Dialogue April-June, 2012, Volume 13 No. 4
Indian Philosophy in Post-Independence Era
This article attempts to provide a picture of post-colonial Indian scholarship in philosophy: its achievements, status and linkages. About nine decades ago Surendranath Dasgupta, while writing five volumes of A History of Indian Philosophy (Cambridge) said: "The great sages of India, for the first time in history, formulated the true principles of freedom. They devoted themselves to the quest of truth and the final assessment and discovery of the ultimate spiritual essence of man through their concrete lives, critical thought, dominant will and self-denial". Today, in the second decade of the twenty-first century, we are the inheritors of that tradition. We are to take it with great pride and hand it over to the future generation with required modifications.
Usually one comes across a casual remark that nothing substantial (or original) has been produced during post-colonial or independent India. Such remarks are, themselves, a product of colonial mind. One may right away discuss the term ‘substantial’ or ‘original’. What is meant by substantial? Substance as a noun stands for that in which qualities or attributes exist. It may mean the principal part, the gist, the subject-matter, the ground, body, property and the like. The adjective ‘substantial’ stands for having substance, being a substance, essential, corporeal, enduring, considerable etc. When we view the current phase of scholarship, we must have in mind the entire Indian heritage as the background. Scholarship in Indian philosophical tradition has been substantial and enduring. Post-independence Indian philosophy is, mainly, the product of a rich heritage in the light of global developments.
This is true of the colonial Indian philosophy as well. Likewise, the term ‘original’ stands for existing from the beginning, being such from the beginning, standing in relation to source etc. The general approach of Indian philosophy has been its connectivity with the ancient and basic understanding. All the six systems of Vedic philosophy owe their allegiance to the Vedas. We do not wish to write anything that is not so grounded: na’mulam likhyate kincid. In another sense, the original being is upward: urdhvamulam adhah shakham’ (Bhagavadgita, XV,1.). The essence or the spirit of Indian philosophy is not phenomena1, it is spiritual (adhyatmika). And the post-independence scholarship in Indian philosophy is, by and large, connected with spiritualism. Hence it is nothing but original. To take the term ‘original’ in the sense of de novo may lead us to the point of ex nihilo, which is not very meaningful in Indian context.
For the sake of convenience and better understanding, we may divide the matter in three chronological sections. The first section may be called the parentage. This may include the span of the colonial era, the Raj, which begins in 1858 and ends before the turn of the second quarter of the twentieth century. Scholars born in nineteenth century and publications before Independence will come under this category. The second section will concentrate on scholars who flourished in the third quarter of the century. This may be treated as the first generation post-colonial scholars. Likewise, the third section will deal with scholars who flourished in the last quarter of the last century. This, obviously, will be the second-generation scholarship. This section will also cover the scholarship of the twenty-first century.
It may not be out of place to tell few words about the limitations in the context. The topic is such that we may write volumes on it and yet that will transcend the limits of printed pages (it is like ananta shastram bahu veditavyam...). It is more so because we shall be dealing with ever-growing and expanding horizons. Within few pages of a periodical only few things can be said. Some one has said that what cannot be said must not be said. Here it is the other way round. What can be said cannot be said because of the limitation of space and time. There are personal limitations as well. One cannot claim omniscience. There might be many young and old scholars whose names will not figure in the coming pages. But this is not because of any disrespect to seniors or lack of love to youngers. It is simply because of the uncompassing nature of the subject-matter.
For a good understanding of the colonial Indian philosophy one may refer to a recent publication entitled Indian Philosophy in English – From Renaissance to Independence (Oxford, 2011) edited by Nalini Bhushan and J.L. Garfield. In about 650 pages it discusses major points from renaissance ( the transition from the middle ages in Europe to the modern world; from 1400 t0 1600 A.D.) to the end of the colonial period in Indian philosophy. It acknowledges the edited works of the writer in four volumes under the title Facets of Recent Indian Philosophy (I.C.P.R. publications, 1994, 96, 96, 98) in English. A very notable philosopher of India (Daya Krishna) has remarked in the context of the colonial period, "Anybody who is writing in English is not an Indian philosopher..." The Anglophone Indian intellectuals could not present authentic Indian philosophy is the view of several other persons as well. For them groundings in Sanskrit (and/or Prakrit & Pali) are prerequisites for a scholar of Indian philosophy. This view may not be absolutely correct. It is a fact that after Thomas Macaulay’s 1835 ‘Minutes on Education’ English became the medium of instruction in Indian education and Protestant missionary professors took charge of teaching of philosophy in Indian colleges and universities. Philosophy was central to the renaissance. It ignited the idea of freedom movement. Sri Aurobindo, in his noted publication, The Renaissance in India (1918), depicts the Indian renaissance as ‘reawakening.’ Philosophers were contributing theoretical foundations to a public political struggle. They were also theorising the role of philosophy in that struggle and were reflecting on the meaning of that struggle for philosophy as a practice. The colonial philosophers were creative, authentic and global in their approach. Post-colonial developments in philosophy are rooted in the colonial era. A good number of them were the teachers who trained the best Indian scholars of the post-Independence period. They forged a new Indian philosophical tradition to which contemporary Indian and global philosophy are indebted.
