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The conception of human personality in the advaita vedanta and classical samkhy - a critical study -

Bhattacharya, Manisha (1978) The conception of human personality in the advaita vedanta and classical samkhy - a critical study -. Masters thesis, Durham University.



Indian philosophers from the earliest times have strived to realize the true nature of man, in the perspective of his physical existence. A person is a persistent self conscious being as is evident in his reflections 'I am', ‘I exist' and so on, and is opposed to the objective world which is experienced by him. A person is a subject of reference. The classic definition of a 'person' is given by Boethius: 'person is an individual substance of rational nature. As individual, it is material, since matter supplies the principle of individuation. The soul is not person, only the composite is. Man alone is among the material beings 'person', he alone having a rational nature. He is the highest of the material beings endowed with particular dignity and rights'. (The Dictionary of Philosophy ed. by Dagobert D. Runes. Ph.D. London, Peter Owen - Vision Press. p. 229). The present endeavour is a critical study of the conception of human personality as has been formulated mainly in the classical Sāmkhya and Advaita-Vedānta systems of Indian Philosophy. Both these systems owe their origin to the Vedic and Upanisadic literature. In the classical stage Advaita-Vedānta and Sāmkhya developed into two parallel systems confronting each other. It is my aim to discuss how far these two systems agree or disagree regarding the conception of human personality and how far the respective system has succeeded in giving a plausible explanation of the empirical existence. In the Introductory Chapter (Chapter I), I have proposed the comparative and critical study of the general conception of human personality in Indian philosophy. Second Chapter deals with the conception of human personality in the Advaita-Vedānta system. As a pre-history to the emergence of the Advaita concept, the vedic and post-vedic conception of human personality has been discussed. This chapter subsequently deals with the developement of Advaita conception of human personality through the successive stages of Gaudapada’s Mandukya-Kārikā and Badavāyana’s Vedānta-Sutras - finally into the Advaita-Vedānta of Sāmkavāyana. Third chapter deals with the dualistic preachings that can be traced in the Vedic literature. It also deals withthe Sāmkhya views in the Caraka-Samhitā and in the Epics. Finally, I have discussed the Classical Sāmkhya conception of human personality (as in Isvarakrsna’s Sāmkhya Kārikā.; Yuktidlpika and in the Sāmkhya-Kārikā Last chapter is devoted to a comparative study of the classical Sāmkhya and the Advaita-Vedānta views -where I have tried mainly to bring out the points of agreement and disagreement regarding their ideas of the different aspects of human personality. I have arrived at the conclusion that the conception of human personality in these two systems has evolved from the same source though they followed two different lines of systematization. Thus, there is a great deal of affinity between them, yet they differ regarding the conception of the essential reality in man. It is regarded as the highest reality in both the systems. Both Sāmkhya and Advaita Vedanta posit a transcendental self, the essence of which is pure consciousness unadulterated by qualities and empirical relations - over and above the empirical self. While Advaita-Vedanta believes in the reality of the transcendental self only, Sagikhya believes in the reality of the transcendental self and the objective world. There are certain weak points in both the systems. The analysis shows that both Samkhya and Advaita Vedanta, in their attempt to rescue the empirical self from the bondage of personality - have succeed Wonly in blighting the prospects of liberation and almost depersonalising the person.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Letters
Thesis Date:1978
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:14 Mar 2014 16:04

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