
"matter'* [hut instinct is a feeble criteriDH oi truth]!, fi) The iiaiertian that analysis 
yields simple eatibes tlwit an? real but not coiucioDS {but analysb must b* eap]^ 
Piented by sytkop^ia, which restores the unity oI pe^nal conicibiwncas)- {3} ™ 
appeal to a :tiuppo9ed intuitton is exenipt from critioiHmi. (4) The postulate l^^t 
noa-mcDtal reality is given (but this nsM counter to the tact that only the sell i* 
giveo, ea well aa to the expencOCc of ipelf-traascpudence). 



human individual, may not understand. I may not even think of 
the labour of millions of men, which has produced and transmitted 
every word in every language. 1 may eat my food and wear my 
clothes and enjoy my home without a thought of the toil of others 
which has prepared these things, and made them available to me, 
AH of life, then, is interaction with others 

Bat mere interaction, even with the Divine Lord of all Being, 
is relatively unimportant unless it is understood. Interpersonal 
interaction rests for its meaning on interpersonal communication. 
Persons communicate with other persons—by gestures and signs, 
by emotions and thought, by languages, by books and news¬ 
papers, by telegraph, by telephone, and radio. It cannot be our 
task to elucidate here the problems of communication. Sufhce it to 
say that every person communicates in many ways with many 
other persons. In a sense, he "prehends" all humanity. 

Communication leads to action. Interpetsonal action is either 
some degree of co-opeiation or some degree of coniHct. Communi¬ 
cation misundersto^ usually leads to conflict. Communication 
understood may lead to still more serious conflict, if it is clearly 
seen that conflicting ends are sought by the communicating 
persons. As long as persons are persons, with their individual 
freedom and pride and their social needs, there is bound to be a 
certain amount of conflict among them. It is the task of philo¬ 
sophy and of religion to control the irrational desires of men, and 
to exalt their aspirations to a point ivherc conflict will be reduced 
to a mitiimuin. 

The levels of interpersonal relations, next, may be summarized 
as follows: (r) the level of mere causation—receptivity or action 
without awareness of the other persons afliecting ns or being 
afiected by us; {2) the level of ^anpathy and antipathy — ^liking or 
didiking what others communicate to us; (3) the level of under¬ 
standing—where the other person or group is properly interpreted, 
yet perhaps all the more disliked; and (4) the level of love. This is 
the highest interpersonal relation, and presupposes the previously 
mentioned ones. Love at its best includes understanding, respect 
for personality, ethical cooperation for the highest goods, and 
that religious exaltation and harmony with the divine which is 
often called realization or bliss. 

From this conception of Interpersonal relations there follows a 
social theory which can only be mentionerL Man's soda! goal 
cannot be a pluralistic indiddualism in w*hich each seeks his own 



good. This is ajiarchy and selfishness, and is a betrayal of men^s 
selfitranscendcnce and interpersonal experiences. Still less can the 
social goal be a monistic totditarlanism, in which the person loses 
his freedom and becomes the economic and political tool of a small 
group of co-ordinators* The best statement of the goal is perhaps 
to call it organic pluralism—the recognition that we belong to¬ 
gether in an interpersonal community, yet that we all have 
individual existence and personal rights. This may also be caUcd 
social personalism or democratic socialism. But it remains for the 
future to work out concretely the social forms of personal existence. 


The personalistic metaphysics of the self which has been sketched 
has yielded an enriched and developing view of personality. The 
personal self has been set forth as a complex unity of conscious¬ 
ness, analogous to what b affirmed in the Indian formula of 
*'sat~€hii-dnanda/' The person is able to reason and to experience 
ideal values. AJl communication rests on the appeal to this poten¬ 
tial reason and these potential ideal values. Yet the personalbm 
here set forth declares that the individual b not the dew-drop 
that ''slips into the shining sea." The individual person remains 
selfddentical in hb highest scientific, philosophical, ideal, and 
religious experiences. He b free within limits set by hb past and 
by all the data which God gives him through nature and society* 
He bp within these limits, a responsible self. The goal of the 
universe b not the merging of all persons into one, but the inter¬ 
personal development of all persons in the creation and enfoy- 
ment of values. The universe is thus a "^creative advance,"' to 
quote Whitehead again* The ultimate category b social; the goal 
of the universe is inexhaustible, developing love. 





Uflfcvmtsr ffi MiniirtDEa 


The man whose birthday wc eekbrate mtemationally in this 
pleasant fashion occupies an outstanding position in the world of 
philosophy. Through his b rillian t teaching, writing, and platform 
appearances, to say nothing of his public services, he has made a 
place for bimself and his doctrines the like of which it would be 
bard to find in our time. Certainly he is one of the two or three 
greatest living idealist philosophers; many would rank him first. 
For him the inner life is the centre and heart of everything. The 
world of sense at most is fragile, and thought at best points us to 
an integral intuition of spiritual reality. As Kadhahrishnan speaks 
or writes, his words glow with deep conviction, and the hearer or 
the reader feels himself in the presence of one who has achieved 


His field of influence has been so wide that it suggests an attempt 
briefly to survey the past and present states of comparative 

From the great days of the Upanishads, India has been the 
ancestral and traditional home of idealism, the conviction that 
Ultimate Reality is in some sense mental or spiritual. The Upani- 
shads are not altogether consistent, and they are not of iinifonn 
value. They are like a shower of meteors; some are ablaze with 
light, others are burned out, mere dust from the past. Those 
which are incandescent bring us the supreme conviction: Brahman 
alone is real, and Atman, tiie self, after all its wanderings have 
been completed and its partial truths have been summed up, 
merges with Brahman in the supreme mystical union open to 
those who pay the price to achieve it, 



Indian id«alism, as if enkindled by tbe meteor fall, bums in the 
^'anous schools and forms of the Vedanta. The advaitins, led by 
Sankara, try as hard as they can to be uncomptomisiiig: Brahman, 
the One, is One without a second. Others deviate somewhat from 
this and, following Ramanuja, discover more contrast within the 
One and develop what amount to the values of theism there. It is 
this latter traditiou which Radhakrishnan has championed and 
spread throughout the world. Apart from the VedJinta, the others 
of the "sue systems’* are as such not conspicuous in India. Yoga, 
where it remains in a pure state, apart from its importations, is 
more Vedantist than anything else. 

Buddhist philosophy takes its rise in India and wherever it 
dm-elops remains essentially true to its origin. It is, on the who^lc. 
a set of vafiatiotis on the theme of Indian idealism. Sometimes it 
is quite subjective, even nihilistic, sometimes it is socially or 
mystically or cosmically minded. It is notoriously hard for a 
Western mind to follow, but the Western mind which attempts the 
task need not expect to be led outside the bounds of ideali^. 

Chinese philosophy presents a different view of the world. The 
part of Chmese thought w'hich has received most attention is the 
Confucian humanism, according to which man is to attend to his 
ordinary everyday duties and leave spirits and speculations alone. 
This, however, is a narrow view of Confucianism. It is true that 
the Master was chiefly interested in man. but he never supposed 
that man existed in a vacuum. Man belongs rather in the vast 
frame of *'Heaven”—the heavens of the astronomer, not of the 
theologian. Confucianism is not merely a humanism but a natural- 
istic humanism—more accurately still, it is a cosmicaj humanism. 
On the side of naturalism or cosmicism the other great Chinese 
philosophy, Taoism, oompiements Confucianism—one might say, 
plays Yin to its Yang. Taoism emphases the way (Tso) of nature, 
the great frame of the universe around us. Measured as against 
this frame man is so puny and his best efforts are so futile that 
instead of striving he should, as v^'e might say, take it easy—take 
it not so much in his human, Confucian stride as in the stride and 
tempo of the cosmos. The cosmos includes ail trends in all direc¬ 
tions and a man will get farther toward a given goal if he moves 
in the direction opposite to that of the goal, Taoism b shot through 
with paradox. In the course of it the mystic Chuang-Tse arrives 
by his own route at a teaching which reminds one of the Upani- 
shads. A man,says Chuang-Tse, may become one anth the universe. 




Sometimes a high abstraction b necessary for a broad view. 
Viewed in high abstraction one can say that the great philosophies 
which have developed to the cast of the Persian Gulf have been 
predominantly and ultimately moubtic, whether the monism was 
Indian and spirituaUstic or Chinese and naturalbtic. 

Continuing the high abstraction, it appears that the main lines 
of Western philosophies—that b, those which have developed to 
the West of the Persian Gulf—have been determined first, not by 
monbms but by the diialbdc supematuralism of the Jewish, 
Christian, and Muslim religions, believed to have come by re\^Ia- 
tion. Thb supematurahsm has been first served and then modified 
by Greek thought and its outworkings. The Greeks went in for 
empirical investigations and rational explanations of things. The 
Greeks were distant cousins of the Hindus, but, except for Par¬ 
menides, there b little monism among them, Plato pictured an 
ideal realm contrasted with the world of ordinary things, and 
Aristotle was so much under Plato's tnfiuence that he. too, may 
be regarded virtually as a dualbt. Medieval Western thought was 
thus doubly duahstic; Greek investigations and reasonings were 
used (and sometimes mbused) to substantiate! authoritativey re¬ 
vealed supematuralbras. So firmly was this double dualism fixed 
upon the West that it has perabted through all recent changes 
and b probably as prevalent there as Vedantbm in India or 
Confucianism in China, 

By comparison with the orthodox and classical dualism, modem 
European and American philosophy is a minority report. It 
begins, around 1600, with modifications or revolts, at first directed 
not against the dualbm or supematurahsm but against the 
authoritarianbm which had been used to support it. Descartes 
was partly, and Francb Bacon was more completely a child of 
the Renaissance. Duartes, supplementing rather than sup¬ 
planting supematuralism, looks within hb own experience rather 
than to the Church or the Bible for a basb of hb certainty and 
proceeds by introspection, while Bacon, denying the authority of 
ArbtoUe, looks to external nature and begins to develop experi¬ 
mental and inductive methods for the study of nature. 

The successors of Descartes (Locke, Berkeley, Hume) investi¬ 
gate the workings of the mind and lead, by various epbtemo- 
iogtcal exercises, to the ideahstic philosophies of Kant, Fichte, 
and Hegel. The exercises consist first in assuming some deep 
difference between subject and object, then brr^dciiing the 



gulf, and then attempting to dose it by absorbing it into mind or 
stretching mind to cover it. But somehow the fracture fails to 
knit and mind h left either embarrassed or over-confident when 
confronted by nature. 

If thig last seems like an overstatement* let us recall that 
Hegers philosophy of Nature^ although not without occasional 
scientific corroboration* was so fantastic that British and Ameri¬ 
can Hegelianisin developed virtually without it^ and became 
philosophies of Idea and Spirit, Again, pragmatism* the vigorous 
American child of idealism, has not succeeded in giving a clear 
and straightforw^ard account of those parts of naturep above all 
the data of astronomy* ^vhich are outside the range of human 
cqntroL Phenomenology must confine itself to an analysis of 
experience rather than nature. Positivisin typically forces nature 
into the sciences but makes the sciences consist of propositions. 
Semantics tends to reduce both science and philosophy to lin- 
gubtic signs. 

In the meant imcp even since 1600* empiricists who follow Bacon 
and catch the old Greek empirical gleam have studied nature 
without stopping for epbtemoiogy* on which the idealist aigu- 
ments so pomtedly and crucially depend. The result has been the 
towering structure of the natural sciences. Physics* chemistry, 
astronomy* geology^ biology* physiology* neurology (which the 
epistemologist forgot or conveniently overlooked)* psychology* 
and sociology have piled wonder upon wonder. Subject as all 
their observations and measurements are to possible errors and 
statistical as the so-called laws turn out to be* everywhere there 
are structures more and more dependable and processes more and 
more predictable. 

It should be added that among contemporary Western attempts 
to meet the challenge of naturalism, there is now current in the 
West an over-emotional and war-conditioned neosnpematuralism 
which either sets intellect aside as incapable of dealing with 
super-revelation or seeks by a tortuous dialectic* somehow remini¬ 
scent of Sankara's dilficulties with Ma)ra* to out-reason reason 
in the service of theology* Arrayed against this in the contem¬ 
porary lists is a resolute humanism which, somewhat like a par¬ 
tially understood Confucianism, emphasizes man and his affairs as 
if the universe did not greatly matter* 

Granting that, since it may be expected that the universe will 
assert itself* both these present tendencies are in the long nm 



tcmpofctrv. it app£^fs that in tha West a new naturalism, monistic, 
empirical ■ realistic, matter*of"fact, is in the making. It is poten" 
tially so strong that in the face of it for m^y ttoughtfuJ men 
supernaturalism is be^nning to collapse and idealism is beginning 
to evaporate. Gradually, as the worid becomes known in its own 
right and in these empirical ways, it becomes more and more 
evident that supemaluralism has impoverished the natural by 
arrogating to itself everything creative and goodi that the sub¬ 
jective idealists have contracted the natural, by reducing it to 
experience^ and that the objective idealists have distorted it by 
attempting to picture it as Mind. 

The new naturalism is a long way from the naive intuitive 
naturalism of the Chinese sages. It seems to be long way, too, 
from Indian idealism and from Radhakrishnan, Judg^ from this 
angle in the West, Radhakrishnan speaks with a philosophy 
moving and appealing. He awakens memories of some of our 
great tiaditions, but does not adequately estimate our progress in 
understanding the world around us. which cannot so easily ^ set 
aside. In short, China in one way and India in another, viewed 
from at least one angle in the West, fail to do justice to the natural 
universe in all its ways and claims, 


If this were all, I should not try to contribute to this volume; I 
would be the last to lay a hand on my brother Parmenides, 
especially on his birthday. But 1 believe that there is far more to 
say and that Western naturalism may bring him an offering not 
altogether inappropriate. 

The fact is that historically, if we go back far enough, Indian 
idealism, Chinese naturalism, and the various philosophies of the 
West have an all-but-forgotten common doctrine, almost a com¬ 
mon denominator, which I believe may serve as a starting point 
for realignment and new understanding. This is the doctrine that 
man is somehow a ■'microcosm," a little world, m one way or 
another repeating or epitomizing features of the macrocosm, or 
great world, the universe. In India in one foirnor another it comes 
all the way from the ?g Veda through the Brahma^as and the 
Uj^nishads into popular Hinduism.' In China it Is ancient and 
widespread, but as far as 1 know it has not been described in 

I Fur a brier *nrvey af this development, lee Aaintic Society of Ben^. Jcvmaj 
and /VMwdiiffJ, T<.S,. 39 . '93^. PP SiS-iT* 



connected fashion. In the West some traces of it are found in 
most philosophies which attempt any study of the univcise apart 
from studies of the possibility or the methods of knowing. It 
should be made plain that the historic expressions of the view are 
notable now only for their age, diffusion, and variety. Taken 
literally they are outgrown and quite untenable. 


WTiat is needed appears to me to be a fresh study of the data of 
the several sciences—a study not coohned to any one held of 
specialization but prepared to rccDgnizc running through them all 
some characteristics which are deep-seated and essential enough 
to be principles. The study of such principles constitutes meta¬ 
physics in the more adequate sense of the term, and frees the 
discipline from the unfortunate confusion mth the metempirical. 
One such principle which is now widely if not universally recog¬ 
nized is that of eTOlution, the development of later forms of 
matter, life, and mind by the operation of inherent causes. Evolu¬ 
tion provides for development and spontaneity, if not progress, 
but the progress as ordinarily described is loose and random, if not 
chaotic; tt really offers surprisingly little for any constructive 
philosophy of man and his place in the universe. 

I beheve that we need to examine the data of evolutionism 
more carefully and that when we do so certain resemblances of 
structure and process, both detailed and sweeping, begin to 
appear between the various levels and realms of matter, life, and 
mind. The course of evolution, when carefully and comprehen¬ 
sively studied, is not a mere hodge-podge of cosmic forces, but is 
a much more regular and consistent deplo}rment of them. Tt may 
be represented by the successive coils of a regularly constructed 
spiral. The repetitions of structure process, through a bewildering 
detail of individuations, interactions, disintegrations, aggrega¬ 
tions, integrations, and differentiations, indicate that the cosmos 
of the sciences is marked not merely by evolution but by an 
orderly resemblance of structures and processes which I call 
"epitomization,." The world of matter in motion, etc., is epito¬ 
mized by that of living organisms, and both are epitomized by the 
nervous systems at work, t.e. by what naturalists regard as mind.' 

^ Tbe evidcoDC sad argumeat fw these is fir too long and compile 

cHted to be inclnded here. 1 have worked it out in some detail in samtt aL my 
bookd and bavB a more adequate diicmuion In prepantioG. 



The passage from level to level and from realm to realm of 
matter, life, and mind is accoinplished essentially by suoci^ve 
integrations or combinations of umts of one level to form units of 
the next, i.e. by combinations of parts to fonii wholes. In such a 
combination a whole is not, as too often said, "more than the 
sum of its parts": the simple fact is that a whole has properties 
Dthef than those of the parts talten separately. In a complete 
account much would also be said for the counter-process of 
differentiation, in which portions of a whole are rearranged to 
form structured ^rts at lower levels, but for the present let some 
consideration of integration suffice. 

In the process, for example, electrons, protons, etc., are inte¬ 
grated in atoms; the atoms have atomic properties, such as valence, 
not found in the elecUons and protons separately. Some atoms are 
in turn integrated in molecules and astronomical bodies like stars 
and planets. Such bodies form larger systems like clusters and 
galixies. Going back a bit in the series, within the planet earth, 
and presumably within others somewhere, some carbon atoi^ are 
integrated with other atoms to form organic compounds which by 
new integrations, here known as syntheses, give rise to amino 
acids, poljT»ptides, proteins, enzymes, genes, virusra, and cells. 
Unicellular organisms in due time and appropriate dreumstant^ 
form multi-cellular organisms; the latter by successive new 
societal integrations form tribes, nations, and, let us hope, some 
time a great inclusive United Kations, Again, going back a bit in 
the series, within the metazoa there are more and more inclusive 
co-ordinations of cells resulting in the specialization of neurons, 
which by their successive combinations achieve what Sherrington 
"the integrative action of the nervous system/' Jnst « the 
levels of life are characterized by their distinctive properties, so 
arc the levels of mind characterized by theirs^including con¬ 
sciousness, feeling, emotion, thought, freedom, and value. 

All the way through the levels of matter, life, and mind the 
integiatinn is cumulative. In the integrations of material systems 
and in the living organisms there is, as we may ^y, presentation; 
in the integrations characteristic of mind there is to be sure some 
presentation of elements to one another. To say that the great 
difference betiveen mind and matter is self-transcendence is to 
turn the components inside out. The great difference is not that 
what is in mind is, so to speak, at the same time outside it, but 
that what is outside it is reprtsentid as if it were within. According 



to a naturalistic vicyr. the fact that a self can represent itself can 
be made to appear more mysterious than it really is, and self¬ 
representation and projection can be misinterpreted as self- 
tianscervdeace. It should by all means be emphasized, however, 
that for such a naturalism the various grades of self-consciousness’ 
and resources of the inner life are genuinely available: without 
them, human personality would not be itself. It is not necessary 
to regard them as accruing from some supernatural order, or to 
transform the natural universe into a mental reality in order to 
accommodate them. Recognition of their naturalistic origin and 
reference may help to correct exaggerations and extravagances in 
their development. It should be emphasized, too, that for such a 
naturalism the cumulative feature of successive integrations 
appears as its rlimax in human personality. The total reactions of 
human personality to the world have their own unique quality. 
This, reached by a naturalistic route, is the machinery of Radha- 
krishnan’s "integral experience" or intuition. 

It may appear that, granting the genuineness of such a process 
of intuition, the content of it if reached in any naturalistic way 
can only be material, physical, chemical, mathematical—or any¬ 
thing but spiritual. Here I think we nef^d an overhauling of the 
term "spiritual." If not entangled in lingering associations with 
the ghostly, it has come to be thought of as necessarily pertaining 
to mind, or at least to something different from matter. Any taint 
of naturalism is commonly held to be antagonistic, if not fatal to 
the spiritual life. 

If naturalism were merely reductive and pulverized the world 
into tlie data of physics and chemistry, or If it were merely positi¬ 
vistic and dodged the issue by recourse to a logical physicalism, 
tbe charge might be true, But a naturalism such as above described 
in its very words acknowledges a cosmic integrative process. The 
problem of "what began the process?" may be left open; begin¬ 
nings and endings am as likely to mark the horizons of our thought 
as any limits for the universe. 