A couple of thinkers of this period were public figures. Tagore and Gandhi are the most prominent among them. Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941) emphasises an international understanding of culture. In one of his early writings, Radhakrishnan admired Tagore’s ‘wholeness of vision which cannot tolerate any absolute division between body and mind, matter and life.’ (cf. The Philosophy of R. Tagore, 1918). Mahatma Gandhi (1869-1948) crafts a distinctive philosophical politics for the Indian nation in its struggle for freedom. He argues that political freedom is genuinely possible only when individuals are free and have mastery over themselves. In his Hind Swaraj (1909) he opposed evil aspects of Western civilization and pleaded for self (or home) rule in India. This he wanted only through non-violent means (which included non-cooperation). But he was not blind to good ideas from outside world. In Young India (26.6.1924) he writes: "My Swaraj is to keep intact the genius of our civilization. I want to write many new things but they must all be written on the Indian slate. I would gladly borrow from the West when I can return the amount with decent interest."
The foundation of the Indian Institute of Philosophy at Amalner (Khandesh, Maharashtra) in 1916, the formation and the first meeting of the Indian Philosophical Association at Kolhapur in May 1917, and the publication of the first number of the Indian Philosophical Review (in July, 1917) mark the coming of age of academic philosophy in the colonial India.
The colonial Indian philosophy was mainly concerned with idealism and developed neo-Vedantism in order to provide more room for the living world in the scheme. It tried to answer the charges labelled by Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965) in his book Indian Thought and Its Development ( 1936) that Indian philosophy is life-and-world-negating. The impression that Schweitzer got is mainly from the Upanisadic understanding of the French scholar Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860). Prof. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan in his book Eastern Religions and Western Thought (1939) holds that the distinction that Hindu thought is world-and-life-negating and Christian thought is world-and-life-affirming cannot be historically sustained. The contrast is really between religion and a self-sufficient humanism.
It will be meaningful to distinguish here between the British colonial understanding of Indian philosophy and the French colonial understanding. Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) may be treated as the representative of the latter. He was an idealistic philosopher who developed integral Advaitism in which matter and consciousness were participants. In his understanding of the Real he found two-way movement of Reality – upwards (evolutionary, ascending) and downwards (involutionary, descending). This movement is between matter and existence through life, psyche, mind, supermind, bliss and consciousness. Sri Aurobindo rejected the denial of the spirit by the materialist and the denial of the matter by the ascetic. Ignorance (avidya), for him, is a stage in our knowing the real. He preferred the metaphor of lila to maya for explaining the Real. In a way he brings down the Brahman to earth in his Lilavada. He also developed integral Yoga which connects us with God by widening, hightening and integrating. He strongly believed that to commune with the universal energy man must, through the process of yoga, transcend individual consciousness and bathe in the Bliss. Of many scholars of the colonial period, he was the one who took active part in radical movement against the British Rule. Sri Aurobindo was born on 15th of August. His followers strongly hold that it was not a sheer coincidence that India achieved Freedom on this very date. It was the divine spirit of Sri Aurobindo that facilitated this event.
K.C. Bhattacharyya is one of the foremost of the second category, namely, the British colonial philosophy. Krishna Chandra (1875-1949), for many, is the greatest systematic metaphysician of modern India. He has developed Vedantic ideas in the light of German thinkers like Kant and Hegel. For him philosophy is the expression of theoretic consciousness. In his celebrated treatise The Subject as Freedom (1930) he works out his spiritual psychology. For him the Self or Subject is freedom or free-function. The introspective subjectivity is freedom itself. Although he has written almost on all the schools of Indian philosophy, in his tract on Jaina theory of Anekanta (pub. in 1925) he tries to show that neither the category of identity nor that of difference can be regarded as fundamental in philosophy, that the alternation of identity and difference is more satisfactory conception than either pure identity or pure difference, and that a new interpretation of Anekanta theory is possible in the light of alternation. He holds that togetherness is its fundamental category. We have two modes of togetherness – differentiated and undifferentiated. The Jainas call them kramarpana (consequtive presentation) and saharpana (copresentation) respectively. The category of indetermination has been developed into seven alternative modes of truth. Thus it represents toleration of many modes of truth. Anekanta has been thoroughly discussed in post-colonial scholarship and is one of the grounds for secular democracy and composite culture.
K.C. Bhattacharyya’s Swaraj in Ideas’ (1929) is well known in the context of ‘reawakening’. It advocates independence and autonomy of thought. The talks given by him at Hooghly College to his students were published in the Visva Bharati Journal, Vol. XX, 1954; pp. 108-14; also pub. in Indian Philosophical Quarterly, (Pune) Vo. XI(4), 1984). While talking to his students he worries about the English language and the Western tradition being taught through it. He expresses his concern as to how Indian philosophy could be placed in a global discipline. He writes: "There is cultural subjection only when one’s traditional cast of ideas and sentiments is superseded without comparison or competition by a new cast representing an alien culture which possesses one like a ghost. This subjection is slavery of spirit. When a person can shake himself free from it, he feels as though the scales fell from his eyes. He experiences a rebirth and that is what I call svaraj in ideas."
