Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Before the birth of the National Congress, a number of organisations were formed, but most of them had limited objectives .In order to draw the attention of the British public opinion towards the welfare of the Indians in 1866, Dadabhai Naroji established East Indian Association in London. Mahadeva Govinda Ranade formed the Madras Mahajana Sabha in 1881 and also the Poona Sarvajanik Sabha in 1867 for social reforms and national awakening. In 1885, the Bombay Presidency Association was formed under the leadership of persons like Feroz Shah Mehta, Badruddin Tayabji etc. with the aim of awakening national consciousness.

However, among all these organisations, the Indian Association established under the leadership of Surendra Nath Banerjee and Anand Mohan Bose, actively attempted to form a strong public opinion against the unjust policies of the British Government. It organised a number of peasant demonstrations demanding reduction of the rate of revenue. With a view of bringing representatives from all over India to a common platform, the Indian Association organised All-India National Conferences twice in 1883 and 1885. But the Indian public opinion could be organised and articulated only with the formation of Indian National Congress as a national forum.

A.O. Hume’s name shines like a star. His greatest contribution was his founding the Indian National Congress. Hume, the son of Joseph Hume, a prominent Scottish member of the House of Commons, was a brilliant civil service officer of the British Government, was loyal to his motherland and his government, but was equally sympathetic with the miserable predicament of Indians under the British regime. Hume was appointed Home Secretary  in 1870. Though the administration was taken over from the East India Company by the Queen herself, the situation  was moving from bad to worse. More taxations, more police atrocities, and the people continued to live in abject poverty and slavery. This was too much for A.O. Hume and in protest against the government’s administrative policies, he resigned from service and entered into a life of peace, But he had already entered into an endeavour towards the formation of a national organization for forming a bridge between the rulers and the ruled.

Some of the Indian national leaders such as Dadabhai Naoroji, C. S. Subrahmoniya Iyer, Surendranath Banerjea, Dewan Bahadur Raghunatha Rao and others held a meeting in Madras and discussed the possibility of forming a national organization. This culminated in the birth of the Indian National Congress.

Allan Octavian Hume, was instrumental in the formation of Indian National Congress. The first session of the All India Congress began on 28th December 1885 at Gokuldas Tejpal Sanskrit College. Eminent barrister of Calcutta, Mr. Woomesh Chandra Banerjee presided over it. Seventy two invited delegates from different parts of India assembled in this first session. Mr. Hume was elected as the first general secretary of the Indian National Congress.

In reality Indian National Congress was an English Product. It is an undisputed historical fact, that the idea of the Indian National Congress was a product of Lord Dufferin’s brain; that he suggested it to Mr. Hume to form an association which might function on the model of the opposition party of Britain, and that the latter undertook to work it out. Lord Dufferin welcomed the proposal as showing the desire of the Congress to work in complete harmony with the Government, but he saw many difficulties in accepting the proposal, and so the idea was abandoned. “None the less the first Congress was opened with the friendly sympathy of the highest authorities.”

Hume, a Lover of Liberty

It is obvious that when Lord Dufferin expected a political organisation to represent the best Indian opinion, it was far from his mind to suggest an organisation that would demand parliamentary government for India, or self-government even on colonial lines. What he evidently aimed at was a sort of an innocuous association which should serve more as a “safety valve” than as a genuine Nationalist organisation for national purposes. Mr. Hume may have meant more. He was a lover of liberty and wanted political liberty for India under the cages of the British crown. He was an English patriot and as such he wanted the continuance of British connection with India. He saw danger to British rule in discontent going underground, and one of his objects in establishing the Congress was to save British rule in Indiafrom an impending calamity of the gravest kind which he thought was threatening it at that time. In his reply to Sir Auckland Colvin,( Sir Auckland Colvin was the Lieutenant Governor of the then North Western Provinces (now the United Province of Agra and Oudh). he admitted that “a safety valve for the escape of great and growing forces generated by” British “connection, was urgently needed, and no more efficacious safety valve than” the “Congress movement could possibly be devised.” This correspondence between Sir Auckland Colvin, then Lieutenant Governor of the United Provinces, and Mr. Hume, reveals the whole genesis of the Congress movement, and is so clear and illuminating that no student of Indian politics can afford to neglect it.

It leaves no doubt whatsoever that the immediate motive which underlay the idea of starting the Congress was to save the Empire from “the danger” that loomed ahead “tremendous in the immediate future,” “the misery of the masses acted on by the bitter resentment of individuals among the educated class.” In the words of Mr. Hume, “no choice was left to those who gave the primary impetus to the movement. The ferment, the creation of Western ideas, education, invention, and appliances, was at work with a rapidly increasing intensity, and it became of paramount importance to find for its products an overt and constitutional channel for discharge, instead of leaving them to fester as they had already commenced to do, under the surface.” Mr. Hume further adds that though “ in certain provinces and from certain points of view the movement was premature, yet from the most important point of view, the future maintenance of the integrity of the British Empire, the real question when the Congress started, was, not is it premature, but is it too late? will the country now accept it?” Indeed, by that test, the events have proved that the Indian National Congress has been a great success, and that either Mr. Hume’s reading of the political situation was exaggerated, or that his remedy has been amply justified.

Congress to Save British Empire from Danger

But one thing is clear, that the Congress was started more with the object of saving the British Empire from danger than with that of winning political liberty for India. The interests of the British Empire were primary and those of India only secondary, and no one can say that the Congress has not been true to that ideal. It might be said with justice and reason that the founders of the Indian National Congress considered the maintenance of British rule in India of vital importance to India herself, and therefore were anxious to do everything in their power, not only to save that rule from any danger that threatened it, but even to strengthen it ; that with them the redress of political grievances and the political advance of India was only a by-product and of secondary importance. If so, the Congress has been true to its ideal, and no one can find fault with it.

On the strength of an illuminating memorandum found among his papers, Hume’s biographer has stated the nature of the evidence that “convinced” Mr. Hume at the time (i. e. about 15 months before Lord Lytton left India) that the British were “in immediate danger of a terrible outbreak.” We will give it in Mr. Hume’s own words.

“I was shown seven large volumes (corresponding to a certain mode of dividing the country, excluding Burma, Assam, and some minor tracts) containing a vast number of entries; English abstracts or translations — longer or shorter — of vernacular reports or communications of one kind or another, all arranged according to districts (not identical with ours), sub-districts, sub-divisions, and the cities, towns and villages included in these. The number of these entries was enormous; there were said, at the time, to be communications from over thirty thousand different reporters. I did not count them, they seemed countless; but in regard to the towns and villages of one district of the Northwest Provinces with which I possess a peculiarly intimate acquaintance — a troublesome part of the country, no doubt — there were nearly three hundred entries, a good number of which I could partially verify, as to the names of the people, etc. “He mentions that he had the volumes in his possession only for about a week; into six of them he only dipped; but he closely examined one covering the greater portion of the Northwest Provinces, Oudh, Behar, parts of Bundelkund and parts of the Punjab; and so far as possible verified the entries referring to those districts with which he had special personal acquaintance. Many of the entries reported conversations between men of the lowest classes,( The quotations from Hume are taken out of W. Wedderburn’s Allan Octavian Hume, the parts enclosed in parenthesis are Wedderburn’s )  “ all going to show that these poor men were pervaded with a sense of the hopelessness of the existing state of affairs; that they were convinced that they would starve and die, and that they wanted to do something, and stand by each other, and that something meant violence,” (for innumerable entries referred to the secretion of old swords, spears and matchlocks, which would be ready when required. It was not supposed that the immediate result, in its initial stages, would be a revolt against the Government, or a revolt at all in the proper sense of the word. What was predicted was a sudden violent outbreak of sporadic crimes, murders of obnoxious persons, robbery of bankers, looting of bazaars). “ In the existing state of the lowest half-starving classes, it was considered that the first few crimes would be the signal for hundreds of similar ones, and for a general development of lawlessness, paralysing the authorities and the respectable classes. It was considered also, that everywhere the small bands would begin to coalesce into large ones, like drops of water on a leaf; that all the bad characters in the country would join, and that very soon after the bands obtained formidable proportions, a certain small number of the educated classes, at the time desperately, perhaps, unreasonably, bitter against the Government, would join the movement, assume here and there the lead, give the outbreak cohesion, and direct it as a national revolt.”

To this, Sir William Wedderburn adds further from his own personal knowledge : ‘ The forecast of trouble throughout India was in exact accordance with what actually occurred, under my own observation, in the Bombay Presidency, in connection with the Agrarian rising known as the Deccan riots. These began with sporadic gang robberies and attacks on the money lenders, until the bands of dacoits, combining together, became too strong for the police; and the whole military force at Poona, horse, foot, and artillery, had to take the field against them. Roaming through the jungle tracts of the Western Ghauts, these bands dispersed in the presence of military forces, only to reunite immediately at some convenient point ; and from the hill stations of Mahableshwar and Matheran we could at night see the light of their campfires in all directions. A leader from the more instructed class was found, calling himself Sivaji, the Second, who addressed challenges to the Government, offered a reward of 500 rupees for the head of H. E. Sir Richard Temple (then Governor of Bombay), and claimed to lead a national revolt upon the lines on which the Mahratta power had originally been founded.”

So in the words of these two leaders, the immediate motive of the Congress was to save the British Empire from this danger.

There is no doubt that the Congress was founded out of fear of a political out- break and only in the nature of a safety valve, we will quote the whole of it (or at least as much of it as is given in Mr. Hume’s biography). Addressing the graduates of the university, Mr. Hume said : ” Constituting, as you do, a large body of the most highly educated Indians, you should, in the natural order of things, constitute also the most important source of all mental, moral, social, and political progress in India. Whether in the individual or the nation, all vital progress must spring from within, and it is to you, her most cultured and enlightened minds, her most favoured sons, that your country must look for the initiative. In vain may aliens, like myself, love India and her children, as well as the most loving of these; in vain may they, for her and their good, give time and trouble, money and thought; in vain may they struggle and sacrifice; they may assist with advice and suggestions; they may place their experience, abilities and knowledge at the disposal of the workers, but they lack the essential of nationality, and the real work must ever be done by the people of the country themselves.” “Scattered individuals, however capable and however well meaning, are powerless singly. What is needed is union, organisation and a well defined line of action ; and to secure these an association is required, armed and organised with unusual care, having for its object to promote the mental, moral, social and political regeneration of the people of India. Our little army must be sui generis in discipline and equipment, and the question simply is, how many of you will prove to possess, in addition to your high scholastic attainments, the unselfishness, moral courage, self-control, and active spirit of benevolence which are essential in all who should enlist?”

Even truer and nobler are the sentiments in the final appeal which ended this letter and which runs thus: “ As I said before, you are the salt of the land. And if amongst even you, the elite, fifty men can not be found with sufficient power of self-sacrifice, sufficient love for and pride in their country, sufficient genuine and unselfish heartfelt patriotism to take the initiative, and if needs be, devote the rest of their lives to the cause, then there is no hope for India. Her sons must and will remain mere humble and helpless instruments in the hands of foreign rulers, for ‘they who would be free, themselves must strike the blow.’ And if even the leaders of thought are all either such poor creatures, or so selfishly wedded to personal concerns, that they dare not or will not strike a blow for their country’s sake, then justly and rightly are they kept down and trampled on, for they deserve nothing better. Every nation secures precisely as good a government as it merits. If you, the picked men, the most highly educated of the nation, can not, scorning personal ease and selfish ends, make a resolute struggle to secure freedom for yourselves and your country, a more impartial administration, a larger share in the management of your own affairs, then we, your friends, are wrong, and our adversaries right ; then are Lord Ripon’s aspirations for your good, fruitless and visionary ; then, at present, at any rate, all hopes of progress are at an end, and India truly neither lacks nor deserves any  better government than she now enjoys. Only, if this be so, let us hear no more factious, peevish complaints that you are kept in leading strings, and treated like children, for you will have proved yourselves such. Men know how to act. Let there be no more complaints of Englishmen being preferred to you in all important offices, for if you lack that public spirit, that highest form of altruistic devotion that leads men to subordinate private ease to the public weal, that true patriotism that has made Englishmen what they are, then rightly are these preferred to you, and rightly and inevitably have they become your rulers. And rulers and taskmasters they must continue, let the yoke gall your shoulders ever so sorely, until you realize and stand prepared to act upon the eternal truth, whether in the case of individuals or nations, self-sacrifice and unselfishness are the only unfailing guides to freedom and happiness.”

Mr. Hume was too noble not to mean what he said, and the present writer has no doubt but that Mr. Hume was absolutely sincere in what he said. He had a passion for liberty. His heart bled at the sight of so much misery and poverty as prevailed in India, and which according to him was preventable by good government. He burned with indignation at the “cowardly” behavior of his countrymen towards Indians, and he could not help feeling ashamed at the way in which pledges given and  promises made were being ignored. He was an ardent student of history and knew full well that no government, whether national or foreign, had conceded to popular demands without pressure from below. In the case of an alien government, the chances were even still more meagre. He therefore wanted the Indians “to strike” for their liberty if they wanted it. The first step was to organise. So he advised organisation.

We  believe that men like Ranade, Tilak, Naoroji, W. C. Bonnerjea, Ajudhia Nath, and Tyabji, were only tools in the hands of the Britishers. No,  they were all true and good patriots. They loved their country and they started the Congress with the best of motives. It is possible that with some British sympathizers, the interests of the British Empire were primary, and they sided with the Congress because they believed that thereby they could best secure the Empire; but the writer of this book knows from personal experience how deeply the love of humanity and liberty is embedded in the hearts of some Britishers, and he is compelled to believe that at least some of those who showed their sympathy with the Congress were of that kind.

The Imperialist Junker and Jingo calls such men “Little Englanders,” but the truth is that their hearts are too big to be imperial. They believe in humanity, and in liberty being the birthright of every human being. In their eyes a tyrant, one who robs others of their liberty, one who bases his greatness on the exploitation of others, or deprives them of their rights by might or clever diplomacy, does not cease to be so by the fact of his being their countryman. They are patriots themselves and will shed the last drop of their blood in the defense of their liberty, and in the defense of their country’s liberty and independence, but their patriotism does not extend to the point of applauding their country’s robbing others of theirs. Yes, there are Britons who are sincere friends of the cause of liberty all over the globe. They deplore that their country should be ruling India at all, and if it were in their power, they would at once withdraw from India. Some of these sympathies with the Indian Nationalists in all sincerity, and have done so ever since the Indian National Congress was started, or even from before that time. It is no fault of theirs, if the Indian Nationalist Movement has not been such a success as they would have wished it to be, and if it has not been able to achieve anything very tangible. The fault is purely that of the Indians, and of the Indians alone, or of the circumstances.

First, political agitation did not start with the Congress. It had been started before and no attempt to suppress it had succeeded. Second, the distrust of political agitation in India was not greater in those days than it is now and has been during the life of the Congress. But if it be true that the movement could not have been started by an Indian or by the combined efforts of many Indians, all we can say is that that itself would be proof of its having been started before time and on wrong foundations.

The Indian leaders of the Congress have never fully realised the absolute truth of these principles and the result is the comparatively poor record of the Congress. In his original manifesto issued in 1883, Mr. Hume wanted fifty Indians “with sufficient power of self sacrifice, sufficient love for and pride in their country, sufficient genuine and unselfish heartfelt patriotism to take the initiative and if needs be to devote the rest of their lives to the cause.”

Of course there were many times fifty men of that kind in the country, even then, who were devoting their lives to the service of their country, but not in the political line. It took the Congress and the country, by working on Congress lines, more than twenty years to produce fifty, many times fifty, such men to devote their lives to the political cause. But unfortunately these are neither in the Congress, nor of the Congress. Barring Mr. Dadabhai Naoroji and the late Mr. Gokhale, can be said to have devoted their lives, in the way Mr. Hume wanted them to do, to the Congress cause?. But very few of them have ever been active in the Congress or for the Congress. Within the same period many Indians have given away many hundreds of thousands of rupees, some the whole earnings of a lifetime, in aid of education or for other public or charitable purposes; but the Congress work has always languished for want of funds. The British Committee of the Indian National Congress, located in London, have never had sufficient money to do their work decently. The expenses of the British Committee have largely fallen on Sir William Wedderburn. He and Mr. Hume between them spent quite a fortune on the movement. No single Indian is said to have spent even a fraction of that. The question naturally arises,— why has it been so ? The answer is obvious. The movement did not appeal to the nation. The leaders lacked that faith which alone makes it possible to make great sacrifices for it.

In the early years of the Congress there was a great deal of enthusiasm for it among the English educated Indians. So long as no attempts were made to reach the masses and carry on the propaganda among the people, the officials expressed their sympathy with the movement. Lord Dufferin even invited the members as “distinguished visitors” to a garden party at Government House, Calcutta, when the Congress held its second session in that city in 1886. In 1887 the Governor of Madras paid a similar compliment to them at Madras,( These compliments have been renewed of late. The Congress held at Madras in 1914 was attended by the British Governor of the Presidency

The Congress Lacked Essentials of a National Movement

Ever since then the Congress has cared more for the opinion of the Government and the officials than for truth or for the interests of the country. Again the question arises, why ? And the reply is, because the leaders had neither sufficient political consciousness nor faith. They had certain political opinions, but not beliefs for which they were willing to suffer. They were prepared to urge the desirability of certain reforms in the government of the country, even at the risk of a certain amount of official displeasure, but they were not prepared to bear persecutions, or suffer for their cause. Either they did not know they had a cause, or they were wanting in that earnestness which makes men suffer for a cause. Or, to be charitable, they thought that the country was not prepared for an intense movement and considered it better to have something than nothing. They perhaps wanted to educate the country in political methods and bring about a political consolidation of all the national forces, before undertaking an intensified movement. But with the greatest possible respect for the founders of the Indian National Congress, or for those who a few years ago took up the control of the movement, we cannot help remarking that by their own conduct they showed that their movement lacked the essentials of a national movement.

A movement does not become national by the mere desire of its founders to make it so. It is a mistake to start a national political movement unless those who start it are prepared to make great sacrifices for it. A halting, half-hearted political movement depending on the sympathy and good will of the very class against whom it is directed, consulting their wishes at every step, with its founders or leaders trembling for their safety and keeping their purse strings tight, only doing as much as the authorities would allow and as would not interfere in any way with , their own personal interests and comforts and incomes, is from its very nature detrimental to real national interests. A political movement is mischievous in its effects if its leaders do not put a sufficient amount of earnestness into it to evoke great enthusiasm among their followers.

It is a fact that the English friends of the movement showed more earnestness than many of the Indian leaders. They spent their own money over it and they incurred the displeasure of their countrymen and the odium of being called traitors to their own country. Mr. Hume was “ in deadly earnest.” He started the movement with the good will of the authorities and waited for results for two years. When, however, he found that “ the platonic expressions of sympathy by the authorities were a mockery,” that nothing was done to lessen the “ misery of the masses” and to relieve their sufferings and redress their grievances, he decided to put more intensity into the movement. He undertook to instruct the Indian nation and rouse them to a sense of their right and to a sense of the wrong that was being done to them. In his opinion, “ the case was one of extreme urgency, for the deaths by famine and pestilence were counted not by tens of thousands or by hundreds of thousands, but by millions.” ( Mr. Hume’s biography by Sir William Wedderburn, p. 62. ) He concluded that “ in order to constrain the Government to move, the leaders of the Indian people must adopt measures of exceptional vigour, following the drastic methods pursued in England by Bright and Cobden in their great campaign on behalf of the people’s food.” So, like Cobden, Hume decided that since the attempt of the Congress leaders to instruct the Government had failed and since the Government had refused to be instructed by them, the next step was “ to instruct the nations, the great English nation in its island home, and also the far greater nation of this vast Indian continent, so that every Indian that breathes upon the sacred soil of this our motherland, shall become our comrade and coadjutor, our supporter and if need be our soldier, in the great war that we, like Cobden and his noble band, will wage for justice, for our liberties and our rights.” ( Mr. Hume’s biography by Sir W. W., p. 63.)

