Will in Sanskrit

Will Rasmussen will.rasmussen at KCL.AC.UK
Fri May 9 10:30:37 UTC 2008

On 9 May 2008, at 06:59, NAYAK Anand wrote:

> What is "will" (as in "will-power" "faculties of intelligence and
> will"...)in Sanskrit? Does the Indian psychology admit such a
> faculty in man?  Can anyone help?

This interesting question illustrates the challenges entailed in comparing
concepts across systems of thought/philosophical traditions. So, here is
just a thought. 

As a parallel in the tradition of Nyaaya-Vai"se.sika for 'will' conceived of
as an individual's capacity for purposive conation, see the treatment of
prayatna ('effort')  as one of the gu.nas of the aatman. E.g. Nyaaya Suutra
& comm. on 1.1.10; also Vaatsyaayana's comments on 2.1.26 (2.1.27 in some
editions). But if the query is in regard to notions of 'free will' etc.,
then Vaatsyaayana's comment on 2.1.29 (2.1.30 in some editions) demands our
consideration of their doctrine of ad.r.s.ta (accumulated dharma and

See also Siddhaanta-muktaavalii 149-51 for an extended discussion about
kinds, conditions and causes of prayatna.

Best wishes,



Dr Will Rasmussen
Matilal Lecturer in Indian Philosophy
Department of Philosophy
King's College London
160 The Strand, London WC2R 2LS
Tel: 020 7848 2757
Email: will.rasmussen at kcl.ac.uk

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