Dr. Bhagawan Das (1869-1958), an educationist and active member of the Indian National Congress (INC) and the Theosophical Society, was concerned about various meanings and misunderstandings regarding the concept of Swaraj. He, in 1921, wrote a position paper entitled The Meaning of Swaraj or Self-government, for a meeting of the I.N.C. in which he tries to clarify the meaning of this much-debated term. He writes: "Swaraj means ‘Self-government’. But there are two selves in every individual, as well as in every Society or Nation: a higher self and a lower self; a selfish self and an altruistic self; the element of virtue and the element of vice. Government by the higher self only is true self-government". And in a theosophic spirit he concludes that he believes that reconciliation is the only great way for self-government in all possible realms. He write: "If this is done by means of wise legislation, which will reconcile the ‘I’ and the ‘we’ that both exist in each human being, the elements of competition and of co-operation that are both indispensable, the individualistic initiative and the socialist regulation that are both equally needed for communal health and prosperity; if this is done by means of just and righteous legislation through wisely elected spiritual-minded legislators, then that, for centuries, will be sufficient and true Swaraj". His notable work is The Essential Unity of All Religions (1939), virtually the text-book of Theosophy.
R.D. Ranade (1886-1957) had a great reputation as scholar, philosopher, mystic and author. His well known book A Contructive Survey of Upanisahadic Philosophy (1927) presented the glory of the Upanishads in the totality of content. He also tried to remove the charge of pessimism on Indian philosophy by western scholars, especially Lord Ronaldshay. The last work completed by him during his life time is Bhagavadgita As a Philosophy of God-Realisation (1959). It is his crowning contribution to religio-philosophical literature. The publication of his posthumous work in 1970, entitled Vedanta - The Culmination of Indian Thought (1970) shows that Self-realisation is liberation which combines Yoga and Bhakti. He finds Badarayana as a great reconciler. He especially notes the view of Badarayana regarding one sovereign (ekarat) and finds that the Vedic concept of svarajyam vairajyam is much better than that of the Platonic philosopher King (as found in The Republic). For him the ideal of Badarayana, the overlord of all, suffers no compeer (ananyadhipatih).
Anukul Chandra Mukerji (1888-1968), rightly called ‘The Plato of Allahabad’, specialized in epistemology. In his famous book The Nature of Self (1938) he deploys the insights of British neo-Hegelians, such as Caird and Greene, to regain insights into Sankara’s account of absolute consciousness.
Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1888-1975) developed neo-Vedantism in the light of global understanding of Absolutism. For him the world is an appearance of Reality, but not an illusion. His basic interest was philosophy of religion. He also encouraged the development of Comparative Philosophy which opens a dialogue between East and West. The East-West Centre at Hawaii (USA) owes a great deal to S. Radhakrishnan. In his An Idealist View of Life (1932) he distinguishes between intellect and intuition. Intellect is partial and formal. Intuition establishes identity between the subject and the object. It is integral experience. Reason is higher than intellect. It tries to unite things that are different. It is synthetic whereas intellect is analytical. Idealism is here more akin to ideal in the sense of ethical value. He says: "An idealist view of life only contends that the universe has meaning, has value. Ideal values are dynamic forces; they are the driving power of the universe. His The Hindu View of Life (1927) is a short but authentic expression of the subject. To the West religion in India tends to appear as a rich and baffling tangle of myths and worship of gods in countless forms. But underlying the complexity is a system of unifying beliefs that have guided the Indians for thousands of years, and provided inspiration for many other oriental peoples. These are set forth in the book with ease by the author.
Rasvihary Das (1897-1976) spent quarter of a century at Amalner before coming to Calcutta. With confidence in reason he shares Kant’s qualified skepticism regarding ultimates of truth. With his conservative ethics and realistic epistemology he had a distrust for the Vedantic notion of maya. His books entitled The Essentials of Advaitism and Sankara and Modern Idealism are well-known.
Jiddu Krishnamurti (1895-1986), associated for some time with Theosophical Soociety, is one of the most articulate thinkers of this era and is globally known. He advocates for complete human freedom which is possible if one is not bound by the tradition. In this context he acts like the Buddha. A sort of thoughtlessness is required for a fresh take off of the mind. Our consciousness, for him, is not individual; it is cosmic. He says, "You are the world". His Commentaries on Living present his basic thoughts. For several people he is the ‘God of Love’, to some he is Nagarjuna, and for many he is a great spiritual teacher free from sectarian inhibitions. Rajanish (Osho) of post-colonial period owes a lot to Krishnamurti’s thought.
Dhirendra Mohan Datta (1898-1974) of Patna was a student of K.C. Bhattacharyya and followed Gandhi. His small book on The Philosophy of Mahatma Gandhi (1953) is widely read. His The Six Ways of Knowing (1932) established him as an impeccable scholar in Indian philosophy. He considers semantic analysis a necessary prerequisite to philosophical argument, and the discovery of categories the most important philosophical activities. He is also known for his book The Chief Currents of Contemporary Philosophy (1950).
No account of the yesterday of Indian philosophy will be even near-completion without a reference to the publication of five volumes of A History of Indian Philosophy by Surendranath Dasgupta (1885-1952) in 1922. The Sanskrit scholarship of Dasgupta found a great scope in presenting authentic assessment of various schools of Indian philosophy (and religion). It is still a classic for the students of Indian philosophy. His works on Yoga, namely, A Study of Patanjali and Yoga Philosophy in Relation to Other Systems of Indian Thought are also read with admiration.