Hume’s Political Movement

Now these were noble words, pointing out the only political weapon that ever succeeds against autocratic governments. We are told by Mr. Hume’s biographer that “ in pursuance of such a propaganda in India, Mr. Hume set to work with his wonted energy, appealing for funds to all classes of the Indian community, distributing tracts, leaflets and pamphlets, sending out lecturers and calling meetings both in large towns and in country districts. Throughout the country over one thousand meetings were held, at many of which over five thousand persons were present, and arrangements were made for the distribution of half a million pamphlets, translations into twelve Indian languages being circulated of two remarkable pamphlets, showing by a parable the necessary evils of absentee state landlordism, however benevolent the intention.” ( Biography, p. 63.)

That was true political work, done with a real political insight. If it had been persevered in, the history of the Congress would have been different and perhaps the revolutionary party would never have been born or would have been born earlier. In either case the country would have been farther ahead in politics than it is now. What, however, actually happened was that the Government was at once moved to hostility. Lord Dufferin spoke of the Congress in terms of contempt “as the infinitesimal minority,” at a Calcutta dinner. Sir Auckland Colvin stirred up the Mohammedans, organised an Anti-Congress Association and denounced the Congress in no measured terms, as mischievous, disloyal, and much before the time.

Congress Overawed

Mr. Hume started to explain in an apologetic tone. It was at this time that he came out with the “safety valve” theory. The propaganda was at once abandoned, never to be resumed in the history of the movement. The movement in England failed for want of funds. The movement in India collapsed for want of perseverance, vigour and earnestness. Here again we are disposed to think that Mr. Hume’s subsequent conduct was influenced more by the fears and half heartedness of the Indian leaders than by his own judgment. If the Indian leaders had stuck to their guns and pushed on their propaganda, the country would have supplied funds and would have rallied round them. Perhaps there might have been a few riots and a few prosecutions. But that would have drawn the attention of the British public to Indian conditions more effectively than their twenty-eight years of half-hearted propaganda in England did. The political education of the people would have been more rapid and the movement would have gained such a strength as to make itself irresistible. It is possible, nay, probable, that the Government would have suppressed the movement. But that itself would have been a victory and a decided and effective step in the political education of the people.

No nation and no political party can ever be strong enough to make their voice effective, unless and until they put forward a sufficient amount of earnestness (not bluff) to convince their opponents that in case their demands are trifled with, the consequences might be serious to both parties. No political agitation need be started unless those who are engaged in it are prepared to back it by the power of the purse and the power of conviction.

Congress Agitation in England

The Congress overawed in 1888 and 1889, failed in both respects. So far as the first is concerned, why, that has been a theme of lamentation, appeals, and wailings from year to year. Friends in England, whether in or outside the British Committee, have lamented it in pathetic terms. The Congress agitation in England has never been effective. The Congress has had precious little influence on English public opinion, and although the British Committee of the Congress have had an office and an organ in London for the last 25 years or more, their influence in English politics has been almost nil. But for the generosity of Mr. Hume and Sir William Wedderburn, the Congress office in London might have been long ago closed. The leaders of the Congress have talked very much of their implicit faith in the English nation; they have held out hopes of our getting a redress of our wrongs if we could only inform the British people of the condition of things prevalent in India; yet the efforts they have put forward to achieve that end have been puerile and paltry. There is a party of Indian politicians who do not believe in agitation in England, but the leaders of the Congress and those who have controlled the organisation in the last 30 years do not profess to belong to that party. We shall now try to explain why this has been so.

Causes of Failure of the Congress

( 1 ) The movement was neither inspired by the people nor devised or planned by them. It was a movement not from within. No section of the Indian people identified themselves with it so completely as to feel that their existence as honourable men depended on its successful management. The movement was started by an Englishman, at the suggestion of an English pro-consul. The Indians, who professed to lead it, were either actually in government service or in professions allied to government service and created by the Government.They were patriotic enough to give a part of their time and energy to the movement, so long as it did not clash with their own interests, so long as they were not required to mar their careers for it, or so long as it did not demand heavy sacrifices from them.

(2). The movement lacked the essentials of a popular movement. The leaders were not in touch with the people. Perhaps they did not even want to come in touch with them. Their propaganda was confined to a few English-educated persons, was carried on in English and was meant for the ears of the authorities rather than for the people. The leaders always felt shy of the masses, made no efforts to reach them, and systematically discouraged the younger men from doing the same. Some of them have openly opposed efforts in this direction.

(3). The leaders failed to inspire enthusiasm among the people, either by their own failure to make sacrifices, or by the triviality of their sacrifices. Their ordinary life, their income, their prosperity, and their luxuries were in no way affected by the movement. There were only two exceptions to this, viz., Dadabhai Naoroji and Gokhale.

(4). The movement was neither confined to a select few, nor open to all. While the people were expected to add to the spectacular side of the show by their presence in large numbers, by crowded meetings, by cheers and applause, they were never given a hand in the movement. Differences of opinion were always discouraged and free discussion was never allowed.

(5). A national movement, demanding only a few concessions and not speaking of the liberties of the nation and of its ideals, is never an effective movement. It is at best an opportunist movement. It is mischievous in so far as it diverts attention from substantial nation building and character making. It brings fame without sacrifice. It opens opportunities for treacheries and hypocrisies. It enables some people to trade in the name of patriotism.

So this is the genesis of the Congress, and this alone is sufficient to condemn it in the eyes of the advanced Nationalists. There is no parallel to this in the history of the world. Who has ever heard of a movement for political liberty being initiated by a despotic government, which is foreign in its agency and foreign in its methods?





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Moslem Architecture in India- Mixture of Afghan style and Mogul style

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A. (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

India’s architectural heritage constituted ‘the greatest galaxy monuments in the world

Dr. Ernest Binfield Havell (1861-1934)

Dr. Ernest Binfield Havell, insisted that the Islamic architecture in India was influenced by the Hindus. ” Albiruni, the Arab historian, expressed his astonishment at and admiration for the work of Hindu builders. “Our people, he said, “when they see them, wonder at them and are unable to describe them, much less to construct anything like them.”

As the first Islamic monarchy in India, the Slave Dynasty (1206-1290), and all of its successors, the Khalji (1290-1320), the Tughluq (1320-1413), the Sayyid (1414-51), and the Lodi (1451-1526), consistently fixed Delhi as the capital.

The Islamic rule in India saw the introduction of many new elements in the building style also. Art of Delhi Sultanate was the process of absorption and Indianization of the techniques of art and architecture.  This was very much distinct from the already prevailing building style adopted in the construction of temples and other secular architecture. The main elements in the Islamic architecture is the introduction of arches and beams, and it is the arcuate style of construction while the traditional Indian building style is tabulate, using pillars and beams and lintels.

Qutb al-Din Aybak , who had subjugated northern India as the general of Muhammad of Gori in Afghanistan, established the first Islamic political regime of the Delhi Sultanate, the Slave Dynasty. He took the fortified town of Qila Rai Pithora, which had been constructed by the Hindu king, Prithvi Raj, settling it as his capital. Aybak dismantled twenty-seven Hindu and Jain temples of to erect the Friday Mosque at the site of a Vishnu temple, reusing their components. The Qutab Mosque in Mehrauli district, which was at the starting point of development, was constructed from the components of dismantled Hindu and Jain temples using Indian traditional methods.

The mosque, later referred to as  Quwwat-al-Islam Mosque (meaning Might of Islam), had a narrow oblong worship room with five domes in a row and a large longitudinal courtyard surrounded by cloisters. The succeeding Sultan, Shams al-Din Iltutmish, enlarged it on the left and right sides, to four times its total extent, in 1230. Then, Khalji Sultan, Alah al-Din , enlarged it further to the right and on the opposite side of Kibla to the extent of ten times of the earliest stage.

What is peculiar in this mosque is that an enormous Screen of arches was later erected in front of the worship hall, the existing part of which reaches an impressive height of 15m with a thickness of 2.6m.  However, Indian masons did not know the structural system of true arches and domes and constructed the mosque with the pseudo manner of corbelled domes. As a result, a line of twenty domes, which added up to 225m, all collapsed in later years and were carried away as materials for new buildings. One of the earliest mausoleums, Iltutmish Tomb , has also lost its corbelled dome.

Beside the mosque stands a colossal intact Minaret called  Qutb Minar, the lower part of which was constructed by Aybak and the upper part by Iltutmish. It was part of a mosque begun at Old Delhi by Kutbu-d Din Aibak; it commemorated the victories of that bloody Sultan over the Hindus, and twenty-seven Hindu temples were dismembered to provide material for the mosque and the tower.  It remains the highest tower in India till this day, and its relief-carvings of foliage patterns and Arabic calligraphy are as excellent as those of the Iltutmish Tomb and the Screen of arches.

Ala al-Din commenced constructing the   Alai Minar on a twofold scale of the former Minaret in the largest courtyard in the course of the second expansion, but it was not completed, only leaving its basal part. At the new gate erected on this occasion, Alai Darwaza, Indian masons succeeded in erecting a true dome for the first time.

In the oldest courtyard stands an iron pillar 7.5m long (6.8m above ground), which is thought to have been produced by the king of Gupta Dynasty, Chandragupta II, in the 4th century. It was a Stambha (monumental pillar) dedicated to a Vishnu temple according to its inscription, and it seems to have been brought here before the Islamic conquest. This wrought iron pillar, with a Gupta-style capital on the top, is so highly refined that it has not suffered rust at all in spite of its exposure to the elements for 1,600 years.

The mosques from the Khalji onward, having acquired the techniques of Islamic architecture, were fundamentally of the arabian type with the plan of hypostyle oblong hall.  Mosques came to be surmounted symbolically with Persian-style domes as the main fashion, and it became the definitive form to arrange three domes continuously on a oblong worship hall, though still in an unrefined manner, such as with the Moth-ki Masjid from the Lodi Dynasty.In general the Sultans of Delhi were too busy with killing to have much time for architecture, and such buildings as they have left us are mostly the tombs that they raised during their own lifetime as reminders that even they would die. The best example of these is the mausoleum of Sher Shah at Sasseram, in Bihar.

It is true that the “Afghan” dynasty used Hindu artisans, copied Hindu themes, and even appropriated the pillars of Hindu temples, for their architectural purposes, and that many mosques were merely Hindu temples rebuilt for Moslem prayer; but this natural imitation passed quickly into a style.

The different religious beliefs are also reflected in the mode of construction and architectural styles. The Islamic style also incorporated many elements from the traditional Indian style and a compound style emanated. The introduction of decorative brackets, balconies, pendentive decorations, etc in the architecture is an example in this regard. The other distinguishing features of Indo-Islamic architecture are the utilisation of kiosks (chhatris), tall towers (minars) and half-domed double portals. As human worship and its representation are not allowed in Islam, the buildings and other edifices are generally decorated richly in geometrical and arabesque designs. These designs were carved on stone in low relief, cut on plaster, painted or inlaid. The use of lime as mortar was also a major element distinct from the traditional building style.

The final triumph of Indian architecture came under the Moguls. The tendency to unite the Mohammedan and the Hindu styles was fostered by the eclectic impartiality of Akbar; and the masterpieces that his artisans built for him wove Indian and Persian methods and motifs into an exquisite harmony symbolizing the frail merger of native and Moslem creeds in Akbar’s synthetic faith.

Islamic architecture was one of rapid capitulation to the superior indigenous art of India. Akbar was not the exception but the classic example. His wholesale adoption of Hindu styles and his patronage of Indian craftsmen marked the end of a brief experiment with non-Indian forms (Tughlak’s tomb for example), and the beginning of one of the greatest periods of purely Indian building.

The first monument of his reign, the tomb erected by him near Delhi for his father The Mausoleum of his father,  Humayun, was the first full-blown piece of Mughal architecture, which would determine the splendid style afterward, combining red sandstone and white marble. Its formation is such that in the center of a huge ‘Charbagh’ (four quartered garden) a large square platform is built, on which a mausoleum with identical facades for its four sides stands symbolically and is capped with a large dome of white marble. It was in India among the vast Islamic areas that this form of tomb architecture was especially loved and made great developments, there is a reason for that.

There is also evidence that the building known as Humayun’s Tomb is none other than a captured Lakshmi Temple. Abul Fazal says Humayun is buried in Sirhind. French writer G. Le Bon has published in his book The World of Ancient India (Publisher: Editions Minerva – Spain Date of Publication: 1974) a photo of marble footprints found in the building. He describes them as the footprints of Lord Vishnu. This is typical of a Vedic temple, to have the footprints of the main Divinity of the shrine. In this case, it is the husband of Lakshmi, Lord Vishnu.

As a reflection of this, for buildings in Fatehpur Sikri that he constructed as a new capital and his own mausoleum at Sikandra he seldom used arches and domes and deliberately used traditional posts and beams in spite of being Islamic architecture. A pavilion in Fatehpur Sikri protruding even stone slab eaves protecting against the rainy season looks as it were wooden structure. . A flight of steps leads up to an imposing portal in red sandstone, through whose lordly arch one passes into an enclosure filled with chef-d’oeuvres. The major building is a mosque, but the loveliest of the structures are the three pavilions for the Emperor’s favorite wives, and the marble tomb of his friend, Salim Chisti the sage; here the artists of India began to show that skill in embroidering stone. Historian Vincent Smith in his book Akbar the Great Moghul, says:

” It is surprising to find unmistakable Hindu features in the architecture of the tomb of a most zealous Musalman saint, but the whole structure suggests Hindu feeling and nobody can mistake the Hindu origin of the column and struts of the porch.”

He aggrandized the capital Agra, constructing the   Lal Qila (Red Fort) with red sandstone. He also promoted the union of Hindus and Muslims for the stabilization of the empire and applied this principle to architecture too.

As for Akbar’s mausoleum at Sikandra, it became an unprecedented unique Islamic building, posts and beams which were stacked up like a four-storied junglegym as ‘Framework architecture’ on a high-rise platform. Its components are ‘Chatri’ (its etymology is ‘Chatra’ meaning an umbrella in Sanskrit); a turret with an apparently heavy roof supported with four columns. This came to be used as an ornamental element for all sorts of buildings.

Jehangir contributed little to the architectural history of his people.Shah Jehan made his name almost as bright as Akbar’s by his passion for beautiful building. He scattered money as lavishly among his artists.. Like the kings of northern Europe, he imported the surplus artists of Italy, and had them instruct his own carvers in that art of pietra dura (i.e., of inlaying marble with a mosaic of precious stones) which became one of the char- acteristic elements of Indian adornment during his reign.

Shah  Jehan was not a very religious soul, but two of the fairest mosques in India rose under his patronage: the Juma Masjid or Friday Mosque at Delhi, and the Moti Masj id or Pearl Mosque at Agra. Both at Delhi and at Agra Jehan built “forts” i.e., groups of royal edifices surrounded by a protective wall.

At Delhi he tore down with superior disdain the pink palaces of Akbar, and replaced them with structures which at their worst are a kind of marble confectionery, and at their best are the purest architectural beauty on the globe. Here is the luxurious Hall of Public Audience, with panels of Florentine mosaic on a black marble ground, and with ceilings, columns and arches carved into stone lacery of frail but incredible beauty. Here, too, is the Hall of Private Audience, whose ceiling is of silver and gold, whose columns are of filigree marble, whose arches are a pointed semicircle composed of smaller flowerlike semicircles, whose Peacock Throne became a legend for the world, and whose wall still bears in precious inlay the proud words of the Moslem poet: “If anywhere on earth there is a Paradise, it is here, it is here, it is here.”  The Delhi Fort originally contained fifty-two palaces, but only twenty-seven remain.

The Fort at Agra is in ruins, and we can only guess at its original magnificence. Here, amid many gardens, were the Pearl Mosque, the Gem Mosque, the halls of Public and Private Audience, the Throne Palace, the King’s Baths, the Hall of Mirrors, the palaces of Jehangir and of Shah Jehan, the Jasmine Palace of Nur Jehan, and that Jasmine Tower from which the captive emperor, Shah Jehan, looked over the Jumna upon the tomb that he had built for his beloved wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

All the world knows that tomb by her shortened name as the Taj Mahal. Many an architect has rated it as the most perfect of all buildings standing on the earth today.It is said that three artists designed it: a Persian, Ustad Isa; an Italian, Gieronimo Veroneo; and a Frenchman, Austin dc Bordeaux.

The building is a complex figure of twelve sides, four of which are portals; a slender minaret rises at each corner, and the roof is a massive spired dome. The main entrance, once guarded with solid silver gates, is a maze of marble embroidery; inlaid in the wall in jeweled script are quotations from the Koran, one of which invites the “pure in heart” to enter “the gardens of Paradise.” The interior is simple; and perhaps it is just as well that native and European thieves cooperated in despoiling the tomb of its superabundant jewels, and of the golden railing, encrusted with precious stones, that once enclosed the sarcophagi of Jehan and his Queen. For Aurangzeb replaced the railing with an octagonal screen of almost transparent marble, carved into a miracle of alabaster lace; and it has seemed to some visitors that of all the minor and partial products of human art nothing has ever surpassed the beauty of this screen.

It was a sad error of Shah Jehan’s to make a fortress of these lovely palaces. When the British besieged Agra (1803) they inevitably turned their guns upon the Fort. Seeing the cannon-balls strike the Khass Mahal, or Hall of Private Audience, the Indians  surrendered, thinking beauty more precious than victory. A little later Warren Hastings tore up the bath of the palace to present it to George IV; and other portions of the structure were sold by Lord William Bcntinck to help the revenues of India.

Lord William Bentinck, one of the kindliest of the British governoxs of India, once thought of selling the Taj for $150,000 to a Hindu contractor, who believed that better use could be made of the material.  Since Lord Curzon’s administration the British Government of India has taken excellent care of these Mogul monuments. just as well that native and European thieves cooperated in despoiling the tomb of its superabundant jewels, and of the golden railing, encrusted with precious stones, that once enclosed the sarcophagi of Jehan and his Queen. For Aurangzeb replaced the railing with an octagonal screen of almost transparent marble, carved into a miracle of alabaster lace; and it has seemed to some visitors that of all the minor and partial products of human art nothing has ever surpassed the beauty of this screen.

The sixth emperor Aurangzeb was a misfortune for Mogul and Indian art. Dedicated fanatically to an exclusive religion, he saw in art nothing but idolatry and vanity. Already Shah Jehan had prohibited the erection of Hindu temples;”  Aurangzeb not only continued the ban, but gave so economical a support to Moslem building that it, too, languished under his reign. Indian art followed him to the grave.