For the cosmic integrative process, the data are right before 
our eyes, for empirical study and rational interpretation such as 
the Greeks in all their glory were not equipped to give. This 
"integrative process," in fact, runs so dose to ^e supematuralist 
creationism and to idealist teleology that the distinction is diffi¬ 
cult to make out. Beigson adumbrates the integrative process in 
his but in attempting to describe it has recourse to vitalism 



in biology and apparently to supematuralism in theology, Samuel 
Alexander discerns the process in his Nisus, but supplements it by 
the prospective level of "deity/* (When 1 asked him why he did 
that he answered: "That was the only way 1 could make God 
personal,"} Whitehead, in an empiricism overlaid w-ith rationalism 
and Verging on panpsychism, recc^nizes a creative advance and 
various "societies" of entities, but sees all this in a frame of 
Platonism and supernaturalism which is essentially traditionaL 
If, however, the integrative process is taken at its natural 
cumulative face value, without supplementing it by the super¬ 
natural or transhguriiig it in terms of mind, we have a great 
Structure of structures proceeding cosmically as a larger parallel 
for mind in us. It is vastly greater than we are, and is able to 
command our complete adjustment. Whether it is personal or 
not, at least our adjustment to it must be personal, and total. 
This total adjustment constitutes religion. It does not amount to 
pantheism, because any adjustment is ambivalent, with both a 
positive and a negative phase. We adjust ourselves to any object 
positively and in and by the same act necessarily adjust ourselves 
to other objects negatively. In the major adjustment of religion 
we adjust ourselves positively toward the good—that is, the 
wholesome, the integrative process in nature and in history— 
and negatively toward the non-good or the not-yet-good. Thus a 
duality belongs naturally within a naturalistic monism. (Perhaps 
in a similar way the cjualihed Vedanta of Ramanuja rnay be said 
to belong within the ^vaitbm of Sankara.) The religious adjust¬ 
ment, thus understood, appears in its natural relation to the 
aesthetic adjustment. Religion is more complete aesthesis, as philo¬ 
sophy is a more complete sdenoe, 

There is more to say on the question of personal qualities of the 
Real, but what has just been said at least avoids some of the 
difficulties which both supematuralism and idealism encounter in 
many minds. The way is open for a rich natural life in the uni¬ 
verse which has produced us and is our home. 

This total adjustment affords a new meaning for the spiritual. 
The conviction deepens that m olden times men who never under¬ 
stood either matter or spirit took for granted that they w'ere 
opposites, and developed the view until supematuraiism became, 
as Santayana says, a clumsy conjunction of an automaton ivith a 
ghost, When the time came (in India in the Upanishads and in the 
West ID Spinoza, Berkeley, and Hegel) for a reinterpretation of 



the spintua], it was stilJ regarded as psychological and as some¬ 
how pervasive rather than cumulative and integrative. Under¬ 
stood in this tatter way, spirit marks diHei^ices of level in the 
universe as matter, integrated through the leveb of life and mind, 
takes on the new properties which culminate in personality. 
Spirituality is difference of level in each of us as we rise to actual!^ 
our potentialities. The supernatural turns out to be the superior- 
in-nature. The world of nature, although it is like a mind, is not 
itself a Great Mind; both the Upanisbads and Hegel, in ascribing 
to Brahman and the Absolute some but not all the properties of 
mind, had difficulty there. The world is not a Great Mind, but the 
mind is a little world, a microcosm which by all the ways of per¬ 
ception and thinking and intuition, of science and philosophy and 
religion, is to find its place and kinship with the rest. And this 
view, once more, is not so far from Radhakrlsfinan. 


Any attempt at fapprochanent between Indian and Western 
philosophy must somewhere deal with a doctrine which, while 
practically taken for granted in India, is in the West usually 
either denied or avoided like the bubonic plague—^I mean, the 
doctrine of reincarnation. Western supematuralism, with its 
firmly entrenched doctrines that man has here and now his one 
chance for salvation and eternal life, excludes reincarnation. 
Western empirical science, with its indications that living organ¬ 
isms are complex compounds of carbon, may be said to be com¬ 
pletely sceptical about it. Fechner has urged something of the 
sort on panpsychbt grounds, as McTaggart has in a frame of 
pluralistic idealistic idealism and Soodin in one of cosmic 
idealism, but for naturalism the empirical barrier appears to be 
too high and to stand as a kind of doctrinal Himalaya between 
the West and India. 

Let us see first that any statement about life after death deals 
in some sense with another world and must from any ordinary 
view seem fantastic. All Western philosophies have some diffi¬ 
culty here and if they touch the question they must be specula¬ 
tive. But having recognized this, we may go on to say that rein¬ 
carnation is possible even on a naturalistic basis. We cannot give 
the whole argument here, but if, as Lloyd Morgan saj's, and as 
the data of epitomization indicate, life stands to matter in the 



same kind of relation as mind stands to life, we have only to note 
some of the broader implications of the saying. The liwng org^- 
ism, let us say, is a collectioii oif compounds of carbon 1 but, like 
the Confucian humanism, this compound does not arise or oon- 
dnue in a vacuum. Life belongs in the earth and is a. proce^ and 
function of the earth. Its process and function in the earth is at a 
lower stage of integration like the process and function of mind in 
the organism. The death of an organism in the earth procce^ on 
the same principle as the discharge of a nervous pattern in an 
organism. The latter is the process which goes on as a speaker 
speaks, and which is going on at this moment as these lines are 
written. But the writing of th^ lines, with the discharge of the 
nervous patterns which it involves, belongs in a larger, a societal 
frame, I write for some prospective reader to read. I,anguage is 
diphasic. Patterns discharged here are matched by patterns set 
up over there in India. So the death process is diphasici death 
here is matched by life somewhere else. 

I once saw the never-to-be-forgotten Mahatma Gandhi, when 
an admirer tried to hang a garland of flowers around his neck, 
take the garland off because he preferred one made of skeins of 
cotton thread which another admirer bad spun. Xt might well be 
expected that for Kadhakrishnan's birthday one would bring him 
some fragrant new development of idealism rather than these 
spinnings of science; none the less, I hope that my dear friend ^d 
great colleague may find something in this garland of naturalism 
which wiU not be altogether unfitting, but which may be welcome, 
after all. 





The body has bean regarded* by ajtdetit thinkers of the 
East and the West, as the epitome of the universeK Yet it has 
seldom obtained the attention it deserves from modem philo¬ 
sophers. At any rate it has not received half the attention the 
soul has. But there is no doubt that it is of fundamental impor¬ 
tance as ranch for a correct conception of the soul and the world, 
as for a philosophical control of life- The subject offers to rae 
diverse vistas of interesting speculation. I shall attempt to follow 
some of these and present ray ideas briefly in this paper. 



Even if we start with the ordinary biological account of the 
origin of the body by the combination of two kinds of celb we 
have to ponder over the long series of wonderfuliy regular and 
harmomous behaviour of the cells by which they combine to¬ 
gether and select and assimilate from the en'^dronment those 
kinds and quantities of substances which ivould form a body 
possessing exactly the shape, colour, size, coiistitution and other 
peculiarities present in the race and the family of the parents. 
^Vhen again we consider the innumerable and nicely adjusted 
parts by the orderly growth of which each one of the highly com¬ 
plex organs like the eyes* the ears, the heart, the lungs, the 
digesting apparatus, etc., is constituted and consider also the 
general harmonious interrelation present among these different 
organs* we can scarcely think that the body comes into existence 
and develops by a series of happy accidents. We are forced to 



admit unless we aie too credulous or superficial, that the 
could not grow and be what it is but ior some inherent force 
which can initiate, control and co-ordinate the vanotts pri^&s^ 
and direct them towards the realiaation of defimte forms and ends 
by continuous selective effort. We have also to admit that the 
various materials which go to the fonnation of the body are con¬ 
trolled and organiaed by this force, * j * - 

To say that all these intricate processes are due to heredity, is 
little more than giving a name to the controlling force without 
expIainLne it. But as in other cases so also here the technical n^e 
for the phenomenon is apt to pass for an explanation and dull 
further curiosity about it. Really, however, reflection on the 
meaning of heredity makes us think of the subtle, but wonderful 
force in the seed which selects from the environment at appro¬ 
priate moments the exact material necessary for the constitution 
of the body of each of the innumerable membEis of the particular 
species and family, and organizes it ^d directs it in such a way 
that it grows, develops and decays in a particular maraier, and 
also generates during its life the germs for the continuation of 1^e 
individual through successive generations that last sometimes for 
thousands of years. Such and other implications of heredity ^1 
the more strengthen the view previously stated, namely that the 
facts about the body cannot be expired away as a senes of 
accidents. On the contrary, we feel justified in admitting the 
guiding influence of a subtle power behind the oripn, growth and 
decay of the body as well as its work of reproduction* 

A similar conclusion is also forced on us when we think of the 
numberless processes like chewing, salivation, peristaltic motion, 
secretion of bile and the gastric juices, assimilation, excretion 
circulation of blood, breathing, oxygenation, ^fence, repair and 
the different kinds of reaction of the body to bghtp cold arid heat, 
etc. These and other complicated processes without which neither 
the pieserv'ation of the body nor its successful adjustment to the 
environment would be possible require a harmonious co-operation 
among its different parts and accurate adjimtment of long chains 
of means and ends which cannot be explained as chance coind- 

dences.^ ^ * jr 

Such reflections on the origin, development and functiomng of 

■ RefutiDR Dr Jwliaa Huxley's vie™-. Sir ArtbuT Kei^ ’ 
plasm, oven in «= simplest form, is purposive; ^ t feel certwu . . . the 
Uicmselvcs . . . i« , . . pnipasive in their acnoii. £fsays ch Nutttm Fivfurtw, 

PP- t-i-ts- 


FH1LO?50PHY of the body 

the body caritiot fail, then, to totpress on us the lessons (r) that 
the subtle force inherent in the germ cell has. wonderful power of 
organizing the material of ’which the perceptible and gross body 
is found to be composed,^ and (2) that this force is not blind, but 
purposive, its work being selection, regulation and continued 
evolution of means for meeting a series of ends. 

We may be reminded here of the general Indian idea found in 
Buddha, Jaina, Sankhya and other schools, that our gross body is 
the result of subtle tendencies and that evolution 

takes place, here, from the subtler to the grosser. Of Western 
thinkers Bergson also holds a similar vinyf. The organism is for 
him the product of the subtle vital urge. Both these kinds of views 
agree to reject the ordinary idea of the formation of the body by 
the mere mechanical aggregation of the visible parts. There is, of 
course, the difference between the general Indian and the general 
Western theorj' on an important point, namely that whereas the 
former w'ould trace the force that initiates the formation of the 
bodj" to the past life of the individual, the latter would trace it to 
the individuars ancestors. 

Tliough any elaborate discussion of this subject is not possible 
here, it may be mentioned briefly that the two views are not 
irreconcilable. In fact, the Western view, based on the observation 
of the obvious relation and similarity between the child and its 
ancestors, is not foreign to the Indian mind. The Sanskrit word 
for child, s^nidna, means continuity {of ancestral line). There are 
so many statements, again, in the different scripture, the Vedas, 
the Br^hmanas, etc* to the effect that the husband is reborn as 
the child through the wife, the self is bom as son, etc* If the Indian 
philosopher's h>T?othesis of pre-existence of the individual in 
another body is othenvise found acceptable, it is quite possible to 
think that the present body is the result of the union of two 
streams, individual and parental, this union being made possible 
by the indi’VTdual and parents' inherent inclinations or 

karpias) coinciding. To clarify this point with one of the many 
possible examples of the coincidence of multiple lines of inclina¬ 
tions: a university by its own conscious and unconscious tradi¬ 
tions and policies* attracts teachers and students^ each one of 
which pursues his conscious and unconscious mdmations, and the 
three sides meet and co-operate, yet the object of each party is 

Those Indian thinkers, like the Naiyayikas and other theists, 



who think that it is not possible for blind tendencies bom of the 
individual's pre^nons action to seek out the familyp environment^ 
etc.p birth into which would exactly suit them^ take recourse to- 
God for bringing about such coincidence. They find it easier to 
reconcile the law of heredity and the law of Kaonap sjid their 
task is, in some respects. simLlai to that of the Western theists 
who would like to believe both in the natural law of evolution and 
the divine creation of man. 

But to come back to the main pointy, after this incidental 
digression, our body, as it is outwardly seen, is the visible ex¬ 
pression of an inner force which works in a definite direction and 
realizes a series of ends through a series of well-adjusted means. 
It is true that we find different propensities and indmations in 
the body. e,g. tow^ds eating, excreting^ movingp resting, waking, 
sleeping, speaking, laughing, sneezing, coughing, and so on. Some 
of these also appear to be antagonistic. Yet all of these form on 
the whole such a balance and harmony and combine to make the 
body such a unit having a regular direction of growth, develop¬ 
ment and decay that we may regard the apparently different 
forces as the expressions of the same basic force along different 
complementary paths. This is like our regarding apparently 
different currents betw^een tw'o banks making for one course and 
towards one destination^ as one river. Or, to come nearer home, 
the forces found in the body aie one iust as the visible body is 
almost universally regarded as one in spite of its possessing many 
cellsp as well as different visible parts, in some of wrhich there may 
even be malignant growth like cancer feeding upon the other 

To cut short the discussion, the problem whether the bodily 
force is one or many is like the question whether the ultimate 
reality is one or many. Neither of them can be answered unless it 
is first settled w’hat kind or degree of unity would make a thing 
one. For vit call a heap of stones one, a building made of those 
stones onCp a tree wdth many branches, roots, etc., one^ the mind 
as one, and so on, but surely we do not find the same degree of 
unity in all of them. The different tendencies expressed in the 
formation of the body and in its outward behaviour are so in¬ 
separably co-ordinated and so harmoniously serve common pur¬ 
poses that the unity of the body has been regarded as the very 
ideal of unity and called organic unity. These tendencies can thus 
be said to be the functions of one force. 





Another interesting line of speculation about the body is its 
relation to the world. Apparetitly the body is clearly bounded of! 
by the skin from the rest of the world But a moment's rejection 
shows that its existence is inseparably one with the outer world. 
It is conimoD knowledge that the cells, the ultimate living material 
units of the body, complete their individual cyde of growth and 
decay much sooner than the body as a whole, so that within a 
few years the old set of cells gradually gives place to a completely 
new set. The body is entirely renewed. The cdls are all formed out 
of the external world—from the light, air, water and food which 
are supplied by the latter. The body is thus made out of the stuff 
of the world and is dependent on it. 

It is also evident from this —what we saw in the previous sec¬ 
tion—that the matter which apparently passes for the body is not 
an abiding factor, still less the basic factor. It is a mere aggrega¬ 
tion of the cells which have been formed by the selective' life-force 
out of the world and are also given back to the world to make 
room for newly-fonned cells. The body thus appears to be a 
changing tool selectively created by the life-force out of the world, 
and does not really wall us off from it. 

We must admit, then, that the position of the body in the world 
is like that of an eddy in a river. The eddy appears to have a 
contour and configuration of its own and thus to be separate from 
the river, but in fact it is being constantly fed out of and emptied 
into the river, and has no basically distinct existence of its own. 
In other words, the energy underlying the body is an integral part 
of that which underlies the matter that appears to constitute the 
world. The body is not a closed system, but really continuous with 
the world. This conclusion is supported by the modem physical 
conception of matter as electrical energy and the world as a field 
of intimately interrelated waves of energy. 

The view is further strengthened when we consider the sensory- 
motor structure of the body. The sensory system is tuned to the 
external stimuli and receives constantly the inflowing energy 
from the outer world, but only to turn it back to the world through 
its diverse motor paths, completing thus a cycle of influx and 
efflux of energy. 



Looking again to the digesting and assimilating functions of 
the body we find, further, that the dead food that is received by 
the body from the outer world is converted, hy the metabolic 
process, into its living parts. We find here that the body not only 
overcomes the boimdaiy between the inner and the outer, but 
also between life and death. It disproves the absoluteness of the 
distinction between inorganic and organic by converting the 
former into the latter. But by the death of the body cells, and 
also of the body as a whole, the same truth is proved by the 
reverse process, by the reduction of the living into the dead. 

The interchangeability of the inner and the outer, and the dead 
and the living observable in the hodily phenomena removes thus 
the misconception of our isolated existence. The body is some¬ 
times described as the prison-house because it is mistaken to be a 
bounded and isolated lump of fiesb and bone. But when we see it 
in its proper perspective we are able to dispel this wrong idea; it 
is found to be a living link with the world around us, more a 
liberator than a fetter. 



But while it is the body which links us up with the world, every 
body does it in its own way. Each body, cximposed as it is, serves 
as the peculiar measure of knowledge, action, enjojunent and 

Our knowledge of the world depends on the number and nature 
of the sense organs. An animal's body, as the Jainas point out. 
may have only one sense (tactual), or two senses (tactual and 
gustatory), or three senses (tactual, gustatory and olfactory), or 
four senses (tactual, gustatory, olfactory and visual) or five 
sextses (tactual, gustatory, olfactory, visual and auditory). Neces¬ 
sarily, therefore, knowledge through each kind of body would be 
limited by the number of the senses; and the knowledge of each 
animal would be substantially difiorent. Even human beings 
differ in the constitution of their sense organs, in spite of thcii i 
nonnally having the five senses. Totally or partially colour-blind ) 
persons, for example, have different kinds of eyes than the normal 
people, and their knowledge of the vrorld is consequently different 
from that of the latter. If we had developed one more sense our 
notion of the world could have been much diHerent from the 



present, as the example of evolution of tlie eyes would show. The 
eyes were acquired by animals t'ery late in the course o£ evolu¬ 
tion; yet an animal having eyes, such as the human being, is led 
by visual knowledge. Vision presents the world as consisting of 
things with clear-cut boundaries, separate from the body and 
other objects. Depending mostly on this we believe that the 
world is an aggregate of discrete and separate objects. We are 
thus led, in our conception of the w'orld, by the senses we possess. 
They are the measure of our knowledge of the world. 

The body is also the measure and regulator of our actions, We 
can create changes in the outer world through the body, but 
usually only through a few organs which Indian philosophers have 
enumerated as five, the organs of speech, prehension, locomotion, 
exertion and reproduction. Our action is lumted by the number, 
nature and capacity of the motor organs. 

Our enjoyrnent of the world arises mostly out of our knowledge 
and action. It is. therefore, indirectly dependent on the senses 
and motor organs. The body has, therefore, been described in 
Indian systems as the organ and abode of enjoyment (iApg«y(i- 


V^uation is closely related to enjoyment. VVhlle the crow 
values dirt, and the vulture values carrion, man abhors them, and 
what one man with a strong power of digestion values another 
fears and avoids like poison. AVliat is harmonious unth the senses, 
neiv'es and the general state of the body is nice and beautiful. It 
would be found thus that our valuation also largely depends on 
the organs and the general constitution of the body. The body is, 
therefore, the measure of values as well. 

Speaking of the body's part in action, enjoyment and valuation 
we should particularly mention the part played by the glandular 
system which determines the general tone, activity and attitude 
of the individual and determines, in a w'ord, his personality, A 
little change in the secretion of the glands may change a dull man 
into an active one, a gloomy person to a cheerful one and effect a 
phenomenal change in his action, enjoyment and his appreciation 
of values. 

On the whole, then, the body is found to measure out for the 
individual his share of the opportunities that the world offers for 
knowledge, activity and enjoyment. But, as we have seen in a 
previous section, the body itself is a tool created by a force Avith 
dehnite direction and tendencies. The different organs-^nses. 




nerves, muscles, gUrtds and the rest—are the products of this 
^tal force. They grow and work as a team to fulfil the cravings 
of the creating force. The five senses of men. comparative biology 
would tell us, develop out of the primitive epithelial cell—the cell 
of which our skin k made—by gradual differentiation. The old 
Naiyajikas of India regarded also the skin (tvak) as the basic 
sen* necessary for sense perception in general. The Satikhjfa and 
the Vedanta regard all the organs (iiiirfyas) of knowledge and 
action, including the iniemal ones, as products of gradual differ¬ 
entiation of the same urge for enjojment {bhoga-vasaftd). 


knowledge of the body 

Our knowledge of the body is primarily derived from vision, 
which reveals it as a dreumsetibed figure having a position in the 
extended visual space. It is seen as being outside of, and excluded 
by, other objects, even by the ground on which it rests. This 
visual knowledge of the body, as w'ellas of other objects, is respon¬ 
sible for our thinking that we are confined to a Ltmiied portioA of 
the world and that the world consists of mutually exclusive 
material objects. 