In 1858 the British Parliament took over the control of India from East India Company and the Raj (British) was established. It took nine decades for the country to get Swaraj (Hind) in 1947. After Independence, under the stewardship of Jawaharlal Nehru, and due to international obligations, Panchashila of Buddhism got a political dimension and Buddhist Studies got incentive in the country. Dr. B.R. Ambedkar also approved this move. Sarnath, Nalanda and Bodhagaya got importance. After the exodus of Tibetans, the Union Govt. established The Central Institute for Tibetan Studies at Sarnath. Under the directorship of S. Rinpoche, a number of Mahayana texts were edited, translated and published. Narendra Deva (see his Bauddha Dharma Darshan;1956), G.C. Pandey, R.C. Pandey, K. Venkata Ramanan, A.K. Chatterjee, Jagannatha Upadhyaya, Mahesh Tiwari, Radhey Shyam Dhar Dwivedi, H.S. Prasad, Pradeep Kumar Gokhale, Mangala Chinchore are some of the noted Buddhist scholars of yesterday and today.
Soon after, Gandhian Studies were also promoted. The Gujarat Vidyapith at Ahmedabad became the major academic centre for such programmes. Several Depts. of Gandhian Studies and Gandhi Centres were started in a number of universities, Dr. Ramji Singh (b.1931; Bhagalpur) , R.C. Pradhan (Delhi) are good scholars in this area.
In 1950, Prof. D.M. Datta (1898-1974) made a remark that contemporary Indian philosophy is either a product of pure Western effect or a peculiar extension of European philosophy on this land ( cf. his Chief Currents of Contemporary Philosophy, Calcutta, 1950; pp.123-24). This view is partial and has severally been controverted during the post-colonial period.
The Indian Philosophical Congress (estd. 1925) is one organization which encompasses, by and large, the developments of Indian philosophy in English from colonial period to this date. During its Silver Jubilee year (in 1950), to commemorate this event the Indian Institute of Philosophy (Amalner) convened a symposium (II) on the question, "Has Sri Aurobindo Refuted Mayavada?" This was a significant event in the recent history of Indian philosophy. I consider the text of the symposium as The New Testament of post-Independence Indian philosophy by four apostles, namely, Indra Sen, N.A. Nikam, Haridas Chaudhuri and G.R. Malkani.
It is a fact that in philosophy no theory is refuted for good. After any formidable refutation the adherents of the theory come with fresh zeal and defend the principle.Thus the tradition grows. This is the case with Mayavada as well. Sankara’s Maya theory was refuted by Ramanuja and other Vaisnava scholars centuries ago but it still is a very important current of thought in India. In the outside world Advaitism is known as the representative philosophy of this country.
Indra Sen (1903-94), a devout resident of Sri Aurobindo Ashram at Pondicherry, maintains in the symposium-paper that in the Lilavada of Sri Aurobindo Mayavada tends to become a Sattavada and gets refuted incidentally. In his Life Divine (1949) Sri Aurobindo developed integral or concrete absolutism presenting a unification of Spirit and Matter. On the basis of the logic of the Infinite Sri Aurobindo holds that at the level of the Supermind we experience the unity of the saguna and nirguna.
Prof. N.A. Nikam (1903-74) of Mysore distinguishes between the Appearance-theory of Sankara and the Manifestation-theory of Sri Aurobindo. He notes the distinction made by Sri Aurobindo of Maya as measuring, limiting and illusion or cunning. As per Sri Aurobindo it is in the second sense that the term Maya is used in Mayavada. Nikam points out to an original ignorance in the philosophy of the Life Divine as in Mayavada which is the cause of phenomenal multiplicity. The dichotomy of two logics in Sri Aurobindo is such that it leaves Mayavada unrefuted.
Haridas Chaudhuri (1913-75) of Calcutta holds that Mayavada embodies a very deep spiritual insight into the nature of ultimate reality and its conclusive refutation is not possible. It has been transcended and sublated in Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy. He pleads that the dichotomy is reconciled in the harmony of an inclusive unity, the supracosmic silence.
G. R. Malkani (1892-1977), the permanent director of the Indian Institute of Philosophy at Amalner, as an adament rationalist, bluntly says that Sri Aurobindo has not refuted Mayavada. According to him two experience of saguna and nirguna cannot be reconciled in order to constitute a single experience. For him, and for Sankara, truth is one and indivisible. The so-called logic of the Infinite cannot annul the law of non-contradiction. For him Mayavavda offers the purest form of monism there can be and does not entail any kind of ultimate dualism. Philosophy of Self (1939) and Metaphysics of Advaita (1961) are some of the other important publications of Malkani.
Is this symposium not a continuation of the centuries-long debate on the issue? For an example we can refer to the refutation of Maya theory by Vedanta Desika (1268-1369) in his Sata-dusani and its refutation by N.S. Anantakrishna Sastri (fl. 1946) in his Sata-bhusani. R.S. Mishra, Madhusudan Reddy, U.C. Dubey and A.K. Sigh are some of the good followers of Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy.
Mahapandit Rahula Sankrityayana, (Kedar Pandey, 1893-1963), was a versatile scholar. His Darshan Digdarshan (Hindi) is a socialistic understanding of Indian thought. He could find out rare manuscripts of Buddhism in Central Asia and got many of them translated into Sanskrit.
Manavendra Nath Roy (earlier name Narendra Nath Bhattacharya, 1887-1954) was a radical humanist and an advocate of total human freedom and dignity and editor of a weekly called Radical Humanist. He firmly believed that any social or political revolution must necessarily be grounded in a cultural (philosophical and spiritual) revolution. He advocated for democracy grounded in morality. His books, Reason, Romanticism and Revolution (1952) and New Humanism (1981) are notable.
