Prophets, Poets & Philosopher-Kings by Abhijit Basu

By Abhijit Basu

Old India - the place Vishvaamitra via Vedic austerities and Yaajnavalkya via Vedantic perception, explored the hovering degrees of human recognition; the place Valmiki and Kalidasa created elegant poetry; the place Rama and Yudhishthira governed with a good looking composite of knowledge, welfare and justice because the stuff in their royal sceptres; and the place Lord Krishna spoke the wondrously common philosophy of the Bhagavad Gita - theses gemstones from the treasures of India's religious and literary historical past, shape the subjects that hyperlink this quantity of recent essays.

While those tales were instructed and retold, interpreted and re-interpreted via millennia, this fluent and relaxing narrative, offers a trip of exploration and research to discover new meanings within the old phrases - taking a look at them in the course of the prism of a latest, liberal and humanistic world-view.

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326. 30, 34 where everything ultimately dissolves first into prakrti and then into purusa. Elsewhere the distinction between the two phases of dissolution collapses, and the waters take the place of undifferentiated Brahman. In 12. 329. 3,35 for example: At the time of dissolution at the end of four thousand yugas, when all creatures, mobile and immobile, disappear into the unmanifest [prakrti], when light, earth, and wind disappear, when there is intense darkness, when the world is nothing but an expanse of water, when (the world) is overcome with darkness (tamas), when the one possessing consciousness (samjñaka) stands without second, when it is neither day nor night, when there is neither existence (sat) nor nonexistence (asat), when neither manifest (vyakta) nor unmanifest (avyakta) exists, at the time of that state .

We will turn first to those pre-Samkhya texts and passages that relate directly to the Samkhya-Karika's later formulation of prakrti as a principle of materiality, focusing particularly on lines of continuity between the Vedic materials that we have looked at and page_64 Page 65 later materials. We will then turn to look at the Samkhya-Karika itself. As we shall see, in fact, there is much more narrative and structural similarity between some of the Vedic and epic materials and aspects of prakrti in later philosophical materials than one might suspect.

3-5,28 earth is described in relation to the four other gross elements of proto-Samkhya descriptionwater, wind, fire, and spaceand their qualities, sound, touch, form, taste, and smell, five of the secondary modifications of prakrti: O great king (Dhrtarastra), all things present in the world have been said by the wise to be equal to the five page_74 Page 75 elementsearth (bhumi), water (ap), wind (vayu), fire (agni), and space (akasa)on account of accumulation. (That is, ) they all possess the qualities of the superior (element).

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