Posted By

Tags

Philosophic approach alleviates suffering

Philosophy is a strong palliative to human suffering, the significance of which has been proved in India thousands of years ago, a leading academic has said.

According to Professor Jay Shaw, Professor of Philosophy at the Wellington-based Victoria University, early Indian philosophers emphasised the importance of acquisition and dissemination of knowledge.

“Knowledge will lead to alleviation of three types of suffering arising from bodily harm, natural disasters and mental conditions such as anxiety. Swami Vivekananda had rightly emphasised a number of features inherent in the ‘Advaita Philosophy’ (an approach that encourages identification of the true self) as the means of solving personal, social and global problems.

“The goal of all human beings, as taught by religious and other texts is freedom from suffering and realisation of moral, spiritual and other values. Scholars of various religious beliefs call it by various names; approaches may differ but there is just one destination,” he said.

Oneness concept

Professor Shaw was speaking at a seminar on ‘Vedanta’ organised at Victoria University to commemorate the 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda, one of the greatest teachers of Hinduism to the world in the 19th Century.

Editor’s Note: ‘Vedanta’ has various definitions but the commonly accepted version is that it means all philosophical traditions concerned with the interpretation of three basic texts of Hindus, namely the Upanishads, Brahmin Sutras and the Bhagavad Gita.

“The Oneness has also been expressed in the message, “the entire world is your relation” (Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam). This message promotes love, kindness and compassion to all. Therefore, the ethics of Advaita includes our duties, not only towards other human beings, but also towards all living beings and plants. There is a provision for expiation for injuries to trees with fruits and flowers,” Professor Shaw said.

The Brahman

He mentioned that another feature of Oneness is the identity between an individual self and the ultimate reality (or Brahman).

“The identity between our real self and the ultimate reality justifies morality, as your suffering or happiness becomes my suffering or happiness. Hence, it offers a metaphysical justification to our moral actions,” he said.

According to Professor Shaw, oneness has also been expressed in the claim that the Advaita Vedanta accommodates a range of views without having inconsistency (nirvirodhavada).

“It can therefore accommodate not only the views of the idealists but also those of atheists or materialists without abandoning Oneness or the unity-in-diversity. It is claimed that everything is Brahman (Khalu-idam-Brahma). Hence, I am identical with everything. The realists, materialists, atheists, and Marxists would deny this type of identity,” he said.

Global harmony

Professor Shaw claimed that Advaita can reconcile this conflict.

“If I am Brahman means I am related to everything, as my welfare, peace or happiness depends on others, including other beings and nature at large. Hence, it not only reconciles the conflicting philosophical views but also emphasises our duties towards others, including the entire world. The oneness of the Advaita philosophy would make the world nuclear free, armament free, strife free, terrorism free, global warming free, paving the way for peace, bliss and global harmony.

“This approach discards all forms of discrimination,” he said.

Writing in this newspaper on an earlier occasion, Professor Shaw said that Indian philosophers had developed comprehensive and manifold theories that have stood the test of time and have universal application.

“Subjects and issues such as negation, higher-order knowledge, existence and causality have been incorporated in Indian philosophy. The challenge is to gain acceptably of Western philosophers and people,” he said.

Apart from drawing differences in people at several etymological, conventional, casual and metaphorical levels, he has addressed the problems of ethics and contemporary issues such as freedom and global harmony in his lectures and books.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Share this story

Related Stories

Indian Newslink

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement

Previous slide
Next slide

Advertisement