The revised Second and Enlarged edition of Contemporary Indian Philosophy, ed. by Radhakrishnan and J.H. Muirhead, published in 1952 marks the transition from the colonial to the post-colonial period of Indian philosophy. Its First Edition (1936) included fourteen thinkers, namely, Gandhi, Tagore, Swami Abhedananda, K.C. Bhattaacharyya, G.C. Chatterji, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Bhagavan Das, S.N. Dasgupta, Hiralal Haldar, M. Hiriyanna, S. Radhakrishnan, R.D. Ranade, V. Subrahmanya Iyer and A.R. Wadia. The Second Edition added eleven more scholars, namely, Haridas Bhattacharyya, N.G. Damle, Rasvihary Das, D.M. Datta, Humayun Kabir, S.K. Maitra, G.R. Malkani, A.C. Mukerji, T.R.V. Murti, P.T. Raju and M.M. Sharif. The total of twenty-five essays included in the volume fall under two groups. One, those in which the writer devotes himself chiefly to the exposition of the Vedic tradition as he has comprehended it and made it the basis of his own life’s work; two, those in which the writer, while remaining true to the spirit of the tradition, has sought to give new interpretations of it, either by instituting comparisons of it with the Western doctrines closely allied to it or by treating of the modern problems in a way which, though suggested by what he has learnt from the West, is yet stamped with the mark of his own racial sympathy.
The establishment of the Akhila Bharatiya Darshan Parishad (All India Philosophy Association) marks a new phase in post-Independence Indian philosophy. Sri Yashdeva Shalya was the main figure behind the formation of this organisation. The avowed aim of this organization was to promote original thinking in philosophy through Hindi. Hindi, we may note, was a major carrier of the idea of Independence movement. With this end in view, the Introductory issue of Darshanik (Traimasika) was published in 1954 and the Parishad could hold its first session in 1956 at Allahabad. The Traimasika continues. So far this Parishad has published thirty-five books, including Samakalin Bharatiya Darshan (1962), edited by K. Satchidananda Murty. It include ten essays on the subject by Sampurnananda, N.S. Dravid, B.G. Tiwari, S.L. Pandey, Rajendra Prasad, R.K. Tripathi, S.S. Barlingay, J.R.L.S Narain Murty, Chandra Shekhar Rao and K.S. Murty.
Under a scheme of the U.G.C., in 1964, three Centres of Advance Study in Philosophy were established at Varanasi, Madras and Vishwa Bharati. A good number of seminars were held and proceedings published. The Anvikshiki of B.H.U. still continues, although financial support from the U.G.C. was stopped long back.
This section, as mentioned earlier, will deal with scholars who flourished during the last quarter of the twentieth century. It will also cover the twelve-year period of the present century. I begin the section with Prof. Murti who was a teacher of mine at Varansi in early sixties.
T.R.V. Murti (1902-1986), in his Central Philosophy of Buddhism (1955) deals competently with the Madhyamika Dialectic. For him Buddhism is one of the boldest and fruitful experiences in spiritual realisations. He describes Buddhism as ‘Hinduism meant for export.’ Venkatachala Murti is one of the few modern thinkers who were well-versed in traditional and modern scholarship. In a way he was a pioneer and bridge-builder between tradition and modernity, between East and West. He was an authoritative spokesman of Vedanta, although he has not written much on it. But mention must be made of his presentation of Ajnana (1933) along with G.R. Malkani and Rasvihary Das. It is a classic by itself. He has made rare contribution to the Indian Philosophy of Language. He has pointed out that Indian philosophy has a very significant role to play in the debate that is going on among the philosophers of language today. In his Presidential address to the Chandigarh session of the Indian Philosophical Congress (1963) entitled, ‘Some Thoughts on the Indian Philosophy of Language’ (cf., Facets of Recent Indian Philosophy, ed., Dubey, S.P., Vol. 3, pp.289-310 , he shows that thinking on language is the main task of philosophy today. For him the philosophy of language is not one aspect or branch of philosophy, but is all of philosophy. It is only when we realise this fact that Indian philosophy can be revitalised and developed. Prof. Harold Coward (of Calgary, Canada) has rightly remarked that "Murti’s genius was that he saw this debate coming and exerted his leadership to get Indian Philosophy on board....The debate of the past two decades suggests that Murti was right’ (see, his paper ‘T.R.V. Murti’s Contribution to the Philosophy of Language’ in Anvikshiki, B.H.U., Varanasi, 1987, pp. 16-33.
It is obvious that when K.M. Panikkar made the remark in his The Foundations of New India (London, 1963) that none of the Indian universities could produce such a philosopher who has a distinct contribution to the traditional thought-process or to modern thought he could not have come in contact with T.R.V. Murti. Murti’s this one paper is sufficient to rebut Panikkar.
Among others, Humayun Kabir (1906-1969) worked for an universal outlook and a harmonious blending of tradition and progress in philosophy. P.T. Raju (1903-93) presents a sharp and enlightened interpretation of the Indian tradition (cf., his Idealistic Thought of India, 1953). T.M.P. Mahadevan (1911-83), in his Gaudapada, a Study in Early Advaita, criticizes the charges of Pt. Vidhushekhar Bhattacharya that the grand-teacher Sankara has grossly borrowed from the Madhyamika Karikas of Nagarjuna. He holds that the terminology used by Gaudapada is not the monopoly of Buddhism. The seminal terms used by Gaudapada are the property of the common tradition. He has also written another important book entitled The Philosophy of Advaita (1957). He is also known for his popular work Outlines of Hinduism (1956). His Time and Timeless makes a masterly survey of the problem of time from the standpoint of Vedanta.