Fortunately, herwever, there is another way of knowing the 
body. We can understand the matter with an example given by 
Bergson; we can see our arm move successively through different 
positions and we can also feel the movement from within (even if 
we close our eyes), In the first case each position of the arm is 
found outside another, just as each instant of time corresponding 
to the different positions is thought to be c,xtcnial to another. 
But in the second case the movement Is not presented in the form 
of an extended scries, but as a continuous act. 

\\Tiat is true of an aim, is true of the body as a whole- We can 
feel the existence of the body even without the outer senses by 
dosing, for example, our eyes. The body is reduced thereby to a 
t pasi; of intermingling and interpenetrating experiences of diverse 
kinds which do not appear outside one another, provided we also 
succeed in the difficult task of keeping out the visual image of 
the body in accordance with which all experiences arc mentally 
sorted out, even on the dosing of the eyes, and allotted to different 
|}Drtions of space out^de one another. If we can successfully ex- 



dude tbe visual image of the body and the external world then 
our bodily feelings mmgle also with the tactual, olfactory and 
auditory Eensations of the outer w’Ortd. The body is not experienced 
as having an isolated existence outside other objects. Our con¬ 
tinuity with and inseparability from the vrorld are also in this 
way deeply impressed on us. 

By comparing and contrasting the inner and outer notion of 
the body—the body as felt and the body as seen—we realize a 
verv interesting and instructive fact. That w'hich is felt from 
within as a mass of intermingUng experiences is seen from without 
as an extended body occupying space, and having its parts out¬ 
side one another. This helps us to understand how the unextended 
and the extended, the mind and the body, may (^uitc be the two 
aspects of <wk fundamental reality. Mere closing of the eyes, 
suppression of the visual image, dissolves the solid, extended body 
to a fluid mass of feelings, which again can be projected out in 
space by simply opening our eyes. 

One'^ knowledge of one^s own body is* however, very poor. By 
our eyes we can see only the outer stirtaoe of the body, but not 
even the whole of it. Our internal knowledge of the body is still 
poorer. We are so much occupied with the outer and base so 
much of our life on it that the inner view comes only as an occa¬ 
sional intrusion, particularly when there is something wrong with 
the body and there is some feeling of pain, stress or strain. Our 
chief internal feeling arises from the movement of any part of the 
bo<ly, or the body as a whole. This is our experience of the body 
in action, Kinacsthetic feeling is, therefore, sometimes used 
almost as sjTioDymotis with somatic feeling* But we have also 
other bodily feelings like general well-being and its oppoiiite# 
depression, and also exhilaration, alertnessi buoj^ancy, heavinc^, 
dullness* exhaustion, etc. Wc also feel certain tendencies 
towards action and enjoyment, as would be evident from 
English expressions like "I don^t [or dol feel like eating, drinking, 
playing,'" etc. 

Reputed practice or addiction creates some tebits of the body 
which tend towards the repetition of those actions. If these ten¬ 
dencies do not get the necessary outlet at the habitual hour, the 
body has a peculiar feeling of missing the desired thing— 
drink* narcotic, beverage, exercbe, etc. Some of these feehngs 
become so strong that they cease to be simply negative be¬ 
come posidvely painfuh Such, for example, are the feelmgs of 



huneer, thirst and manj' other wants which are express^ by the 
English phrases, "hunger for/' '‘thirst alter, itch for. 

It may also be noted that when we use our sense organs for the 
knowledge of external objects, the sense experience that we have 
contains not onlv the knowledge of the object, but also of the 
condition of the'sense in action. We can notice ^ particularly 
when there is some maladjustment either within the different 
parts of the organ as a result of disease (e,g. opacity of the lenses 
of the eyes, thickening of the ear-drums) or between the organ 
and the object (e-g. too strong light, t<M hot object). For in such 
cases there b a positive painful feeling in the organ of knowledge. 
It is reasonable to judge from this that the ea^. pleasure or 
comfort felt in different sense perceptions contains as its com¬ 
ponent the feeling arising from the senses as well, being either the 
result of their internal health or their harmonious relations with 

the objects. . , , 

The body b, again, the barometer of emotion, particularly the 
violent on^ which warm, chill, shake, strain the body. We can 
feel these conditions of the body directly. By successful control 
and pacification of anger, jealousy, ill will, greed, etc., not only 
the mind but also the body can be put at ease. So "bodily ease"' is 
described by Buddha as one of the results of deeper concentration 
(j/jfluu or dhdyfM) attained after the overtoming of all passions. 

In spite of these various feelings by which we can know our 
body from within, our knowledge is vert' limited. There are many 
parts of the body about which we do not have any explicit and 
distinct feeling, though we may reasonably suppose that the 
feelings arising from each part of the body mingle together to 
make the general liodily tone of a particular moment. But with 
voluntary concentration of attention we can raise into full and 
dbtinct consciousness the feelings about many parts which are 
otherwise generally outside the focus of consciousness. We can 
thus fix attention, for example, on the n^Iected little toe of the 
right leg. or the scalp of the head or the navel. In the Yoga, and 
more particularly in the Tantra (or 3 akta) philosophy of India, 
practice of attention on different parts of the body b recom¬ 
mended for the attainment of concentration and even for super- 
nonnal powers. It is claimed about concentration in general that 
if it can be fully developed it is possible to know all about the 
object concentrated upon, be it a part of our body or anjdhing 
outside. But even in the light of normal experience we can under' 



Stand at least so far that by concentration we can brin^ into the 
clear focus of consciousness what was dimly felt before. But the 
best way of feeling clearly the existence and condition of a 
member of the body is to move it if we can and throw it into 



Generally we think that the body is ours and we con do with it 
what we will. This idea is caused by our ability to move the major 
limbs and with them the entire body from one place to another. 
But a little thought shows that our control—that is, the mastery 
of our will—over the body is as meagre as our knowledge of it. 
The most vital organs on which the existence of the body depends 
—the hedrt, the lungs, the liver, the kidneys, the stomach and 
the intestines—function without our conscious guidance. So also 
does a major part of the nervous system. 

Even in the cases of voluntary movement our control is only 
partial. When my leg moves as the result of my desire to walk, or 
my tongue moves as a result of my desire to speak, I am uncon¬ 
scious of the processes—the activity of the cerebral centres, of the 
different motor nerves and of the muscles—which must take place 
betw'een my desiring and the overt act. The self-conscious dweller 
of the house knows little of its intemal mechanism, which main¬ 
tains and repairs itself mostly without his guidance. He has 
simply to put on the switch of desire and many things are done 
for him; but he does not know how. 

This is the description of what happens in normal health. But 
there are times, fortunately rare, when paralysis of the limbs 
happens and the unhappy dw'eller, once proud of being the owner, 
helplessly looks on the body as a mere spectator. His desire to use 
it and move it remains altogether uncompUed. 

But this story of the diminution of control must be counter¬ 
balanced by that of the opposite fact, the possibility of its iU' 
crease. By repeated practice and exercise, control is gained on 
parts which are normally beyood control. The feats of muscle¬ 
dancing, moving the ears, etc., by some physical-culturists aud 
others, the control of breath even by ordinary persons, the control 
of automatic nervous system claimed by the yogins and similar 
things show that we can increase our conscious control over the 



body to a large extent, though wc may not fully control the body 
as soroe vogins claim to be able to do. The infltience of hypnotic 
gyggestion in the control of certain future behaviour of the sub- 
ject, as also of auto-suggestion in respect of one's own life, are 
facts which would seem also to suggest that the conscious will 
can. by some intense effort, sink into the unconscious level of life 
so as to work in a desired but unperceived way. 



Other persons locate me where my body is seen, and I do the 
same about them. Each one of us is thus confined mutually to a 
portion of space occupied by the body. An outsider sees almost 
the entire outline of my body: in any case he sees much more of it 
than I can. He can also observ^e more about my overt dots, how I 
stand, walk, speak, laugh and use ray limbs. He has, therefore, a 
greater external knowledge of my body and distinguishes me from 
others by these seen peculiarities. 

Though I am at a disadvantage in this respect, the partial outer 
knowledge I have of the body is amply supplemented by two 
other things, which my neighbour lacks about me, and by which I 
am so intimately w'edded to the body. First, I have the inner 
knowledge of the body by the many bodily feelings, previously 
mentioned, which others lack about me. Secondly. 1 can normally 
move and use my body in a way others cannot. 1 have thus a 
sense of peculiar identification with the body. 1 owm it and caress 

it even if it be the ugliest, the most diseased, disfigured and 

painful body in the world. The body’s interest and cravings, 
pleasures and pains, friends and enemies are all mine. The body is 
my first love. 1 can attend to and think of others only when the 
minimum of attention required for the body has been paid. My 
love for others is an outflow' of surplus energy—that which can 
be spared by the body after its vital needs arc satisfied. This is 
realised when the body faces a crisis and I become altogether 
listless and lose interest in the surrounding things and people 
that used to be the dearest in noimal health. It is natural, there¬ 
fore, that 1 should think as though I am nothing but the body, 
and that some philosophers the ChOrvakas. the materialists) 
also should identify me completely with the body. 

But this view cannot be accepted as final. The main difli* 



culti'CS that create doubt about this idetitity arc! what wc discussed 
already, that we possess neither full knowl^ge of, nor full control 
over, the body. How can 1 say that I am the body if I do not 
e\ en know u hat I consist of, or if I am only a helpless spectator 
of some parts of the body which I cannot move or control? It 
would seem from this, that "I” am not the whole of the body: it 
may be that I am identical with a part of the body. But even 
this qualified conclusion is opposed by the fact that whereas 1 
often feel and. therefore, say that this body is mine, I never feel 
that I belong to the body, as I should if I were a part of it. As 
between the body and I, o'A'ning or possessing is the exclusive 
predicate of the I,' not of the body. I own as mine many things, 
persons and places even outside the body. It is not reenable, 
therefore, that 1 should be considered identical with a part or 
whole of the body. 

Yet I cannot so easily brush aside the usual and normal feeling 
and behaviour as though 1 were identical with the body. The 
uncertain variable relation between the body and me calls for a 
re^Tsioti of the ordinary ideas about both these terms of the 

We should observe and realize that just as the body, on closer 
view, is found to be not really a closcrl system but continuous 
with the universe, I also am not confined to any fixed boundary, 
I can change or increase the range of ray identificalioti to an 
incredible extent. Within the body itself, those parts which are 
generally beyond my knowledge and control are also capable of 
being known and controlled and I can consciously own them as 
my own. Even now, if a pin is run through any such usual ly un¬ 
known or uncontrolled member of the body, say the appendix 
^which is sometimes regarded as superfluous}, 1 would scream in 
pain and feel and complain that I have been seriously hurt. There 
can be no more tangible proof than this to show that even such 
an unclaimed member is mine. Bat the range of my affection can 
be extended even beyond the body to the members o( the family, 
die society, the country, the world of living beings and even 
inanimate objects like dress, furniture, house and property. With 
any of these I do or can identify myself. If my child or wife or 
property or country is iniured or threatened I feel hurt or worried 
and complain often as bitterly as when my body is affected. 

These facts point to the conclusion that though the feeling of 
the ego is at first associated with the body as its basis, it gradually 



sijreacb through the Uti« that link the body to the to 

SoBc contents oi the world with which the interest of the is 
directly or indirectly connected. So wc can 

rare to look deeper and wider into facta. 

But if we were to say only this, there would be a ^noiis lUt^ 

conception that the body is the uUitnate basis of 

would then be ignoring what we learnt previously, namely that 

the bcdy itself is a tool, a means created by a deeper forra. and it 

with the !««!. of iB €«ate-sn.»». 
ntultipliesfand withcre away. It would be more 
suDOose that the cgo-consciousness is also the prr^uct of that 
Ste force which organizes the body, refreshes it tom moment 
to moment and retracts it too when death of the particul^ 
organism is needed for the continuation of its progress through 

SfnXSolutely tied to interest but^ 

overgrow' it to serve the wider interest of that of which the body 
is c^Sted tool is amply proved by the rare, but the 
able facts of human history-the voluntary 
by martyrs who command the highest atoiration of 
beings. Such examples show that the self can 
obe^e urge of some more basic principle to which the body also 

If ^sTo^inesB be the name of the higher processes of thinking, 
feeling and willing which wc find in man, we have to ^y 
lhat ^e basic force works unconsciously through the body. For 
the body, as we saw, grows and maintain itself automatic^ly 
without \hought or conscious plan. But if sensitivity, selective 
jLction and purposeful activity be the signs of conscioumess 
then every part of the body can be said to ^ ^nscious and m 
Xo the force working in the bcdy. So long as higher 
is not necessary vital force acts without it. c^ang on activity 
automatically. But when such a method fails U evolve the 
higher one of reflection and thoughtful planning. The Mmg of 
“r evolves only then. It is the self-reference of the b^ic force by 
reflection (or turning back) on itself. It owns the bjdy as the 
expression of itself. So the " 1 ” is nothing but that self-conscious 


paii.osopnY OF the body 

force, i can therefore say. "this body is mine” and not “I am the 

In a previous section we explained how the different tendencies 
which are manifested in the same body may be regarded as one 
force because of forming one integrated systenst But as this force 
underlying a particular body is inseparable from the energy 
system underlving the world, all anir^ bodies and inanimate 
objects arc inseparably interconnected. Each eddy is created by 
a few currents which belong to the system of currents that com¬ 
pose one river. But even the apparently different systems of 
currents, that is, even different rivers, flowing east, west, north 
and south, are ultimately intelbgible as the diverse manifestations 
of the one basic force of gravitation—the attraction of the water 
by mother earth towards her bosom. 

So long as i am identified with the particular br^y in its ordi¬ 
nary limited aspect, and opposed to others, I function as the ego. 
But I, in my wider aspect, am above such narrow limitation and 
identical with the basic force underlying my body and continuous 
with the world outside. In this aspect I may be called the soul— 
that is the U7idcrlytng reality of the body as well as the world 
apparently outside of, but really one with, the body. 

The consciousness of the life force as the "I" is needed for the 
protection and welfare of the body. The ego-conscio^nessi fulfils 
a biological need and is not to be deprecated. But if the ego is 
not enlightened and fails to realize that even the interest of the 
body cannot be served w'eJI without understanding its organic 
relation with the rest of the w'orld, and without harmonizing the 
body with nature and its interest with the interest of society, it 
leads the body to conflict, misery and niin. There is, thw^fore, a 
biological urge behind the body-minded ego to widen its outlook, 
A life of ideal harmony demands that I should realize through the 
body, and in oonformity with its best interests, the inseparable 
connection and continiiity of the body with the rest of the world, 
and develop thus the sense of tny identity and harmony with the 
universe. This would create in me the feeling of wholeness the 
feeling of missing nothing without which perfect health is un¬ 




The philosophy of the body that we can formulate by gathering 
the ideas of the different sections of this paper can be suimniKl up 
now. The body is not a self-enclosed, isolated and static mass of 
matter walling off the individual from the universe. But, on the 
contrary, it is an ever-changing product of creative energy under¬ 
lying the world out of which it b constantly made and into which 
it is constantly emptied, so that it b as mseparabk from the 
wwld as an eddy is from a river. To contemplate thb truth b 
to realbe that the body b not a prison house hut a living link of 
the individual with the universe. The inner view of the body, 
again, makes us feel that the body, as a mass of experiences, inter¬ 
mingles with those about the world and b inseparable from the 
latter. The body b thus fdt to be not outside of other objects, but 
to be inextricably mingled with them. 

The body cannot, moreover, be regarded as an accidental 
product. It b a tool of the basic force which evolves it. changes it, 
remakes it. multiplies it and ultimately withdraw’s it. all by a 
long and complex chain of wonderfully adjusted means and ends. 

The body, properly considered, demonstrates the interdiange- 
ability of life and death—organic and inorganic matter—and 
shows further that matter and mind, the extended and the non- 
extended, arc but two phases of the same reality. 

The ego which claiins to own the body, knows little of it, and 
has litUe control over it, though such knowledge and control can 
be indefinitely increased. The consciousness of the ego which 
emerges through the body is at first a protective mechanism of the 
basic life-force in the interest of the body. It faib of its purpose 
if it does not realize the unity of the body, through the basic 
force, with the world outside. 

The feeling that the body is integral to the universe creates a 
sense of wholeness that can help the body to attain perfect health. 
It also generates the confidence that if we can learn the art of 
tapping, tiaming and cyjntrolling the energy underlying thb 
finite centre, we can increasingly draw upon the infinite energy 
which underlies the universe and which is continuous with the 
bodily energy. If by special effort of the will we can own, control 
and move parts cf the body previously unclaimed and uncon¬ 
trolled, there is no obstacle to the speculation that by a similar 
but more intensified and protracted effort it might be possible to 



control things in the world, ordinarily supposed to be outside of 
my body* but vfith which I am really one and with which I can 
identify myself, by overcoming the false notion of my isolation 
and limitation. 

The body, vrhich is continuous with the universe and is a centre 
through which the universal energy acts and manif^ts itself, may 
be utilized as a lever to change the universe by a proper tmining 
of thought and will. 

Again, the fact that the body b formed* changed and entirely 
rebuilt by the change of cells> several timeSi after birth, and 
multiplied m other centres (the offspring) and hnally allowed to 
disintegrate, points to the probability that the life-force behind 
this purposeful series of processes, can similarly form a new body 
after death to satisfy fresh inclinations if there be any* 

These are some of the ideas that we can gather from the different 
vistas of speculation that the thought about the body in its 
diverse aspects open to us. We have purposely confined ourselves 
to the body and refrained from linking up our thoughts with the 
metaphysics of the soul or the uni verse as a whole* The almost 
universal depreciation of body-consciousness {d€hatfnabuddhv\ m 
Indian philosophy has created the wrong tendency to underrate 
the importance of the body* One of the purposes of this paper b 
to dispel this wrong idea. The body is the basb of onr existence 
here as the Upanishads correctly recognized, and the first step in 
the philosophy of man is a proper undetstanding of its true 
nature—not only its limitations, but also its infinite potentialities. 






CakulU L'wv^n4t|^r CAktLtU, 


Three concepts are basic to the growth of science. First, there 
must be the belief that the universe is one homogeneous whole 
and not divided into realms mth divergent laws. Second, there 
must be the belief that laws of nature are uniform and not subject 
to change or mutation. Third, there must be an equally insistent 
belief in the value of the individual instance. If any of these con¬ 
ditions is missing, there can be no general scientific progress even 
though there may still be individual instanees of great scientists. 

The first and second concepts are dearly interrelated and may^ 
in fact, be regarded as two facets of the same fact. Without a 
monistic universe there can be no universal law^ If there were 
two or more worlds, their plurality would be based on distinction^ 
and they would he distinct only in so far as they were governed 
by different law's. Universality of law, therefore* depends on the 
uniformity of the universe. Laws of nature cannot be uniform 
unless the nature they seek to e.xpress is itself Uniform- 

Belief tn the uniformity of nature can be violated in one of the 
two following w-ays. If the universe is regarded as the realm of 
different and perhaps rival gods who challenge one another's 
authoriiyH it is obvious that there can be no uniform laws govern¬ 
ing its entire expanse. The uniformity of nature would agaiii 
break down if a distinction were recognized betw'een the natural 
and the supernatural. If they are distinct regions, there must 
obviously be different law's in the two realms. Insistence on "One 
World'" Is, therefore, an essential condition for the growth of 
scientific thought. 

This conception of the unity of nature first expresses itself in 
religious bith. Most of the earlier religions recognized rivsd gods 
who held sw'ay over distinct regions. 'Thus* there was the god of 
the sea. The Old Testament shows traces of early modes of thought 



when its prophets appeal to the "God of our fathers" and seek His 
help m overcoming the gods of others, In the course of time, the 
multitudes of gods were replaced by the concept of one God a 
Supreme Being who is unique and Lord of all creation. All reli¬ 
gions show a tendency of moving from the conception of many 
gods to that of one God, but nowhere is this so marked as in the 
case of the Semitic religions which originated in desert lands Nor 
IS this surprising. The desert, with its vast brooding skies and the 
vast, unbroken expanse of the plains below, naturally impresses 
upon the mind a sense of the unity of the universe, Alt distinctions 
tend to be blurred in the desert and we have the overpowering 
sense of a Presence in which all individuality is lost. 

One God meant one universe and therefore one law. Belief in 
the unity of Godhead was, therefore, one of the conditions for the 
emergence of science, but by itself it was not enough. In the 
earlier Semitic re^o^. this sense of the unity of God did not 
overcome the distinction between the phenomenal and the trans- 
cendental. This is seen in their emphasis on the value of the 
miracle. The essence of a mirade is that it is against the general 
run of the law. Recognition of a miracle is, therefore, a denial of 
the uniformity of nature and is evidence of reliance on faith rather 
than on reason. 