Aurangzeb  did not like pomp; therefore his tomb  in Khurdabad is extremely simple without even a roof. The mighty  Badshahi Mosque(1674) in Lahore is the last one among the four great mosques of the Mughals. The mausoleum of Aurangzeb wife, Bibi-ka-Maqbara (1678), was modelled on the Taj Mahal but it can be seen that its size, proportion, and volition for ornamentation were diminishing.

After that, both state power and its art declined; there remains merely the mausoleum of Safdarjang in Delhi , and it would be gradually encroached upon by British colonial culture.

Hindu and Moslem architecture- A comparison

To evaluate Indian architecture in summary and retrospect we find in it two themes, masculine and feminine, Hindu and Mohammedan, about which the structural symphony revolves. As, in the most famous of symphonies, the startling hammer-strokes of the opening bars are shortly followed by a strain of infinite delicacy, so in Indian architecture the over- powering monuments of the Hindu genius at Bodh-Gaya, Bhuvaneshwara, Madura and Tanjore are followed by the grace and melody of the Mogul style at Fathpur-Sikri, Delhi and Agra; and the two themes mingle in a confused elaboration to the end.

It was said of the Moguls that they built like giants and finished liked jewellers; but this epigram might better have been applied to Indian architecture in general: the Hindus built like giants, and the Moguls ended like jewellers.

Hindu architecture impresses us in its mass, Mohammedan architecture in its detail; the first had the sublimity of strength, the other had the perfection of beauty; the Hindus had passion and fertility, the  Mohammedan had taste and self-restraint.

The Hindu covered his buildings with such exuberant statuary that one hesitates whether to class them as building or as sculpture; the Mohammedan abominated images, and confined himself to floral or geometrical decoration.

The Hindus were the Gothic sculptor-architects of India’s Middle Ages; the Moslems were the expatriated artists of the exotic Renaissance. All in all, the Hindu style reached greater heights, in proportion as sublimity excels loveliness; on second thought we perceive that Delhi Fort and the Taj Mahal, beside Angkor and Borobudur, are beautiful lyrics beside profound Dramas. One art is the graceful and partial expression of fortunate individuals, the other is the complete and powerful expression of a race.

Hence this little survey must conclude as it began, by confessing that none but a Hindu can quite appreciate the art of India, or write about it forgivably. To a European this popular art of profuse ornament and wild complexity will seem at times almost primitive and barbarous. Only a native believer can feel the majesty of the Hindu temples, for these were built to give not merely a form to beauty but a stimulus to piety and a pedestal to faith.

It is in these terms all Indian civilization as the expression of a “medieval” people to whom religion is profounder than science. In this piety lie the weakness and the strength of the Hindu: his superstition and his gentleness, his introversion and his insight, his backwardness and his depth, his weakness in war and his achievement in art. Doubtless his climate affected his religion, and cooperated with it to enfeeble him; therefore he yielded with fatalistic resignation to the Aryans, the Huns, the Moslems and the Europeans. History punished him for neglecting science. The old civilization of India is finished. It began to die when the British came.


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Plato- A Poet and Mystic, as well as a Philosopher


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A. (Socio, Phil) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph.D.

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Plato (Platon, “the broad shouldered”) was a philosopher in Classical Greece and the founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He is widely considered the pivotal figure in the development of Western philosophy.

Born: May 7, 427 BC, Classical Athens. The son of noble parents. According to report, he first studied music, poetry, painting, and philosophy with other masters and became a pupil of Socrates in 407, remaining with him until the latter’s death (399)  when he accompanied the sorrowing Socratics to Megara. His death occurred in 347 B.C. Plato was a poet and mystic, as well as a philosopher and dialectician combining, in a rare degree, great powers of logical analysis and abstract thought with wonderful poetic imagination and deep mystical feeling. His character was noble ; he was an aristocrat by birth and by temperament, an uncompromising idealist, hostile to everything base and vulgar.

It is practically uncertain that all Plato’s genuine works have come down to us. The lost works ascribed to him, such as the “Divisions” and the “Unwritten Doctrines”, are certainly not genuine. Of the thirty-six dialogues, some — the “Phaedrus”, “Protagoras”, “Phaedo”, “The Republic”, “The Banquet”, etc. — are undoubtedly genuine; others — e.g. the “Minos”, — may with equal certaintybe considered spurious; while still a third group — the “Ion”, “Greater Hippias”, and “First Alcibiades” — is of doubtful authenticity. In all his writings, Plato uses the dialogue with a skill never since equalled. That form permitted him to develop the Socratic method of question and answer.

Although Plato did not explicitly divide philosophy into logic, metaphysics (physics), and ethics (practical philosophy, including politics), he makes use of such a division in his works. Plato developed such a system

Division of philosophy

The different parts of philosophy are not distinguished by Plato with the same formal precision found in Aristotelean, and post-Aristotelean systems. We may, however, for convenience, distinguish:

  • Dialectic, the science of the Idea in itself; [including theory of knowledge],
  • Physics, the knowledge of the Idea as incorporated or incarnated in the world of phenomena, and
  • Ethics and Theory of the State, or the science of the Idea embodied in human conduct and human society.

The starting-point

Thirty-six dialogues and thirteen letters have traditionally been ascribed to Plato, though modern scholarship doubts the authenticity of at least some of these. No one knows the exact order Plato’s dialogues were written in, nor the extent to which some might have been later revised and rewritten.

The immediate starting-point of Plato’s philosophical speculation was the Socratic teaching. In his attempt to define the conditions of knowledge so as to refute sophistic scepticism, Socrates had taught that the only true knowledge is a knowledge by means of concepts. The concept, he said, represents all the reality of a thing. As used by Socrates, this was merely a principle of knowledge. It was taken up by Plato as a principle of Being. If the concept represents all the reality of things, the reality must be something in the ideal order, not necessarily in the things themselves, but rather above them, in a world by itself. For the concept, therefore, Plato substitutes the Idea. He completes the work of Socrates by teaching that the objectively real Ideas are the foundation and justification of scientific knowledge.. The Platonic theory of Ideas is an attempt to solve this crucial question by a metaphysical compromise. The Eleatics, Plato said, are right in maintaining that reality does not change; for the ideas are immutable. Still, there is, as Heraclitus contended, change in the world of our experience, or, as Plato terms it, the world of phenomena. Plato, then, supposes a world of Ideas apart from the world of our experience, and immeasurably superior to it. He imagines that all human souls dwelt at one time in that higher world. When, therefore, we behold in the shadow-world around us a phenomenon or appearance of anything, the mind is moved to a remembrance of the Idea (of that same phenomenal thing) which it formerly contemplated. In its delight it wonders at the contrast, and by wonder is led to recall as perfectly as possible the intuition it enjoyed in a previous existence. This is the task of philosophy. Philosophy, therefore, consists in the effort to rise from the knowledge of phenomena, or appearances, to the noumena, or realities. Of all the ideas, however, the Idea of the beautiful shines out through the phenomenal veil more clearly than any other; hence the beginning of all philosophical activity is the love and admiration of the Beautiful.


The Idea, incorporated, so to speak, in the phenomenon is less real than the Idea in its own world, or than the Idea embodied in human conduct and human society. Physics, i.e., the knowledge of the Idea in phenomena, is, therefore, inferior in dignity and importance to Dialectic and Ethics. In fact, the world of phenomena has no scientific interest for Plato. The knowledge of it is not true knowledge, nor the source, but only the occasion of true knowledge. The phenomena stimulate our minds to a recollection of the intuition of Ideas, and with that intuition scientific knowledge begins. Moreover, Plato’s interest in nature is dominated by a teleological view of the world as animated with a World-Soul, which, conscious of its process, does all things for a useful purpose, or, rather, for “the best”, morally, intellectually, and aesthetically. This conviction is apparent especially in the Platonic account of the origin of the universe, contained in the “Timaeus”, although the details regarding the activity of the demiurgos and the created gods should not, perhaps, be taken seriously. Similarly, the account of the origin of the soul, in the same dialogue, is a combination of philosophy and myth, in which it is not easy to distinguish the one from the other. It is clear, however, that Plato holds the spiritual nature of the soul as against the materialistic Atomists, and that he believes the soul to have existed before its union with the body. The whole theory of Ideas, in so far, at least, as it is applied to human knowledge, presupposes the doctrine of pre-existence. “All knowledge is recollection” has no meaning except in the hypothesis of the soul’s pre-natal intuition of Ideas. It is equally incontrovertible that Plato held the soul to be immortal. His conviction on this point was as unshaken as Socrates’s. His attempt to ground that conviction on unassailable premises is, indeed, open to criticism, because his arguments rest either on the hypothesis of previous existence or on his general theory of Ideas. Nevertheless, the considerations which he offers in favour of immortality, in the “Phaedo”, have helped to strengthen all subsequent generations in the belief in a future life. His description of the future state of the soul is dominated by the Pythagorean doctrine of transmigration. Here, again, the details are not to be taken as seriously as the main fact, and we can well imagine that the account of the soul condemned to return in the body of a fox or a wolf is introduced chiefly because it accentuates the doctrine of rewards and punishments, which is part of Plato’s ethical system. Before passing to his ethical doctrines it is necessary to indicate one other point of his psychology. The soul, Plato teaches, consists of three parts: the rational soul, which resides in the head; the irascible soul, the seat of courage, which resides in the heart; and the appetitive soul, the seat of desire, which resides in the abdomen. These are not three faculties of one soul, but three parts really distinct.


Many have interpreted Plato as stating—even having been the first to write—that knowledge is justified true belief, an influential view that informed future developments in epistemology. Plato argues that knowledge is distinguished from mere true belief by the knower having an “account” of the object of her or his true belief. Plato himself also identified problems with the justified true belief definition in the Theaetetus, concluding that justification (or an “account”) would require knowledge of differentiates, meaning that the definition of knowledge is circular .

Plato’s view that knowledge in this latter sense is acquired by recollection.

In several of Plato’s dialogues, the idea that knowledge is a matter of recollection, and not of learning, observation, or study. He maintains this view somewhat at his own expense, knowledge is not empirical, and that it comes from divine insight.

Plato is not content, however, with telling how true concepts and judgments may be obtained ; his chief object is to obtain them, to know reality in all its phases, physical, mental, and moral, to comprehend it in its unity and completeness. Indeed, it is plain to him that the knowledge-problem itself cannot be solved without an understanding of the nature of the world. To this end he develops a universal system, in the spirit of the teachings of the great thinker who became his ideal.

We shall, therefore, follow this order, in a general way, in our exposition of his thought, and begin with logic, or dialectics. Plato clearly understood the great importance of the problem of knowledge in the philosophy of his day. A thinker’s conception of the nature and origin of knowledge largely Dialectics ,  determined his attitude toward the engrossing questions of the age. If our propositions are derived from sense-perception and opinion, Plato argued, then the Sophists are quite right in their contention that there can be no genuine knowledge. Sense-perception does not reveal the true reality of things, but gives us mere appearance. Opinion may be true or false; as mere opinion it has no value whatever ; it is not knowledge, but rests on persuasion or feeling ; it does not know whether it is true or false, it cannot justify itself. Genuine knowledge is knowledge based on reasons, knowledge that knows itself as knowledge, knowledge that can authenticate itself. The great majority of men think without knowing why they think as they do, without having any grounds for their views. Ordinary virtue is no better off: it, too, rests on sense-perception and opinion; it is not conscious of its principles. Men do not know why they act as they do; they act instinctively, according to custom or habit, like ants, bees, and wasps; they act selfishly, for pleasure and profit, hence the masses are a great unconscious Sophist. The Sophist is wrong because he confuses appearance and reality, the pleasant and the good.

We must advance from sense-perception and opinion to genuine knowledge. This we cannot do unless we have a desire, or love of truth, the Eros, which is aroused by the contemplation of beautiful ideas: we pass from the contemplation of beauty to the contemplation of truth. The love of truth impels us to dialectics; it impels us to rise beyond sense-perception to the idea, to conceptual knowledge, from the particular to the universal. The dialectical method consists, first, in the comprehension of scattered particulars in one idea, and second, in the division of the idea into species, that is, in the processes of generalization and classification. In this way alone can there be clear and consistent thinking; we pass from concept to concept, upward and downward, generalizing and particularizing, combining and dividing, synthesizing and analyzing, carving out concepts as a sculptor carves a beautiful figure out of a block of marble. Judgment expresses the relation of concepts to one another, articulates concept with concept, while the syllogism links judgment with judgment, in the process of reasoning. Dialectics is this art of thinking in concepts; concepts, and not sensations or images, constitute the essential object of thought. We cannot, for example, call a man just or unjust unless we have a notion, or concept, of justice, unless we know what justice is; when we know that, we can judge why a man is just or unjust.

Experience, then, is not the source of our notions; there is nothing in experience, in the world of sense, exactly corresponding to them, to the notions of truth, beauty, goodness, for example; no particular object is absolutely beautiful or good. We approach the sense-world with ideals or standards of the true, the beautiful, and the good. In addition to these notions, Plato came to regard mathematical concepts and certain logical notions, or categories, such as being and non-being, identity and difference, unity and plurality, as inborn, or a priori.

Conceptual knowledge, then, is the only genuine knowledge: that was the teaching of Socrates. Knowledge is the correspondence of thought and reality, or being: it must have an object. Hence, if the idea or notion is to have any value as knowledge, something real must correspond to it, there must, for instance, be pure, absolute beauty as such, realities must exist corresponding to our universal ideas. In other words, such ideas cannot be mere passing thoughts in men’s heads; the truths of mathematics, the ideals of beauty, truth, and goodness, must be real, must have independent existence. If the objects of our ideas were not real, our knowledge would not be knowledge; hence they must be real.

Plato found it necessary, in short, to appeal to metaphysics, to his world-view, for the proof of the validity of knowledge. Sense-knowledge, the kind the Sophist believed in, presents to us the passing, changing, particular, and accidental; hence it cannot be genuine knowledge: it does not tell the truth or get at the heart of reality. Conceptual knowledge reveals the universal, changeless, and essential element in things and is, therefore, true knowledge. Philosophy has for its aim knowledge of the universal, unchangeable, and eternal.

Doctrine of ideas: [Plato’s most original philosophical achievement.]

According to Plato, universals exist. Corresponding to the concept of horse, as example, there is a universal or ideal entity; it is the idea that is known in conceptual knowledge, reason

The variety of ideas or forms is endless: there are ideas of things, relations, qualities, actions and values…[these are some classes of ideas]: of tables and chairs; of smallness, greatness, likeness; of colors and tones; of health, rest and motion; of beauty, truth and goodness…The ideas or archetypes constitute a well-ordered world or rational cosmos; arranged in a connected, organic unity, a logical order subsumed under the highest idea: the Good

The Good, the supreme idea, the logos or cosmic purpose, the unity of pluralities, the source of all ideas…is also the truly real. The function of philosophy, by exercise of reason, is to understand this inner, interconnected order of the universe and to conceive its essence by logical thought

Outline of the doctrine:

[1] The forms, or ideas defined as objects corresponding to abstract concepts are real entities. The Platonic form is the reification or entificiation of the Socratic concept;

[2] There are a variety of forms;

[3] They belong to a realm of abstract entities, a “heaven of ideas”, separate from their concrete exemplification in time and space [the Platonic dualism];

[4] Form is archetype, particular: copy; form is superior: forms are real, particulars mere appearances;

[5]  Forms are neither mental – they exist independently of any knowing mind, even God’s – nor physical: yet real;

(6)[forms are non-temporal and non-spatial: eternal and immutable];

[7] They are logically connected in a “communicative” hierarchy in which the supreme form is the Good;

[8] Forms are apprehended by reason, not sense;

[9] The relation between a particular and a form which it exemplifies is “participation”; all particulars with a common predicate participate in the corresponding form; a particular may participate simultaneously in a plurality of forms or successively [in change] in a succession of forms

The Theory of Forms (or Theory of Ideas) typically refers to the belief that the material world as it seems to us is not the real world, but only an “image” or “copy” of the real world. In some of Plato’s dialogues, this is expressed by Socrates, who spoke of forms in formulating a solution to the problem of universals. The forms, ,are archetypes or abstract representations of the many types of things, and properties we feel and see around us, that can only be perceived by reason .In other words, Socrates was able to recognize two worlds: the apparent world, which constantly changes, and an unchanging and unseen world of forms, which may be the cause of what is apparent.

There are, then, two principles; we should say, mind and matter, of which mind is the true reality, the thing of most worth, that to which everything owes its form and essence, the principle of law and order in the universe; while the other element, matter, is secondary, a dull, irrational, recalcitrant force, the unwilling slave of mind, which somehow, but imperfectly, takes on the impress of mind. Form is the active cause, matter is the cooperative cause. It is both friend and foe, an auxiliary and an obstruction, the ground of physical and moral evil, of change and imperfection.

According to Plato the ideas or forms  are not mere thoughts in the minds of men or even in the mind of God  ; he conceives them as existing in and for themselves, they have the character of substantiality, they are substances ,real or substantial forms: the original, eternal transcendent archetypes of things, existing prior to things and apart from them ,independent of them, uninfluenced by the changes to which they are subject. The particular objects which we perceive are imperfect copies or reflections of these eternal patterns; particulars may come and particulars may go, but the idea or form goes on forever. Men may come and men may go, but the man-type, the human race, goes on forever. There are many objects or copies, but there is always only one idea of a class of things. There are numberless such independent forms, or ideas, nothing being too lowly or insignificant to have its idea: ideas of things, relations, qualities, actions ; ideas of tables and beds and chairs, of colour and tone ; of health, rest, and motion; of smallness, greatness, likeness; of beauty, truth, and goodness.

These ideas or archetypes, though numberless, are not disordered, like chaos; they constitute a well-ordered world, or rational cosmos .The ideal order forms an interrelated, connected organic unity, the ideas being arranged in logical order, and subsumed under the highest idea, the idea of the Good, which is the source of all the rest. This idea is supreme; beyond it there is no other. The truly real and the truly good are identical; the idea of the Good is the logos, the cosmic purpose. Unity, therefore, includes plurality; in the intelligible or ideal world there is no unity without plurality, and no plurality without unity.. The universe is conceived by Plato as a logical system of ideas: it forms an organic spiritual unity, governed by a universal purpose, the idea of the Good, and is, therefore, a rational moral whole. Its meaning cannot be grasped by the senses, which perceive only its imperfect and fleeting reflections and never rise to a vision of the perfect and abiding whole. It is the business of philosophy to understand its inner order and connection, to conceive its essence by logical thought.

The principle, of the Platonic ” matter,” forms the basis of the phenomenal world; as such it is the raw material upon which the forms are somehow impressed. It is perishable and unreal, imperfect, non-being whatever reality, form, or beauty the perceived world has, it owes to ideas. Some interpreters of Plato conceive this Platonic ‘ ‘ matter ‘ ‘ as space ; others as a formless, space-filling mass. Plato needs something besides the idea to account for our world of sense, or nature, which is not a mere illusion of the senses, but an order of lower rank than the changeless ideal realm. This substratum, untouched by the ideal principle, must be conceived as devoid of all qualities, formless, indefinable, and imperceptible. Nature owes its existence to the influence of the ideal world on non-being or matter: as a ray of light, passed through a prism, is broken into many rays, so the idea is broken into many objects by matter. The form- less something is non-being, not in the sense of being non-existent, but in the sense of having a lower order of existence: the term non-being expresses a judgment of value. The sensible world partakes of a measure of reality or being, in so far as it takes on form. Plato does not define more precisely the nature of the relation between the two realms ; but it is plain that the ideas are somehow responsible for all the reality things possess: they owe their being to the presence of ideas, to the participation of the latter in them. At the same time, non-being, the sub- stratum, is responsible for the diversity and imperfection of the many different objects bearing the same name.