Nand Kishore Devaraja (1917-99) is known for his thoughts on creative humanism. He was an advocate of analysis of culture so as to be creative. His works An Introduction to Sankara’s Theory of Knowledge (1962) and The Philosophy of Culture (1963) are better-known. He was an advocate of human freedom so that man could be creative and creator of values. His ideas regarding humanism find expression in his Humanism in Indian Thought (1988). Of late he was busy in writing on ‘disagreements’ which finds development in his work The Limits of Disagreement (1993).
R.K. Tripathi ( 1918 -1981) of Varanasi was a devout student of T.R.V. Murti at B.H.U.. He had major interest in Vedanta, specially its spirituality, and was called the living embodiment of Vedantic spirituality. He defined spirituality as a ‘method of trying to attain permanent peace by tackling the problem of ego. For him spirituality is only a method or a path, not a goal. It is a discipline or a way of life to realise the goal – inner peace, tranquility. His major work is Spinoza in the light of Vedanta, BHU, 1958. Problems of Philosophy and Religion ( B.H.U., 1971) includes his periodical essays.
Surendra Sadashiva Barlingay (1919-1997) wrote in English, Hindi and Marathi. He is known for his book, A Modern Introduction to Indian Logic (1965). Here he presents Indian logic (especially inference) to the reader by using the apparatus of symbolic logic. He had insights in aesthetics as well. He clearly makes distinction between distinguishables and separables. He developed his own conception of philosophy. For him philosophy is an apex intellectual exercise. But it is also an action and analysis of ordinary language (geni-analysis). His other notable works are, A Modern Introduction to Indian Ethics (1997) and Reunderstanding Indian Philosophy (1998).
Chandra Dhar Sharma (31.1.1920-28.2.2004) of Jabalpur has a very significant work in Dialectics of Buddhism and Vedanta. His Indian Philosophy (1952) is a scholarly presentation of different schools of Indian philosophy. Its Hindi version, revised and modified from his pen, appeared in 1990.
Narayanashastri Dravid (1923-2010) of Nagpur/New Zealand, was an expert in Indian logic and Vedanta. He was treated as a formidable scholar of Neo-logic (navya-nyaya). His work Pakshata – the Nature of the Inferential Locus (2007) is well taken. He refuted criticisms from Western scholars on Indian philosophy in an admirable manner.
Govind Chandra Pandey (1923-2011) was a scholar in different areas like Indology, history, culture, art, philosophy, poetics and aesthetics. His philosophical wriings include Mulya Mimamsa, Sankaracharya – Vichara aur Sandesh, Saundarya-darshan-vimarsha (1995). His work on Buddhism, entitled, Bauddha Dharma ke Vikas ka Itihasa (1963) is widely read. Simlarly K. Satchidananda Murty (1924-2011) is a versetile scholar of philosophy. His first book on Bhagavadgita (in Telugu) was published in 1941. Basically, he is a realistic Vedantin. His Reason and Revelation in Advaita Vedanta (1959) is a critical appraisal of Advaita. Some of his other works are, Studies in the Problems of Peace (1960), The Realm of Between (1974), Advaitic Notion ((1985), Philosophy in India (1991) and Vedic Hermeneutics (1993).
Daya Krishna (1924-2007) is one of the most original thinkers of post-Independence Indian philosophy. He has been an acknowledged doyen among the living philosophers of India. He raises fundamental question regarding philosophy and creates forms of thought between the already thought and unthought of. He finds himself in difficulty when he faces two different (and opposed) developments of the Vedic tradition by Jaimini and Badarayana claiming faithful followers of the same Shruti texts. His work, The Nature of Philosophy (1955) exhibits his genius. His questions on purushartha, apoha and anekanta have stimulated long debates in India and abroad. As the editor of the Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research he has given shape to many thoughts and has shaped several young scholars in philosophy. His books New Perspectives of Indian Philosophy ((2001), Discussions and Debates in Indian Philosophy (2005), Indian Philosophy – A Counter Perspective (2006) and Development of Indian Philosophy from 18th Century Onwards (2002, as Vol. X of Chattopadhyaya’s Project) are commendable.
Rajendra Prasad (1926-), during his teaching career, was at Patna and IIT, Kanpur. His publications include Regularity, Normativity and Rules of Lnguage and Darshan Shastra ki Roop-rekha (in Hindi), Karma, Causation and Retributive Morality (Conceptual Essays in Ethics and metaphysics, I.C.P.R., 2004).
Yashadeva Shalya (b.1928), earlier interested in Hindi literature, got involved in philosophy and started the Hindi Quarterly Darshanika in 1954. Shortly after, The Akhla Bharatiya Darshan Parishad was formed and he, along with some of his friends, produced a good number of standard books in Hindi. He, in his early career, denied speculative metaphysics and, under the Buddhist impact, got inclined towards positivism. He has very deeply analysed, in his Vishaya aur Atm (1972), the creativity of the subject (Self or consciousness). He concentrated on philosophical analysis (in his Darshanika Vishleshana, 1960) and developed creative humanism. He is the editor of half-yearly Unmilan (in Hindi) which he claims to be a philosophical periodical of mental Hind Svaraj.