Both Christian and Jewish thought accepted miracles and 
su^matural manifestations of pow'er as essential ingredients of 
religious faith, Tlieir prophets were extraordinary men who com- 
imndcd extraordinary devotion by their extraordinary deeds. 
They "were not only holy men but men possessed of superhuman 
vision. They claimed that they had insight into the un^en world 
and could, in the light of that insight, influence the course of 
events in the seen world. The fact that such deeds were extra- 
or^nary and required departure from the natural law was further 
evidence of their supernatural gifts and status. 

Such an attitude of mind may be conducive to the growth of 
religious fervour, but it cannot help in the evolution of a scientific 
temper. We no doubt say that there are exceptions to every law, 
but a scientist cannot rest until he has found an explanation for 
the seeming exception. In fact, science owes its advance to the 
observation of some instance which seems to be an exception, but 
on a closer scrutiny proves to be the manifestation of a wider and 
more general law which supersedes the first. 

Belief in the unfailing unifomiity of nature is thus an essential 



condition of the growth of science. Science docs not, therefore, 
permit the incursion of the individual to break the chain of 
causality. Nor can it permit the intrusion of supernatural factors 
which are not amenable to human reason. The unity of nature, 
therefore, must apply not only to the entire known world but also 
to the world which is 3ret unknovMt, In fact, the generality of a 
scientific law is itself a claim that it will apply to observed as well 
as to all hitherto unobserved cases. 

Even the conception of a uniform world in which there is no 
distinction of natural and supernatural is not, however, enough. 
There must be an equal emphasis on the value of the individual or 
the single instance. If the conception of uniformity of nature were 
enough, science would have developed as soon as there was a 
belief in the unity of God. In that case, science would have been 
a theoretical discipline in which conclusions would be derived 
deductively from certain general premises. Science is, however, 
essentially inductive. 

The formulation of general principles has not by itself led to the 
progreas of science. It is only when general principles have been 
wedded to brute facts, or in the alternative, the observation of a 
number of instances has led to the formulation of a general theory, 
that there has been scientific advance. The empirical had to 
acquire a new dignity before science could emerge. Man's atten¬ 
tion had to turn from the consideration of unearthly glory to the 
contemplation of the familiar world, from speculation on trans¬ 
cendental and logical truths to the observation of the variety and 
grandeur of the perceptible world. 

The importance of the individual to the growth of scientific 
thought is also seen in the constant demand for the verification of 
every general law. This is what constitutes the essence of the 
inductive or experimental method. Deductive thought is content 
to develop the implications of a concept in disregard of all con¬ 
siderations except that of inner consistency. Inductive thought 
confronts the concept with experience. Since concepts must from 
their very nature be general while experience is always experience 
of the particular, the essence of verification is the reference of 
general principles to particular facts. Conrideration of the indi¬ 
vidual instance, therefore, becomes essential for the progress of 

Without this constant challenge of the single instance, the 
value of experience as the basis of all knowledge would be lost. A 



new guLf would thus be created between the rational and the 
empirical. If all knowledge could be bniit from certain funda- 
menlal truths, we would, by a de™us route, come back to the 
poskion where the truths of reason would be distinct from the 
truths of fact. The distinction between the natural and the super¬ 
natural must be overcome before there can be the beginning of 
sderioe. We must similarly bridge the distinction between the 
rational and the empirical in order to ensure the progress of 

These three conditions^ namely, the unity of nature* the denial of 
any distinction between the natural and the supernatural and the 
recognition of the value of the individual are, therefore, essential 
conditions for the growth of science, if any one of these factors is 
missing, one of the es&cntkl ingredients for the scientific temper 
would be absent. In such context, men of extraordinary genius 
may anticipate some of the findings of latter science, but there 
Tivill be no general scientific advance. This has, in fact, been the 
case till about the beginnings of the present millennium. There 
have been brilliant scientists and speculators in ancient India, 
China, Eg>T>t and Greece, hut like solitary stars in the firmament 
they have shone in splendid isolation. 


The present millennium is pre-eminently the age of science. It 
is also the period which has seen the greatest advance in demo¬ 
cratic ideals. The parallelism between the progress of science and 
democracy is not accidental. From the homogeneity and xmity of 
the world follows the universal application of mori and political 
law^. From the uniformity of the la^vs of nature follows the 
equality of all before the law. From the emphasis on the particular 
instance follows the recognition of the dignity of the individual 
human being. 

If we try to analy'sc the underlying ideas of democracy, the 
first principle which attracts out attention is its emphasb on the 
unity of law. There can be no democracy unless the same law 
applies to all. Its relation to the unity of Godhead in religious 
thought b obvious. Ages passed before humanity attained to the 
conception of a unitary God, It also took ages before humanity 
achieved the conception of the unity of law. In fact, the con¬ 
ception of unitary law could not arise till the establishment of the 



unity of the ui^iverse. If there were different gods who held sway 
in different regions of the world, it w^as obvious that the same law^ 
could not apply to all men. 

Unquestioning belief in the plurality of gods e^tplains the 
paxadox that even systems w^hicb at first sight appear democratic 
show, on closer inspection/an utter indifference to the concept of 
the unity of law. Often described as democratic, Greek polity fails 
in the test, as it recognized different laws for different classes of 
citizens. The distinction of slave and freeman was a denial of the 
universaJ applicability of law. Roman law was based on a grada¬ 
tion of rights and obligations dependent upon the differing status 
of the different members of the State. The Roman citwen had 
rights to which his less fortunate fellows could make no claim. 

Democracy presupposes not only the unity of law, but also 
equality of all before the law\ This is, in fact, a corollary from the 
first principle. It, however^ leads to the Tepudiation of birth and 
caste and is thus the first breach in the citadel of status. Primitive 
society is ruled by custom. Custom grows through the repetition 
of similar situations, and presupposes the sanctity of status. 
Because the emphasis is on repetition, custom tends to become a 
rule of thumb which ignores the ruiionak of the rule. Different 
rules are, therefore, framed without seeking to discover the 
principle underlying the rules. Custom b, therefore, alw^ays 
diverse and leads to the creation of a diversity of rul*^ for different 
people on different occasions. 

So long as custom is the governing principle, society must per¬ 
force be di^dded into strata with divergent rights and privileges. 
Unification of society can commence only with the growing 
application of the laws of reason to the affairs of man. The theory' 
of Divine Right of Kings was a direct contradiction of all claims 
to equality before the law. Vet Europe finally repudiated it only 
as late as the seventeenth century. The piincipte that the same 
law applies to all and applies in the same way, therefore, con¬ 
stitutes a revolution in human outlook. It is a substitution of 
persuasion for authority, of reason for revelation. 

Thb mental revolution brought with it a recognition of the 
dignity of the indiWduaL We have already drawm attention to the 
insistence on the importance of the particular in scientific thought. 
The growing importance of the individuai in political theory and 
practice b its immediate coroliary. So long as thought is deductive 
and The intellect delights in the abstract and the universaJ, the 

33 & 


indiWduaJ hardly exists for it. The capacity to submerge the 
particular in the general brings with it a toleration ol inequality 
and even social inequity. Science rebels against such deductive 
thought and restores the status of the individual by its constant 
appeal to verification. Verification, as we have already seen, is an 
assertion of the particular against the claims of general law. 
There can be no democracy where the particular is only a function 
of the universal. 

One seeming paradox of democracy requires to be explained. 
One of the basic concepts of democracy is the assertion of the 
dignity of the individual. Another equally basic concept is. how¬ 
ever, the triumph of the vtnll of the majority over the will of the 
individuai. The contradiction is, however, only apparent. The 
second concept is a logical development of the first. If ail indivi¬ 
duals are equal before the law and enjoy equal dignity, it is 
obWous that no single will can, as such, prevail over any other will. 
In case of difiference between different wills, the claim of any 
individual wUl to qualitative superiority is ruled out. The only 
possible alternative is to decide action in terms of quantity, i.o, in 
accordance with the dictates of the majority of individual wills. 

This assertion of the individual first expressed itself in the 
fonnulation of political rights. The ancient Hindu concept of 
Hociety emphasijsed community even at the cost of the individual. 
Islam tried to give greater liberty to the individual without, how¬ 
ever, relaxing the demands of the community. The Chinese con¬ 
ception aimed at achieving a balance, while in early Christianity, 
the emphasis upon the individual at times went to anarchic 
lengths. Generally speaking, however, the individual was sub¬ 
ordinated to scxiiety till the beginnings of the seventeenth century^ 
It was seventeenth-century Europe that, for the first time, posed 
the individual against the community. 

The influence of the Reformation and early capitalism encour¬ 
aged the emphasis upon individual liberty and initiative. Pre- 
Reformation Christian thought demanded the submission of the 
individual intellect to the commands of the Church, Feudal 
society compelled the obedience of the individual to obligations 
imposed on him by the accident of birth. In a revolt against such 
restrictive influences, liberty came to be identified with the 
absence of restraint. It would, however, be a mistake to regard 
the conception as merely negative. The positive content of the 
concept lies in the exercise of initiative and enterprise. The 




emphasis on the conumunity m the earlier concepts has, however^ 
persisted and in fact reached its culmination in the modem 
conception of totalitarian States, 

There is one other \w^y in which the advent of science leads 
directly to the graw-th of democracy. In the past, two different 
conceptions of human rights could, and sometimes did, exist side 
by aide. Because of lack of communication, they could evm be 
unaware of one another. There were also different systems of 
rights for different people within the same cou^tty^ As each 
s>^tem of civilization was more or less a 5elf<ontairied universe, 
the dispossessed classes uithin it were unaw^are of even the exis¬ 
tence of a different system and reconciled themselves to their 
fate. The progress of science has made the continuation of such a 
state of aifairs unimaginable. W^iatcver happens in one comer of 
the globe has an almost inunediate repercussion on every other 
part. A comparison of conditions in different areas compels a 
movement towards umformity not only between countries but 
also vsithin each country itself. Divergent conceptions of human 
rights have no place in the world of modem science. 

Society is based on the individuars need for security. Liberty 
is an essentially social concept and os such has no significance 
outside society. In moments of crisis^ the demands of security 
take precedence over the demands of liberty. Once, however, tlie 
minimum requirements of security are satisfied, the individual 
attaches greater importance to the claims of liberty. From this 
derived the decisive importance of political democracy. The com¬ 
munity as a whole must decide both what constitutes the mini¬ 
mum human requirements and what degree of control and 
authority may vest in the State to secure them* It is true that 
political democracy loses much of its significance without econoruic 
and social freedom. A residue of liberty wen then exists* and 
there are hopes for its future expansion. Without political demo¬ 
cracy the very possibility of social and economic democracy is 
destroyedn Political democracy is, there fore, the basis of all 
claims of the individual. 

The constant appeal to verification in science is an appeal to 
the individual or the particular instance. It is an assertion of the 
status of the particular against the claim of the general law. In 
democracy the claim of the individual to liberty is equally an 
assertion of his importance against the dictates of the community. 
The homogeneity in the nature of the universe demands that 



there can be no preferential treatment for any group or individual. 
Applied to the reajin of human conduct^ this gives us democracy 
in which all men axe equal in the eyes of the law'. What appeared 
as scientific temper in the sphere of thought, appeared as the 
democratic spirit in the w'orld of politics, 


The greatest triumphs of science and democracy have been 
achieved since the seventeenth centiuy. Anticipations of these 
triumphs are, however, perceptible from the beginnings of the 
present millennium. What is more significant is that progress is 
almost continuous and iminterrupted during th is period. One of 
the esscntiaJ characteristics of scientific progress is its continuity* 
Every succeeduig generation inherits the achievements of its pre¬ 
decessors and adds something new to them. Any sudden breach of 
continuity in scientific progress w'ould, therefore, tend to suggest 
an absence of "'scientific climate/'^ though even in such conditions 
a genius might achieve magnificent resiUts, The fact that progress 
is continuous for the last thousand years or so suggests the emer¬ 
gence of some new factor or force w'hich changed the attitude of 
men tow'ards nature and its problems. 

We have indicated above the dominant principles that govern 
the grow^th of both science and democracy. Analysis of the basic 
concepts of Islam shows a remarkable similarity to these prin¬ 
ciples, This affinity, combined with the fact that the triumphant 
progress of science foIlow's soon after the emergence of Islam, lends 
strong force to the suggestion of causal connection between them* 
What lends plausibihty to this hypothesis is not so much the 
number of individual Arab scientists who flourished^ as the un¬ 
broken continuity in the development of science since the advent 
of Islam, 

The first presupposition of both sdenoe and democracy is the 
existence of a unitary world, Islam emphasized unity of the God¬ 
head in a manner wfiich has rarely been equalled by any other 
religion, "'There is no God but God/* proclaims Islam, It has 
carried this urge for the unity of God so far as to deny that there is 
any rehgion but one. Each country and each age had its o%vii 
prophet. Each prophet preached to his own people in his own 
language. The lan^age, the people and the period may be dif¬ 
ferent^ but the religioa same in ev'ery case, Islam haa^ 



therefore, repudiated the idea than an individual is the founder 
of any religious faith. It has categorically stated that Muhammad 
is only one among the many servants of God, When, on the analogy 
of Christianity, European writers describe Islam as Muhammad- 
anism or the religion of Muhammad, Muslims repudiate the 
description and insist that it is equally the religion of Abraham 
and iloses and Jesus and a hundred other named and unnamed 

Islam's claim to universality follows from this emphasis on the 
unity of God. It holds that, as a religion valid for all times, it 
must reveal the eternal nature of truth. Truth cannot be changed 
though the processes of time may overlay it with accretions that 
hide or distort its real nature. Such accretions must be removed 
in order to discover its pristine glory. This, in the opinion of Islam, 
b the main function of the prophets. 

Basically, therefore, all religions are the The reason why 
they appear as different is that in the course of time they have 
been distorted m different ways in different countries. No one can 
deny that ideas do change in course of time. The whole effort of 
philosophy to fix thought in stable forms b doomed to failure 
from the very nature of the case. Concepts change in the very 
process of articulation. Communication introduces a further 
element of uncertainty in the nature of our ideas. Mam's conten¬ 
tion that the nature of religion has changed again and again in the 
course of time b, therefore, not surprising. What b surprising b 
the claim often put forward in its behalf that it b the final form 
and hence there will be no need for any more prophets to redis* 
cover the nature of eternal truth. But of thb more hereafter. 

Emphasis on the unity of God and, therefore, of nature broke 
do'ivn the distinction between the natural and the supernatural. 
We have seen the influence of this idea on the progress of science 
and democracy. In the field of religious experience, it led to the 
breakdown of the distinction between the secular and the reib 
gious. Islam b noted for its emphasb on the unity of all aspects of 
life. It recognizes no dbtinction betwwn politics and religion, 
between economics and worship. In the words of the Quran: "The 
whole of the universe b a place of -worship.” 

The conception of a conunon law for the whole of the universe 
left no room for miracles. Nor did it leave any room for the con¬ 
ception of the prophet as a superman. The Quran asserted again 
and again that Muhammad was a man amongst men and was 

34 ^ 


subject to all tbe laws tlmt gos^em ordinary httnian beings. Wien 
an eclipse coincided with the death of his only son, the unbe^ 
lieving Quraish held it as a portent and wanted to accept Islam 
through superstitious fear. Muhaniinad's reply was characteristic 
of the new rationalism. He said that the sun and moon obey the 
laws of God and pay no heed to the sorrows and joys of either a 
prophet or a common man. 

One of the greatest Arab philosophers* Ibn^Rushd, commonly 
knQ\sri as Averross, distinguished himself by his insistence on the 
nniformity of nature. He did for Islam what Spinoza tried to do 
for Hebraism. His Faslal shows in some respects a remark¬ 

able anticipation of Spinoza's conception of the laws of nature. 
What is common to both is the insistence on an unfailing uni¬ 
formity. Spinoza wrote his Ethics in the form of geometric propo¬ 
sitions to show^ the uniformity of all thought. Ibn-Rushd was also 
a philosopher distinguished for the mathematical bias of his 
thought. This similarity is not perhaps accidental, as one of the 
most important disciples of Ibn-Rushd was Musa-bin-Maimuii. 
Musa wrote in Hebrew and his work, known throughout Spain and 
thus accessible to European sdiolais of the day^ may well have 
influenced Spinoza. 

The unity of God and the denial of the distinction between the 
natural and the supcmatuml emphasize the univen>ality of 
reason. Since God is one and reason seeks to express His nature, 
the laws of reason cannot but be the same for all. We have already 
seen that this cannot by itself guarantee the progress of science 
without the recognition of the particular instance. We find evi¬ 
dence of this reverence for the particular m Islafit^s attitude 
towards the phenomenal. By denying the distinction between the 
phenomenal and the transcendent, Muslim religious thought values 
nature not as a symibol of sqmetJiing hidden but for its own sake. 
When the reality of the empirical is recognized, the particular 
comes to its own, for the empirical is alvvavra revealed in particular 
as the human j^ersonality. Its ultimate truth b recognized by the 
Quran when it says: "Man is trustee of the free personality which 
he accepts at his peril." 

The overriding unity of God thus seems to be challenged by 
the uniqueness of the individual. Arab thought faced this difficulty 
in its own way. The irfljKii philosophers tried to continue the 
Platonic tradition and gave a pantheistic picture of the universe. 
This was, however, against the prevailing spirit of Islam. Accord* 



ing to its teaching the individual cannot he regarded as a mere 
elernetit in a universal systein, but has an independent status of 
his own. The Shahudi philosophers held that the individual is real 
and maintains his identity even when confronted with the 
Absolute. They seek to illustrate this truth by a beautiful analogy. 
Stars may be shut out of our view by the sunlight, but the ejdstenoe 
of the sun cannot cancel the existence of the stars. 

This emphasis on the reality of the individual is, in fact, one of 
the features that distinguishes Islamic philosophy from earlier 
schools of thought. Islamic thought was greatly influenced by the 
Greeks, particularly by Aristotle. With all thek reverence for his 
logic, the Muslim philosophers could not, however, accept this 
emphasis on mere deductive reasoning, Ibni-Taimiya tried to 
refute Aristotelian logic on the ground that it does not recogniie 
the contribution of experience to knowledge. He pointed out that 
empirical knowledge is invariably direct and immediate. It is 
not through an inference that we recogniie the particular but. 
on the contraryf, it is the knowledge of the particular which makes 
an inference possible. He, therefore, rejected Aristotle's scheme of 
major and minor premises and insisted that they are superfluous 
to the processes of our reasoning. 

The Quran proclaimed that to reason is the prerogative of man. 
It is, therefore, incumbent on him to understand before he accepts. 
Substitution of reason for blind faith is the essence of the scien- 
tide temper. Islam and science are, therefore, both manifestations 
of a new rationality- That the relation bctw*een them has not 
always been seen is due to the incursiou of extraneous elements in 
Muslim religious thought. We have already referred to one in¬ 
stance of this. In spite of Islam's recognition of the change and 
mutation to which all human thought is subject, many of its 
adherents have claimed that it is immune from that general law. 

An exception violates the unity of law. Muslim rationalists 
have, therefore, sought to find an explanation for this seeming 
inconsistency. They have argued that Islam changed the basis of 
religion from faith to reason. So long as religion w^as based on 
unquestioning faith, it was subject to variations following from 
differences in individual chaiactcr and temperament. Changing 
times made changes in them inevitable. WTien. however, religious 
faith was based on reason, the scope of v-ariation was ruled out. 
Reason kom its very nature is universal and, therefore, what is once 
accepted by reason as true must always be true. With the shift 



of emphasis to reason, Islam had, therefore, done away with the 
need of repeated rediscovery of Truth by a succession of prophets. 

The line of defence is attractive and even plausible. One may 
concede that, in theory, a truth of reason is always true. This, 
however, overlooks the distinction between thought and articula¬ 
tion, However perfect the articulation, it is never transparent, On 
the one hand, the articulation may carry with it suggestions and 
associations that are not Intrinsic to the thought, On the other, 
some element of thought always eludes all our attempts to articu¬ 
late it. The difficult}.'' is further enhanced by the distinction be¬ 
tween expression and communication. However fully we may 
express ourselves, can we ever communicate all that we intend? 
Perfect communication would mean absence of all 
between the communicator and the commuiiicant. Absence of 
distinction would mean identity, which rules out the need or even 
the possibility of communication. Hence even the truest concept of 
reason must suffer a double distortion, once in the very act of articu¬ 
lation and again in the process of communicating it to other minds, 

Islam’s appeal to reason cannot, therefore, justify the rejection 
of the need for continual restatements of the eternal truth. The 
Quran rejected the Jewish claim that the teaching of Moses was 
final. This it did on the ground that the truth must be continually 
rediscovered and restated to meet the requirements of changing 
times. There was, therefore, no reason to suppose that God’s 
revelation of truth to mankind would stop at any stage. By the 
same logic which demanded repeated enunciation of the truth 
before the advent of the prophet of Islam, new formulations will 
be necessary even after him. 