In the Timaeus, Plato locates the parts of the soul within the human body: Reason is located in the head, spirit in the top third of the torso, and the appetite in the middle third of the torso, down to the navel.

Doctrine of immortality

Plato advocates a belief in the immortality of the soul, In the early transitional dialogue, the Meno, Plato has introduce the Orphic and Pythagorean idea that souls are immortal and existed before our births. All knowledge, he explains, is actually recollected from this prior existence. In perhaps the most famous passage in this dialogue, Socrates elicits recollection about geometry from one of Meno’s slaves

The part of the individual, which “knows” sense impression and opinion, is the body; the soul knows or has genuine knowledge or science. Because the soul possesses apprehension of ideas prior to its contact with the world: all knowledge is reminiscence and all learning is awakening.

The soul has contemplated eternal ideas and only like can know like .

it cannot be produced by composition or destroyed by disintegration,

As the source of its own motion, the soul is eternal [a survival of atomistic conceptions] [first cause argument, perhaps]…and various other metaphysical arguments.

From the superiority and dignity of the soul: it must survive the body; a variation: everything is destroyed by its “connatural” evil; the evils of the soul its worst vices: injustice, etc. do not destroy the soul – hence its indestructibility.

The theory of knowledge has shown us that there are three kinds of knowledge, sense-perception, opinion, and genuine knowledge or Science. This division influences Plato’s psychology. In sensation  and opinion the soul is dependent on the body; in so far as it beholds the pure world of ideas, it is pure reason. The bodily part is, therefore, an impediment to knowledge, from which the soul must free itself in order to behold truth in its purity. The copies of the pure ideas, as they exist in the phenomenal world, merely incite the rational soul to think; sensation provokes ideas, it does not produce them. Hence, the soul must somehow possess ideas prior to its contact with the world of experience. Plato teaches that the soul has viewed such ideas before, but has forgotten them ; the imperfect copies of ideas in the world of sense bring back its past, remind it, as it were, of what it has seen before: all knowledge is reminiscence and all learning a reawakening. Hence, the soul must have existed before its union with a body.

In the early dialogues, Plato’s Socrates is an intellectualist—that is, he claims that people always act in the way they believe is best for them .Hence, all wrongdoing reflects some cognitive error. But in the middle period, Plato conceives of the soul as having three parts:

1.            A rational part (the part that loves truth, which should rule over the other parts of the soul through the use of reason),

2.            A spirited part (which loves honour and victory), and

3.            An appetitive part (which desires food, drink, and sex),

Justice will be that condition of the soul in which each of these three parts “does its own work,” and does not interfere in the workings of the other parts . When these three inward principles are in tune, each doing its proper work, the man is just. The just and honorable course is that which a man pursues in this frame of mind ; he has the ethical attitude when he is wise and brave and temperate, when he has harmonized his soul. Such a man would not repudiate a deposit, commit sacrilege or theft, be false to friends, be a traitor to his country, or commit similar misdeeds.

The human soul, then, is, in part, pure reason , and this rational part is its characteristic phase. It enters a body, and there is added to it a mortal and irrational part, which fits it for existence in the sense-world.The union with the body is a hindrance to the intellectual aspirations of the soul, to knowledge ; the presence of impulses and desires is a hindrance to the ethical supremacy of reason, which reason itself must seek to overcome, as Plato shows in his ethics. A soul that has contemplated the pure eternal ideas must, in part at least, be like these ideas, pure and eternal; for only like can know like. The doctrine of reminiscence proves the pre-existence and continued existence of the soul. Other proofs of immortality are: the simplicity of the soul: whatever is simple cannot be decomposed ; and its life or spontaneity : such a principle of activity cannot be destroyed; life cannot become death .

The pure rational soul, which was created by the Demiurge, once inhabited a star. But it became possessed with a desire for the world of sense and was in closed in a material body as in a prison. In case it succeeds in overcoming the lower side of its nature, it will return to its star, otherwise it will sink lower and lower, passing through the bodies of different animals (transmigration of souls). If the soul had resisted desire in its celestial life, it would have continued to occupy itself, in a transcendent existence, with the contemplation of ideas. As it is, it is condemned to pass through a stage of purification.

The doctrine of the “Eros.

An important phase of Plato’s psychology is the doctrine of the “Eros. Just as sense-perception arouses in the soul the remembrance of pure ideas, or Truth, so the perception of sensuous beauty, which arouses sense-love, also arouses in the soul the memory of ideal Beauty contemplated in its former existence. This recollection arouses yearning for the higher life, the world of pure ideas. Sensuous love and the yearning for the beautiful and the good are one and the same impulse ; in yearning for eternal values, the soul yearns for immortality. The sensuous impulse seeks the continued existence of the species; the higher forms of the impulse are the craving for fame, the impulse to create science, art, and human institutions. These impulses are another evidence of the immortality of the soul, for what the soul desires must be attainable.

The universe is, at bottom, a rational universe: a spiritual system. Objects of sense, the material phenomena around us, are mere fleeting shadows of eternal and never-changing ideas; they cannot endure and have no worth. Only that which endures is real and has value: reason alone has absolute worth and is the highest good. Hence, the rational part of man is the true part, and his ideal must be to cultivate reason, the immortal side of his soul. The body and the senses are not the true part; indeed, the body is the prison-house of the soul, a fetter, deliverance from which is the final goal of the spirit. ” There- fore we ought to fly away from earth as quickly as we can, and to fly away is to become like God.” The release of the soul from the body and the contemplation of the beautiful world of ideas, that is the ultimate end of life.

In the meanwhile the soul, with its reason, its spirited part, and its appetites, is enclosed in its dungeon and has its problems to solve. The rational part is wise and has to exercise fore- thought on behalf of the entire soul : hence, its essential function is to command. The Individual is wise in whom reason rules over the other impulses of the soul,

The ideal, therefore, is a well-ordered soul, one in which the higher functions rule the lower, one which exercises the virtues of wisdom ,courage . self-control ,and justice . A life of reason, which means a life of virtue, is the highest good. Happiness attends such a life ; the just man is after all the happy man. Pleasure, however, is not an end in itself, it is not the highest factor in the life of the soul, but the lowest.

The God/ Demiurge

Plato attempts to explain the origin of nature in his Timaus, a work that reminds one of the early Pre-Socratic philosophies. Like a human artist or workman, the Demiurge or Creator fashions the world after the pattern of the ideal world; guided by the idea of the Good, he forms as perfect a universe as it is possible for him to form, hampered, as he is, by the principle of matter.

The Demiurge or Creator [more an architect than a creator] fashions the world out of matter in the patterns of the ideal world…The four factors in creation enumerated in Timmaeus are

[1] the Demiurge or God: the active principle or dynamic cause of the world;

[2] the pattern as archetype of the world;

[3] the receptacle: the locus and matrix of creation; matter; brute fact; source of indeterminacy and evil; and

[4] the form of the Good

Plato’s cosmology, garbed in myth: an attempt to identify the causes in [and creation of] the actual world [interpretation]

The influence of Plato’s doctrine of ideas, and cosmology is enormous – upon Aristotle: the four causes of Aristotle are the four factors in Plato’s cosmology.

The Demiurge is not really a creator, but an architect ; the two principles, mind and matter, are already in existence: a being is needed who will bring them together. In order to realize his purpose, he endows the world, which is composed of the four material elements, earth, air, fire, water, with soul and life. This world-soul he compounds of the indivisible and divisible, of identity and change, of mind and matter (the four elements), in order that it may know the ideal and perceive the corporeal. It has its own original motion, which is the cause of all motion; in moving itself it also moves bodies; it is diffused throughout the world and is the cause of the beauty, order, and harmony in the world: this is the image of God, a visible God. The world-soul is the intermediary between the world of ideas and the world of phenomena. It is the cause of all law, mathematical relations, harmony, order, uniformity, life, mind, and knowledge: it moves according to fixed laws of its nature, causing the distribution of matter in the heavenly spheres, as well as their motion. Besides the world-soul, the Creator created souls or gods for the planets (which he arranged according to the Pythagorean system of harmony) and rational human souls, leaving it to the lower gods to create animals and the irrational part of the human soul. Everything has been made for man, plants to nourish him, and animal-bodies to serve as habitations for fallen souls.

Therefore, in Plato’s cosmology many gods, to none of whom he definitely ascribes personality, perhaps because he took this for granted, conceiving them in analogy with the human soul: the Idea of the Good, the total world of ideas, the Demiurge, the world-soul, the planetary souls, and the gods of the popular religion.

In these dialogues, we also find Socrates represented as holding certain religious beliefs, such as:

The gods are completely wise and good .Ever since his childhood Socrates has experienced a certain “divine something” which consists in a “voice” ,or “sign” that opposes him when he is about to do something wrong

Various forms of divination can allow human beings to come to recognize the will of the gods .Poets and rhapsodies are able to write and do the wonderful things they write and do, not from knowledge or expertise, but from some kind of divine inspiration. The same can be said of diviners and seers, although they do seem to have some kind of expertise—perhaps only some technique by which to put them in a state of appropriate receptivity to the divine

No one really knows what happens after death, but it is reasonable to think that death is not an evil; there may be an afterlife, in which the souls of the good are rewarded, and the souls of the wicked are punished

Plato on Gender Discrimination and Family

Plato fought against the discrimination of women. At that time women in Greece were not considered the same as men so they were not given education since they were staying home caring for children. For him, women had to be given the same education as men. He believed that differences between sexes are not relevant in constructing a society. He thought that females and males have got the same right of receiving education from the state since the interest of the state is paramount and the kind of education which will produce good men will also produce good women. . He was totally against gender and religious discrimination and proposed that education should be provided to all without any discrimination i.e. without considering race, sex or religion.

Following the mistreatment of women in Greece, education for women raised questions; but to overcome this problem Plato says, “natural gifts are to be found in both sexes …”. So, women and children were supposed to be sent to school for education and not just to stay home.

Moreover, to support this issue Plato asked: are dogs divided into hes and shes, or do they both share equally in hunting and in keeping watch and in the other duties of dogs? Or do we entrust to the males the entire and exclusive care of the flock, while we leave the females at home, under the idea that the bearing and suckling the puppies is labor enough for them? “No” he said, “they share alike; the only difference between them is that the males are stronger and the females weaker”.

So, women have got the same duties as men, and in order to fulfill their duties they must have the same nurture and education.

Plato believed that women are equal to men and that, although some women are physically smaller or weak, some women are physically equal to men therefore those women who are physically strong should be allowed to learn the same skills that men do. In his book Republic Plato describes how male and female receive the same education and be given the same duties in society as given to the male member. These people are the ones who will be in charge his republic which would be an ideal society, where philosophers are kings. In other words, who know what is good for the people and for the mankind and take their decisions based on that knowledge.

The only difference noted between men and women is physical function, i.e. one begets, the other bears children. Apart from physical function, all can perform the same functions. Therefore, in order to perform all these duties, education was necessary for them so that society could get best values from both men and women. But this idea was revolutionary to Greek women, since in Greece they were staying home and took care of babies.

However, Plato recognized also some differences in intelligence and talents; so it was suggested to have different schools for those who have got special talents, i.e. he advocated an educational system, which would distinguish and identify rulers, soldiers and the populace.

Plato does not suggest separate curriculum for women. Women should also be educated in music and gymnastics as well as the art of war. He says that women and girls should undergo the same gymnastic and military exercises as men and boys.

Plato also emphases on women education, he consider the same kind of education for women. Women should the same physical and educational training; they should know the art of war. The main aim of Plato was that each member of the society should undertake his work and responsibilities.

The ideal society is a family:

  • Plato opposes monogamy,
  • private property,
  • recommends for the two upper castes – who are to be supported by workers – communism and common possession of wives and children…

Plato recommends:

  • eugenic supervision of marriages and births,
  • exposure of weak children,
  • compulsory state education, education of women for war and government,
  • censorship

Plato: Stages of Education

The state is an educational institution, the instrument of civilization; its foundation must be the highest kind of knowledge which is philosophy. The education of the children of higher classes will follow a definite plan:

  • identical for the sexes during the first twenty years:
  • myths selected for ethical, gymnastics for body and spirit;
  • poetry, music –harmony, beauty, proportion and philosophical thought;
  • reading, writing; mathematics which tends to draw the mind from the concrete and sensuous to the abstract and real.

At 20, superior young men will be selected and shall integrate their learning.

At 30, those who show greatest ability in studies, military officers, etc., will study dialectic for five years. Then they will be put to test as soldiers, militias and in subordinate civic offices. Starting at the age of fifty, the demonstrably worthy will study philosophy until their turns come to administer the offices for their country’s sake

Plato’s model of education

Plato’s model of education can be called “functionalist”: a model designed to produce competent adults to meet the needs of the state.

First stage:

Plato believed that education began from the age of seven and before this child should stay with their mothers for moral education and genders should be allowed to plays with each other.

Plato was of the opinion that for the first 10 years, there should be predominantly physical education. In other words, every school must have a gymnasium and a playground in order to develop the physique and health of children and make them resistant to any disease.

Apart from this physical education, Plato also recommended music to bring about certain refinement in their character and lent grace and health to the soul and the body. Plato also prescribed subjects such as mathematics, history and science.

Second stage

This stage is till the age of seventeen. The content of education comprises Gymnastics, literature, music elementary mathematics. Gymnastics is essential for the physical and mental growth. Music is chosen as the medium of education, an avenue for the spiritual growth,  and ideas are the contents of education for this stage. After the age of six years both girls and boys should be separated and boys should play with boys and girls with girls and they should be taught the use of different arms to both sexes. This stage goes up to the age of seventeen years

Third stage

This stage is till the age of twenty. This stage is meant for cadet ship and is related to physical and military training. The youth are bought into the stage of battle in this age. After the age of seventeen years the youth should be brought to battle filed to learn real life experiences.

Fourth stage

The four stages start at the age of twenty-five to thirty years and in this age,  they get the training of Mathematical calculation and last for another ten years, after the completion the selected one’s are admitted in the study of dialect. Here students undergo mathematical training preparatory to dialectic

Plato has highlighted the qualities needed for an individual to enter higher education. He proclaimed that preference should be given to the surest, bravest, fairest and those who have the natural gifts to facilitate their education.

Fifth stage

This age is from ages thirty to thirty-five. Plato restricted the study of dialectic to this age because he felt that an individual should be mature enough to carry on the study in dialectic, especially about ultimate principles of reality.

Six stage

This age is from thirty five to fifty years, when according to Plato, an individual is ready as a philosopher or ruler, to return to practical life to take command in war and hold such offices of state as befits him. After reaching 50 one should spend the life in contemplation of “the Good” their chief pursuit should be philosophy and should participate in politics, and rule for the good of the people as a matter of their duty.

Plato Concept of Education

Plato gave immense importance to education. In his treatise ”The republic”, Plato has dealt with education in details.

According to Plato- Education the initial acquisition of virtue by the child, when the feelings of pleasure and affection, pain and hatred, that well up in his soul are channeled in the right courses before he can understand the reason why… education, then is a matter of correctly disciplined feelings of pleasure and pain .

Apart from this definition, Plato sees education as “… to ensure that the habit and aspirations of the old generation are transmitted to the younger- and then presumably to the next one after that”.

However, according to Plato, education is a matter of conversion. i.e. a complete turn around from the world of appearances to the world of the reality. ‘The conversion of the souls’, says Plato, ‘is not to put the power of sight in the soul’s eye, which already has it, but to insure that, instead of looking in the wrong direction, it is turned the way it ought to be’ .

Plato’s philosophy of education aims at preparing learners for future life. The objective of education is to turn the soul towards light. Plato once stated that the main function of education is not to put knowledge into the soul, but to bring out the latent talents in the soul by directing it towards the right objects. This explanation of Plato on education highlights his object of education and guides the readers in proper direction to unfold the ramifications of his theory of education.

In “Laws’ he says repeatedly:
“Education is the first and the fairest thing that the best of men can ever have”.
According to Plato the aim of education is the welfare of both the safety of the society and the food of individual. He was of the opinion that education should develop the sense of ideas in people in whom the ability is there, and should purpose and direct each one through the guidance of philosophers for the performance of those works which fits them naturally to perform

Plato presented his philosophy of education in his Republic. The basic theme of education is inquiry is justice. The basic question around which the dialog revolves is , ” what is the meaning of justice.” Socrates defines justice through establishing an analogy between society and individual.

The highest goal of education, Plato believed, is the knowledge of Good; to nurture a man to a better human being it is not merely an awareness of particular benefits and pleasures,

Plato discussed the selection of students together with examinations of the student. According to Plato, a child must take an examination that would determine whether or not to pursue higher education at the age of 20. Those who failed in the examination were asked to take up activities in communities such as businessmen, clerks, workers, farmers and the like.

These selections were in accordance with the age and stage to which these students were admitted. In Greece, pupils were being accepted in the first level at the age of six. Plato emphasized that education must start early. In Greece, boys and girls were being separated. As Plato says, “ when the boys and girls have reached the age of six, the sexes should be separated; boys should spend their days with boys and girls with girls.”. Boys and girls were being taught the same things separately, but the spirit in which they were taught, differed because boys were destined to be soldiers, while girls would become mothers of families, they would only be called upon in an emergency to defend the state.

In the learning process, both Plato wished practical work to be included. For example Plato insisted that those who want to be good builders or good husbandman should learn practically their work. Plato emphasised this point in this way:

…I insist that a man who intends to be good at a particular occupation must practice it from childhood: both at work and at play he must be surrounded by the special ‘tools of the trade’. For instance a man who intends to be a good farmer must play at farming, and the man who is to be a builder must spend his play time building toy houses. Plato considered the role of tradition in learning. it is through tradition that one learns or knows about the history of his/her society.

In the case of formal education Plato emphasised the role of teachers. Plato thought that the role or the function of teachers is to communicate a subject matter to the pupils. Teachers are those who know the subject matter. He emphasised that teachers should have enthusiasm, they should have a spirit of helping students, and good behaviour, treat students with equality and friendship.He  believed that students learn many things from their teachers, not only what teachers teach, but also social behaviour through the example shown by their teachers.

In another place he writes “Do not then train youths by force and harshness, but direct them to it by what amuses their minds so that you may be better able to discover with accuracy the peculiar bent of the genius of each.”

The Platonic approach to education comprises the following aspects: sciences and arts, which were to be communicated by teachers to their pupils; moral virtue, necessary to teacher and students, and finally political institutions, which were connected with the learning process.

Plato prescribed a general type of curriculum prevailing in Greece at that time. The curriculum for the early training, that occupied first seventeen years of life, was comprised of music and gymnastics. The word music was used in a much broader sense than we use it today. It included poetry, drama, history, oratory and music in its more limited sense.

Plato ,  define different stages for the organization and curriculum; named three stages of education: reading and writing as the first stage; second stage: physical education; and the third stage: secondary or literary education.

