Problem of Indian “Schools” of Philosophy

Problem of Indian “Schools” of Philosophy

“School” signifies the similar interest and same thought processes that bounds individuals to a particular system. With the coming up of systems, the individual literally loses its intrinsic values and become a permanent part of some well established trends. For example, Shankara is known by advaitism, Dharmakirti is identified by Buddhism, Kapila is known by Samkhya school of Indian tradition, and Gautama is particularly identified by Nyaya traditions.

Indian school of philosophy is dominating quite well in the curriculum of Philosophy Education. While professionals are repeatedly putting the same idea in a course of structured Education, stream of students are floating in the same old trends as the past students used to do. It is a major drawback that new ideas or inclusion or criticism is not being thoroughly achieved in literature of the Indian school of Philosophy. We’re just scribbling down the ideas and principles of Indian schools in order to fit them into a neatly organized philosophical traditions. The egoism that rules within traditions, compelling people to live by old thought patterns, has caused more harm than producing any good. Imagine the anguish of a student pursuing philosophy in order to truly live and enjoy the journey and contribute something new to it, only to be met with roadblocks in the form of memorizing of large textbooks and hazy literatures. To make this tough journey easier, the student would rely on readily available translated texts, only to wander further from philosophy’s explicit objective of education.

I spent the majority of my Philosophy education learning complicated philosophical terms(written in Sanskrit) and multiple theories, but every year I find myself at the same basic level because I couldn’t really memorize the terms and later found them useless. The Sutras of Nyaya or Samkhya are referenced heavily to prove worthiness of a complicated write-ups. This is only making philosophy look more dull and incomprehensible. There are very few instances when a student of Ancient Indian Philosopher would intellectually criticize or appreciate individual thoughts and works of ancient Indian saints and Philosophers. The contemporary Indian Philosophy is much better because here we have taken ourselves from a rough journey of memorizing ancient texts to the intellectual trend of analysis of individuals thoughts.

The main purpose of this short criticism of boring pattern of Indian philosophical texts is to bring justification to the real idea of philosophy education. The memorizing of texts could make us a good learner but, it could never make us a good philosopher. The value of studying philosophy comes from thoroughly scrutinizing a particular thought, applying our own ideas to it, and embarking on this quest for truth to infinity. Just because a particular school of thoughts has claimed something to be true, doesn’t bring a full stop to individual journey of quest for truth.

The real achievement in studying the ancient philosophy is to understand what has made them to claim a particular patterns of thoughts. The real achievement is in questioning everything in Universe. Socrates has influenced the youth to this wonderful art, in a similar way, we should question every aspects of philosophy, to really get deeper into a aspects of philosophy. Just relying on secondary literature doesn’t bring sense as secondary literature is very problematic and corruptible. When we directly research on primary sources, then the ideas appear simpler and thoughts flourished into a higher quality one. Thus, philosophy could do wonders only when we study the methods of individual patterns of thoughts and make a meaningful contributions to it.

At last I would quote Schopenhauer words from Essays, “Books and Reading”; “Counsels and Maxims,” p.21

“The constant streaming in of the thoughts of others must confine and suppress your own; and indeed in the long run paralyze the power of thought… The inclination of most scholar is a kind of fuga vacui or vacuum suction, from the poverty of their own minds, which forcibly draws in the thoughts of others.. It is dangerous to read about a subject before we have thought about it ourselves.. When we read, another person thinks for us; we merely repeat his mental process…so it comes about that is anyone spends almost whole day in reading, he gradually loses the capacity for thinking…experience of the world may be looked upon as a kind of text, to which reflection and knowledge form the commentary. Where there is a great deal of reflection and intellectual knowledge, and a very little experience, the result is like those books which have on each page two lines of text to forty lines of commentary.”


The story of Philosophy by Will Durant


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