Muhammad's shift of the emphasis from faith to reason has , 
however, effected one important change. Prophets of the past 
depended upon appeals to supcroatuial manifestations of power. 
They based their authority on revelation which was beyond the 
reach of our reason. The prophet of Islam laid down that religion 
must be based on reason, not authority. It foliow'ed from this that 
there was no longer the need of a prophet *'« the o/d sense for 
guiding men hack to the path of religion and truth. 

In fact, the Quran makes hardly any reference to the conception 
of Muhammad as the last of the prophets. There is only one verse 
in w.'hich occurs the phrase Khstim-un-Nabcein or "&a] of the 
Prophets.*' Some theologians have interpreted it to mean that 
Muhammad is the last of the prophets. It may, vrith equal justifi- 



cation, be interpreted to wean that his teaching is a confiitnation 
of the teaching of earlier prophets, Kor do the most authentic of 
the Uadith —^those collected by Bokhaii—anyw'here state that 
there would be no prophet after Muhammad. Such daims occur 
in later fladith, which, however, contain other statements that 
are open to doubt. 

The most plausible explanation seems to be that such daims 
wen? made for Muhammad as a counter-blast to the claims made 
for their prophets by Jewish itafifris and Christian priests. The 
Jews and the Christians often claimed that Moses and Jesus are 
the final teachers of mankind and not a jot of their teachings can 
be changed. Muslim theologians, csjiecially some who were con¬ 
verted Jews or Christians, felt that at [east an equal claim must 
be made for Muhammad. This, however, runs against the spirit of 
enquiry and experiment with which the Quran is instinct. A sense 
of this incompatibility led to a softening of the claim and the 
assertion that Muhammad would be followed by reformers but 
not prophets. This modification is itself c>idence of a marked 
change in attitude. The age of miracles of faith was over. The age 
of the triumphs of science had begun. 

There is thus no room lor doubt regarding the affinity between 
the basic concepts of Islam and the principles which govern 
science. One can now understand why the progress of science has 
been almost continuous since its advent. Most religious teachers 
insist on unquestioning acceptance of W'hat they say. The Quran 
admonishes Muhammad to understand and to explain so that 
faith may not be blind. The Quran declares that discrunlnatton 
between truth and falsehood is the prime object of creation. 
According to it, the world is the result neither of an accident nor 
a whim of a god or gods. l*he universe has a purpose and design, 
and it is the task of the intellect to find it out. Belief in design 
reinforced the concept of a unitary law. Together, they created an 
atmosphere of rationality in which the human intellect sought and 
found answ'cis to the riddles of the universe in terms of reason alone, 



Islam’s emphasis on the unity of God was the basis of its scientihe 
outlook. It was equally the foundation of its democratic temper. 
The universality of reason demands from all rational beings the 
same behaviour in the same diciimstances. So far as men are 


rational, they are equal in the sight of God. There is no distinction 
between man and man on the plane of humanity. That this 
equality and brotherhood was extended to all Muslims and not to 
all mankind is only due to the fact that the implications of univer¬ 
sality were not fully worked out. 

Islam, however, realized the concept of equality both in theory 
and practice so far as Muslims are concerned. TTiis in itself is a 
remarkable achievement in advance of the practice of most other 
religions. In theory, every religion recognizes the principle of 
fatherhood of God and brotherhood of man. In practice, liowever. 
the fatherhood of God has remained an article of failh hardly ever 
applied to the daily transactioiis of life. Clash of colour and 
inequalities of birth, station and wealth have attenuated the ideal 
almost beyond recognition. 

Even its worst enemies have, however, been forced to admit 
that Islam broke down the barriers of colour and birth among 
Muslims. Not only in the formal act of worship but also in daily 
social intercourse, the darkest Nubian from the heart of Africa 
enjoys equality with the haughtiest of the Quraish or the most 
race-conscious of the blue-eyed and fair Aryan. Bernard Shaw has 
paradoxically but truly said that the real test of democracy is 
inter-marriageability. In formal worship, one can adopt an atti¬ 
tude of equality as one puts on ceremonial robes on formal occa¬ 
sions. The semblance of equality in political and economic life can 
also be deceptive. Even inter-dining may be a mere outward show 
reser\'ed for special occasions. Inter-marriageahility is, however, a 
test which permits no subterfuge. 

Reverence for the empirical fact is another reason for Islam's 
insistence on the equality of man in the eyes of God and society. 
With the v'ista of life hereafter stretching to infinity, the indigni¬ 
ties of the present life can be tolerated or ignored. If life here and 
now' is of supreme importance, it is necessary that the individual 
must realize his dignity here and now. This also explains the 
absence of any priestly class in Islam. 

In most ancient religious and social systems, priests acted as 
intermediaries between man and God, Like intermediaries in the 
secular world, they acquired power out of all proportion to the 
services they rendered. They were repositories of Imowledge and 
alone knew the mystic rites by which the unseen powers th a t 
govern our destinies can be propitiated. Priests enjoyed power 
without responsibility. If power corrupts, power without respon- 



sihility comipts even more, A hierarchy of priestly classes invari* 
'ably degenerates into an oligarchy of consen^atism and tyranny. 
By doing away with the priestly class, Islam raised the dignity 
and status of the individual and freed him from one of the most 
pernicious forms of mental slavery. 

This urge for democracy found institutional expression in 
several innovations introduced by Islam. The first and foremost 
of these was the recognition of women as legal entities capable of 
holding property in their own right. Pre-Muslim religious and 
social systems have given a high moral or spiritual position to 
women- Economic independence is, however, at the basis of all 
social status and this the pre-Islamic woman did not enjoy. Her 
incapacity to hold property, therefore, made her a nonentity in 
civ-il law. It is true that the rights given to women were not in all 
respects identical with those of men, but. nevertheless, the first 
breach had been made in the citadel of privilege. The recognition 
of her independent ecoiionuc status marks a new extension of 
democracy to the difference of sex. 

Islam recognized that nothing is so dangerous to social solidarity 
as persistent economic inequality. Maldistribution of wealth is in 
any case a cause of discontent and unr<st. Its continued existence 
divides society into classes which, unless counteracted in time, 
develop into a division of caste. There are two possible methods 
for preventing such development . One is by abolition of all private 
property and expropriation of wealth now in private hands. Tliis 
is the method which Communism upholds in iheoty and practice. 
An alternative method is to create checks on the accumulation of 
property and ensure that wealth does not rest in private hands 
but circulates in society continually. It is the latter method that 
Islam chose. 

The Muslim law of inheritance has often been critidzed by 
jurists as tending to too much division of property and constant 
changes in social stratification. There is an Arab proverb that 
when a Moslem dies, even his cat inherits a portion. ThiE tendency 
to continual division of wealth and consequent impoverishment of 
the idle rich is, however, the result of delfbcrate policy. The aim 
of that policy is to prevent the continuation of property in the 
hands of single families. The Muslim law of mheritance acts as an 
infallible check upon the growth of unearned income. It is thus an 
instrument for preserving the fluidity of the social system through 
the continuous dispersal of family riches. 

34 ^ 


The second instrument for circulation of contmnnaL wealth was 
the institution of Zakal or compulsory'' payment to the communal 
fund. The idea that the wealthy must contribute for purposes of 
social welfare is ancient. What is novel in the Zakal is the element 
of compulsion applied to such pajment. Equally signiheant is the 
idea of relating it to the actual wealth of the donor. Two and a half 
I^r cent of one's income may seem to be a very moderate propor¬ 
tion to the taxpayer m 1950, but we have to remember that tliis 
ratio was fixed over thirteen centuries ago. Observed in the spirit 
and not merely in the letterj this institution, in combination with 
the law of inheritanoe, operates against the stagnatiDu of wealth in 
family pools and frees property from the bonds of birth and 
vested interest. 

We have referred to the freedom of marriage which Islam 
introduced among all its adherents. This, as we have already seen, 
is both a test and a guarantee of democracy. Islamic conception 
of Zakai and inheritance also contribute tosvards the same end. 
Nor can we overlook the importance of the abolition of tribal and 
family names as an instrument for enforcing equality within the 
community. Inequality of w^ealth tends to ossify into classes and 
castes, but the tendency is minimif not altogether checked, 
by the elimination of marks w'luch pCTpetuate the distinction. 
Family name is a sure harbinger of family pride. It immediately 
places the individual and defines his status in sodely, not by his 
personal qualities, but by the position accorded to him in the 
social hierarchy by the accident of birth. Aboliticin of the tribal or 
the family name obliterates such marks and tends to concentiate 
attention on the individual himself. 

The dose analogy between the basic concepts of science, demo¬ 
cracy and Islam has been briefly indicated above. There are, no 
doubt, differences in their emphasis on different aspects of these 
concepts. Such variations, as well as the fact that the basic prin¬ 
ciples were not always w'orked to their logical conclusion, account 
for the time-lag between their manifestation. They must^ ho^v- 
ever, be regarded as a common movement of human thought, in 
which the impulse towards generalization and unity was matched 
by the increasing realization of the importance of the particular 
and the indi^fdual. The relation of the universal to the particular * 
is one of the perennial problems of philosophy. Science, democracy 
and Islam mark three distinct but closely related attempts to 
solve that problem. 




S. K. maitra 

Bouint flwlii UnimnjtT, Beiuftt, Indb 

I am glad to be given this opportunity of expressing my apprecia¬ 
tion of Dr. Radhakiishnan’s work by contributing an article to 
the volume which is being published to commemorate his sixtieth 
birthday. I was wondering what subject would be most suitable 
for this purpose. Eventually 1 decided upon the one the name of 
W'hich appears on the top of this pagCj firstly because the organ¬ 
izers of thb volume wanted to have an artide which was a com¬ 
parative study of some aspect of Eastern and Western philosophy, 
and secondly, because no other subject seemed to me to show m 
such a striking manner the similarities as well as diflercnees in 
the philosophical outlook of the East and the West. 


Before I begin, I should like to draw attention to a fundamental 
difference between two kinds of freedom—the freedom of man 
and the freedom of the will—failure to recognize which is the 
cause of considerable confusion. This is especially the case when 
we compare the Indian conception of freedom wth that in vogue 
at present in the «West. 

There is not only a difienence between the two freedoms, but 
there is also antagonism between the two. That is to say, the 
freedom of man may mean the abrogation of the freedom of the 
will, and vice ver^. Man is free when he is liberated from the 
* bondage of the senses. But then he loses what is usually meant by 
the freedom of the will, that is to say, freedom to do good as well 
as evil, because evil-doing b the result of the domination of the 
senses, and therefore it b not possible for a man w ho b completely 


the cita's conception* of freedom 

free from this domination to do t\il. Convereely, the man who 
possesses freedom of the will, that is, who can act rightly as well 
as wrongly, is not a free man and is still in bondage of his senses. 
Indian philosophy without any exception has understood freedom 
to mean the freedom of man, and all its discussion of freedom has 
centred round the question as to how this freedom b to be ob¬ 
tained and what its characteristics are. 

This difference between the two kinds of freedom cannot, how¬ 
ever, be looked upon as constituting the difference between the 
Indi^ and the Western view^s of freedom. For the Western view 
of freedom has also been for considerable periods of history the 
<amp as the Indian view. That b to say, it has also taken freedom 
to mean freedom of man. It b only comparatively recenUy that 
the problem of freedom has come to mean in the West the 
problem of free choice, that b, the power to choose evil as well 
as good. 


It is a great sendee which Sidgwick has done to the under¬ 
standing of Kant’s ethics by pointing out that both the kinds of 
freedom mentioned above are found in Kant. That freedom which 
I have called freedom of the will has been given the designation 
‘'neutral freedom" by Sidgwick, and that w‘hich 1 have called 
freedom of man b given by him the name "rational freedom." 
And he very clearly points out that both these kinds of freedom 
are found in Kant. To quote hb own words',* My aim is^ to 
show that, in different parts of Kant s exposition of his doctrine, 
two essentially different conceptions are expressed by the same 
word freedom; while yet he docs not appear to be conscious of 
any variation in the meaning of the term. In the one sense, 
Fi^om — Rationality, so that a man b free in proportion as he 
acts in accordance with Reason. 1 do not in the least object to 
thb use of the tenn Freedom, on account of its deviation from 
ordinary usage. On the contrarv*, I think it has much sup^ in 
men's natural expression of ordinaiy' moral experience in db- 
course, . , . But what Engibh defenders of man’s free agency have 
generally been concerned to maintain, is that 'mari has a frMdom 
of choice between good and evU,' which is realized or manifested 
when he deliberately chooses evil just as much as when he de- 

I Sid^ck. MftHodi p/ ElAict, Ttb edition, Appendix, pp. 511-iiT, 



liberately chnMses good; and it is dear that if we say that a man is 
a free agent in proportion as he acts rationally, wc cannot also say, 
in the same sense of the term, that it is by his free choice that he 
acts irrationally when he does so act. ... If this he admitted, the 
next thing is to show that Kant does use the term in this double 
way. In arguing this, it will be convenient to have names for 
what we admit to be twx> distinct ideas. Accordingly, the kind of 
freedom which I Arst mentioned—^wbich a man is said to manifest 
more in proportion as he acts more under the guidance of reason 
—shall be referred to as 'Good' or 'Rational Freedom,* and the 
freedom that is manifested in choosing between good and evil 
shall be called 'Neutral' or 'Moral Freedom.'" He goes on: 
"Speaking broadly, I may say that, wherever Kant has to con¬ 
nect the notion of Freedom with that of Moral Responsibility or 
moral imputation, he, like all other moralists who have main¬ 
tained Free Will in this connection, means (chiefly, but not 
solely) Neutral Freedom—Freedom exhibited in choosing wrong 
as much as in choosing right. Indeed, in such passages it is with 
the freedom of the wroDg-cbooser tliat he is primarily concerned; 
since it is the WTong-chooser that he especially wishes to prevent 
from shifting his responsibility on to causes beyond his control. 
On the other hand, when what he has to prove is the possibility 
of disinterested obedience to Law- as such, without the inter¬ 
vention of sensible impulses, when he seeks to exhibit the inde¬ 
pendence of Reason in influencing choice then in many though 
not all his statements he explicitly identifies Freedom with this 
independence of Reason, and thus clearly implies the proposition 
that a man is free in proportion as fie acts rationally.''^ 

In his first view' of freedom Kant contrasts human beings with 
natural objects. The former he calls free causes, that is to say, 
causes which arc not subject to the causaUty of anything other 
than themselves. The latter form a system of natural causes 
where one event is determined by another event. Of course, 
human beings are free causes only so far as their moral life is 
concerned; in other respects, they are. exactly like natural objects, 
subject to the causality of agencies other than themselves. As free 
causes, they are ends in themselves, that is to say, they cannot be 
treated as means to anything else. They are alk> autonomous, 
that is to say, subject to their own rule, and not to the rule of 
anything other than themselves. They, in fact, form what Kant 

' 0/ Ethia, 7th edition. Appendix, p. 513, 



has called a "kingdom of ends’' or a union of selM^islative 
beings^ which represents Kant’s conception of ideal society. 

This view of freedoo, it may be observed, is purely negative. 
That is to say, it indicates what freedom is not, rather than what 
it is. It emphasizes the fact that if there is any determination by 
any external agency, then there cannot be any freedom. But it 
does not give any positive content to freedom. 

Kant's second view of freedom, what Sidpvick has called 
rational freedom, b more prominent in his ethical writings than 
the first. Under the influence of this second view, Kant makes no 
disLinction betw'een Will and Reason. Thus, in a passage in his 
iMeiaphysk &/ Ethics,^ he says: “'Everj^diing in the w'orld acts 
according to laws; un inteUigeni wilt alone Ims ihe prerogative of 
acting according to the represeniuHon of taws^ i\r, Aas « WiUi and 
since,, to deduce actions from Jaws, Reason is required, it follows 
that WiH is nothing else than practical Reason/' Similarly* in a 
passage in hi ^riti^ue of Praclical Rca&on^ he speaks of ^*the object¬ 
ive reality of a pure Will, or, which is the same thing, a pure 
practical reason/* Now if Will is the same as Reason, then there 
is no possibility of willing a wrong act; the only way, therefore, in 
which a wrong act can'be committed is through the domination 
of feelings and passions, when the will is temporarily held in 
abe5.'ance. Wilful wrongdoing would be ruled out cn this view of 
freedom. But it would be mJed out, not for the reason which 
niadc Socrates rule it out, namely* because virtue is knowldge, 
but because Will and Reason are identical. The proposition "Virtue 
is Knowledge'* is not possible for Kant, because he has put know¬ 
ledge on a lower level than virtue* for, in his view. Reason does not 
shine in its full glory in Imowkdge, beiijg under the necessity of 
having to pass through the medium of sense, whereas in virtue 
Reasott exhibits itself in all its splendour, 

Kant's second view of freedom he shares with the older ration¬ 
alists, like Plato and Spinoza. Plato in his Thacdo calls deliverance 
from the bondage of the body* that is, everything which is sen¬ 
suous* true freedom^ and therefore says that the philosopher, far 
from fearing death, rather welcomes it. So also Spinoza conceives 
freedom in the same manner* Thus, he says* in connection wnth 
the demonstration of Prop. 57 the fourth part of his Ethics, "A 
free man, that is to say, a man who Jives according to the dictates 
of reason alone* is not led by the fear of death.** So again* in the 
* TraniSated by J. W. Scmpel, jrd editionn p. 15. 

35 ^ 


demonstration of the next proposition, he says, "I have said that 
the man who is free is led by Reason done." For Spinoza, as is clear 
from the above quotations, freedom and lationdity mean the 
same thing. Inversely, bond^e is described by him as subjection 
to emotions and passions, "The im^tence of man," he saj-s in the 
preface to the fourth part of Ethics, "to govern or restrain the 
effects I call bondage, for a man w'ho is under this control is 
not his own master, but is mastered by fortune, in whose power 
he is, so that he is often forced to follow the worse, although he 
sees the better before him," 

It is possible, no doubt, to reconcile Kant’s first view of freedom 
with the second with the help of the conception of a graded Self, 
One may then say that freedom means self-determination, as 
Kant says in his first view of freedom, but Self may have all 
pades, from a mere animal Self to the Sdf of Pure Reason, and in 
its final form, therefore, self-determination means nothing else 
than deteimination by Pure Reason, which is Kant's second view 
of freedom. Mackenzie, in fact, has made this reconciliation, and 
has called freedom, meaning determination by Pure Reason, 
highest freedom,* but he has done this from the standpoint of the 
Hegelian philosophy. It should be remembered, however, that 
this view of a graded Self does not find any place in the K^tian 
philosophy, although it is a commonplace of Hegel’s phUosophy. 