Sangamlal Pandey (1928-2002) developed depth-epistemology of Allahabad school. He has been, basically, an Advaitin but of socialistic flavour. His works on pre-Sankara Advaita and the Advaitic tradition are read with great interest.
Ramchandra Gandhi (1937-2007), grandson of Mahatma Gandhi (and C. Rajagopalachari), to some, was the most remarkable thinker of recent India. He earned his doctorate from the University of Delhi on Whitehead’s Theory of Knowledge. He has been a dynamic (as well mobile) scholar moving from Vishva Bharati to Jaipur and Hyderabad and so on. His book I am Thou (Pune, 1983; pp. 311) is a notable work related to Ramana Maharshi. He has edited the title Language, Tradition and Modern Civilization (Pune). Availability of Religious Ideas, Presuppositions of Human Communication, Svaraj, and Sita’s Kitchen are some of his other works.
Pratap Chandra (1938-1991), a scholar of Buddhism, is the author of The Metaphysics of Perpetual Change (1978) and The Hindu Mind (1977).
A notable publication during this period is Philosophy in Fifteen Modern Indian Languages (Pune, 1979), ed. by V.M. Vedekar. It gives, of course in brief, an account of the philosophical developments in India in Assamese, Bengali, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Kashmiri, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Punjabi, Sindhi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.
Notable works on Jainism include Nathmal Tatia’s Studies in Jain Philosophy (1951). Dr. Sagarmal Jain’s Jain Dharma aur Tantrik Sadhana (1997) and Jain Bhasha Darshan (1986) and Dr. M.R. Gelra’s (b. 1933) Science in Jainism. The Munger School of Yoga is publishing good texts on Yoga system. The Madhupur Centre of Samkhya continues the oldest philosophical system of Indian philosophy. Navya-Nyaya is still very popular in Bengal.
Further, in this post-modern era, there is no single or specific thought dominating the global understanding. Although there are still some scholars who have not yet come out of the colonial mentality, by and large, scholars adhere to the main current of the traditional India.
Several books have come out in last five decades which highlight the recent trends in Indian philosophy, which are: R.S. Shrivastava’s Contemporary Indian Philosophy (Delhi, 1965), Nagaraj Rao’s Contemporary Indian Philosophy (Bombay, 1970), K.S. Murty & Ramakrishna Rao’s Recent Trends in Indian Philosophy (Bombay, 1972), B.K. Lal’s Contemporary Indian Philosophy (Delhi, 1973) M. Chatterjee’s Contemporary Indian Philosophy (London, 1074), N.K. Devaraja’s Indian Philosophy Toda (Delhi, 1975), Dale Riepe’s Indian Philosophy Since Independence (Calcutta, 1978), Pappu, S.S. Rama Rao & R. Puligandla’s Indian Philosophy Past and Future (Delhi, 1982), Akhila Bharatiya Darshan Parishad’s Bharatiya Darshan ke Pachas Varsha (ed. A.D. Sharma, 2006) and a two-volumed Felicitation Volume entitled Dimensions of Philosophy (Darshan ke Ayam) in honour of Dr. S.P. Dubey by the Parishad.. It contains 51 essays in English and 50 in Hindi covering and representing the post-Independence period of Indian philosophical scholarship.
Several eminent scholars are amidst us who are very active in their areas of research in spite of their age factor. These include: R. Balasubramanian (b.1929) of Chennai, who is one of the finest teachers, profound scholar of Advaita Vedanta, an incisive thinker and above all, a wholesome human being. His publications include Advaita Vedanta (based on Mandana’s Brahma-siddhi), Taittiriyopanishad-bhasya-varttika of Suresvara and The Naiskarmyasiddhi of Suresvara.
D.P. Chattopadhyaya (b. 1931) is a man of diverse achievements. He is a philosopher and a statesman. He also happens to be a life-member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Indian Council of philosophical Research was founded (in 1981) mainly because of his initiative. He has worked on the integral philosophy of Sri Aurobindo. Debi Prasad is the Director of Project of History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilizations. It started, in collaboration with ICPR, in 1996. The multi-disciplinary 100 volumes project of publishing authentic account of Indian philosophy, culture and science has found concrete shape. The Project has the plan to publish 20 monographs as well.
There are others who died at bit premature. Osho, alias Rajanish Mohan Jain ( 1931-1990), a student and teacher of philosophy in a government College at Jabalpur before he became a global preacher, with a large number of books (mainly his lectures in published form), is one or them. He became famous after the publication of the controversial collection of essays in Hindi entitled Sambhoga se Samadhi ki Ora (1969). His Eternal Celebration (2002) shows that he combines in himself the worldly approach of Zorba (a Greek literary character) and the asceticism of the Buddha.
Indian Council of Philosophical Research was established by the Ministry of Education, Government of India in 1977. Its purpose was to bring back the entire tradition of Indian philosophy to its prestine and original form and also to provide required impetus to nurture and promote new thinking through its intensive programs of research.. The body actually came in function in 1981. ICPR has brought out many important publications of philosophy.
Dharmendra Goel (b.1934) of Chandigarh has works on Philosophy of History (1967), Philosophy and Social Change (1989) and Bhasha-darshan (Philosophy of Language, 1991). His latest publication is a collection of his papers in Hindi under the title, Svatantrata, Mulya aur Parampara (2012).