Plato’s   Method  of Instruction- The Dialectical Method

Plato is in favor of education in a free atmosphere without any compulsion or check. Plato doesn’t write treatises, but writes in an indirect way, encouraging the reader to ask questions and think for himself. But, like his teacher Socrates, Plato is often happy to play role of observer rather than a preacher. Plato says all elements of instruction should be presented to the mind in childhood, nor how ever, under any notion of forcing . He says that , ” it is better for a learner to be a free man and not to a slave in the acquisition of knowledge.” According to Plato knowledge which is acquired under compulsion detains no hold on the minds of the bearers. Plato believed that there was no compulsion in teaching and it should be more of an amusement.

The teacher must know his or her subject, but as a true philosopher he or she also knows that the limits of their knowledge. It is here that we see the power of dialogue – the joint exploration of a subject – ‘knowledge will not come from teaching but from questioning’.

In this method, the philosopher collects all of the instances of some generic category that seem to have common characteristics, and then divides them into specific kinds until they cannot be further subdivided.

Dialectics is this art of thinking in concepts; concepts, and not sensations or images, constitute the essential object of thought. We cannot, for example, call a man just or unjust unless we have a notion, or concept, of justice, unless we know what justice is; when we know that, we can judge why a man is just or unjust’

This method was introduced probably either late in the middle period or in the transition to the late period, but was increasingly important in the late period. In the early period dialogues, as we have said, the mode of philosophizing was refutative question-and-answer (called the “Socratic method”). Although the middle period dialogues continue to show Socrates asking questions, the questioning in these dialogues becomes much more overtly leading and didactic. In this method, the philosopher collects all of the instances of some generic category that seem to have common characteristics, and then divides them into specific kinds until they cannot be further subdivided.

This is to be understood as synonymous not with logic but with metaphysics. It signifies the science of the Idea, the science of reality, science in the only true sense of the word. For the ideas are the only realities in the world. We observe, for instance, just actions, and we know that some men are just. But both in the actions and in the persons designated as just there exist many imperfections; they are only partly just. In the world above us there exits justice, absolute, perfect, unmixed with injustice, eternal, unchangeable, immortal. This is the Idea of justice. Similarly, in that world above us there exist the Ideas of greatness, goodness, beauty, wisdom, etc. and not only these, but also the Ideas of concrete material objects such as the Idea of man, the idea of horse, the Idea of trees, etc. In a word, the world of Ideas is a counterpart of the world of our experience, or rather, the latter is a feeble imitation of the former. The ideas are the prototypes, the phenomena are typeset. In the allegory of the cave (Republic, VII, 514 d) a race of men are described as chained in a fixed position in a cavern, able to look only at the wall in front of them. When an animal, e.g. a horse, passes in front of the cave, they, beholding the shadow on the wall, imagine it to be a reality, and while in prison they know of no other reality. When they are released and go into the light they are dazzled, but when they succeed in distinguishing a horse among the objects around them, their first impulse is to take that for a shadow of the being which they saw on the wall. The prisoners are “like ourselves”, says Plato. The world of our experience, which we take to be real, is only a shadow world. The real world is the world of Ideas, which we reach, not by sense-knowledge, but by intuitive contemplation. The Ideas are participated by the phenomena; but how this participation takes place, and in what sense the phenomena are imitations of the Ideas, Plato does not fully explain; at most he invokes a negative principle, sometimes called “Platonic Matter”, to account for the falling-off of the phenomena from the perfection of the Idea. The limitating principle is the cause of all defects, decay, and change in the world around us. The just man, for instance, falls short of absolute justice (the Idea of Justice), because in men the Idea of justice is fragmented, debased, and reduced by the principle of limitation. Towards the end of his life, Plato leaned more and more towards the Pythagorean number-theory, and, in the “Timaeus” especially, he is inclined to interpret the Ideas in terms of mathematics

The role of dialectic in Plato’s thought is contested but there are two main interpretations; a type of reasoning and a method of intuition.  Simon Blackburn adopts the first, saying that Plato’s dialectic is “the process of eliciting the truth by means of questions aimed at opening out what is already implicitly known, or at exposing the contradictions and muddles of an opponent’s position.” Karl Popper, claims that dialectic is the art of intuition for “visualizing the divine originals, the Forms or Ideas, of unveiling the Great Mystery behind the common man’s everyday world of appearances.”

The dialectical method consists, first, in the comprehension of scattered particulars in one idea, and second, in the division of the idea into species, that is, in the processes of generalization and classification. In this way alone can there be clear and consistent thinking; we pass from concept to concept, upward and downward, generalizing and particularizing, combining and dividing, synthesizing and analyzing, carving out concepts as a sculptor carves a beautiful figure out of a block of marble. Judgment expresses the relation of concepts to one another, articulates concept with concept, while the syllogism links judgment with judgment, in the process of reasoning.

Theory of the State

Plato’s Republic is an ideal of a perfect state, the dream of a kingdom of God on earth. It is frequently spoken of as Utopian.

Plato’s theory of the State, which is given in the Republic, is based on his ethics .

Plato took for granted that the highest good of man, subjectively considered, is happiness (eudaimonia). Objectively, the highest good of man is the absolutely highest good in general, Goodness itself, or God. The means by which this highest good is to be attained is the practice of virtue and the acquisition of wisdom. So far as the body hinders these pursuits it should be brought into subjection. Here, however, asceticism should be moderated in the interests of harmony and symmetry — Plato never went the length of condemning matter and the human body in particular, as the source of all evil — for wealth, health, art, and innocent pleasures are means of attaining happiness, though not indispensable, as virtue is. Virtue is order, harmony, the health of the soul; vice is disorder, discord, disease. The State is, for Plato, the highest embodiment of the Idea. It should have for its aim the establishment and cultivation of virtue. The reason of this is that man, even in the savage condition, could, indeed, attain virtue. In order, however, that virtue may be established systematically and cease to be a matter of chance or haphazard, education is necessary, and without a social organization education is impossible. In his “Republic” he sketches an ideal state, a polity which should exist if rulers and subjects would devote themselves, as they ought, to the cultivation of wisdom. The ideal state is modeled on the individual soul. It consists of three orders: rulers (corresponding to the reasonable soul), producers (corresponding to desire), and warriors (corresponding to courage). The characteristic virtue of the producers is thrift, that of the soldiers bravery, and that of the rulers wisdom. Since philosophy is the love of wisdom, it is to be the dominant power in the state: “Unless philosophers become rulers or rulers become true and thorough students of philosophy, there shall be no end to the troubles of states and of humanity” which is only another way of saying that those who govern should be distinguished by qualities which are distinctly intellectual. Plato is an advocate of State absolutism, such as existed in his time in Sparta. The State, he maintains, exercises unlimited power. Neither private property nor family institutions have any place in the Platonic state. The children belong to the state as soon as they are born, and should be taken in charge by the State from the beginning, for the purpose of education. They should be educated by officials appointed by the State, and, according to the measure of ability, which they exhibit, they are to be assigned by the State to the order of producers, to that of warriors, or to the governing class.

Plato’s philosophical views had many societal implications, especially on the idea of an ideal state or government. Plato, through the words of Socrates, asserts that societies have a tripartite class structure corresponding to the appetite/spirit/reason structure of the individual soul. The appetite/spirit/reason are analogous to the castes of society.

•             Productive (Workers) — the labourers, carpenters, plumbers, masons, merchants, farmers, ranchers, etc. These correspond to the “appetite” part of the soul.

•             Protective (Warriors or Guardians) — those who are adventurous, strong and brave; in the armed forces. These correspond to the “spirit” part of the soul.

•             Governing (Rulers or Philosopher Kings) — those who are intelligent, rational, self-controlled, in love with wisdom, well suited to make decisions for the community. These correspond to the “reason” part of the soul and are very few.

The allegory of the cave (often said by scholars to represent Plato’s own epistemology and metaphysics) is intimately connected to his political ideology (often said to also be Plato’s own), that only people who have climbed out of the cave and cast their eyes on a vision of goodness are fit to rule. Socrates claims that the enlightened men of society must be forced from their divine contemplations and be compelled to run the city according to their lofty insights. Thus is born the idea of the “philosopher-king”, the wise person who accepts the power thrust upon him by the people who are wise enough to choose a good master. This is the main thesis of Socrates in the Republic, that the most wisdom the masses can muster is the wise choice of a ruler.

Plato describes these “philosopher kings” as “those who love the sight of truth” (Republic 475c) and supports the idea with the analogy of a captain and his ship or a doctor and his medicine. According to him, sailing and health are not things that everyone is qualified to practice by nature. A large part of the Republic then addresses how the educational system should be set up to produce these philosopher kings.

The State should be organized like the universe at large and the individual virtuous soul; that is, reason should rule in it. There are as many classes in society as there are functions of the soul, and the relations of these classes to each other should correspond to those obtaining in a healthy soul. Those who have received philosophical training represent reason and ought to be the ruling class; the warrior class represent the spirited element or will : their task is defense ; the agriculturists, and merchants represent the lower appetites, and have as function the production of material goods. Justice is reality in a State in which each class, the industrial, military, guardian, does its own work and sticks to its own business. State is temperate and brave and wise in consequence of certain affections and conditions of these same classes.

The ideal society forms a complete unity, one large family; hence, Plato opposes private property and monogamous marriage, and recommends, for the two upper castes (who are to be supported by the workers), communism and the common possession of wives and children. Among his other recommendations are supervision of marriages and births (eugenics), exposure of weak children, compulsory state education, education of women for war and government, censorship of works of art and literature.

In his later work, the Laws, Plato greatly modifies his political theory. A good State should have, besides reason or insight, freedom and friendship. All citizens should be free and have a share in the government ; they are to be landowners, while all trade and commerce should be given over to serfs and foreigners. The family is restored to its natural position. Knowledge is not everything : there are other motives of virtuous conduct, e.g., pleasure and friendship, pain and hate. Virtue, however, remains the ideal, and the education of the moral will the goal.

Wherein it concerns states and rulers, Plato has made interesting arguments. For instance he asks which is better—a bad democracy or a country reigned by a tyrant. He argues that it is better to be ruled by a bad tyrant, than be a bad democracy (since here all the people are now responsible for such actions, rather than one individual committing many bad deeds.) This is emphasized within the Republic as Plato describes the event of mutiny on board a ship. Plato suggests the ships crew to be in line with the democratic rule of many and the captain, although inhibited through ailments, the tyrant. Plato’s description of this event is parallel to that of democracy within the state and the inherent problems that arise.

There will be no end to the troubles of states, or of humanity itself, till philosophers become kings in this world, or till those we now call kings and rulers really and truly become philosophers, and political power and philosophy thus come into the same hands.-Plato


BUSSELL, The School of Plato (London, 1896);

FOUILLEE, La philosophie de Platon (Paris, 1892);

GROTE, Plato and the Other Companions of Socrates (London, 1885);

HUIT, La vie et l’oeuvre de Platon (Paris, 1893);

HUIT, Le platonisme à Byzance et en Italie à la fin du moyen-âge(Brussels, 1894); articles in Annales de philosophie chretienne, new series, XX-XXII;

JOWETT, The Dialogues of Plato (Oxford, 1871; 3rd ed., New York, 1892).

LUTOSLAWSKI, Origin and Growth of Plato’s Logic (London, 1897). For history of Platonism cf.

PATER, Plato and Platonism (London, 1893);

TAROZZI, La tradizione platonica nel medio evo (Trani Vecchi, 1892).

TURNER, History of Philosophy (Boston, 1903); 93 s.q.;

WINDEBLAND, Platon (Stuttgart, 1901);

ZELLER, Plato and the Older Academy, tr. ALLEYNE AND GOODWIN (London, 1888);


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Philosophy [fi-los-uh-fee] – Love for Wisdom

Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

In most languages there are words that are translated into English as ‘philosophy’ — in European languages, those words often share the same Greek roots as the English word. The activities to which such words refer have a history shared with philosophy, but at some point after Kant there was a parting of the ways. The activities referred to by `philosophy’ are different in various ways from the activities referred to by words like `philosophie’, `Philosophie’, `filosofia’, etc.

The derivation of the word “philosophy” from the Greek is suggested by the following words and word-fragments.

  • philo—love of, affinity for, liking of
  • philander—to engage in love affairs frivolously
  • philanthropy—love of mankind in general
  • philately—postage stamps hobby
  • phile—(as in “anglophile”) one having a love for
  • philology—having a liking for words
  • sophos—wisdom
  • sophist—lit. one who loves knowledge
  • sophomore—wise and moros—foolish; i.e. one who thinks he knows many things
  • sophisticated—one who is knowledgeable

Defining  Philosophy

In fact, it is virtually impossible to give one universally accepted definition of philosophy. All philosophers will not agree even upon some general formal characteristics, for instance that philosophy is a discursive activity of our intellect. Widely circulated definitions of philosophy are either too general or too one-sided to be considered as anything better than useful hints about the character of philosophical thinking. In that respect philosophy is a unique discipline.

.            A suggested definition for our beginning study is as follows.

Philosophy is the systematic inquiry into the principles and presuppositions of any field of study.              From a psychological point of view, philosophy is an attitude, an approach, or a calling to answer or to ask, or even to comment upon certain peculiar problems .

There is, perhaps, no one single sense of the word “philosophy.” Eventually many writers abandon the attempt to define philosophy and, instead, turn to the kinds of things philosophers do.

Philosophy is a persistent attempt to gain insight into the nature of the world and of ourselves by means of systematic reflection.

There are certain difficulties in defining the philosophy in a universally accepted way. These may be summarized as;

History:  Philosophy changes historically both in respect to its content and its character.. Thus we cannot find a definition of philosophy that would be both essential and sensitive to its historical variety.

Subject Matter:  Philosophy does not have any specific subject matter and hence cannot be defined with regard to any particular area of investigation. It may deal with every dimension of human life and can raise questions in any field of Hence trying to tie philosophy exclusively to one or any specific sphere would be an unjustified limitation of its reach.

Questioning . Philosophy pursues questions rather than answers.. It is not an exaggeration to say that a philosopher is someone who can make a riddle out of any answer. Hence philosophy cannot be defined with recourse to some accepted tenets, beliefs and established class of propositions.

“Philosophy,”Encyclopedia Britannica (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1911) Vol. 21defines “Philosophy … has no other subject matter than the nature of the real world, as that world lies around us in everyday life, and lies open to observers on every side. But if this is so, it may be asked what function can remain for philosophy when every portion of the field is already lotted out and enclosed by specialists? Philosophy claims to be the science of the whole; but, if we get the knowledge of the parts from the different sciences, what is there left for philosophy to tell us? To this it is sufficient to answer generally that the synthesis of the parts is something more than that detailed knowledge of the parts in separation which is gained by the man of science. It is with the ultimate synthesis that philosophy concerns itself; it has to show that the subject-matter which we are all dealing with in detail really is a whole, consisting of articulated members.”.

Eastern Thought, has different forms ranging from Taoism to Zen-Buddhism and Transcendental Meditation; despite some practically oriented strains (Confucianism), it is mostly intuitive, directed toward the Self and introspection; its insights come from our inwardness that needs to be emptied from all external influences; the Self is meditative, with ready made precepts for the resolution of all life problems; this is why so many self-help books draw on this tradition; Eastern sage is balanced, poised, silent; his/her prototype is the Buddha. The findings of Eastern wisdom are not fully communicable which prevents it from being entirely discoursive and argumentative.

Despite many deserved attempts to integrate Eastern thought (primarily Indian and Chinese) into Western intellectual tradition the differences are so huge that it is advisable not to apply the same term “philosophy” (itself of Western origin) to both.

The Source of Philosophy

Philosophy starts with bewilderment, astonishment, amazement about the world, life, and ourselves. Philosophy arises from the workings of an inquisitive mind which is bewildered by seemingly common things or by those that appear to be entirely impractical. It emerges out of readiness to follow the call of human intellectual curiosity beyond common sense acquaintanceship with the world

Philosophy does not stay by pure bewilderment and amazement. Philosophers articulate their initial amazement by formulating questions (mostly what- and why-questions and what ought to be) that guide their curiosity toward comprehension of the problem. This does not mean that they seek a simple formula for all the puzzles of the world Philosophy aims at understanding and enlightenment rather than shorthand answers.

“The great virtue of philosophy is that it teaches not what to think, but how to think. It is the study of meaning, of the principles underlying conduct, thought and knowledge. The skills it hones are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly. However arcane some philosophical texts may be … the ability to formulate questions and follow arguments is the essence of education.”

Problem Areas of Philosophy

Today, most philosophers are actively concerned with life. THEY SEEK ANSWERS TO BASIC PROBLEMS. Thus we find that philosophers are doing as well as thinking, and it is their thinking which guides their doing .What they do is rooted in the search for answers to certain types of problems and the tentative answers they have formulated.

The three great problems of philosophy are the problems of reality, knowledge, and value-

This way philosophy deals with three basic areas

.Area related with what aspect ,it is METAPHYSICS

.Area related with how aspect ,it is EPISTOMOLOGY,and

Area related with what ought to be aspect, it is AXIOLOGY.

(1)The problem  of reality is this; What is the nature of the universe in which we live? Or ,in the last analysis, what is real ? The branch of philosophy which deals with this problem is termed as METAPHYSICS

Questions Asked in Metaphysics are

What is out there?

What is reality?

Does Free Will exist?

Is there such a process as cause and effect?

Do abstract concepts (like numbers) really exist?

(2) The problem of knowledge is this; How does a man know what is real? That is to say, how do we come by our knowledge and how can we be sure it is true, not error or illusion? The area of philosophy which is devoted to solving this problem is termed as EPISTOMOLOGY.

Fundamental Problems in Epistemology are

What can we know?

How can we know it?

Why do we know some things, but not others?

How do we acquire knowledge?

Is knowledge possible?

Can knowledge be certain?

How can we differentiate truth from falsehood?

Why do we believe certain claims and not others?

(3 )The problem of value ,is this ;What are the important values which are to be desired in living? Are these values rooted in reality? And how can they be realized in our experience? The branch  of philosophy dealing with such questions are these is named AXIOLOGY . Axiology, then  is the subject area which tries to answer problems like these:

•How are values related to interest, desire, will, experience, and means-to-end?

•How do different kinds of value interrelate?

•Can the distinction between intrinsic and instrumental values be maintained?

•Are values ultimately rationally or objectively based?

•What is the difference between a matter of fact and a matter of value?

(4) Most closely related to epistemology, is another branch of philosophy which deals with the exact relating of ideas.This area of philosophy is commonly referred to as the science of LOGIC.

Metaphysics (Ontology):

(2) Metaphysics or Ontology (theory of reality): the inquiry into what is real as opposed to what is appearance, either conceived as that which the methods of science presuppose, or that with which the methods of science are concerned; the inquiry into the first principles of nature; the study of the most fundamental generalizations as to what exists. : the study of what is really real. Metaphysics deals with the so-called first principles of the natural order and “the ultimate generalizations available to the human intellect.” Specifically, ontology seeks to indentify and establish the relationships between the categories, if any, of the types of existent things

Metaphysics-Meta means above; this is the study of the nature of things above physics.(What comes after Physics) Metaphysics covers the kinds of things most people probably think of if asked what philosophy covers e.g. those ‘big questions’, such as, is there God, why are we here, what is the ultimate nature of the universe, and so on. Another important area of metaphysics is the nature of substance, that is, what is the universe really made of,

Metaphysics (derived from the Greek words “ta meta ta physika biblia”) – meaning ‘the book that follows the physics book’. It was the way students referred to a specific book in the works of Aristotle, and it was a book on First Philosophy. (The assumption that the word means “beyond physics” is misleading) Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy concerned with the study of “first principles” and “being” (ontology). In other words, Metaphysics is the study of the most general aspects of reality, such as substance, identity, the nature of the mind, and free will.