Coming now to the Gita, the first freedom of Kant, that is to 
say the freedom which is realized in both right and wrong actions, 
is one which it will not touch with a pair of tongs. Exactly as in 
the quotation I have made from Spinoza, the Gita looks upon 
wrong actions as the result of a man's bondage—bondage to the 
passions. In Chapter 3. verse 37, it dearly points out what it 
considers to be the cause of wrong action: "It is desire, it is wxath 
begotten by the quality of rajas. an<onsuming, aJl-poUuting 
know thou this as our enemy here on earth." And the remedy 
which it proposes for getting rid of wrong actions it indicates in 
verse 47 of the same chapter as foUows: "Therefore, O best of the 
Bharatas. mastering fiist the senses, do thou slay this thing of 

EMi«. 6thrfiton, Ch. 3. Set. is.entirted ■■Hjghft.t 



sm, destructive of wisdom Jind koowtedgc/'^ The perfect mastery 
over the senses and tlie complete eradication of sin, however^ are 
in its view only possible through supra-iational consciousness, as 
stated in verse 43 of the same chapter; '"Thus awakening by the 
understanding to the Highest which is even the disoeming mind, 
restraining the self by the Self, slay thou, O mighty^armed, this 
enemy in the form of desire, who is so bard to assaih"^ The ordinaxj' 
sensuous consciousness creates bondage^ and even Buddhi or 
Reason is not m a position to give complete freedom from bondage. 
Consequently, it is necessarji' to ascend to supra-rational con¬ 
sciousness if one w^ts to be completely free. This takes us to a 
standjJoint higher than that of Kant's rational freedom* This is 
also indicated by the words "restmiiiing the self by the Self/' 
The lower self is to be controlled by the Higher Self which is even 
higher than Reason [see the previous verse, where it is stated 
that "'greater than Reason is He”). The same thing is said in 
6. 5: “Raise the self by the Self/" 

J t should be noticed clearly that there is no identification here, 
as in Kant*s second \dew' of freedom* of Wdl and Reason* and 
consequently, no attempt to rule out deliberate WTong-doing. 
Deliberate wrong-doing, in fact* is, as the Gita points out in the 
sixteenth chapter, normal for men of the asurika type. And most 
men—and even Arjuna—are of this type. One of the main char¬ 
acteristics of such men is excess of egoism, as stated in verses 13-16 
of this chapter: ''They say to themselves. 'This much svealth is 
secured by me to-day and now^ 1 shall realize tMs ambition. So 
much wealth is already with me, and yet again, this shall be mine. 
That enemy has been slain by me and 1 shall kill those others 
too. I am the lord of all, the enjoyer of all power: I am endowed 
with all supernatural powers^ and am mighty and happy. I am 
w^ealthy and own a largo family; who else is like unto me? I will 
sacrifice to the Gods, 1 will give alms, 1 wili make merry/ Thus 
blinded by ignorance, enveloped in the mesh of delusion and 
addicted to the enjoyment of sensuous pleasures, their mind 
bcA^ildered by numerous thoughts, these men of a devilish dis¬ 
position fall into the foulest hell/' From this point of view\ even 

* I have htrt M^r«. BesaJlt's- transladon. She lULi txmiulAteU the ^lordA 

"Jn-'ln*'" "vljnlna," respectively, t?y and “knowieUgc.” 

words, however, msfiji, reapijctivcly, knaw!«lg« of uaiverul trutli and lui/ow, 
ledgn of particular facts. 

^ 1 have given here Mr. Anil Baran Kay'ii traiL^tioik as wc ind it in hJs book, 
Tkf yfpf iagt 0 / ike Glia, aa it brings out dearly tlie supra-rational character of 
the cmanaputlDg kuowiedge. 




Arjuna, as 1 have already said, must be regarded as of the Aurika 
type, for his chief fajiiug b excess of egoism, as sho™ in verse 59 
of the eighteenth chapter: **lf^ taking your stand upon egoism, 
you think 'I not fight/ then vain is this resolve of yours; 
Nature will force you to act/' 

It is clear, therefore, that deliberate tsTong-doing is not denied 
by the Gita; only, it will not call it a sign of freedom. It will not go 
into ecstasies o’Ver it as some Western ethical writers do. It looks 
upon it as a sure sign of bondage. Freedom of the will, in the 
sense of the power to do wrong acts, is a curse, rather than a 
blessing, from the standpoint of the Gita, Aijuna enjoyed it to 
his heart's content before his instruction by Lord Kr^n^* But was 
he happy? Far from it* It was only when he voluritarily relin¬ 
quish^ this false freedom for the sake of his true freedom, and 
could say (Gita, 18. 73) "By Thy Grace, O Lord, my delusion is 
gone and wisdom has dawned upon me. 1 will do Thy bidding/' 
that he became happy, Man's spiritual ascent consists in his 
renouncing this freedom of the will for the sake of enjoying his 
true freedom, which consists in union with God. This is the 
message cf the Gita, which looks at the whole of man's life from 
this one standpoint of unicn with God. 

There are, however, some limitations—and fortunately so— 
according to the Gita, to man's enjoying this freedom of the will, 
that is, of doing evil. In Uie analj^is of voluntary action which is 
given in verses 13-16 of the eighteenth chapter, five factors are 
mentioned wkich are responsible for the production of action. 
These are: (i) the body, (2) the doer, {3) the various instruments. 
(4) the many kinds of efforts, and {5} Fate. Fate (datva) here 
means, as 1 have shown in my book The 0/ Ifidtun Philo¬ 

sophy, in the chapter entitled *'The SSldhana of the Bhagavad- 
gita," the all-controlling power of Godp* The agent is only one of 
the causes, and cannot arrogate to himself the position of being 
the sole determinant of actionn The Gita, therefore, says in verse 16 
of this cliapter, ''Notwithstanding this, however^ he who^ ha\Tng 
an impure mind regards himself as the sole author of his actions, 
he of perverted intellect seeth not." A man, consequently, is not 

■ Accerdiog ict iri AurobiaJo^s Latexp^tiUton oi tin woni. it "the tnflu- 

ence ot the Fovner at powen atbrr thao tite humi.n futon, other the visible 

mechaniiiin of Nature, ihat stand bchmd these and modily the ^lark and diapcksc 
its emits in the steps o( act and con^ueoce'^ ( e/ tJU GHa, hy Aq.U 
Baran Ray. p. :?z 6 ). My interpretiation of the word £<4 in vcr>' well with this. 
Only* instead of "the Power or powqrs other than the human foctan." 1 take it 
te mean the Supreme Power of God. 



the sole autiior of his actions, and he has always to recnember 
that no action is possible without the alhcontroliing guidance of 
God. This puts a definite limit to man’s freedom of the will. The 
Gita does not regard human bemgs as the ultimate authors of 
their actions^ for to do so would be to relegate God to a position 
of relative inferiority vis- 4 -vis human beings. It does not believe 
in an inane God who has renounced all powers and is merely a 
benevolent spectator. It calls God (13. 23) "Supervisor and Per- 
milter. Supporter, Enjoycr* the great Lord/' and also (g. r8), 
"the Path, Supporter, Lord* Witness, Abode* Shelter, Friend, 
Origin, DLssoIutionj Treasure-house, Imperishable Seed." 

The Gita, therefore* does not regard men as sole authors of then- 
actions, their authorship being iimited by the overlordship of God. 
There are two verses, however, in the eleventh chapter which at 
first sight seem to take away from man e%'en this limited author¬ 
ship of his actions. These are verses 33-34 of the eleventh chapter 
and run as follows 

^'Therefore stand up[ Win for th>'self renown, 

Conquer thy foes, enjoy the wealth-filled reahn* 

Be diou the instnuiiental cause, telt-handed one, 

Drona and Bhisma and Jayadratha, 

Kama and aJJ the other warriors here, 

Are slain by Me. Destroy them fearleKly, 

Fight f thou shah crush thy rivals in the field.'* 

They seem to sugg^t that man is rcaUy powerless to do any¬ 
thing as everything is done by God HimselL But really they do 
not suggest any such thing. Why do we say that they suggest that 
man is absolutely powerless to do anything? Is it bet^use it is 
said that human beings are "instrumental causes"? But Spinoza 
also similarly said that every idea of any human being (and con¬ 
sequently also every act of every human being* for, according to 
Spinoza, will and idea are identical) is dependent upon the eternal 
and infinite essence of God, and, therefore, upon His wilL Yet 
John Caird has shown in his book on Spinoza (Blackw^ood's 
Philosophical Classics Series) that this does not mean that human 
beings have no freedom. To quote his own words, "When we ask 
what in his (Spinoza's) system is the relation of the finite world 
and individual finite things to God, the question is not settled 
simply by referring to his doctrine that all things exist in God^ 
and that modes or finite things have no existence or operation 



independently i>f the infinite substance. Spinnzism is not at once 
proved to be pantheistic by such expressions as these. For every 
system that is not dnalistic, and for which the terms infinite and 
hiriite have any meaning, is pantheistic to the extent of holding 
that the world has no absolute or independent existence, and that 
the ultimate explanation of all things is to be found in God, 
Before pronouncing Spinoza a pantheist, therefore, the point to 
be determined is not whether he ascribes independent reality to 
finite things, but w-hether he ascribes to them any reality 
at all.” 

In the light of u'hat Caird says here in connection with similar 
views of Spinoza, it is dear that merely because the Gita calls 
human beings "instrumental causes*’ it cannot be said that it 
wants to take away all freedom from them. As I have said in my 
book TiK Spirit of Indian Philosophy, '‘Let us face the question 
squarely. What exactly is meant when it is claimed that human 
beings are free? Is it meant that they enjoy absolute freedom 
even when they are limited, partietdar individual beings? That is, 
of course, ridiculous, for it involves a contradiction in terms. AH 
that can be daimed is that these finite individuals must be given 
a chance of being other than they are and of acting otherwise than 
they do. that is, of heing other than mere finite, individual, parti¬ 
cular beings and of acting otherwise than in a way contrary to 
the objective moral order. In other words, what can be claimed is 
that every finite individual must have freedom to improve him¬ 
self. to rise above his limitations and ultimately to be one with 
Gtjd Himself. This freedom no one can assert that the Gita denies.” 
Moreover, these verses do not impose any new limitation to 
human freedom not contemplated in the verses I quoted before. 
They only make explicit the nature of the daiva factor present in 
every human action. They only say that this daiva is the ultimate 
determining cause of all human actions. But if this is so, then 
human beings become only instrumental causes. 

To sum up this part of our discussions of the respective atti¬ 
tudes of the Gita and Kant touards what Sidgwick calls "neutral 
freedom," which is the first view of freedom held by Kant: The 
Gita imposes more limitations upon this freedom than Kant does. 
Kant, in fact, imposes no limitations beyond what are imposed by 
the physical conditions under which man lives. There is no place 
for daiva in Kant’s philosophy. Moreover, for the Gita it is no 
freedom at all but bondage. Arjuna enjoyed this kind of freedom 

35 <> 


before his instruction by Lord but he gladly surrendered 

it at the end of hk instruction for the sake of the true fieedom 
which consists in placing oneself in the hands of God. 


Coming now to Kant's second freedom^ which Sidgwick calls 
rational freedom^ this comes somewhat dose to the Gita^s con¬ 
ception of freedom. For the Gitap like Kantp enjoins the sup¬ 
pression of desires and passions. It is the man who has obtained 
complete masterj'^ over his desires and impulses whom the Gita 
treats as a free man. whether he is called or hhakii- 

ftidn or irigtiiu}£Tta^ The free man, in fact, in the view of the Gitap 
is a yogin, and the chaiucteristics of all yoginSp whether karma- 
yogins or jn^ayogins or bhaktiyogins are, on the negative side, 
all alike. That is to say, they all mean complete extirpation of 
whatever binds a man to sensuous objects. For example, the 
characteristics of the slhiUtpri^jna or the sImkh>uyogin, as stated 
in 2. 5b“57 are that ''his mind is free from anxiety amid pains."' 
that "'he is indifTerent to pleasures, loosed from pkassion^ fear and 
anger" and is "of stable mind." "mdifierent everywhere to what¬ 
ever happens, either good or bad," "has no likes or dislikes;* and 
"'is wGU-poised." Similarly, the characteristics of the hkakiifndn 
are described m 12, ly-ig as follows: 

'*He who neither loveth nor hateth. nor ^evethi nor desire th. 
renouncing good and evil, full of devotion, he is dear to Me. 

Alike to foe and friend, and also in fame and ignominy, alike in 
pleasures and pains, devoid of attachment. 

'Taking equally praise and reproach, silent, wholly content with 
whatever cometh, homeless, firm in mind, hill of devotion, that man is 
dear to Me/* 

Exactly similar characteristics are given of the irigunditta in 14. 


"Balanced in pleasure and pain, self-reliant, to whom a lump of 
earth, a stone and gold are alike^ the same to those who are dear and 
to those who are not dear, £jtd, the same in censure and in praise. 

"The same in honour and ignominy, the same to friend and foe, 
abandoning all undertakings—he is said to have transcended the 



On the negative side, therefore, there is very great similarity 
between the Kantian conception of rational freedom and the 
Gita's idea of freedom. Just as for Kant autonomy means freedom 
from the sway of pleasures and impulses, so also for the Gita it 
means freedom from the bondage of the senses. But what about 
the positive stde? Here there is a great difference between the 
standpoint of Kant and that of the Gita. This difference is due to 
the difference in their respective philosophical outlooks. For the 
Gita it is not enough to be free from the bondage of the yrt ses 
Freedom from the bondage of the senses is, in its view, only a 
means to something posidve. This positive thing is realization of 
one's union with God. Even in the verses which I have just quoted 
from the Gita, where the characteristics of the bhakiittuitt are 
described mostly from the negative side, there occur the words 
"dear to me.” These words "dear to me" indicate the Gita's angle 
of vision. They do not find a place in Kant's account of freedom. 
For the Gita that man is only free who is dear to God. Such words 
as "dear to me," "enters into my being" (13. 19), "reaches Brah¬ 
man irvana" {3. 72) give the positive characteristics of freedom, 
which may be odierwise expressed as union with God, 

This positive characterUttc b missing in Kant, and this consti¬ 
tutes the main defect of his ethics. This defect is the same as the 
barrenness of the moral law, which is universally regarded as the 
chief weakness of the Kantian ethics, for freedom means with 
Kant nothing else than the realization of the moral law, which, 
how'fiver, is absolutely devoid of content. This contentkssness of 
the moral law* is, indeed, an ofishoot of his purely abstract con¬ 
ception of Self or Keason. Self in Kant's philosophy b so abstract 
that it cannot join itself to any object or to any other self. It b. in 
fact, the bare identity of itself with itself, the pure "I am 1 ," 
which b incapable alike of gi\'itig any objective or social con¬ 
sciousness. It b indeed like a baby which can only suck its own 
fingers. Thb barrenness of Self or Reason' b responsible for his 
declaring knowledge phenomena! and also for pronouncing the 
realization of the moral law in thb world impossible without 
extraneous aid. 

For the Gita freedom b not identity with such a Self or Reason 
but identity with something wider and broader than this. The 
Reason of Kant b an individual and isolated Reason which b 

f S« my vUcie. Tht Loste e/ M« R«iJ {Fwwrfinf j 0 / the Stetmd Stition of tiu 
Indian J'Mi>iopAual Cm^ah), tor ttie ooaaeqiientea uf Kant's vicir af SeU. 



mc^pable of effecting either n junction mth the world of objects 
or with the world of subjects. It hangs, as it were* in nud-air. 
Identity with such a Reason cannot mean freedom. We have to 
pass beyond this to the Universal Reason if freedom is to be 
attained. As I have already pointed out, the Gita visualizes a 
Supra-rational Consciousness which alone is competent to give 
freedom. The characteristics of such a consciousness^ as described 
in Gita 6. ^9 and 6. 30. is that “'it sees itself in everything and 
evcrj-lhing in itself/' The Kantian Reason is not in a position to 
offer us this consciousness, and consequently, mth its help it is 
not possible to attain freedom. It is a home not allowed 

to go beyond its own narrow sphere. The Gita impresses upon us 
the nec^ity of going beyond such a narrow Reason. But when 
we do so we shall cross the boundary' of morality and step into 
that of religion. 

We may thus express the difference between the Kantian Wew 
of freedom and that of the Gita by saying that the latter means 
the identity of the moral life with the religious, whereas the 
former does not. The Gita's %dew is a consequence of the synoptic 
view of human life adopted by it. The Gita looks upon man’s life 
as a whole. It does not divide it into watertight compartments 
such as economic, moral, religious, etc. It does not consider moral 
life to be complete untO it enables one to have realization of 
union \rith God* 

It is otherwise with Kant. For him the fundamental truths of 
religion, such as the immortality of the soul and the existence of 
God, are only postulates of morality. There is a world of difference 
between treating them as postulates and looking upon tliem as 
the culmination of the mor^ life. For Kant moral life rests upon 
an antinomy, the antinoiny being inherent in the idea of its being 
realized, for Ttalizatlon means objectification in the world of 
sen^, whereas the moral law is the pure expression of reason and 
contains no element of sense. On account of this antinomy* the 
moral law ^nnot realize itself, and its realization, therefore, 
depends upon conditions which are external to the moral law% 
Hence the necessity of moral postulates* These postulate are the 
conditiDns under w^hich the moral law can realize itself in a sen¬ 
suous w'orld* Broadly speaking, these conditions are those which 
make possible a combination of virtue and happiness, that is to 
say. the idea of a b<ynum which combines in itself the 

idea of a supremitm bonum or the highest good^ that b* \drtuej and 



that of a consutimalum bonum or a whole and complete good that 
includes happiness. The required conditions, therefore, which 
make it possible for the moral law to realize itself, are those 
which make possible a combination of virtue and happiness. In 
order to understand how this combination is possible, we have to 
make a distinction between phenomena and noumeoa—a distinc¬ 
tion which has already proved itself ver^' useful, inasmuch as it 
has enabled us in the Critique of Pure Reason to get over the 
antinomy between natural necessity and freedom. As Caird puts 
it (TAe CritKal Philosophy of Kant, and edition, Vol. II, p. 171), 
*Tf we look merely to the connection of events svith each other as 
phenomena in the world of sense, w*e must recognize that there is 
no necessary connection between the wiluoiis will, as manifesting 
itself in certain actions in the phenomenal world, and happiness 
as a resulting state. But if we think of ourselves as noiimena in an 
intelligible world, and of the relation of our noumenal existence, 
we can conceive that the virtuous Will, if not immediately, yet 
mediately (through an intelligible Author of nature) may be 
necessarily combined with happiness as an effect in the world of 
sense, though this combination would be quite accidental if we 
looked to the world of sense alone. It appears, therefore, that the 
antinomy which arises when wc try to connect virtue and happi¬ 
ness (such a connection being uecessarj' according to natural laws) 
is due to a confusion between the relations of phenomena to each 
other and the relation of things in themselves to these phenomena. 
An intelligible Author of nature, therefore, is one of the postulates 
which make the realization of moral life possible. Immortality of 
the soul is another, for before w’e realize the cximbination of virtue 
and happiness, it is necessary to realize virtue. And as the realiza¬ 
tion of virtue is impossible in the brief span of this life, there must 
be other lives also after the end of this one. In other words, the 
continued existence of the soul after death is the necessary condi¬ 
tion for the realization of virtue. Thus the two great truths of 
religion, the existence of God and the immortality of the soul, are 
necessary conditions for the realization of the moral law.” 

Thus, God and the immortality of the soul are truths which 
exist for Kant only for the sake of the moral life. What is this but 
a form of occasionalism as bad as that of Berkeley or Descartes? 
Poor Berkeley was subjected to no end of ridicule for suggesting 
that God exists in order to make the continued existence of things 
possible. But the great Immanuel Kant has so far gone scot-free, 



although he suggested soiriethijig no less monstrous, namely, that 
God and the soul exist only for the sake of the nioial life. It is true 
he made a different approach to these truths in his CrUique of 
Jitdgtnml and presented nature itself as revealing a Divine 
Purpose, but this presentation has only value as giving us a 
subjective satisfaction and does not entitle us to say that nature 
as an objective Reality is itself governed by any Tekologicat 
Idea. Nor is the position very much improved in his essay on 
The Idea of Universal History and his treatise on Religion ivithin 
the Bounds of Mere Reason. 

The contrast with the position of the Gita is here very glaring* 
For the Gita it is not God who exists for the moral life but it is 
the moral life which exists for God, The Gita declares in unequi- 
vocal terras the hand of God in every action of man: 

'"The Lord dweUeth in the hearts of all beings and by His Maya^ he 
turns them round and roundp as if mounted on a potter's wheel/ 

"In Him take refuge with all thy beings O Bhirata; by His grace 
thou shaJt obtain supreme peace and the eternal status/" (i8. 61-62J 

In still more emphatic terms it declares: 

"Abandoning all duties, take shelter in Me alone. 

1 will liberate thee from all sins/* [iS. 664 

Thinking of oneself as the sole determining factor in one's 
action (mthout which for Kant no moral action is possible) is for 
the Gita a sign of egoism and its abrogation a supreme necessity: 

"Fixing thy thought on Me, thou sJiait* by it/ grace, overcome all 
difficulties: but if fimm egoism, thou wilt not listen to me, thou shaJt 
perish/* {x 8 . 584 

The Gita's standpoint is thcocentric, whereas the Kantian 
standpoint is not only anthropocentric but extremely mdi^ddual- 
istic, Kant looks at the problem of morality from the standpoint 
of the individual human consciousness. He has not been able to 
rise even to the social standpoint, not to speak of the cosmic and 
supracosmic standpoint, of the Gita, 





Vnjvwiiij, Ncv C^ul. 

For centuries the Orient has had to reckon with and adjust itself 
to the ideas and attendant acts of the Occident* Recent events in 
Asia signify that the Asian peoples henceforth intend to speak 
for themselves and to insist upon Western peoples' listening to 
and reckoning w,ith what they say. This means that forthwith the 
practical issues of the world can be understood and effectively 
resolved only if they are en\Tsaged as exemplifying and entailing 
a meeting of Oriental and Occidental ideologies. 

