Living and Dead Systems

nanda chandran vpcnk at HOTMAIL.COM
Sat May 22 09:28:18 UTC 1999

Indeed history seems to support the claim that after the advent of VedAnta,
the rest of the philosophical systems in their formal forms did disappear.
Again as Vidya pointed out, they do survive in some form of VedAnta or the

But then wasn't there was a revival of SAmkhya by VijnAna Bhikshu, much
later than the great AchAryas of VedAnta? Wonder why that never took off?

Is it that, the different schools of VedAnta themselves, have all the
variety to offer both in terms of religion and philosophy? And also enjoy
greater support of the shruti.

And when one thinks of it, VedAnta has more to offer to the common man as a
religion, than any of the other schools. What I mean is  - atoms, prAkriti,
gunAs etc is hardly of interest to the common man. It may be of
philosophical interest, but can hardly provide an inspiring religion.

Taking it further, how many smArthas really know Advaitam? Even if they know
of it, how many would care to understand it in its essence? The same  would
apply to other schools of VedAnta too. Most of the followers are for most
part only into bhakti, with only a very basic idea of the underlying
philosophy. And it's enough to satisfy the religious needs of most.

Philosophy is only for scholars. And in all probability, the ancient schools
existed only amongst such circles (predominently the brAhmanic circle), with
no popular following from the common people. Any such following of a guru,
probably had more to do with his religious personality, than his philosophy.

And after the invasions etc when  survival had replaced philosophy in
priority, only those philosophies truly connected with the religion of the
land, survived - VedAnta.

Ofcourse, there're a lot of probables - I'm just speculating :-)

So how do we revive the schools?

Probably hit the nyAya-vaishesika or the sAmkhya-yoga manuals for a few
years - enhance it with modern scientific knowledge - then turn up at a
VedAnta matham and challenge the residing AchArya to a debate :-)
Or probably go to Udupi for the occasion which Prof Hebbar mentioned and
debate. Might stir up a bit of an interest.

Maybe it's the culture to debate which has to be encouraged. Ofcourse, even
in Indian TV, we can see the natural inclination of the people towards it -
in the patti mandrams or in the aap ki adAlat etc Plus if the younger
generations are also exposed to this, one can never say what one might come
up with. The spiritual would go towards the MImAmsA - the scientific towards
nyAya-vaishesika - and the practical - SAmkhya-Yoga!

When you're waiting for the system to come up at 2:30 in the morning, so you
can finish your work and go home - wierder thoughts arise!

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