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London: Macmillan, 1917. Pp. xii + 210. 1

The International Journal of Ethics, 28 (April 1918), 445-46

A good brief introduction to Indian philosophy is still much to seek. Such a work ought to be both historical and comparative. It ought to draw the line very clearly between the religious intuition, which the various schools of philosophy all assumed, and the interpretations, which are widely diverse; it ought to make quite clear to the Occidental mind the difference between the Vedas and the Upanishads, which are properly religious texts, and the earliest philosophical texts of the primitive Sankhya. 2 There is, though native writers are apt to obscure the fact, as certainly a History of Indian philosophy as of European; a history which can be traced in the dualistic Sankhya, for instance, from the cryptic early couplets through the commentary of Patanjali to the extraordinarily ingenious and elaborate thought of Vachaspati Misra and Vijnana Bhikshu. 3 There is, moreover, extremely subtle and patient psychology in the later writers; and it should be the task of the interpreter to make this psychology plausible, to exhibit it as something more than an arbitrary and fatiguing system of classifications.

Sri Ananda has written a small book which is better than most attempts of the kind; and as there is so little in this field that is worth a layman’s attention, his book is to be recommended. The historical method is hardly developed, and the author is too much concerned (as is perhaps natural) with refuting some of the European scholars’ dates. He places Kapila, for instance (who may or may not have existed) as early as 3000 B.C., and Buddha himself much earlier than the seventh century. 4 These are unimportant points, however; it is more important that we are not shown the real developmentof Indian thought. Sri Ananda devotes most attention to Vedanta; but it is good to get a book which discusses the Sankhya at all. It ought to be made clear that Prakriti (Pradhanam) is not equivalent to Matter, but sometimes is almost the sense-data of the Realists. 5 The lectures (for such is the origin of the book) are interestingly written.

t. s. e.

Published By:   Johns Hopkins University Press