Monday, July 20, 2009

Indian Philosophers

The French Institute of Pondicherry's new title, Two Åšaiva teachers of the sixteenth century. Nigamajñāna I and his disciple Nigamajñāna II is a "complete analytical study of all the Å"uvres of Nigamajñāna I and his nephew-cum-disciple Nigamajñāna II. This study aims at bringing to limelight the great contributions made by these two teachers in the sixteenth century for the consolidation, elaboration and propagation of the Åšaivasiddhānta religious system and philosophical doctrines.

For the first time the contents of all the available texts of these two Śaiva teachers in Sanskrit and Tamil, of which many are unpublished, are completely and critically analysed with a view to fully bring out the richness of these texts in their totality and their value in the propagation of Śaivasiddhānta during one of the most crucial periods in Indian history."

Reviewing it in The Hindu, S N Kandaswamy writes "In this book, the author has made an extensive survey of the contributions of these two savants to the revival and renewal of the Saiva theological and metaphysical doctrines. ... Since the book projects some fresh views, contrary to the traditional ones, it would definitely evoke the reader’s interest in the subject."

In our Philosophy and Religion sections, Rs 600. xviii + 274 pages, ISBN: 9788184701692

The contributions of Veddera Chandidas, a well-known Telugu novelist who also served as Professor of Philosophy at the Sri Venkateswara University in Tirupati are analysed by A Raghuramaraju in ENDURING COLONIALISM â€" Classical Presences and Modern Absences in Indian Philosophy, from OUP, New Delhi. In this book, "the author discusses the present lack of original philosophical discourse in the context of South Asia, especially India and investigates the reasons of such absences. It also investigates the reasons for decline in traditional philosophical schools and Sanskritic studies in the subcontinent. The book discusses the manner in which Indian thinkers from the times of nineteenth century social reforms to the present day have interacted with the contemporary issues of philosophical engagement the world over. This volume explores three significant issues - absence, the consciousness of the contemporary, and new philosophical episteme - relevant to thought-systems in the Indian subcontinent."



In a review of the book that has also appeared in The Hindu, S Panneerselvam says "The first chapter explains the various aspects of permanence â€" pre-existence, existence, and post-existence. According to the Indian tradition, existence is caused by desires, and liberation is considered as devoid of desire. In the second chapter, the author shows how in Chandidas, we find a distinction between the ontic and the ontological. The ontic is structural and metaphysical, whereas the ontological is functional and empirico-physical. There is also the fusion of both which sustains oneness and plurality. The third is on the significance of creativity in Chandidas’ text, and here the comparison is with Roland Barthes, T S Eliot, Foucault, Deleuze, Bersani, and so on. Creativity as a multi-directional fusion is novelty, repetition, and aesthetic. In chapter four, Chandidas’ understanding of the nature of reality, causality, and temporality is examined.

The author shows how Chandidas’ notion of causality differs from the Indian conception and how it is related to the idea of process. The fifth chapter analyses ‘desire’, and the author is of the view that Candidas’ conception is more complex than that of Deleuze. For Chandidas, desire is continuous and multi-directed and is grounded in contradictoriness, and he thinks that liberation is not cessation of desire, but a perpetual process of intensification.

The author needs to be commended for presenting a difficult philosophical text in a simple and easily understandable way. His approach to the text is exemplary and the publication will certainly be of interest to specialists and students of philosophy alike."

Also in our Philosophy section, 176 pages, hardcover, Rs 545. ISBN: 9780195699364

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