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Retrieving Samkhya History

Lallanji Gopal (Author) Contemporary Researches in Hindu Philosophy & Religion
Synopsis Samkhya is the oldest among Indian philosophies. Rather, it had for long been synonymous with philosophy itself. Over the centuries, it has influenced all other Indian schools: Orthodox and unorthodox. At its metaphysical plane, Samkhya is dualistic realism holding out the doctrine of two ultimate realities: Prakrti (matter, physical world) and purusa (self, spirit). As a time-honoured tradition, Samkhya has, at its base, a long line of complex, often baffling expositions/commentaries/interpretations. Which, authored by ancient thinkers and sages, gave it both varied meaning and content. The earliest available work in this line of writings is Isvarakrsna's Samkhyakarika (fifth century AD)--a standard classic celebrated for crystallising the whole Samkhya thought of its times. Isvarakrsna's work, however, has not only overshadowed all earlier expositions, but also led modern scholarship to mistakenly view the beginnings of Samkhya philosophy with nothing beyond Samkhyakarika. Professor Lallanji Gopal here dispels this and other widely prevalent misconceptions. The book reconstructs a new the pre-Isvarakrsna history of Samkhya. And also, for the first time, evolves a chronological sequence of all its landmark works and their authors. Meticulously tracing the historical development of Samkhya thought: from its genesis with the legendary Kapila to its standardised formulations in Samkhyakarika, Professor Gopal shows how Samkhya has never been a monolithic system, nor has its growth been unilinear; how it has had an interesting history of changes, vital shifts, introduction of new details, debates, and even polemics; and , finally, how Isvarakrsna's work is the 'culmination' of classical Samkhya, and not its 'beginning' --as most modern scholars have come to believe. Authenticated by an astonishing mass of literary sources, the book is bound to fascinate scholars and discerning readers alike.
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About the author

Lallanji Gopal

Lallanji Gopal 1934-99), Ph.D. from the school of Oriental and African Studies, London, was a scholar of wide repute, recognized with many awards/honours, like the British Council scholarship, the honorary degrees/conferences of Vidya Chakravati and Vidya Vachaspati, and appointments to prestigious university chairs. And had figured in the top layers of several national bodies of history, archeology, epigraphy, numismatics, philosophy, and Hindi. As many as 80 students took Ph.Ds under his supervision. A prolific writer, credited with about two dozen books and over 200 research papers, Dr. Gopal had had over three-decade-long association with the Banaras Hindu University, where he held professorial positions in the departments of Indian Philosophy and religions as well as Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archeology. He also had the distinction to be the University’s rector and three-times Dean.

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Bibliographic information

Title Retrieving Samkhya History
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.2000
Edition 1st ed.
Publisher D K Printworld
Language: English
isbn 8124601437
length vi+485p., Appendices; Index; 23cm.
Subjects History