To understand a given ideology is to analyse it into and grasp 
its basic assumptions. Philosophy is but the name for the basic 
assumptions of any subject-matter. Hence, the importance of 
becoming dear with respect to the relation between Eastern and 
Western philosophy. 

For the purposes of this paper we shall restrict the e.\pression 
"Oriental philosophy" to the four major Far Eastern systems— 
Hinduism, Buddlii$in, Taoism, and Confucianism. The .Middle 
Eastern Mohaminadan element in Oriental philosophy, since 
Mohartimadanism is one of the three major Semitic tbeistjc reli¬ 
gions, will be regarded as in part a special case of a Western type 
of philosophy and theology and in part a compound of W'estem 
philosophy and theology and of Far Eastern philosophical and 
religious doctrine. 

Two main positions have been affirmed with respect to the 
relation between Oriental and Occidental philosophy and with 
respect to what must be assumed if the two ci\'ili£ation5 arc to 
meet, as they are now meeting, without conflict ideoIogicaUy and 
mutual destruction economically, politically, and militaiisticaliy. 
The first and the most generally accepted of these two main 
positions is that at bottom the philosophies of the two cultures 
are identiral, all differences being secondary and even superficial. 



The other position, which this paper will defend, is that the 
traditional philosophies of these two great polar diilizatioiis of 
the world rest on basically dilfereDt assumptioiis, both of which 
are true. 

One logical point of very important practical consequences may 
be noted immediately* The defenders of the first position often 
affirm that, unless their position is correcti no reconciliation b 
possible between the East and the West* the assumption being 
that if the ideologies or basic philosophical premises of two 
cultures are differentp then in the meeting of these two cultures 
one or the other rnust give way. The present ideological and 
political conflict in modem Western civilization between the 
Marxist Soviet Commnnbtic philosophy and the different philo¬ 
sophy of the traditional modem Western demociacies seems to 
support thb conclusion. WTiat this overlookSp however, is that 
there can be two possible relations betw'een the different basic 
philosophical premises of two diflercnt cultures or civilizations. 
As had been demonstrated in my n^ent book Tk^ MAeiing of East 
and [f' fsij and as is obvious Ic^f^lyp the premises of two different 
systems may be (i) different but compatible, or they may be (2) 
different and moompatible. Tlie latter possibility happens to be 
the case with respect to Marxist Soviet Russian Communbm and 
the philosophy of the traditional modem Western demociades. 
Thb is the reason why tefetence to the latter conflict carries the 
weight it does with respect to the thesis that if two civilizations 
rest on different philoMphieSp conflict rather than reconciliation 
is inescapable. But as the foregoing analysis has shown, thb b 
not the only possibility in the case of tw'o basically dififerent 
philosophical assumptions of two cultures. The assumptions may 
be different yet compatible. 

The matter may be put algebraically. To show that W can be 
recondle<l with E it b not necessary to show' that W = E b the 
case, W can also be rcconcil(?d with E if VV + £ b the case. Thb 
means that reconciliation may be achieved between the civiliza¬ 
tions and underlying philosophical premises of the Ckreident and 
the Orient by establishing either of two different formulae as true 
for the civilization of the w-orld as a w^holei tlie fonnula VV = E 
or the formula W + E. The latter formula permits the premises 

* TMm 0/ Easi arid Wtii. Hie MacinjUAli CojnplAy* New York, 1^46. 

Bee ftl-SO TMf of and ik* llie Slajc millfl w Campany, 

N>w York, 1947. Clia XVJ, XVIJl, 



of the basic philosopbJes underlying the East and the West to be 
different yet compatible. 

Cmain preliminaiy empirical considerations suggest that the 
formula W + E is the true one. If the basic philosophical and 
reli^Dus premises of the traditional East and the traditional West 
are identical, then it becomes very' difficult to explain why the 
way of life, the religious institutions, and the art-forms of the 
two dviliiations should be so different or why the peoples of these 
different civilizations have failed to understand one another in 
the past. Wrong as wc believe Kipling was w'ith respect to the 
future, he was certainly right with respect to the past. 

Moral and humanistic considerations indicate the acceptance of 
the equation W = E to be equally unfortunate. For if the philo¬ 
sophies of the East and the West are at bottom identical, then 
philosophers, religious leaders, and cultural anthropologists in tile 
two parts of the world have nothing basically important to learn 
from one another. Furthermore, since, as the studies of many 
cultural anthropologists and the inquiry carried through in my 
Meeting of East and H cs/ have demonstrated, one's philosophical 
premises dehne one's aims and values, the totality of values 
which the different cultures of the w'orld contribute to the civili¬ 
zation of the world as a w'hole becomes very much less on the 
first thesis than on the second. If W = E, then the basic values 
contributed by Oriental civilization and the basic values contri¬ 
buted by Occidental civilization are identical. Thus nothing is to 
be gained by combining the two systems of philosophy and the 
two attendant sets of values. But if W and E are different yet 
properly related by the relation of addition, according to the 
expression W + E, then the present meeting of East and West 
can be a peaceful meeting which enriches the stock of philosophical 
assumptions and the attendant cultural values of both parties to 
Each can learn something basically novel and en¬ 
riching in philosophy, religion, and culture from the other. 

But, of course, both of the foregoing considerations arc irrelevant 
if in fact the basic assumptions of traditional Oriental philosophy 
are identical wdth those of traditional Western philosophy. Thus, 
much as we might want the relation W + E rather than W = E 
to be the case, our wants are irrelevant if an examination of the 
premises of these two major philosophical developments of the 
world shows the two sets of premises to be Identical. To the 
results of such an examination we now- turn. 



We may best begin by taking an instance of the type of evidence 
which has led many Oriental thinkers and some Western thinkers 
to affirm that there is nothing in Oriental phiJosophy that cannot 
be found in Western philcssophy and, conversely, nothing in 
traditional Western philosophy that cannot be found in the 
Orient. Such an instance is the thesis asserted in Indian^ in Greek 
Democritean and Platonic^ and in modem Idealistic philosophy 
that the true self, true reality, and the divine being are not given 
in but instead transcend the data of the senses. Text after text 
from systerns of philosophy in the Eastern and Western worlds 
can be found to support this thesis. Ananda Coomarasivainy's 
Figun^s tff Spccdi or Figures ofThmighi?'^ contains many sentences 
of this tiT>e from Oriental and Western texts* piled up to establish 
the conclusion that W E. 

The sentences of the texts are there. They cannot be denied. 
Furthermore, even when the Sanskrit and the Greek or Latin are 
presented as Cooniaras\vamy presents both in English, no quarrel 
can be made, except occasionally, mth the faithfulness of the 
translations so far as the Sanskrit-English or Greek- or Latin- 
English renderings are concerned. It would seem that one has no 
choice but to accept the conclusion that W i= E> 

Two consEderations, however, must give one pause. It might 
very wtII be that there is an identical philosophy in the Orient 
for every specific philosophy in the West* and conversely, but 
that, nevertheless, the basic philosophies of these two 

parts of the world are different. In the Western world, for example, 
there have been a large number of different philosophies oon- 
stnicted^ some of which have captured a majority of the people 
and gone into the definition of religious, economic, and political 
institutions, whereas others have been accepted and used as the 
guide to a way of life by only a very few devoted adherents. The 
philosophy of Aristotle and St. Thomas in the medieval Roman 
Catholic world as compared with the philosophy of Democritus 
in that period is an example in the West. Similarly, in the Orient 
countless Indian philosophers have pointed nut that certain of 
their early philosophers developed a materialistic philosophy, but 
that the latter ptdlosophy never captured people and had an 
influence comparable with its influence in the West. Thus it is 
quite po^ibte that everj^ philosophy in one part of the world has 
been developed also in the other part and yet that the philosophies 
* Liuac and Compajiv, Ijandon, 19 ^ 6 . 



actually moulding the two different civilizatioiis of the East and 
the West which are now meeting should be basically different, 
the predominant philosophy in the East being other than the 
predominitnt philosophy in the West. 

Coomaraswamy. however, maintains that the dominant philo¬ 
sophy in the West up through St, Thomas At^uiuas is identical 
with that in the Orient, Thus, if he is right, at least for the pre- 
modem portion of Western civilization, the expression W = E 
rather than W -j- E defines the relation between traditional 
Eastern and traditional Western philosophy. 

Other scholars have agreed with Coomaraswamy's thesis in 
support of the equation W = E, Among these scholars, at least in 
many of his interpretations of Hindu doctrine, is the distinguished 
Professor Radhakrishnan, whom this volume is honouring. 
Deussen also must, in part at least, be added to the list. But sudi 
support turns out to be a liability rather than an asset with respect 
to this thesis. For the philosophy in the West which I>eussen finds 
to be identical with that of India is the philosophy of Kant, who 
denied ontological knowledge, rather than that of St- Thomas and 
Aristotle, who made ontology basic. And in the case of Professor 
Radhakrishnan it is the Oxford semi-Hegelian absolute devoid of 
Hegel's dialectic rather than either the Kantian theoretical or 
practical a priori or the Thomistic, Aristotelcan final cause with 
which Brahman and .Atman are. in part at least, identified. One 
must be slightly suspicious, therefore, of scholars who affirm an 
identity between Oriental and Western philosophical doctrines 
when the Western systems which they assert to be identical with 
the predominant philosophical S3rsterns of Hindu philosophy turn 
out to be not merely different but mutually contradictory. Cer¬ 
tainly the latter relation of mutual incompatibility is the relation 
holding betwwn the philosophies of Aristotle, Kant, and the 
British Hegelians Green, Bosanquet, and Bradley. 

Why, we may well ask, should scholars defending the identity 
between Eastern and Western philosophical doctrines pick such 
contradictory Western systems as identical with the predominant 
Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism? The answer to this question 
brings US back to the dictionary renderings of the meanings of 
philosophical terms when one reads them in linguistic sentences. 
At this point the ooncrete example previously instanced becomes 
most relevant. Democritus, Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and the 
Hegeliaiu; affirm that more than the senses are required to get 



trustwortliy and philosophically complete knowledge, just as do 
the major Far Eastern philosophies. But certainly in the case of 
Democritus. Plato, Aristotle, Kant, and Hegel at Least, quite 
different things are meant by this thesis. Is it not even more 
likely that quite diflerent things from what either Democritus. 
Plato, Aristotle, Kant, or Hegel affirmed, arc meant by the 
verbally similar theses of Oriental philosophy? 

In the case of Democritus, this is obvious, since for him what 
transcended the senses were the atoms of the materialist and, as 
has been noted above, certainly the philosophy of Vedanta, 
Buddhism, Taobm, and Confucianism are not materialistic in the 
Democritean sense. May not the transcendental factors of Plato, 
Aristotle, Kant, Hegel, and the British absolute idealists be as 
different from the Oriental transcendental Brahman, Atman, 
Nir^’Sna, Too, or as they are from one another or from the 
transcendent atoms of Democritus? 

Enough evidence is now at hand, confirmed hy both Oriental 
and Western investigators, to force us to answer this question in 
the affirmative. An affirmative answer, it is to be noted, establishes 
the true relation between the basic philosophies of the East and 
W'est to be W -|- E rather than W = E. 

It is important to note, before considering this evidence, what 
this means in terms of the methods of scholarship. Put very 
bluntly, it entails that traditional methods of scholaisbip in com¬ 
parative philosophy are necessary bnt not sufficient. They neglect 
the fact that philosophical terms have different meanings in 
different philosophical systems. Consequently, Vfhen a Sinologist 
accurately renders a Chinese sjnnbol into English as '‘mind," and 
all the other symbols in a Chinese sentence into English in the 
same accurate manner, so that verbally one has an English 
sentence translated from a Chinese philosophical text which is 
identical with an English sentence from some Western philo¬ 
sophical text, this verbal identity by itself docs not warrant the 
conclusion that there is an identity of philosophical meanings in 
the tu'o cases. For what the word "mind'* means in a given 
Chinese philosophy may be funtiamentally different from what 
the word "mind" means in any Western philosophy. And the 
same thin g may be true of all the other words in the verbally 
identical sentences taken from Chinese, Hindu, and Western 
philosophical texts. Thus the type of evidence such as that which 
Coontaraswamy has piled up in his aforementioned book, and 



which purely philologically trained scholars compilep is. for the 
most part, inadequate to establish the identity of doctrine between 
any two philosophical systetnSp whether these systems be Western, 
Eastern, or both Western and Eastern. 

The additional prerequisite is to be found in the primitive 
ideas of any two systems being compared. Primitive ideas are the 
ideas in any system taken as bask* elementary, or undefined in 
terms of which all other ideas In the system are defined and under¬ 
stood. This means that before any condusians about identity 
or difference can be drav^n from verbally identical sentences in 
two different philOfMphers* systemSp one must take the sentence 
and ask of it two questionst (i) WTiat must each word in this 
mean, assuming the entities and relations which the one parti¬ 
cular philosopher affirms to be primitive ?—and (s) What must each 
w^rd in this sentence mean, assuming the factors as basic w^hich 
the other philosopher affirms to be primitive? Consequently* 
before w’e can say anything about the relation between verbally 
identical sentences in the texts of Eastern and Western philo¬ 
sophers we must analyse the two philosophical systems as a whole 
to determine the basic primitive ideas or assumptions of each. 1 f 
these primitive concepts turn out to be identical in the two 
philosophical systems* then verbally identical sentences in the 
texts of the two philosophcTS establish the relation of identity 
between the two philosophical S3^ems. Conversdyp if the primi¬ 
tive assumptions of the two philosophers' systems are different^ 
then v^erbally identical sentences in two philosophicai theories are 
evidences of a difference rather than an identity betwieen the two 
philosophical doctrines.* 

It remains to show that this b the case with respect to specific 
sentences verbally identical in Eastern and Western philosophical 
theories. We shall begin with our previous example: the sentence 
^'Tnie reahty transcends the senses." 

It is to be noted that there is nothing in the sentence to indicate 
that the factor which transcends the specific data of the senses is 
the same factor in Oriental philcssophy as in the traditional 
Western philosophies in question. Consequently, even from a 
purely linguistic standpoint the identity of sentences does not 

' For inont detailed development {>1 tbie condiuioii and its CQnfcqneDJce*. see 
Tay cliaptei- in Pkiios&pAyj Eaif and EVus/, ctl. A. Mop-re. Ttineettm 

University also Thf a/ iAjr and HumanitiBs^ Cba. 

ni-VI And XXlII-^XXtV, and Tk* <yf Ea^d and Wai, Cha. VIll^XIU 


eastern anu western philosophy 

guarantee an identity oi philosophical meaning. The trans¬ 
cendence may be of a quite different kind in the two cases* 

There is ample cadence that this is the case. The Oriental 
treatises almost universally' agree that the transcendent factor 
iias two characteristics. First, it is immediately apprehended. 
Second, it is indeterminate in character. 

The first of these two characteristics needs to he understood in 
methodological terms. By immediacy in the Oriental sense is 
meant the intuition of denotative experience, not the intellectual 
immediacy of the theoretic connotativc intuition of ideas. Thus 
the Orient is continuously telling one that logical methods such 
as the Socratic and Platonic method of dichotomy or the Aristo¬ 
telian method of genera and species or the Platonic dialectical 
method of formal analjais, or the Cartesian rational method in 
the fonnal logical sense of the wxird ’’rational," can never convey 
the ultimate reality which transcends the data of the senses. As 
the Upanishads often put it, it was here all the while. It merely 
has to be found among all the other things in the immediacy of 
one's concrete denotative, existential experience. 

One hardly needs to point out that it is of the essence of the 
Platonic reality which transcends the senses that one cm get to 
it first only by the scientific method of hypothesis, which takes 
one from the all-embracing denotatiw. existential world of imme¬ 
diacy to the imaginatively conceived world constituted of the 
"mathematicals" and then by passing on with a second ration¬ 
alistic logical method called dialectic in which, to use Socrates' 
words, "one drops all images," grasping the transcendent reality 
purely in terms of ideas, without any recourse to denotative, 
existential sensations or images. Clearly, this is a transcendent 
reality two degrees removed from the concrete, denotative, 
existential continuum of immediacy which ivas here all the while 
and present before the Western formal logical methods made 
articulate by Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle were applied. In other 
\vords. the transcendental factor of Oriental philosophy is some¬ 
thing immediately and denotatively present before the Western 
logical methods of hypothesis and dialectic are applied 2 whereas 
the transcendental factor in Western philosophy is something 
connotativelv known to which the logical, dialectical scientific 
and philosophical methods of the West take one and without 
which this W'estern transcendental reality cannot be known. As 

' Stf* l(Kitnnt« vn |Mev|Duji page. 

3 C 9 AA 


Socrates says explicitly in Book VII of the Re^ibfic, it is only by 
applying the Western scientific method of hypothesis to the 
iimncdiatcly apprehended world of immediacy, thereby arriving 
at the hypothetical, mdirecily verified knowledge designated in 
scientific hypotheses of the Western type and by applying the 
method of dialectic to these hypotheses that one arrives at true 
knowledge and the factor which transcends the immediately 
apprehended data of the senses. 

To be sure, Socrates says also that what one arrives at by these 
two logical methods can ^ know-rt only by being it and by means 
of immediate intuition. But this Socratic, Platonic, Western type 
of inttiition,as he makes explicit, is an intdlcctual intuition of 
connotative universalsi it is not the intuition of the Orient which, 
even in the case of Nirvana and Tm and Brahman and Jen, b an 
intuition of an existential denotative particular. To be sure also, 
Socrates and Pi a to, in the doctrine of reminiscence, say that what 
is known in the final intuition was there all along, momentarily 
forgotten and merely recalled. But again what was there all the 
time U a connotative and intellechiaJly known reality, not a 
denotative, existential particular. It is the great merit of the 
method of pure description {reine Beschreibnug) of Hu^rl's 
phenomenological philosophy in the recent modem West to have 
showm that connotative universab, or what he termed IVt^n, are 
immediately apprehended just as much as are the Western 
nominalists' and the Orientals’ denotative, existential particulars. 

The meaning of the term "existential" requires special atten¬ 
tion. Throughout this paper it is used in the sense of the existen¬ 
tialist philosophy of Heidegger and Sartre, as meaning that 
reality, in part at least, is a unique, purely denotative particular, 
not something designated by a class ooticept or univer^, requir¬ 
ing something like Plato’s intellectual reminiscence, Aristotle's 
active intellect, Kant's a-priori forms and categories, or Hegel’s 
absolute concrete universal in order to be known. In other words, 
the aesthetic or existential intuition gives reality solely as an 
instance qua instance, never as the instance of universal or general 
rule. It is identical with Aristotle’s prime matter, W'hich is the 
individuating component in things. The intellectual intuition, on 
the other band, gives reality as a universal ^f«i universal or gene ral 
rule of w'hich the particular reality given to the existential intui¬ 
tion is an instance. The thesis of the paper that W -1- E is the case 
is in these terms the thesis that the reality of the ai^thetic or 



exist^titial intuition, and the n?ality of the intellectual intuition, 
both exist and contain factors transcending the senses and that 
neither can be derived from the other.' 

V\liat this means is that there are two types of intuition, and 
since intuition always involves immediacy, and immediacy is the 
essence of mysticism, there are two types of mysticism in the 
world, the one the intuition and mwticism of the empirical, 
particular, existential Oriental type, the other the intuition of 
the formal, logical, intellectual I^latonic tt’pe. The former intui- 
tion exhibits empirically immediate reality, from which the 
logical p formal p sdentihe. and philosophical methods of the West 
take their inception. The intellectual intuition reveals reality as 
knoviiTi only by means of ideas and theory expressed in terms of 
general laws or prO|rosttions involWng terms which are universals 
rather than particulars^ and requiring the scientific and philcn 
sophical methods of the West for their discovery and verification. 

Since the existentialp denotative, exclusively empirical reality 
of the Oriental intuition is the continuum ol immediacy which is 
shot through with feeling, containing the transitory sensed pains, 
pleasures, colours* sounds, and odours which are the raw materials 
with which the artist works, it seems appropriatcp as was indi¬ 
cated in TAe Hiding of Ensi and to term the reality known 
by the Oriental intuition the aesthetic, - or existential, component 
of reality^ In accordance with this usage the Oriental intuition 
may be distinguished from the Western intuition by being tetmed 
the aesthetic or existential intuition. 

