Author Topic: DarshhaNa-s  (Read 548 times)

Dr. Sadananda

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« on: March 01, 2015, 02:05:04 PM »

      Human beings are different from animals in the sense that they are endowed with intellect, what is commonly called as 'conceptual thought'. There is a famous shloka that says:

      aahaara nidraa bhaya maithuna.n cha saamaanyam etat pashubhiH naraaNaam.h |
      buddhirhi teshhaam adhiko visheshhaH buddhyaa vihiinaaH pashhubhiH samaanaaH ||
      Hunger for food, sleep, fear for security, and desire for progeny are common for both animals and human beings. Only one thing that is special for human is the intellect. If intellect is not there (or if it is not used properly), then man is not different from animals.

      Because the human being is endowed with such an intellect (buddhi), birth as a human being is glorified in our scriptures. Because of the intellect, the man is given a choice to accentuate his evolution to a state of God-hood. To accomplish that Vedanta insists that contemplation is essential for evolution and contemplation involves application of the intellect.

      Because of the gift of this rational intellect, man cannot but inquire into the cause for an observed phenomenon. For example he begins to question: who is he? Wherefrom he came and what is the cause for his birth? What is death and what happens after one dies? What is this Universe? Wherefrom it came or what is its cause? What is life and what is its purpose? Why there is so much suffering in life? How to get over this suffering? These are some of the questions that an intellect cannot but ask at one time or another. In fact one can formulate six topics of inquiry that a seriousstudent of life can pursue. In Vedantic terminology these are related to:
      1. Who is Jiva -or who is or what is an individual?

      2. What is this Jagat, world?

      3. Who is Ishwara or what is the cause of these two - the source for jiva and the world?

      4. What is bandhana or bondage, which is the cause for human suffering, or sa.nsaara?

      5. What is the nature of Moksha or Mukti or Freedom from this bondage or Liberation from the human suffering?

      6. What is the means or Sadhana for liberation, or means for a person to go from bondage to liberation or what is the link between the bandha and moksha?

      The six topics are related to jiiva, jagat, iishvara, bandha, moksha, saadhanaani (individual, the world, creator, bondage, liberation and means for liberation, respectively). A serious thinker of life cannot but think deeply and come to a consistent or self-consistent explanation for these.

      A consistent and logical view or a teaching arrived at by a serious thinker regarding these six topics is called 'darshanam' or a Philosophy, and one who founds such a philosophy is called 'daarshhanika'. Because of the consistent and philosophical approach to life, there are always others who want to follow these daarshanika-s. Thus a daarshanika becomes a preceptor and propagator of his philosophy, darshanam. In India there are twelve such well known 'darshana -s', of which six are called 'naastika darshana -s' and the other six are 'aastika darshana -s' The former are those systems which do not accept Veda as pramaaNa, or means of knowledge. Hence they rely mostly on 'pratyaksham' or direct perception and 'anumaana' or inference or reasoning as the means of knowledge. In contrast 'aastika darshana -s' are those that accept Veda as the valid or reliable source of knowledge.

      The six naastika darshana -s are as follows: The first one is called 'chaarvaaka darshanam' or materialism. The source of this philosophy is said to be bR^ihaspati, who is the deva guru. The original purpose of this philosophy was to mislead the demons so that they can be destroyed. The first disciple of bR^ihaspati is said to be chaarvaaka (meaning the one who speaks very sweetly), and because of that he could popularize this materialistic philosophy. This philosophy does not accept - Veda-s, soul or aatmaa, re-birth, heaven, hell, dharma or adharma- but it emphasizes the sense pleasures as the ultimate goal or the very purpose of life. The modern science and technology may come close to this philosophy, since the existence of a soul is not conceived, and consciousness is assumed to be a temporary product of matter. 'yaavat jiivet sukham jiivet |' 'R^iNam kR^itvaa ghR^itam pibet.h |' Enjoy the life as long as you live - if you don't have it, then borrow and enjoy - the American way. How about paying it back?- That is not important since it is the lenders problem and not ours. How about heaven or hell? It says: 'bhasmii bhuutasya dehasya, punaraagamanam kutaH | Once the body is burned into ashes, where is the question of returning back and who has seen life after death? No one has ever come back and no one has seen any one coming back. Hence death is the end of life. They believe only 'kevala pratyaksha pramaaNa' -that is the direct perception as the only means of knowledge. chaarvaaka darshanam is not discussed in Brahmasutra, since it was not considered as worth discussing. But it is recognized that materialism was not new and was prevalent in those days along with theistic philosophies.

