Introduction to Indian Philosophy
Philosophy is the human attempt to understand the nature of the universe and the meaning of life. For the study of philosophy to flourish, a settled society where people need not struggle for bare existence is important. India is blessed with a good climate, fertile land, the protection of the Himalayas and an abundant rainy season.
In many parts of the world, the reflection on the nature of existence is luxury of life. However, since ancient times, philosophy has held a prominent position in Indian society as the basis of all arts and sciences.
The Indian view of the universe is that it is dynamic and constantly transforming itself. This is in quite different from that of Western science, which seems to want to “freeze” reality.
Indian philosophy accepts
- a cordial relationship bet the human and Divine realms. God is not a tyrant, sitting up in heaven, who punishes you for your sins. Your karma (your own action) determines the reaction that you will get.
- The idea that what thought reveals is not opposed to reality, but part of it. Reality can be understood by intuition; the subjective “truth” is as important as objective truth. It is generally accepted that truth may be many sided and paradox is readily accepted.
- Each one of us, in essence, is pure – and can never be impure. Although you might identify with certain negative qualities, your essential nature remains pure. An analogy is that water may appear to be polluted, but actuality the water is simply carrying impurities.
Indian scriptures tend to be written in a way that is difficult for you to understand. The general consensus is that it is best to study them with a teacher. Yoga Vidya offers many excellent courses on Indian philosophy and various scriptures. In addition, you might want to consult the following books:
Ayurveda and Yoga by Dr. David Frawley
The Yoga Tradition by Dr. Georg Feuerstein