Dr B L Atreya on Philosophy in India



In India, philosophy has never been only an intellectual pursuit of knowledge of the Ultimate Reality. The task of a philosopher here is not over with his having constructed a metaphysical system, which satisfies the intellect. The intellect is not the whole man. He has other aspects, equally or probably more alive in him, which seek for satisfaction. Man aspires to seek for Power and Joy as much as for knowledge.

It is really doubtful whether man would have philosophized at all, if he were absolutely happy and if all his wants were satisfied. The chief concern of man therefore is not to know what God is but to know how he can become God. If the self-satisfied and perfect absolute God is ever free from want and is Blissful in itself, what is that to us? It will be like an enormous treasure of wealth existing somewhere, which we cannot use.

That everything is dear to us for own sake is an eternal truth discovered by Yajnavalkya long, long ago. An important part of the task of a philosopher, therefore, is how the ordinary human life, which is characterized by suffering and restlessness, may be transmuted into the Perfect and Blissful, Divine Life.

Dr B L Atreya

(Source: Essay - The philosophy of Yoga Vasishta)