Metaphysics is the branch of philosophy that goes beyond the realms of science. It is concerned with answering the questions about identity and the world. The name is derived from the Greek words, Meta which means beyond or after, and Physika which means physics. Aristotle, one of the most well-known philosophers, acknowledged Thales as the first known meta physician. The main branches of metaphysics are ontology, natural theology and universal science.

In Western philosophy, metaphysics has become the study of the fundamental nature of all reality — what is it, why is it, and how are we can understand it. Some treat metaphysics as the study of “higher” reality or the “invisible” nature behind everything, but that isn’t true. It is, instead, the study of all of reality, visible and invisible; and what constitutes reality, natural and supernatural. Because most of the debates between atheists and theists involve disagreements over the nature of reality and the existence of anything supernatural, the debates are often disagreements over metaphysics.

In popular parlance, metaphysics has become the label for the study of things which transcend the natural world — that is, things which supposedly exist separately from nature and which have a more intrinsic reality than our natural existence. This assigns a sense to the Greek prefix meta which it did not originally have, but words do change over time. As a result, the popular sense of metaphysics has been the study of any question about reality which cannot be answered by scientific observation and experimentation. For atheists, this sense of metaphysics is usually regarded as literally empty

Because atheists typically dismiss the existence of the supernatural, they may dismiss metaphysics as the pointless study of nothing. Because metaphysics is technically the study of all reality, and thus whether there is any supernatural element to it at all, in truth metaphysics is probably the most fundamental subject which irreligious atheists should focus on. Our ability to understand what reality is, what it is composed of, what “existence” means, etc., is fundamental to most of the disagreements between irreligious atheists and religious theists.

Some irreligious atheists, like logical positivists, have argued that the agenda of metaphysics is largely pointless and can’t accomplish anything. According to them, metaphysical statements cannot be either true or false — as a result, they don’t really carry any meaning and shouldn’t be given any serious consideration. There is some justification to this position, but it is unlikely to convince or impress religious theists for whom metaphysical claims constitute some of the most important parts of their lives. Thus the ability to address and critique such claims can be important.

The only thing all atheists have in common is disbelief in gods, so the only thing all atheist metaphysics will have in common is that reality doesn’t include any gods and isn’t divinely created. Despite that, most atheists in the West tend to adopt a materialistic perspective on reality. This means that they regard the nature of our reality and the universe as consisting of matter and energy. Everything is natural; nothing is supernatural. There are no supernatural beings, realms, or planes of existence. All cause and effect proceeds via natural laws.

Branches of Metaphysics:

Aristotle’s book on metaphysics was divided into three sections: ontology, theology, and universal science. Because of this, those are the three traditional branches of metaphysical inquiry.

Ontology is the branch of philosophy which deals with the study of the nature of reality: what is it, how many “realities” are there, what are its properties, etc. The word is derived from the Greek terms on, which means “reality” and logos, which means “study of.” Atheists generally believe that there is a single reality which is material and natural in nature.

Theology, of course, is the study of gods — does a god exist, what a god is, what a god wants, etc. Every religion has its own theology because its study of gods, if it includes any gods, will proceed from specific doctrines and traditions which vary from one religion to the next. Since atheists don’t accept the existence of any gods, they don’t accept that theology is the study of anything real. At most, it might be the study of what people think is real and atheist involvement in theology proceeds more from the perspective of a critical outsider rather than an involved member.

The branch of “universal science” is a bit harder to understand, but it involves the search for “first principles” — things like the origin of the universe, fundamental laws of logic and reasoning, etc. For theists, the answer to this is almost always “god” and, moreover, they tend to argue that there can be no other possible answer. Some even go far as to argue that the existence of things like logic and the universe constitute evidence of the existence of their god

Metaphysics  Theories of the nature of reality-

A .Cosmology. Theories of the nature of the cosmos and explanations of its origin and development. It deals with the origin and structure of the universe. It accepts the principles of science and attempts to find the principles of existence ,in whatever form They may take.

Some considerations in cosmology are

a . Causality.

  • The nature of cause and effect relationship ,
  • The nature of time and
  • The nature of space..

There are two distinctive views in cosmology

Evolutionism .universe evolved by itself.

b. .Creationism. The universe came to be as the result of the working of a Creative cause or Personality.

B.The nature of man as one important aspect of Reality.The problem of essential nature of the self. There are no particular terms but there are divergent answers which can be identified with general viewpoints.

a. The self is a soul, a spiritual being. A principle of idealism and spiritual realism.

b. The self is essentially the same as the body. A principle of naturalism and physical realism

c. The self is a social-vocal phenomenon. A principle held especially by experimentalists

2. The problem of the relation of body and mind.

a. Interactionism. Mind and body are 2 different kind of reality, each of which can affect the other.

B. Parallelism. Mind and body are two different kinds of reality which do not and cannot affect each other. But in some unknown way, every mental event is paralleled by a corresponding physical event.

c. Epiphenomenalism. Mind is merely a function of the brain, an overtone accompanying bodily activity. It is an onlooker at events, never influencing them.

d. Double Aspect Theory. Mind and body are two aspects of a fundamental reality whose nature is unknown.

e. Emergence Theory. Mind is something new which has been produced by Nature in the evolutionary process, neither identical with body, parallel to it, nor wholly dependent upon it.

f. Spiritualism. (A definition common to most idealists and spiritual realists.) Mind is more fundamental than body. The relation of body and mind is better described as body depending upon mind, as compared to the common-sense description according to which mind depends upon body.

3. The problem of freedom

a. Determinism. Man is not free. All of his actions are determined by forces greater than he is.

b. Free Will. Man has the power of choice and is capable of genuine initiative.

c. There is a third alternative proposed especially by the experimentalists, for which there is no name. Man is neither free nor determined; but he can and does delay some of his responses long enough to reconstruct a total response, not completely automatic but not free, which does give a new direction to subsequent activity.

C. Conception of and about God.

1.Atheism. There is no ultimate reality in or behind the cosmos which is Person or Spirit.

2.Deism. God exists quite apart from, and is disinterested in, the physical universe and human beings. But He created both and is the Author of all natural and moral law.

3.Pantheism. All is God and God is all. The cosmos and God are identical.

4.The conception of God as emerging, for which there is no common name. God is evolving with the cosmos; He is the end toward which it is moving, instead of the beginning from which it came.

5.Polytheism. Spiritual reality is plural rather than a unity. Thee is more than one God.

6.Theism. Ultimate reality is a personal God who is more than the cosmos but within whom and through the cosmos exists.

D. Teleology. Considerations as to whether or not there is purpose in the universe.

1.Philosophies holding that the world is what it is because of chance, accident, or                blind mechanism are no teleological.

2.Philosophies holding that there has been purpose in the universe from its beginning, and /or purpose can be discerned in history, are teleological philosophies.

3.It may be that a special case must be made of the experimentalists again on this particular question, as they do not find purpose inherent in the cosmos but by purposeful activity seek to impose purpose upon it.

E. Considerations relating to the constancy, or lack of it, in reality.

1.Absolutism. Fundamental reality is constant, unchanging, fixed, and dependable.

2.Relativism. Reality is a changing thing. So called realities are always relative to something or other.

F. Problems of quantity. Consideration of the number of ultimate realities, Apart from qualitative aspects.

1.Monism. Reality is unified. It is one. It is mind, or matter, or energy, or will but only one of these.

2.Dualism. Reality is two. Usually these realities are antithetical, as spirit and matter, good and evil. Commonly, the antithesis is weighted, so that one of the two is considered more important and more enduring than the other.

3.Pluralism. Reality is many. Minds, things, materials, energies, laws, processes, etc., all may be considered equally real and to some degree independent of each other.

G. Ontology. The meaning of existence as such. To exist, to have being, means what?

1.Space-time or Nature as identical with existence. To exist means to occupy time and space, to be matter or physical energy. (e.g., naturalism and physical realism).

2.Spirit or God as identical with existence. To exist means to be Mind or Spirit, or to be dependent upon Mind or Spirit. (Especially true of idealism.)

3.Existence as a category which is not valid. This is held by those, especially the pragmatists, who insist that everything is flux or change and there is nothing which fits into the category of existence in any ultimate sense.


Epistemology, from the Greek words episteme (knowledge) and logos (word/speech) is the branch of philosophy that deals with the nature, origin, and scope of knowledge.

A branch  of philosophy dealing with the nature of knowledge .theory of knowledge: the inquiry into what knowledge is, what can be known, and what lies beyond our understanding; the investigation into the origin, structure, methods, and validity of justification and knowledge; the study of the interrelation of reason, truth, and experience. Epistemology investigates the origin, structure, methods, and integrity of knowledge. The study of knowledge. In particular, epistemology is the study of the nature, scope, and limits of human knowledge

It deals with the definition of knowledge and its scope and limitations. It translates from Greek to mean ‘theory of knowledge’. It questions the meaning of knowledge, how we obtain knowledge, how much do we know and how do we have this knowledge? Some of the famous epistemologists are Descartes, Kant and Hume.

Kinds of knowledge

As Epistemology is the investigation into the grounds and nature of knowledge itself. The study of epistemology focuses on our means for acquiring knowledge and how we can differentiate between truth and falsehood. knowledge can be acquired

Priori it is possible to know things before we have had experiences — this is known as a priori knowledge because priori means before. It includes  Independent of the knowledge of experience. Belonging to the mind prior to experience. This term is usually applied to principles or judgments whose validity is independent of sense data Knowledge which is self-evident. Principles which, when once understood, are recognized to  be true and do not require proof through observation, experience, or experiment.)

Posteriori: we can only know things after we have had the relevant experience — this is labeled a posteriori knowledge because posteriori means “after.”It includes  (Inductive thinking beginning with the data of experience opposed to a priori)Knowledge which is based upon experience and observation

Experimental knowledge- It is something to be put to work in experience as a function which carries experience forward satisfactorily.

The Theories of the nature of knowledge-The theories deals with the possibility of knowledge.

Agnosticism is the doctrine that holds tha one can not know the existence of anything beyond the phenomenon of experience, it may mean no more  than the suspension of judgment on ultimate questions because of insufficient evidence, or it may constitute a rejection of traditional religious tenets. The position that conclusive knowledge of ultimate reality is an impossibility.

Skepticism- Philosophical doubting of knowledge claims in various areas ,a challenge to accepted views in science ,morals, and religion. A questioning attitude toward the possibility of having any knowledge.

The affirmation of knowledge. The position that true knowledge of ultimate reality is possible,

The affirmation of functional knowledge. The position that knowledge is always fractional, never total , and functions in a present field or situation where it is needed, and that we can appropriate such fractional and functional knowledge.

The Instruments of Knowledge

Epistemology is important because it is fundamental to how we think. Without some means of understanding how we acquire knowledge, how we rely upon our senses, and how we develop concepts in our minds, we have no coherent path for our thinking. A sound epistemology is necessary for the existence of sound thinking and reasoning — this is why so much philosophical literature can involve seemingly arcane discussions about the nature of knowledge.

Empiricism: knowledge is obtained through experience.The position, or sense-perceptual experience, is the medium through which knowledge is gained. Empiricism, , is more uniform in the sense that it denies that any form of rationalism is true or possible. Empiricists may disagree on just how we acquire knowledge through experience and in what sense our experiences give us access to outside reality; nevertheless, they all agree that knowledge about reality requires experience and interaction with reality

Rationalism: knowledge can be acquired through the use of reason.The position that reason is the chief source of knowledge. Rationalism is not a uniform position. Some rationalists will simply argue that some truths about reality can be discovered through pure reason and thought (examples include truths of mathematics, geometry and sometimes morality) while other truths do require experience. Other rationalists will go further and argue that all truths about reality must in some way be acquired through reason, normally because our sense organs are unable to directly experience outside reality at all.

Intuitionism-A position that knowledge is gained through immediate insight and awareness .Direct or immediate knowledge of self , others ,or data.An internal, personal phenomenon.

Autoritarionism-The position that much important knowledge is certified to us by an indisputable authority

Reveleation –T he position that  God presently reveals himself in the holy books or holy places. A communication of God,s will to man from some external source

Logic: Logic (from Classical Greek λόγος (logos), originally meaning the word, or what is spoken, but coming to mean thought or reason) is most often said to be the study of arguments, although the exact definition of logic is a matter of controversy amongst philosophers (see below). However the subject is grounded, the task of the logician is the same: to advance an account of valid and fallacious inference to allow one to distinguish good from bad arguments.

The study of the proper methods of thinking and reasoning. Logic languages, like Predicate Logic, promise to produce arguments which, if the premises are true, can only lead to true conclusions. Logic is slightly different than the other branches as it aims to suggest the correct ways of studying philosophy in general.

Logic is the science of exact thought. The .The systematic treatment of the relation of ideas. A study of methods distinguishing valid thinking   which is fallacious. : Among the branches of philosophy, logic is concerned with the various forms of reasoning and arriving at genuine conclusions. It includes the system of statements and arguments. It is now divided into mathematical logic and philosophical logic. It tries to avoid the imaginary or assumptions without real logical proof.
A.Induction. Reasoning from particulars to a general conclusion.

B.Deduction. Reasoning from general principle to particulars included within the scope of that principle.

C.The syllogism. A form in which to cast deductive reasoning. It is comprised of three propositions : the major premise, the minor premise, and the conclusion.

D.Experimental reasoning or problem-solving. A form of reasoning, largely inductive but using deduction as well, which begins wigh a  problem observes all the data relating to the problem, formulates hypotheses and tests them to reach a workable solution of the problem.

E.Dialectic. A method of reasoning of reasoning in which the conflict or contrast of ideas is utilized as a means of detecting the truth. In hegel’s formulation of it there are three stages: thesis, antithesis, and synthesis.

Axiology: the Study of Value: the study of value; the investigation of its nature, criteria, and metaphysical status. More often than not, the term “value theory” is used instead of “axiology” in contemporary discussions even though the term “theory of value” is used with respect to the value or price of goods and services in economics. . The general theory of value. The nature of values, the different kinds of value, specific values worthy of possession

Axiology (theory of value): the inquiry into the nature, criteria, and metaphysical status of value. Axiology, in turn, is divided into two main parts: ethics and æsthetics.

Although the term “axiology” is not widely used outside of philosophy, the problems of axiology include

(1) how values are experienced,

(2) the kinds of value,

(3) the standards of value, and

(4) in what sense values can be said to exist.

A. The nature of value.

1.The interest theory. Values depend upon the interest of the person who enjoys them. Strictly speaking, they do not exist but are supported by the interest of the value.

2.The existence theory. Values have an existence in their own right which is independent of the valuer and his interest. Values are not qualities or essences without foundation in existence; they are essence plus existence.

3.The experimentalist theory. That is of value which yields a greater sense of happiness in the present and at the same time opens the way to further goods in future experiences.

4.The part whole theory. The key to realizing and enjoying value is the effective relating of parts to wholes.

B. Realms of value.

1. Ethics. : Ethics is a general term for what is often described as the “science (study) of morality”. In philosophy, ethical behavior is that which is “good” or “right.” The Western tradition of ethics is sometimes called moral philosophy.

It is concerned with questions on morality and values and how they apply to various situations. It can be divided into the branches of meta-ethics, normative and applied ethics. Ethics seeks to understand the basis of morals, how they develop and how they are and should be followed. Famous works on ethics are by philosophers as early as Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Nietzsche.

The study of values in human behavior or the study of moral problems: e.g., (1) the rightness and wrongness of actions, (2) the kinds of things which are good or desirable, and (3) whether actions are blameworthy or praiseworthy The nature of good and evil. The problems of conduct and ultimate objectives.

a. The worth of living.

1.Optimism. Existence is good. Life is worth living. Our outlook can be hopeful.

2.Pessimism. Existence is evil. Life is not worth the struggle; we should escape it by some means.

3.Meliorism. Conclusions as to the goodness or evil of existence cannot be made final. Human effort may improve the human situation. The final end cannot be assured, but we must face life, not escape it, applying all the effort and resource we can command.

B. The highest good or summum bonum. The end, aim, or objective of living which is above all other ends. In absolutist philosophies it is the ultimate end which by its nature cannot be a means to another end.

1.Hedonism. The highest good is pleasure. Hedonist ranging from the intense pleasure of the moment to highly refined and enduring pleasure or contentment. Utilitarianism is a form of hedonism having society as its frame of reference. According to it, the greatest happiness of the greatest number is the prime objective.

2.Perfectionism. The highest good is the perfection of the self, or self-realization. Perfection of the self, or self realization. Perfectionism may also have its social frame of reference, envisioning  and ideal social order as the ultimate objective of society.

C. The criteria of conduct. From one’s conception of the highest good there follow logically certain practical principles for everyday living. Some examples are

1.Kant’s maxim: act only on those principles which you are willing should become universal moral laws.

2.Spencer’s principal: action to be right must be conducive to self-preservation.

3.Dewey’s principle: discover the probable consequences of what you consider doing, by going through an imaginative rehearsal of the possibilities.

4.The religious principle: obey the will of God; commit yourself completely to the fulfillment of God’s purpose for yourself and the world.

D. The motivation of conduct. The kind and scope of the interests which guide conduct.

1.Egoism. The interests of self should be served by an individual’s actions.

2.Altruism. The interest of other or of the social group should be served by an individual’s actions. One realizes his won fullest selfhood in seeking the best interests of others.

3.Religious Values. The kind, nature, and worth of values to be possessed in worship, religious experience, and religious service.

4.Educational Values. The kind, nature and worth of values inherent in the educative process.

5.Social Values. The kind, nature and worth of values only realized in community and in the individual’s relation to society. Some more specific kinds of social values are the political and the economic

6.Utilitarian Values. The kind, nature, and worth of values to be realized in harmonious adjustment to or efficient control of the forces of the physical environment.

There are two main subdivisions of axiology: ethics and æsthetics.. Each of these subdivisions are briefly characterized below.

Aesthetics:The philosophy of art. Concerned with questions like why do we find certain things beautiful, what makes things great art, so on. the study of value in the arts or the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards of beauty and related concepts. Philosophy of art is concerned with judgments of sense, taste, and emotion.

Aesthetics deals with sense, perception and appreciation of beauty. It broadly includes everything to do with appreciating of art, culture and nature. It also examines how the perception of beauty is determined by taste and aesthetic judgment. The practice of defining, criticizing and appreciating art and art forms is based on aesthetics.

Aesthetics involves the conceptual problems associated with the describing the relationships among our feelings and senses with respect to the experience of art and nature .It is the inquiry into feelings, judgments, or standards concerning the nature of beauty and related concepts such as the tragic, the sublime, or the moving—especially in the arts; the analysis of the values of sensory experience and the associated feelings or attitudes in art and nature; the theories developed in les beaux arts.

Actually Aesthetics deals with the nature of the values which  are found in the feeling aspects of experience. The conscious search for the principles governing the creation and appreciation of beautiful things.