      The second is Jaina darshanam. It is given by 24 aachaaryaa-s called Tiirthaa~Nkaara-s, beginning from R^ishhabha deva ending with vardhamaana mahaaviira. Vardhamana Mahavira is also called Jina -meaning one who has conquered himself. He is responsible for the wide popularity of this darshanam and hence is called Jaina matam or Jainism. Jainism has two branches; shwetaambara and digambara. There is no differences in their philosophies but only differences in their practices. Philosophical aspects of Jainism are discussed and refuted in Brahmasutra.

      The third is Bouddha darshanam or Buddhism, founder being Buddha who was Siddhartha before he became Buddha. Buddha did not teach systematically any system of philosophy. He only had various dialogues with his disciples. Hence initially Buddhism was not well developed. But later, the teachings of Buddha were collected into three books called tripiTakam (three baskets), during the specially called assemblies of Buddhists called 'Sangha-s'. The three are: suutra (sutta) piTakam, abhidharma (abhidamma) piTakam and vinaya piTakam. suutra piTakam deals with the statements of Buddha in a simple form. abhidamma piTakam deals with philosophy, which is based on the statements of Buddha and third one deals with the Code of Conduct or aachaara. Later on, Buddhism gave birth to four branches: 1. soutraantika, which is based on sutta piTakam. 2. vaibhaashhika, based on the commentary of abhidamma piTakam known as vibhaashha. 3. yogaachaara - got its name due to its emphasis on the practice of Yoga and aachaara. 4. maadhyamika, since they claim to follow the true teachings of Buddha which is called 'golden middle path' which is moderation or avoidance of extremes. All of these philosophies are analyzed and criticized in Brahmasutra. Thus there are four from Buddhism, one Jainism and one chaarvaaka - total six 'naastika darshanam-s'.

      There are six 'aastika darshanam-s': 1. Saa~Nkhya of Kapila muni 2. Yoga of Patanjali 3. Nyaya of Gautama 4. Vaisheshika of Kanada 5. puurvamiimaa.nsaa of Jaimini and 6. uttaramiimaa.nsaa of Vyasa. All of them accept Veda pramaaNam. Even though all of them accept Veda as pramaaNa (valid means of knowledge), three of them, Sankhya, Vaiseshika and Purva mimamsa do not accept Brahman. Of these six, the first four give more importance to tarka or reasoning. That is tarka is primary or pradhaana for them while Veda is secondary or apradhaanam. In that sense, they are similar to naastika darshanam-s, which also give emphasis on tarka or reasoning. Shankara calls all of them, that give primary importance to tarka over Veda, as taarkika-s. The last two darshanams give more importance to Veda and only secondary importance to tarka. Of this the puurva miimaa.nsaa darshhaNam, as the name implies is based on puurva bhaaga or the first part of the Veda-s or on Karma Kanda of the Veda-s. For them the Upanishad portion or the uttara bhaaga is of less importance or unimportant compared to karmakaanDa. In contrast in uttaramiimaa.nsaa, the importance is to the last portion of Veda or Veda anta bhaaga - or veda uttara bhaaga. In this philosophy, veda puurva bhaaga or karma kaanDa is considered as supportive or only of secondary importance. One common feature of all these six darshanams is that all of them have been presented in the suutra form by their founders. uttaramiimaa.nsaa suutra-s are called Brahmasutras since they deal with Brahman. They are also called as vedanta suutraas, shaariiraka suutraas (shaariiraka means aatmaa), vyaasa or baadaraayaNa suutraas.

      About the author of Brahmasutra: The author is Badarayana. The authors of bhaashhya-s identified him as none other than Vyasacharya, who is the editor of Veda-s and the author of puraaNa-s including Mahabharata, where Bhagavad Gita is a part. There are some questions identifying Badarayana with Veda Vyasa since Mahabharata is considered as prehistoric while Brahmasutra-s must have been composed after Buddhism became prevalent. But from the point of our discussion the true identity of the author is immaterial, and we accept bhaashhyakaara's identification of the author with Veda Vaasa.

      What is a suutra? Sutra is a very brief statement packed with an idea. It is the most concise statement possible to express a given idea, like a mathematical equation. It will not be a complete sentence. Hence a simple translation of the suutra will not make any sense to the novice. Therefore many commentaries exist explaining the suutra-s and they are called bhaashhyam-s. Since the statements are brief, there is always a possibility for some ambiguity or doubt regarding the intention of the original author. Hence different bhaashhya-s have come for different types of teachings, each claiming that their bhaashhyam represents the intended meaning of the author of the suutra-s or suutrakaara. Thus Brahmasutra-s themselves gave birth to more than ten types of philosophies. Of these three are very popular. One is the nirvisheshha advaitam that is Brahman without attributes, by Shankara, popularly known as shaariiraka miimaa.nsaa bhaashhyam, next is vishishhTaadvaitam by Ramanuja and his commentary is called shriibhaashhyam, and the third one is dwaitam based on commentary due to Madhvacharya called anuvyaakhyaana. We will consider here only Shankara bhaashhyam.