Since Western scientific and philosophical knowledge entails the 
use of hypothesis and the introduction of entities and relations 
not imtnediately apprehended empiiically by the existential, or 
aesthetic, intuition, but instead known only by means of ideas, 
logically formulated propositions, and theory, it is appropriate to 
designate this component of reality which transcends the senses 
as the theoretic component. Accordingly, Western intuition is 

^ Eof thifi Afi applied merely to tJie tJoftternporajy WWtcoi 

And Hegel, withotit any naterence to Attcndantly different in^aniEies oi tracti- 

cediltaca, see a paper fiy f^ial Weisi lq the Jovmal cj/" Pkti<i%^hy i4pW pJt^inK^o- 
tagica! VoL VJII, pp. 1106-116, othtitled "Ksi-^ent and Hegel/* For tha 

impaitancc of the antlietic or wriiteiitiBi iptnitfon in Spanish and Latin-Americaii 
aa weU as Oriental culture, see TAe of Eait ani pp. i 5“^5 4^t— 


* This me of the word “'aesthetic'^ to designate the fiaacrctc hu been ni 
stood by aoine, but not aU, Eastera and VVe^item readera of my AlfiSing of Enit 
mnd W£Si. 1 hope the additjon of the adjective ’^exiitentiai" will prevent this 

37 ^ 


appropriately dcsi^iated as the theoretic intuition or the intuition 
of the connotative intellect in contradistinction to the Oriental 
existential or aesthetic intuition. 

But, it may be asked, if Oriental knowledge and the reality 
which it designates are known purely empirically with denotative, 
existential immediacy, how then can the Oriental speak about a 
true self and a true reality which transcend the data of the senses? 
fhe answer to this ijuestion has been given previously in my 
article entitled "The Complementary Bmphases of Oriental 
Intuitive and Western Scientific Philosophy"" and in Tfi£ Meeting 
of East and IVesL A careful examination of what we immediately 
apprehend in the existential, purely denotative, exclusively 
empirical sense of immediate apprehension indicates that more is 
given than the diverse differentiated data of the senses. There is 
also the immediately apprehended continuum, the peripherv of 
which, as William James in the West and the philosopheTs of the 
East have emphasiaed, is indeterminate. Any determinate data 
given through any one of the specific senses is always immediately 
apprehended in this all-cmbiacing continuum. Moreover, the 
specific senses give only the transitory differentiations in this 
immediately apprehended continuum—not the continuum itself. 
Thus in the realm of the purely denotative component of reality 
of exclusively empirical aesthetic intuition there h a factor 
which transcends the data of the senses. This factor is the ocean 
of empirical immediacy considered apart from the determinate 
waves given by the specific senses which distinguish one part of 
the ocean from another. Tlie sensed waves come and go and hence 
are transitory. But no matter how often and inevitably the waves 
come into being and pass out of being, the ocean of existential, 
purely denotative immediacy remains. Moreover, it is imme¬ 
diately apprehended by all observers; in fact, each observer as 
knower is immersed in it. Hence it is common knowledge, the 
same for all men, thereby escaping the relativitv attaching to 
knowledge of the sensed differentiations within it’ also, it is the 
immortal part of the knower, hence hts true self or atvuin. as well 
as the immortal part or Brahman, of the object known. Further¬ 
more. when this ipmortat part of the knower and of the object is 
known apart from the transitory sensed portion of the self {pu- 
rusha) and the transitory sensed portion of the object {prakjti) 
the distinction between knower and object knowTi vanishes. 

* PkilMopfy'; Eoft md n’esl, edited by Charles A. Moore, foe. di. 



Hence, BraJiman or the cosmical principle in the univeml 
atman or the psychical principle in the self are one. 

This ocean or continuum of immediacy, since it is iinmediately 
apprehended by the purely existential, or aesthetic, intuition, 
mthout any recourse to the Socratic, Platonic; i^Vristotelian, or 
modem scientific intellectual theoretic intuition, is appropriately 
called the aesthetic or existential continuum. And since the port 
of this continuum which transcends the senses is imdiHerenliated, 
the transcendental reality of Oriental philosophy and religion is 
appropriately denoted as the undifferentiated aesthetic contin¬ 
uum, Thus, solely within the realm of the exclusively empirical 
knowledge of the aesthetic or existential intuition, there is ample 
meaning for the Oriental thesis that there is a reality transcending 
the data of the senses. 

The reality transcending the data of the senses for the Western 
scientist and philosopher, however, is of a fundamentally difterent 
kind, as its previous relation to the logical methods of Western 
science and philosophy clearly indicate. When the Westerner 
asserts that there is a reality transcending the data of the senses^ 
he does not mean another empirical factor in the realm of the 
denotative, existential immediacy of the aesthetic intuition. In 
other u'ords^ he does not mean a factor in the aesthetic continuum. 
He means, instead, a component of reality not grasped by the 
denotative aesthetic intuition at all—a rea]it>'^ which cannot be 
slmwn, w^hich can only be said. 

But even a reality w^hich is known theoretically rather than 
purely empirically must none the less be known with immediacy. 
For otherwise the knowor could not contact it, even in thought. 
But this immediacy in the Western sense is the immediacy to the 
formal intellect, not the denotative, purely empirical aesthetic, 
e.xistential immediacy of the Orient. 

The transcendent reality of the Westerner presupposes and 
requires the empirical reality of the Oriental for its verification 
but not for its meaning. The transcendent reality of the Oriental 
does not require the existence of the transcendent reality of the 
West. Descartes' attempt to deduce the theoretically know^i 
W^tetn transcendent factor from the indubitable existential 
doubting failed. Thus Orientals have been able to affirm that the 
Western type of reality arrived at by logical methods is illusory. 
But the fact that the Oriental existential transcendent reality 
does not imply the Western theoretic transcendent factor does 



not prove that the latter is Ulusoiy and non-existent- It proves 
merely that if there is evidence, as there is, for the Western 
theoretically known transcendent reality, as well as for the 
Oriental existential transcendent reality, then philosophical 
assumptions in addition to those of the Orient are required. 

The Oriental transcendent factor differs from the Western 
transcendent factor in another respect. It is indetemunate, 
whereas the Western transcendent reality is determinate. To use 
the language of Plato's Phikbtts, the Oriental transcendent factor 
is the indeterminate continuum of the class of the inhnlte, whereas 
the Western transcendent factor Is the class of the determinate 
limit. It is precisely because the Western transcendent reality is 
determinate in character that there is the determinate theistic 
di^dnity of the West who comes into the Oriental intuitive world 
of existential aesthetic immediacy to literally reorganize, re¬ 
order, and reconstruct its differentiations. The Oriental trans- 
ceudent indeterminate factor cannot transform and reorganize 
the determinate empirical world of existential immediacy; it can 
merely enable one to live in the midst of the de facto existential 
differentiations with equanimity. Thus the Western transcendent 
factor was not in the world of existential immediacy all the w'hile, 
needing merely to be pointed out. as is the case wdth the Oriental 
Nirvana, Brahman, Atman, Too, and Jiti. Instead, it only gets 
into the world of empirical immediacy when grasped by bodily 
men as an idea of the good and used by them to guide their bodily 
conduct and their social behaviour in ways that transform and 
reorganize the empirically given determinate existential parti¬ 
culars. Put in Western theological language, it only becomes 
evident in the aesthetic, existential continuum of the Oriental 
intuition when a divinely constituted being miraculously e.xhibits 
divinity empirically in historical, earthly time. 

Recently certain Indian scholars have come to this same con¬ 
clusion with respect to the difference between the basic primitive 
factors in Oriental and Western philosophy. A notable instance 
appears in A. C. ilukhcrji's The Natufe of the Self. After indicating 
that the true self, accorc^g to Sankara, "is neither an object of e-V- 
temal nor of internal perception, yet its reality cannot be denied,"* 
then Mr. Mukerjinotes, in turning to Sankara's explanation of the 
Absolute Or Hrahnum, that "the self is given in an immediate ex- 

^ A. C. MuJccrjip Th* ^ Juriian Aitahabaii, 

p. * 62 . 



perienco, it is also an Absolute Immediate Experience.”* This 
makes it clear that the factor in Indian philosophy which tran^ 
scends the senses is the immediately apprehended transcendent 
factor of the aesthetic or existential intuition, not the theoretically 
conceived transcendent factor of tire Western theoretic intuition. 

Mr. Mukerji also draws this conclusion, for he imrnediately 
writes, "It is e\'ident then that there is a deep chasm between the 
advaita absolutism and its modem (Western) tj'pe. Immediate 
experience is the very heart of Sankara's absolutism, whereas 
Hegel would never tolerate pure immediacy in absolutism, and 
this was at the root of his well-knouTi criticism of the umnitiel- 
bares 11 Tssen of Jacobi''* Mr. Mukerjt adds, "Sankara's abso¬ 
lutism is nothing if it is shorn of immediate experience.”) 

Mr. Mukerji's conclusioa is all the more telling because in the 
earlier chapter of his volume he has worked through and shown 
an acute understanding of Kant, Hegel, and the British Hegelians, 
Green, E. Caiid, Bradley, and Bosanquet. That the Absolute of 
Sankara which transcends the senses is not to be identified with 
the Platonic transcendent reality of ancient Western philosophy 
Mr, Mukerji notes also. The latter type of Absolute, he writes, 
"cannot serve as an explanatory principle of human . . . experi¬ 
ence. . . . The Absolute.” he continues, "that may be of any use 
for interpreting ordinary experience must be an immanent prin¬ 
ciple, and not the denizen of an alien world like the world of 
Plato’s ideas."-i 

Returning again to a consideration of modem idealism, Mr, 
Mukerji conciudes. "The fundamental diflcrcnce between these 
tw'o tyres of ahsolutisin lies in this that while Hegelian abso¬ 
lutism will not tolerate immediate experience as a test of truth 
and reality, the central point in the doctrine of self which is 
expounded here [the traditional Hindu doctrine as formulated by 
Sankara) consists in its emphasis on immediacy. Even J. Royce, 
the distinguished absolutist of America, who recognizes in mysti¬ 
cism a definite philosophical attitude, rejects it as unsatisfactory 
for its unmediated immediacy'. Consequently, the apparent simi¬ 
larity between the language of Hegelian absolutism with that of 
ihe advaita position must not be construed as a fundamental 
identity of views, though many interpreters of Sankara have 
fallen into this mistake.”) 

« A. C. MiAerii. Tkt Sa$xrt of S*lf, The IndiBa Pre», Aitahabod. tjjS, 
p, iSi, » Ibid,, p. 365. i Ibid., p. J66. * Ibid., p. JoS. f Ibid., pp. 



Mr. Mukcrjt notes also that the Oriental transcendent factor 
differs from the Western transcendent factor not merely nith 
respect to the difference between munediately experienced rratity 
and reality knoiivn only theoretically by means of ideas, but also 
with respect to the difference between indeterminate reality. The 
Oriental transcendent reality, Mr. Mukerji notes, is indeterminate 
whereas he adds that "so far as Hegel himself is concerned, it is 
but common knowledge that Reality, for him, is not to be found 
in the Indeterminate Being which is taken to be indistinguishable 
from pure Nothing."^ 

Nor does Bradley help those who would attempt to establish 
an identity between the basic philosophy of the Orient and that 
of the traditional Greek or modem West. "The only modem 
absolutist," Mr. Mukerji writes, "who has tried to develop a 
doctrine of Reality through a combination of the doctrine of the 
concrete universal with immediate experience is F. H, Bradley, 
and he has failed utterly and unmistakably [as Mr, Mukerji has 
sho^^^ll in a previous chapter of his book], and this ought to be 
taken as an important lesson by subsequent philosophers. The 
truth is that they are inherently iTTeconcilable."i It appears, 
therefore, that certain Indian scholars, quite independently, have 
come to the same conclusion as that expressed by the present 
Viiiter in the publications referred to earlier in this paper. 

With respect to Mr. Mukerji's thesis to the effect that the 
Hegelian absolute and immediacy of experience are irreconcilable, 
one important qualification is to be noted. They are irreconcilable 
if one attempts, as Bradley did. to identify the transcendent 
reality of the theoretic intuition with the immanent factor trans^ 
rending the senses of the aesthetic intuition. But there is no need 
of relating these two things by the relation of identity. Even when 
it becomes clear, as the foregoing considerations have indicated, 
that the basic philosophy of the traditional East U different from 
that of the traditional West, the two are nevertheless not neces- 
sarily irreconcilable. But transcendent factors can exist and be 
real if the relation betw'een them is W + E, 

It has been the genius of Oriental civiliaation to have demon¬ 
strated the existence of the factor transcending the senses which 
is immediately apprehended by the denotative, existential, 
aesthetic intuitjon. It is the genius of the West to have dernon- 

* A. C. Mokerjj. Tkt Ntilurr Srlf, The Indian PtM, Allahabad losB 

WWd .pp.3„l3,r ' 


strated that there is a realit3* ttaoscending the senses knowable 
only by means of ideas to the connotative theoretic intuition. The 
East and the West together, therefore, demonstrate that both, 
realties exist. 

The crucial question: are these two different realities, the one 
discovered and formulated by Eastern sages, the other by Western 
men of wisdom, compatible or Incompatible? An examination of 
the relation between them should answ'er this important question. 

In Chapter XII of my Meet trig of East and West the relation 
between these two components of reality has been investigated 
and determined, This relation is the two-termed relation of 
epistemic correlation, rather than the tradition ally assumed three- 
termed relation of appearance. This means that the West cannot 
dismiss the Oriental, indeterminate, immediately experienced 
factor transcending the senses as mere appearance or as evil, as 
Plato, Aristotle, Galilei, Xewton, Hegel, and Royce tended to do. 
Nor can the Orient dismiss the Western determinate, theoretically 
known, transcendent reality as illusory and unreal. In short, the 
basic predominant philosophies of the Orient and the Occident 
are different, yet both civilizations can combine without conflict 
because the formula which relates them is W E, 

Important moral, cultural, and practical consequences of this 
conclusion must not be overlooked. It enables that Western 
philosophers and religious leaders must give up their prevalent 
notion that Eastern philosophy at best only says vaguely what 
Western philosophy says clearly and that Oriental religion only 
says imperfectly or negatively what Western religion says per¬ 
fectly and positively. There are basic phitasophicai and religious 
truths in the Orient that are not in the West. It entails, also, 
conversely, that Oriental philosophers and religious sages must 
give up their prevalent notion that all the philosophical and 
religious truths and values defining the ends of life are in the 
Orient and that all the Orient needs to learn from the West are 
its mstnimental, technological values of appUed science. Western 
science generates not merely its applications in engineering and 
technology but also its theory of man as scientific knower and 
reality as scientifically known, thereby verifying and sustaining 
Western philosophy and religion with its theoretic transcendental 
factor of the intellectual intuition. This theoretic transcendent 
reality of the intellectual intuition defines ends and values quite 
different from and in addition to the ends and values given by the 



transcc^ndent reality of the Oriental denotative existential intui* 
ticn. In short. Western science, philosophy, and religion have 
unique \'alues, goals, and ends as well as efficient instruments to 
contribute to the Orient, There are basic truths and values in the 
West which are not in the Orient. The whole truth is W + E, 
neither W £ nor W is merely instrumental to £, 




fil Rjl^puLUa, Inilla 


Hegel said long ago that^ in Western philosophy^ Socrates omand- 
pated the concept from existence, whereas in Indian philosophy 
the concept remains merged m existence; Professor Northrop 
now says that the nniversai in Western philosophy is conceptual^ 
whereas in the philosophies of the East it is intuitive and aesthetic. 
It would be profitable therefore to probe into the problem, study 
how the two univcrsals differ and see how they can be made to fit 
into each other. The iinportance of the problem h obvious to all 
those who feel that the oneness of our world now needs a world 

it is the opinion of some Western thinkers that the Socratic 
emancipation of the concept or universal from existence is respon¬ 
sible for the progress of science and scientific thought in the West 
and that the absence of a similar emancipation in the East explains 
its lack of interest in science* To thb may be contrasted the view 
of those who think tliat Greek thought is not particularly favour¬ 
able to positive science. For instance, G. J. Frazer writes: "He 
[Plato] assumed that there is an absolute Beauty. Greatness* etc., 
and maintained that the cause of things being beautiful, good, 

great, etc*, was that they partook of the absolute Beauty, etc_ 

Thb, . * is extremely interesting and instmetive as throwing light 
not ordy on Platonic philosophy, but also upon the inodes of 
Greek thought in general, and particulaTJy as helping to account 
for the acknowledged failure of the Greeks in the domain of the 
physical science.*'^ "For that long passivity which must precede 
the discovery of natural laws a more phlegmatic and less intel¬ 
lectual nature than that of the Greeks was needed, and such a 
nature Was supplied by the northern nations*'"^ But why have the 

i PUto't JdW pp. 63-64, * Ibid., p. 65^ 



Greeks failed in the domain of physical science ? Though Socrates 
was the first to discover the concept or the universal, he did not 
give us a systematic philosopby of his own; and almost everything 
that we know of him, we know through his disciple, Plato, the 
first great philosopher of the West. But Plato’s interest, like that 
of every other Greek thinker, was ethical. Lutoslawsld writes; 
”Tfae character of Socrates* philosophy was also mainly ethical, 
and this authorizes us to see the predomiDatice of Socratic influ¬ 
ence in those dialogues which are limited to ethical enquiry. 
Plato's own phdosophy has another character: he was rather a 
politiciaii, a metaphysician and a logician than a simple moralist. 
He set perfection above mere virtue, and even despised the 
traditional virtue of the common citizen, which was the starting- 
point of Socratic ethics,"* The distinction which Lutoslawski here 
draws is not of importance for onr present discussion. Whether it 
is perfection or the ethical standard of the common man, it is the 
norm in which both Socrat^ and Plato were interested] and their 
attitude is therefore not naturalistic but ethical iu the wider 
rationalized sense of the word* Ritter also writes: "It can readily 
be seen from the account which this dialogue [PatttKttides] gives 
that Plato, from the time he began to transcend the individual 
experiences and to seek to ground them in universal concepts, did 
not at first care to demand originals for the concrete objects. He 
began with the concepts of form and value:—^these above all 
appeared to him to be incontestably rightly fonned—^d the 
dispute about the concepts of moral values was to him, as a 
ihsciple of Socrates, of the greatest importance and its clarifica¬ 
tion the most pressing need."* That is w hy in many of the earlier 
dialogues there are no ideas {univcrsals] of material and evil 
things. Neither in the Phaedrus.i nor even in the Phacdo* does 
Plato show interest in them. Even in the RepuMic Plato does not 
discuss them; the Ideas of material things are admitted only in the 
the Xth Book. Frazer therefore rightly concludes that Plato did 
not start the Ideal theory as a means of explaining all our general 
notions, "i 

Plato’s Ideas are therefore forms and values. And forms were 
\-aIues. The nature of a thing can be understood from a normal 
conception of it; and the normal conception thus becomes the 

* Origtti Grau'fA q/ LogiCf p. 

* TMr tj/ P/uto'i p. 150. 

3 Piaio'i Idtal Tkfory, p. p, 


i p, 51, 


norm or ideal. This is the view reached by Plato in his Statesman. 
But the norm again supplies the truth of the object; for what the 
object truly is can be known only through its normal conception. 
Further, the Idea is being also. Plato's starting point is his dis^ 
satisfaction with the relativity of knowledge gained through sense 
experience. The objects of sense perception are changing and are 
relative to the percipient, whereas the universals do not change 
and are common to all percipients. What a thing truly is can be 
known only when it is abstracted from the relativity of sense 
perception. In truth, a thing therefore is the universal and the 
universal is the object of reason. Consequently, the univer^ alone 
has being; the particular partakes of nombcing in so far as it is 
vitiated by relativity and change. 

As the being of an object is its Idea, the Idea is therefore self* 
subsistent. It is a substance, for substance is what subsists by 
itself and is permanent.' Thus the Idea is the unconditioned 
reality;* and as an Ideal, it is the absolutely existing substance.i 
Thus Idea, Ideal, value, form, univeisai. Being, Substanoe, 
Truth, and Reality become identical in Plato's philosophy. 

The Idea is stable and eternal. It is the perfection and com¬ 
pletion of what is actual. The actual strives to complete itself 
and so to become the Ideal. The Ideal or Idea thus becomes 
dsmamic, though itself belongs to the realm of static Being, It is 
a final cause. Causation, therefore, in Plato's philosophy, is not a 
horizontal process, in W'hich one actual thing acts upon another 
actual thing, but a vertical proccs, in w'hich each actual thing 
strives to realize its Idea. 

But the realm of Ideas is not a realm of isolated entities. Ideas 
are related to each other as parts of a whole.* But how are we to 
establish the interconnections between the Ideas? Windelband 
says that our knowledge of the systematic connection and order 
in the realm of Ideas is obscure.! For Plato, the Idea of the Good 
is the highest all-embracing Idea: it realizes all the rest in itself. 
But its content is not clear. It is the final cause of everything, the 
absolute end of all reality. The world of Ideas as a whole, a