(b) Ethics: This is probably the most self-explanatory of all the branches. Concerned with such things as what is good/evil, is there such a thing as objective morals or are they created by us, or some other being, how we should live our lives, and so on.. Ethics involves the theoretical study of the moral valuation of human action—it’s not just concerned with the study of principles of conduct .It is the inquiry into the nature and concepts of morality, including the important problems of good, right, duty, virtue, and choice; the study of the principles of living well and doing well as a human being; the moral principles implicit in mores, religion, or philosophy.

Philosophy- Indian point of view

From the Indian viewpoint,  the word ‘philosophy’ suggests “observing and surveying”  the existence. In Sanskrit, the philosophy is referred to as  ‘darshana’.  The Sanskrit word ‘darshana’ has its root in the word ‘drs’ that means ‘to see’, ‘to look’ or ‘to view’. “Seeing” or “viewing” the reality and the facts of experience forms the basis of philosophy. Senses, mind and even consciousness are involved in this ‘seeing’. “Seeing” also encompasses “contemplation”. Seeing is not simply a sensory activity. ‘Seeing’ may primarily be a perceptual observation. But it may also concern the conceptual knowledge or an intuitional flash.  Thus ‘darshana‘ suggests vision. In other words, ‘darshana’ is a whole view revealed to the inner self, what we term as the soul or the spirit or the inner being.  Philosophy or ‘darshana’ is concerned with the vision of ‘truth and reality’.

This way while  Philoosophy is considered as Goal while in Indian context  Darshan is considered as m Means

All systems of Indian philosophy are ranged  in two categories:

Astika systems, which affirm, and Nastika systems.Indian philosophy, include both orthodox (astika) systems, namely, theNyayaVaisheshikaSamkhyaYoga, Purva-Mimamsa (orMimamsa), andVedanta schools of philosophy.

Nastika systems, which were chiefly those of the Charvakas, the Buddhists, and the Jains. But, strange to say, these systems were called Nastika, heterodox and nihilist, not because they questioned or denied the existence of God ,but because they questioned, denied or ignored the authority of the Vedas.

Each of these systems differs in one way or the other in terms of its concepts, phenomena, laws and dogmas. Each system has it’s own founder as well. It is important to know that the founders of these systems of philosophy are sages of the highest order that have devoted their lives for the study and propagation of philosophy..

Each darsana explains the origin of the world, its creation and transformation.

There are three different approaches that these darsanas follow:

1- Arambha vada- holds that the universe is created.

2- Parinama vada- holds that the universe is not created or destroyed but it only transforms. Particularly, it is transformation of the manifesting form of the immutable absolute.

3- Vivarta vada- holds that the Universe as it appears is but because of the limitation of observer and it appears so, because of Maya.

It becomes difficult, sometimes, to name a single founder or a promoter of a system. However, the following are widely acknowledged as proponents of the above systems: Gautama for Nyaya, Kanada for Vaisheshika, Patanjali for Yoga, Kapila for Samkhya, Jaimini for Purva-Mimamsaand Shamkara for Uttar-Mimamsa.

Charvakism is believed to have been promoted by Charvaka. Vardhamana Mahavira is acknowledged as the founder of Jainism and GautamaBuddha as the founder of Buddhism.

The common characteristics in Indian Philosophies:

The systems of Indian philosophies, with a singular exception of Charvakism, have certain common characteristics. Charvakism remarkably differs from other systems as it promotes materialism.

Brief outline of Shad-Darshan is given below:

1. NYAYA- by Sage Gautam

Logical Quest of Supreme, Phases of Creation, Science of Logical Reasoning

2.  VAISHESIKA – by Sage Kanad

Science of Logic, Futility of Maya, Vedic Atomic Theory

3. SANKHYA -  by Sage Kapil

Eliminate Physical and Mental Pains for receiving liberations, Nontheistic Dualism

4. YOGA – by Sage Patanjali

Practice of Meditation and Samadhi for Renunciation, Self Discipline for Self Realization

5. KARMA MIMANSA -  by Sage Jaimini

Poorv Mimamsa explaining the Vedas are eternal and Divine; Elevation Through the Performance of Duty

6.VEDANTA – by Sage VedVyas

Uttar Mimansa (Brahma Sutra) explaning the divine nature of Soul, Maya and Creation; Conclusion of edic Revelation

The six Darshan Shastras are divided in the groups of two each based on their closely related texts, such as Nyaya and Vaisheshika are closely allied to each other. The next twoSankhaya and Yoga are closed to each other, and finally the Poorva Mimamsa and Uttar Mimamsa are allied to each other.


Another pre-Buddhistic system of philosophy, the Charvaka, or the Lokayata, is one of the earliest materialistic schools of philosophy.The name Charvakais traced back to one Charvaka, supposed to have been one of the great teachers of the school. The other name, Lokayata, means “the view held by the common people,” “the system which has its base in the common, profane world,” “the art of sophistry,” and also “the philosophy that denies that there is any world other than this one.” Brihaspati probably was the founder of this


Jainism, founded about the 6th century bce by Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th in a succession of religious leaders known either as Tirthankaras(Saviours) or as Jinas (Conquerors), rejects the idea of God as the creator of the world but teaches the perfectibility of humanity, to be accomplished through the strictly moral and ascetic life.


Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, He came to be called “the Buddha,” which means “awakened one,” after he experienced a profound realization of the nature of life, death and existence. He taught that awakening comes through one’s own direct experience, not through beliefs and dogmas.



Broudy, Harry S., Building a Philosophy of Education. Englewood Cliffs, N.J. Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1961..

Butler, J.Donald, Four Philosophies and Their Practice in Education and Religion. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers, 1957.

Cotter, A.C. ABC of Scholastic Philosophy. Weston, Massachusetts: Weston College Press, 1949

Frank Thilly, “A History of philosophy”, Central Publishing House, Allahabad.

John Dewey, “Reconstruction in Philosophy,” p-38. London, University of London Press Ltd. 1921.

Morries, Van Cleve, Philosophy and the American School. Cambridge, Mass.: Riverside Press, 1961.

Rusk, R.R., “Philosophical Basis of Education” p-68, footnote, London, University of London Press, 1956.

Weber, Christian O., Basic Philosophies of Education. New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1960.




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Concept of Aims and Objectives of Education


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

Education is a purposeful and ethical activity and each activity as aspect has some aim before it. So, there is a close relationship between an activity and its aim.

An aim is a conscious purpose which we set before us, while   launching upon any activity. Just like that education is also unthinkable without aims. If there are no aims the educational process would not take place because an aim is a pre-determined goal which inspires the activity of education.

Aims act as basic directions while conducting a research or carrying out a project. It can be chunked into various objectives which help in reaching the aim easily. It has a long range perspective which reflects aspirations and ambition of the entity.

In the words of John Dewey “An aim is a foreseen end that gives direction to an activity or motivates behavior”.

Importance of Educational Aims

All our methods of teaching, our curriculum and our system of evaluation are shaped and molded according to our aim of education. It is the ignorance of right aims that has vitiated our educational system, its methods and its products, and has successfully resulted in the physical, intellectual and moral weaknesses of the race. There is a great necessity of aims in education because of the following reasons:

1.To direct efforts: Educational aims keep the teacher and the taught on the right track. They provide a line of action and guidance to the teachers. They give direction and zest to the work of the pupils. Educational aims help us to avoid wastage in time and energy.

2.To evaluate ourselves : The aim is a yard-stick with which we can measure our success and failure. They are necessary to assess the outcome of the educational process.

3.  To provide efficient  administration : Aims are necessary for efficient school administration and organization. They help the school authorities in organizing, equipping, and administering the school.

Factors determining Educational Aims

Many factors have been contributing and do contribute to the determining of educational aims. These factors touch every phase of human life that was, that is or what will be.

1.Factors associated with  Philosophy of life : Aims of education are always  influenced by the philosophy of life of the people of that country.

2. Factors associated with   Psychology : The aims of education should be according to the nature, needs, requirements, inspiration and interest of the learners.. The aims of education should relate knowledge with the activities of life.

3. Factors associated with  Socio-economic problem : Besides, political ideologies, the social economic problems of a country, determine the aims of education

4. Factors associated with  Political ideology : Political ideologies also help in determining the aims of education. The aims of education are fixed in accordance with the ideology of the state to uphold the right of state.

5. Factors associated with   exploration of knowledge : Education has also to give due consideration to the advancements in knowledge as for as the question of educational aims are concerned.

6. Factors associated with  Culture : It is the most important function of the education to develop and preserve the cultural heritage. The changing and developing pattern of cultural factors directly influence the aims of education.

Difference between Aim and Objective

The word aim is often misconstrued with objective, as they talk about what an individual or entity may want to achieve.

The following points are important, so far as the difference between aim and objective is concerned:

  • The term aim is described as the ultimate goal, which an individual or the entity strive to achieve. The objective is something a person/entity seeks to achieve, by continuously chasing it.
  • The aim of the entity reflects its long-term outcomes while its objectives indicate the short term targets of the entity. Aims are long term statement of purpose that may be achieved over a long period of time, say one or more years. Objectives are bound in a short and specified time say one teaching learning period or during teaching learning of one chapter.
  • Philosophy provides base to aims, while psychology provides base to objectives.
  • Aims are broader in sense. You may need to state a number of objectives to achieve one aim. In this sense objectives are narrower.
  • Aims relates with general direction or intent of an individual/ institution. Objectives are specific goal of an individual or institution.
  • Aim is a foreseen end. Objectives are influenced by aims The aim is related to the  mission and purpose whereas objectives are concerned with the achievements .
  • Aim answers the question, what is to be achieved? Unlike objective which answers, How it is to be achieved?
  • Aims are not time bound, i.e. there is no time frame within which the aim of the entity must be achieved as it is hard to say accurately, how much time it will take to achieve. On the other hand, objectives are always accompanied with a time frame, within which it must be achieved.
  • The most important difference between these two is on measurability. Aims may or may not be easily observable and measurable.


Bloom’  Benjamin’s  has  put  forward  a  taxonomy  of  educational objectives,  which  provides  a  practical  framework  within  which educational  objectives  could  be  organized  and  measured.  In his taxonomy Bloom  divided educational objectives into three domains.  These  are:

  1. Cognitive Domain  (Head oriented )
  2. Affective Domain ( Heart oriented )
  3. Psycho-motor Domain ( Hand oriented )

The Cognitive Domain

The  cognitive domain  involves  those  objectives  that  deal  with  the development of intellectual abilities and skills. These have to do with the mental abilities of the brain


Learning outcome in Cognitive Domain

The domain is categorized into six hierarchical levels , comprehension,  application,  analysis,  synthesis  and evaluation. These levels are of  hierarchical and increasing operational difficulties  that  achievement  of  a  higher  level  of  skill  assumes  the achievement of the previous levels. This implies that a higher level of skill could be achieved only if a certain amount of ability called for by the previous level has been achieved.


Knowledge Level

Knowledge or memory is the first, the lowest and the foundation for the development of higher order cognitive skills. It involves the recognition or  recall  of  previous  learned  information.   For  measurement purposes,  memory  or  knowledge  involves  bringing  to  mind  the appropriate material. This cognitive level emphasizes the psychological process of remembering. Knowledge is remembering or retrieving previously learned material.

Knowledge can also be classified into the following:-

i. Specifics (taxonomy, facts, definitions etc.)

ii. Ways and means of dealing with specifics (rules)

iii. Conventions (styles, symbols practices, allegories)

iv. Trends and sequences (order or sequence)

v. Classification and categories (classes, sets, divisions)

vi. Criteria (established facts and criteria)

vii. Techniques and procedures or Methodology.

viii. Universals and abstractions.

ix. Knowledge of principles and generalizations (laws, formulas)

x Knowledge of theories and structures (models, philosophies)

Comprehension Level

Comprehension is the ability to grasp or construct meaning from material. Comprehension is all about internalization of knowledge. It involvers making memory out of what is stored in the brain file. It is on this basis that what is stored inthe brain can be understood and translated, interpreted or extrapolated. It is only when you have known something that you can understand it.

Comprehension level is made up of the following:

i. Translation: which  involves  the  ability  to  understand  literal messages across communication forms, changing what is known from one form of communication to another e.g. from words to numbers,  graphs,  maps,  charts,  cartoons,  pictures,  formulas, symbols,  models, equations etc.

ii. Interpretation: which  goes  beyond  mere  literal  translation  to identification of inter-relationships among parts and components of communication and interpreting and relating these to the main components e.g. to interpret a chart or graph etc.

iii. Extrapolation: which involves the ability to draw implications and ability  to  identify  and continue  a  trend,  isolate  or  detect consequences, suggest possible meaning and estimate possible effect.

Application Level

As per the hierarchic nature of the instructional objectives  it is not possible to understand unless it is known..  It  also  means  that  one  cannot  apply  what  he/she  do  not understand.  The  use  of abstractions  in a  concrete  situation is  called application. These abstractions can be in the form of general ideas, rules, or procedures or generalized methods, technical terms, principles, ideas and theories which must be remembered, understood and applied. Understanding before correct application is an essentiality.

In application the learner uses what he knows to solve a new problem, or in a new situation. Application involves the ability to the learner to grasp exactly what the problem is all about and what generalization or principles are relevant, useful, or pertinent for its solution.  Application is the ability to use learned material, or to implement material in new and concrete situations.

Analysis Level

  • It is the breaking down of communication into its constituent parts or elements
  • It establish the relationship  between ideas expressed to be clear or explicit.
  • It is the ability to break down or distinguish the parts of material into its components.
  • Its organizational structure may be better understood.

The components here include:

i. Analysis  of Elements: which is  concerned with the  ability  to identify the underlying elements such as assumptions, hypothesis, conclusions,  views,  values,  arguments,  statements  etc  and  to determine the nature and functions of such elements?

ii. Analysis of Relationship: which involves trying to determine how the elements identified are related to each other? For instance, how does the evidence relate to the conclusion?

iii. Analysis  of  Organizational  principles: which  involves determining the principles or system of organization which holds the different elements and parts together? It involves finding the pattern, the structure, systematic arrangements, point of view, etc.

Synthesis Level

  • Contrary to analysis which involves breaking down of materials, communication, object etc,
  • In synthesis  building up or putting together elements is processed.
  • It is  concerned with the  ability  to put parts  of knowledge together to form a new knowledge.
  • In it parts, pieces and components in order to form a unique whole or to constitute a new form, plan, pattern or structure.
  • It  involves divergent  thinking.  It calls  for  imaginative,  original  and  creative thinking.
  • It calls for creative answers to problems and for the development of questioning mind, spirit of inquiry or inquisitive mind. It requires fluency of novel ideas and flexible mind.


Evaluation Level

  • It is  the  top most level in the  hierarchy.
  • Evaluation as a cognitive objective involves the learners’  ability  to  organize  his  thought  and  knowledge
  • It helps in  reaching  a logical and rational decision which is defendable.
  • It involves making a quantitative or qualitative judgment about a piece of communication, a procedure, a method, a proposal, a plan etc.
  • It is the ability to judge, check, and even critique the value of material for a given purpose.


Evaluation  is  the  most  complex  of  human  cognitive  behaviour.  It embodies  elements  of  the  other  five  categories.  (knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis and synthesis)


Action Verbs in Cognitive Domain

Knowledge Know, identify, relate, list, define, recall, memorize,  repeat, record, name, recognize, acquire



Understanding Restate, locate, report, recognize, explain, express, identify, discuss, describe, review, Infer, conclude, illustrate, interpret, draw, represent, and differentiate


Application Apply, relate, develop, translate, use, operate, organize, employ, restructure, interpret, demonstrate, illustrate, practice, calculate, show, exhibit,  dramatize
Analysis Analyze, categorize,  compare, , differentiate,    deduce, detect, discover, discriminate, dissect, examine, experiment, inquire, inspect, investigate, probe, scrutinize, Separate, survey


Synthesis Compose, produce, design,  assemble, create, prepare,  predict, modify, tell, plan,

Invent,  formulate,  collect, set up, generalize, , combine, relate, Propose,  develop,  arrange,  construct,  organize, originate, derive, write, propose

Evaluation Judge, assess, compare, evaluate, conclude,  measure, deduce, argue, decide,

Choose, rate, select, estimate, validate, consider, appraise,  value, criticize



Revised B.S.Bloom Taxonomy of Instructional Objectives

Anderson and Krathwohl  in the year 1995-2000 revised the taxonomy of instructional objectives previously propounded by Bloom. Anderson and Krathwohl’S Taxonomy

In 1956, Benjamin S. Bloom classified domains of human learning into three parts — cognitive (knowing; related to head), affective (feeling; related to heart), and psychomotor (doing; related to hand) as the educational objectives. Bloom’s taxonomy is a model of classification of thinking into multilevels in increasing order of complexities. As a result of this classification, a series of taxonomies was obtained in each domain that provided a means of expressing qualitatively different levels of thinking of learners.

In the following table are the two primary existing taxonomies of cognition. The one on the left, entitled Bloom’s, is based on the original work of Benjamin Bloom and others as they attempted in 1956 to define the functions of thought, coming to know, or cognition. This taxonomy is over 50 years old.

Table – Bloom vs. Anderson/Krathwohl.  Visual comparison of the two taxonomies




One of the things that clearly differentiates the new model from that of the 1956 original is that it lays out components nicely so they can be considered and used, and so cognitive processes as related to chosen instructional tasks can be easily documented and tracked. This feature has the potential to make teacher assessment, teacher self-assessment, and student assessment easier or clearer as usage patterns emerge.

The primary differences are not just in the listings or rewordings from nouns to verbs, or in the renaming of some of the components, or even in the repositioning of the last two categories. The major differences in the updated version is in the more useful and comprehensive additions of how the taxonomy intersects and acts upon different types and levels of knowledge — factual, conceptual, procedural and meta-cognitive.


Affective  Domain (feelings, emotions and behaviour, ie., attitude, or ’feel’)

Previously the educationists never encourage emotionalism  in education. They believe that intellectualism had  nothing to do with the learner’s interests, emotions or impulses. Today, they have acknowledge that the learner’s feelings and emotions are equally  important  in  education.  In the year 1975 Tanner and Tanner  insist that the primary goals of learning are affective. They are of the opinion that learners should not learn what is selected for them by others. This is because it amounts to imposition on the learners of other peoples values and purposes.

Krathwohl’s affective domain taxonomy is perhaps the best known of any of the affective taxonomies. “The taxonomy is ordered according to the principle of internalization. Internalization refers to the process whereby a person’s affect toward an object passes from a general awareness level to a point where the affect is ‘internalized’ and consistently guides or controls the person’s behavior .

The  function  of  the  affective  domain  in  the  instructional situation pertains to emotions, the passions, the dispositions, the moral and  the  aesthetic  sensibilities,  the  capacity  for  feeling,  concern, attachment or detachment, sympathy, empathy, and appreciation.

Affective domain is generally covert in behaviour. The educational objectives here vary from simple  attention  to  complex  and  internally  consistent  qualities  of character and conscience.




Affective domain has five hierarchical categories. You remember that the cognitive domain has six hierarchical levels. Specifically, the levels in affective domain fall into these levels:



This is the lowest level of the learning outcomes in the affective domain. It means attending. It is the learner’s willingness to attend to a particular stimulus or his being sensitive to the existence of a given problem, event, condition or situation. The learner is sensitized to the existence of certain  phenomena; that is, that she/he be willing to receive or to attend to them.

