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S.S. Raghavachar

By P. Nagaraja Rao
Indian Book Company, 1977, 195, 40.00

VOLUME II NUMBER 5 September-October 1977

Dr. Nagaraja Rao is well-known to the reading public in Indian philosophy by his numerous learned as well as popular articles, reviews, books and lectures. The present work offers a consolidated presentation of the pano­rama of Indian philosophy starting from the Upanishads and culminating in J. Krishna Murthy, traversing through the several great systems in-between. As could be expected, it is readable and pithy. It is eminently valuable for a beginner. The learned writer labours under the handicap of having some celebrated predecessors in the field such as Hiriyanna, Datta and Chatterjee, Sweitzer and Swami Prabhavananda. It is difficult to be outstanding in this context but Rao has contrived to pro­duce a handy and impressive volume. The fine introduction of 20 pages outlining the distinctive traits of Indian philosophy in general is followed by a brief account of the Systems: Nyaya, Vaiseshika, Sankya, Yoga and Purva­mimamsa. Then we are introduced to the Upanishads, the Gita and the Brahma Sutras. The accounts of the three Vedantic Systems, Advaita, Visistadvaita and Dvaita concludes the first part of the book. The second part outlines Indian Materialism, Buddhism, Jainism and recent Indian philosophy of the 19th and 20th centuries. We have a good bibliography but neither an index nor exact references to quotations. Some remarks on the treatment may not be out of place. Chronology is ignored with no obvious gain. Buddhism and Jainism may be non-vedic but as powerful antecedents they condition all Vedic schools. There is no logic in the allotment of space to the Systems. While Advaita, wrongly called Vedanta without qualification, takes up 30 pages, Dvaita, a system no less rich is finished off in 6 pages. There is no account of even the great Saiva Systems, such as the Pratyabhijna school and Saiva Siddhanta. The treatment of recent Indian philosophy lacks dimension. The point of the principle of ‘Visesha’ in the Dvaita System is missed, while the account of Visistadvaita is balanced and accurate. The author identifies himself with the System being discussed at the moment and exhibits rare empathy. His teaching experience as a professor for several decades in many universities has made for prolixity and repetitiveness in many places. His exposition of Advaita would have gained in effect by economy and less of repetition. Notwithstanding these criticisms, formal and material, the work is of great value as it compresses a great deal of exact information and abounds ...

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