G. C. Nayak (1935) of Bhubaneswar combines in himself a sharp blending of Nagarjuna and Samkara with a literary genius. His publications include Evil, Karma and Reincarnation (1973), Essays in Analytical Philosophy (1978), Philosophical Reflections (1987), Philosophical Enterprise and the Scientific Spirit (1994), Understanding Religious Phenomenon (1997) and Madhyamika Sunyata (2001).
Shiva Nath Prasad (b.1936) is a realist and has major interest in Lokayata. He is the editor of Journal of Bihar Philosophical Research. His recent book Charvaka/Lokayata ( pub. 2008) is an analytic and hermeneutical study of Indian Materialism. He has an ambitious project of publishing 15 volumes on Ethics and Applied Ethics. He is an active participant of Patna Philosophy Study Circle. This circle, functioning since 1984, meets every month and discussed one paper in detail. Dr. Rajendra Prasad had taken initiative in its formation. Now Prof. R.C. Sinha is the driving force.
Rewati Raman Pandey (1942-2004), suddenly leaving his friends and admirers, reminds his pleasing personality. He promoted the Advaitic tradition in its pure form. His work Scientific Temper and Advaita Vedanta (1991) is the recent interpretation of Sankara Vedanta, the perennial philosophy of Indian culture. Prof. Pandey addresses himself to modern challenges of science and intellectual values with admirable acumen. His other notable works are, Man and The Universe and Samagra Yoga.
Some of my friends treat me (Shri Praksh Dubey, b. 1944) as an expert in philosophy of religion. Having a Master’s degree in philosophy (from B.H.U.) and another one in Religious Sciences (from McMaster, Canada) and teaching the same subject for years make one qualified for such expertise. It is my firm view that man is basically a religious being. It makes man distinct (dharmo hi tesam adhiko vishesho...). All major religions of the world are grounded in deep religious experiences. But these experiences need rational understanding and explanation. Hermeneutical exercise is necessary at every stage of the growth of religious phenomenon. Buddha said long back: "Accept my words only after examination" – parikshya bhikshavo grahyam madvacho na tu gauravat). I find that most of the schools of Indian philosophy (except the Lokayatikas and the Madhyamikas) are nothing but philosophy of religion (cf, On Religion, 1998). The law of karma, salvation, Yoga are some of the common features of Indian cultural tradition. Prof. L.N. Sharma (b. 1931; of B.H.U., now at Jaipur) has shown clear path to the present writer in the area of religion.
Ramesh Chandra Sinha (b. 1944) of Patna is currently the Chief Editor of Darshanik Traimasila. His special interest is in post-modern philosophy and sub-altern ethics. His socio-political views are manifested in his book Samaja-Darshan evam Rajaniti-Darshan ki Rooparekha ( 1994).
Jata Shankar (b. 1953) of Allahabad has presented a socialistic understanding of Vedanta in his work Vedanti Samajavada (Hindi; 1999). He also edits a Hindi Quarterly, Samaja, Dharma evam Darshan.
The practice of writing commentaries on the triple-texts (prasthana-trayi) was maintained during the previous as well as the present century. Radhakrishnan was the Acharya of the 20th century in this particular sense that produced commentaries (in English) on the Bhagavadgita (1948), The Principal Upanishads (1953), and the Brahma-sutras (1960). Dr. Sadhu Bhadresh Das (b. 1966) of Sri Swaminarayan Vaishnavism (BASP) has written commentaries on the Brahmasutras (in Sanskrit) in tune with the philosophy of Swaminarayan movement. It has been published in 2009 from Ahmedabad.
The University of Pune, under the dynamic leadership of Prof S.S.. Barlingay, revived The Philosophical Quarterly of Amalner under a new title, Indian Philosophical Quarterly in 1974. Its present editor is Prof. Sadananda More of Pune. This Quarterly has also published a number of books. The University of Pune started the publication of two other quarterlies in Hindi and Marathi (titled Paramarsha, editor: Dr. S.C. Bhelke)also since 1979. It included a Hindi translation of K.C. Bhattacharya’s famous essay ‘Swaraj in Ideas’.
Some comparatively younger scholars showing prominence include K.C. Pandey (1970) of Lucknow, Dr. Sudhanshu Shekhar (b. 1982) of Bhagalpur, D.N. Tiwari of Varanasi and Pradep Gokhale, a scholar of Buddhism (from Pune; now at Saranath).
At regional level, there are a number of associations of philosophy and a number of periodicals (regular and also not-so-regular) are being published. Almost all the major regional languages are represented on such platforms.
By way of concluding the present attempt to provide a brief picture of post-colonial Indian philosophy it must be said that I hold, in general, that the spirit of Indian philosophy, past, present and future, is metaphysical. At times the metaphysical trend seems to be withering away. But soon after, the thought resumes the main current. A very good attempt has been made by Prof. A.D. Sharma (b. 1960) of Saugar and Dr. Sanjay Kumar Shukla (b. 1964) of Allahabad in the context. In their edited work In Defense of Metaphysics (2008) they have presented the Indian encounter with Logical Positivism. They have shown that the way Strawson, Davidson, Putnam and others have tried to encounter the anti-metaphysical move cannot be treated as genuine defence of metaphysics. It is by analysing the nature, meaning, purpose and relevance of metaphysics from Indian perspective that the contemporary Indian philosophers have explored a greater possibility of defending metaphysics.
In brief, the thinking and writing on Indian philosophy in India is a continuing process and is still in works with a number of institutions and writers engaged in the pursuit.