Receiving has three sub-levels. These are:



Controlled  or  selected  attention:


Awareness: which  involves  the  conscious  recognition  of  the existence  of  some  problems,  conditions,  situations,  events, phenomena etc. take for instance as a teacher, you come into your class while the students are making noise. You will notice that the atmosphere will change. This is because the students have become aware of your presence. They are merely aware.

ii. Willingness: This is the next stage which involves the ability to acknowledge the object, event, problem instead of ignoring or avoiding it. The students in your class kept quite because they noticed and acknowledged your presence. If they had ignored your presence they would continue to make noise in the class.

iii. Controlled  or  selected  attention: This  involves  the  learner selecting or choosing to pay attention to the situation, problem, event or phenomenon. When you teach in the class, the learner is aware of your saying or the points you are making. In that case hewill  deliberately  shut  off  messages  or  speeches  or  sounds  asnoises.  Receiving  in  a  classroom  situation  involves  getting, holding and directing the attention of the learners to whatever the teacher has to say in the class.


Here the learner responds to the event by participating. . Attends and  reacts to a particular phenomenon. He does not only attend, he also reacts by doing something. Active participation on the part of the learners.

Learning outcomes may emphasize:

  • Compliance in responding,
  • Willingness to respond,
  • Satisfaction in responding  (motivation).

Responding has three sub-levels too. These are:

  • Acquiescence in responding: which involves simple obedience orcompliance.
  • Willingness to respond: This involves voluntary responses to a given situation.
  • Satisfaction in response: if he is satisfied with the response he enjoys reacting to the type of situation.


Valuing is related with the worth or value or benefit which a leaner attaches to a particular object, phenomenon ,behaviour or situation. This ranges from simple acceptance to the more  complex state of commitment  This ranges in degree from mere acceptance of value or a desire to improve group skills to a more complex level of commitment or an assumption of responsibility for the effective functioning of the group.

There are three sub-levels of valuing:



Acceptance  of  a  value
Preference for a value
Commitment to a value



i. Acceptance  of  a  value: This  is  a  situation  where  the  learner believes  tentatively  in  a  proportion,  doctrine,  condition  or situation.

ii. Preference for a value: In this case the learner believes in the desirability or necessity of the condition, doctrine, proposition etc.  and  ignores  or  rejects  other  alternatives  and  deliberately  looks for other people views where the issues are controversial, so as to form his own opinion.

iii. Commitment to a value: In this stage the learner is convinced and fully  committed  to  the  doctrine,  principle  or  cause.  In consequence,  the  learner  internalizes  a  set  of  specific  values, which consistently manifest themselves in his event behaviour, attitudes and appreciation.


Here the learner starts to bring together different values as an organized system. He determines the interrelationships and establishes the order of priority by comparing, relating and synthesizing the values. He  then builds  a  consistent value  system by resolving any  possible conflicts between them. He has to organize the values into a system in order to decide which value to emphasis .Organizes values into priorities by contrasting different  values and, resolving conflicts between them, and creating an unique value system.  The emphasis is on comparing, relating, and synthesizing values.

There are two sub-levels of organization . These are:

i. Conceptualization of a Value

This involves the understanding of the relationship of abstract elements of a value to these already held or to new values which are gaining acceptance.

ii. Organization of Value System?

This  involves  the  development  of  a  complex  value  system,  which includes  those  values  that  cannot  be  compared  for  the  purpose  of making choices in order to promote public welfare, instead of the sheer aggrandizement of special personal interest.Recognizes the need for balance between freedom and responsible behavior.

Characterization by a Value or a Value Complex

Here the person acts  consistently in accordance with such values, beliefs or ideals that comprise his total philosophy or view of life. The behavior is pervasive, consistent, predictable, and  most importantly, characteristic of the learner. Instructional objectives are  concerned with the student’s general patterns of adjustment  in personal, social,  emotional domain.

There are two levels Value Complex of :

i. Generalized set: This involves a situation where the orientation of the  individual  enables  him  to  reduce  to  order  a  complex environment and to act consistently and effectively in it. There may be room for the individual to revise his judgements and to change  his  behaviour  as  a  result  of  available  new  and  valid evidence.

ii. Characterization: In  this  case,  the  internalization  of  a  value system  is  such  that  the  individual  is  consistently  acting  in harmony with it. The value system regulates the individual’s personal and civil life according to a code of behaviour based on ethical principles.

Psychomotor domain (manual and physical skills, ie., skills, or ’do’)

Psychomotor objectives are those specific to discreet physical functions, reflex actions and interpretive movements. Traditionally, these types of objectives are concerned with the physically encoding of information, with movement and/or with activities where the gross and fine muscles are used for expressing or interpreting information or concepts. This area also refers to natural, autonomic responses or reflexes.

It means  that the  instructional  objectives make  performance  skills  more prominent. The psychomotor domain has to do with muscular activities.





The psychomotor domain includes physical and motor (or muscular) skills. Every act has a psychomotor component. In the learning situation there is again a progression from mere physical experience – seeing, touching, moving etc. – through the carrying out of complex skills under guidance, to the performance of skilled activities independently.

Psychomotor domain is sub divided into hierarchical levels. The six levels from simplest to most complex are:

(i)Reflex  movements

(ii)  Basic  Fundamental movements

(iii) Perceptual abilities

(iv) Physical abilities

(v) Skilled movements and

(vi) Non-discursive communication

Reflex Movements:

At the lowest level of the psychomotor domain is the reflex movements which  every  normal  human  being  should  be  able  to  make.

Reflex movements are defined as involuntary motor responses to stimuli. They form the basis for all behaviour involving movement of any kind.

Objectives at this level include reflexes that involve one segmental or reflexes of the spine and movements that may involve more than one segmented portion of the spine as inter-segmental reflexes (e.g., involuntary muscle contraction). These movements are involuntary being either present at birth or emerging through maturation.

Basic Fundamental Movements:

Objectives in this area refer to skills or movements or behaviors related to walking, running, jumping, pushing, pulling and manipulating. They are often components for more complex actions.

Basic fundamental movements are defined as those inherent body movement patterns, which build upon the foundation laid by reflex movements. They usually occur during the first year of life, and unfold rather than are taught or consciously acquired. These movements involve movement patterns which change a child from a stationary to an ambulatory learner.

There are three sub-categories at this stage. These are:

i. Locomotor movement: which involves movements of the body from place to place such as crawling, walking, leaping, jumping etc.

ii. Non-locomotor  movements: which  involves  body  movements that do not involve moving from one place to another. These include muscular movements, wriggling of the trunk, head and any other part of the body. They also include turning, twisting etc of the body.

iii.     Manipulative movements: which involves the use of the hands or limbs to move things to control things etc.

-Perceptual Abilities:

Objectives in this area should address skills related to kinesthetic (bodily movements), visual, auditory, tactile (touch), or coordination abilities as they are related to the ability of acquiring  information from the environment and react.

Perceptual abilities are really inseparable from motor movements. They help learners to interpret stimuli so that they can adjust to their environment. Superior motor activities depend upon the development of perception. They involve kinaesthetic discrimination, visual discrimination, auditory discrimination and co-ordinated abilities of eye and hand, eye and foot.

Perceptual abilities are concerned with the ability of the individuals to perceive and distinguish  things  using  the  senses.  Such  individuals  recognise  and compare  things  by  physically  tasting,  smelling,  seeing,  hearing  and touching.

-Physical Abilities:

Objectives in this area should be related to endurance, flexibility, agility, strength, reaction-response time or dexterity. Physical abilities are essential to efficient motor activity. They are concerned with the vigor of the person, and allow the individual to meet the demands placed upon him or her in and by the environment. These abilities fall in the area of health and physical education.

Skilled Movements:

Objectives in this area refer to skills and movements that must be learned for games, sports, dances, performances, or for the arts.

Skilled movements are defined as any efficiently performed complex movement. They require learning and should be based upon some adaptation of the inherent patterns of movement described in level number two above. This is a  higher  ability  than  the  physical  abilities.

There are three sub-levels of the skilled movements. These are:

  • Simple adaptive skills,
  • Compound adaptive skills
  • Complex adaptive skills.

Non-Discursive Communication:

Objectives in this area refer to expressive movements through posture, gestures, facial expressions, and/or creative movements like those in mime or ballet.  These movements refer to interpretative movements that communicate meaning without the aid of verbal commands or help. Non-discursive communication can be defined as comprising those behaviours which are involved in movement communication.

There are two sub-levels of the non-discursive communication. They are:

1-Expressive movement

2- Interpretive movement.

Comparative Impact on Bloom’s taxonomy

Bloom’s taxonomy has six tiers of learning arranged in a hierarchical way. For example, if a learner applies her knowledge, she has already crossed the previous two stages of learning . With a little change in the hierarchy, revised taxonomy has also six tiers of learning that are more explicit. One of the other significant changes is that revised Bloom’s taxonomy has two dimensions identified as the knowledge dimension (kind of knowledge to be learnt) and the cognitive process dimension whereas Bloom’s taxonomy has only one dimension.

The revised taxonomy is different in following ways –

 It is a shift from the noun to verb words.

 The word knowledge was considered inappropriate as a category of thinking and is replaced by remembering. Thinking is an active process and knowledge is the product of thinking. Knowledge is not viewed as a form of thinking.

 Comprehension is revised as understanding.

 Evaluating has replaced synthesis and creating has replaced evaluation. The word synthesis was not very communicative about the learning actions. Therefore, it is replaced by creating, i.e. putting the learnt things together in a novel way.

 The subcategories of the six categories are also in the form of verbs.

(ii) Structure: In Bloom’s taxonomy, one has to find some ways to cut across different subject areas as the nature and contents of each subject area are different. Based on the theory of cognitive psychology, Anderson and Krathwohl came up with four dimensions of knowledge. The intersection of the knowledge dimension and cognitive process dimensions gives


Factual knowledge: It is knowledge of facts, laws, definition, terminology, vocabulary, etc. of physical science.

Conceptual knowledge: It is knowledge of theory, generalisation and interrelation of different concepts in physical science.

Procedural knowledge: It is knowledge about scientific processes and inquiry. We come to know how to perform activities and experiments, how to use apparatus and materials for teaching- learning process,

Metacognitive knowledge: It is knowing about knowledge. It is about learner’s awareness about her own learning process and learning style.

(iii) Emphasis:

1. The revised taxonomy is more authentic tool for curriculum planning, developing materials for teaching-learning and assessment processes.

2. Bloom’s taxonomy was viewed as the tools best applied for earlier years of schooling. Anderson and Krathwohl taxonomy can easily be used for higher levels also. In this sense, it is broader in use.

3. Emphasis is more on the description of the subcategories of learning.



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Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

Scriptures of all kinds state ‘Thou shalt not worship graven images.’ But to have a picture or an image of some sacred, revered figure , is not necessarily to worship a graven image. The image reminds one of that which one can become provided one tries hard enough.

Similarly, a sacred picture or a sacred image to which one is attached can act as a very sound point of focus when one engages in meditation or contemplation. That is why some people have a personal Shrine at home with perhaps a photograph or an image or some  picture — it acts as a soothing influence which puts one into the right frame of mind

One can train one’s mind to think of the sacred object to the   exclusion of more mundane articles Sacred pictures or sacred images are acceptable and permissible provided they are used as reminders and not as objects of senseless worship.


Angel is a term popularly used to refer to a wide variety of beings, from dead humans now residing in the afterlife to God’s messengers, heralds and helpers in sustaining the universe.  An angel is part of a class of beings whose function is to foster, nurture and protect life and consciousness within the world. They are the gardeners of the interior life within all things. They assist us in remembering our oneness with the Sacred. They empower and nourish the evolution of spirit. Wherever consciousness is, there are angels.

There are many species of angels, including those who work exclusively with humanity. Among these are angels of nations, angels who overflight cities and towns, and angels who overflight organizations

Wherever consciousness is, there are angels.

In addition there are angels who assist activities, such as angels of healing, angels of protection, angels of sound and colour , and angels who overflight artistic endeavors. The latter are the beings known in classical times as the “muses”.


Closely related to angels are devas. Indeed they may well be part of the same overall class of being but in this case focusing upon the non-human side of evolution and in particular upon the structural and formative energies and activities that help form the planet and which manifest as the laws of nature.

The devas and angels are very similar in appearance; deva, after all simply means “shining one” in Sanskrit, and this description could very easily apply to angels. They may be the same being, but with the “deva” being the non-human aspect and the “angel” being the side of their nature that engages with humanity. One being may fulfill a variety of functions.

However, on the whole a different energy signature or vibration from devas than I do from angels. The devas seem to me particularly aligned with the flow and circulation of life and vital energies, as well as being the architects and artisans of form. They are custodians and overseers of natural energies and forces, such as electricity..

A Deva is a Divine Being, one who is quite beyond the human state. Anyone who has attained to the necessary degree of enlightenment and purity, and is no longer on this Earth, could be a Deva. Nature Spirits and manmade thought for are not, and cannot ever be Devas of the human type, although naturally Nature Spirits and Animal Spirits have their own Group-Devas.

A deva in the metaphysics refers to any of the spiritual forces or beings behind nature., Devas represent a separate evolution to that of humanity.

There are numerous different types of devas with a population in the millions performing different functions on Earth to help the ecology function better. It is asserted they can be observed by those whose third eyes have been activated.

Devas are spirits usually invisible to the untrained human eye.

They are part of the Angelic Kingdom and are in direct service to the world of nature expressing themselves as one of the four elements.

The exist in the etheric world which penetrates out own. They can be seen or felt with our inner senses.

The Jews call them Shedim.

The Egyptians called them Afries.

Africans named them Yowahoos.

Persians called them Devs.

In addition, it is believed that there are millions of devas living inside the Sun, the indwelling solar deity of which Theosophists call the Solar Logos–these devas are called solar angels, or sometimes solar devas or solar spirits. Sometimes, it is believed, they visit Earth and can be observed, like other devas, by humans whose third eyes have been activated.

They are the overlords of the wild places, whereas as angels engage with civilization. That may, indeed, be their primary difference; that alone could account for the difference in feel and energy that I experience between them.


Human beings are part of Nature, a fact we often overlook or forget, and as such, there are nature spirits “assigned” or related to us. Some of these work with our bodies, while others work with the products of our civilization. These are the spirits of our artifacts, the things we create and fashion from the materials we draw from nature. As human beings have advanced in this regard, becoming more and more technologically adept and transforming more and more of the natural world into forms and materials created by humanity, nature spirits have adapted  to keep up. In this way there has evolved a whole new class of “nature spirits” that might be called “techno-spirits.

Humans in their conceit and over-weening sense of superiority think that they alone have a soul. Humans think that only humans continue after life, after death, and into another life. Many of the ancient races worshipped Nature Spirits. They were not so far wrong because there are Nature Spirits, and they are quite as important as human spirits.

A human is a lump of protoplasm which has a soul or Over self which tells that lump of protoplasm how to operate, how to grow. In the same way trees have Nature Spirits, spirit-entities who look after that tree. Animals also have spirits, souls, if you like, and it does not at all follow that because an animal cannot talk English, or Spanish, or German, that the animal is ‘dumb.’ Many animals have characters in no way inferior to the best of humans!

In the astral world there are human entities doing their own particular job of work, and there are Nature Spirits, those who look after plants and the astral of animals. There are also elementals, but elementals we have already dealt with.

For your own evolution, then, remember that there are animal spirits growing and evolving on different lines from humans, admittedly, but in no way inferior to humans. They are distinct and quite separate lines ;humans never reincarnate as animals, animals never reincarnate as humans. They are quite, quite different lines of growth.

The comparison is often made that devas are the architects of nature while the nature spirits are the field workers and construction hands.

It’s an apt comparison, though perhaps a bit too human in its implications. The nature spirits are the transformers of life, taking the raw,intense subtle energies coming from the higher-order worlds and stepping them down into forms that can be appropriated and used by the subtle bodies of physical entities, mainly plants but animals as well. There are even “nature spirits” that attend to human beings, though we often call them “guardian angels”.

Nature spirit is really an umbrella term, a bit like saying animal or plant. It simply denotes a being that works with the spiritual and energetic side of nature. However, just as there are billions of different species of plants and animals on earth, so there are at least as many different kinds of “nature spirits.” In some ways, it’s a meaningless phrase because it’s so broad and all-encompassing.

In a manner of speaking, these kinds of nature spirits are analogous to bees, receiving the higher-order energies, digesting and assimilating them, and then producing from themselves an equivalent energy, like honey, which the plant can absorb within its vital subtle field.

A nature spirit is usually a being that is defined by a particular relationship with some specific form or function within the

natural environment of the earth.

A nature spirit is usually a being that is defined by a particular relationship with some specific form or function within the natural environment of the earth. By necessity, such beings, while their origin and fuller natures may be in the higher-order worlds, take form and work within the transitional realms and the subtle energy fields of the physical worlds. They tie themselves to specific landscapes and to geographical features such as rivers, and to species of plants and animals, and even to the individual plants themselves. The large maple trees in my backyard, for example have one or more nature spirits – in this case, maple tree spirits – associated with them.

In mythology, nature spirits, or deities are composed of etheric matter. Their job is to build and maintain the plant kingdom while working in conjunction with the devas and elementals. They are said to have been here since the beginning of time, have created the landscape of reality, which we return to for different reasons as guided.

The term nature deity typically refers to the concept of gods or goddesses in mythology associated with various perceived “forces of nature”.

They feature commonly in polytheistic religions, and may include characteristics of the mother goddess, Mother Nature or lord of the animals.

Adherents may literally consider such deities to be divine beings that control particular natural phenomena. An objective view understands these to be mythological personifications of particular phenomena, such that attach personal qualities such as character and name to such phenomena, and conversely illustrate conceptual persons (archetypes) as owning particular and powerful traits.

Most nature spirits, then, are incarnated into the earth in ways that many of their subtle counterparts in the higher-order worlds are not. They have a more intimate relationship with matter and form. If I think in a metaphor of circulation and blood flow within a human body, they are part of the transfer mechanism that delivers nutrients from the bloodstream to the individual cells and in turn bring the contributions of the cell back to the blood stream to be part of the larger whole of the body, as well as removing and eliminating waste products. Nature spirits are a vital, intimate, and “hands-on” part of the circulation of light and vital energies through the planetary body of Gaia.


There are three groups of Devas:

1. All elementals working with the etheric doubles of humankind and all elementals working with the etheric bodies of inanimate objects. The “violet devas” (evolve through feeling, education of humankind) are on an evolutionary path.

2. The elementals are on the evolutionary path their goal being to evolve into the deva kingdom with the violet color. . The fairies and elves–build and color the flowers–the elementals who work with the vegetables, fruits, and al the verdure that covers the earth’s surface. Also connected with this group-devas of magnetization that are connected to stones, talismans, and the sacred spots of the earth. There is one last groups of devas in this group that are found around the habitations of the masters who live on the earth.

3. Those in this group work with the elementals of the air and sea, the sylphs, the water fairies, and the devas who guard human beings.


Pan is the God of the nature spirits. He is half man and half goat. The nature spirits are for the most part composed of etheric matter.

Their job is to build the plants. They channel the etheric forces they receive into physically constructing the particular plant patterns they are receiving from the devas. They are like the physical workers who carry out the architectural blueprints. They express great joy and delight in their work. They vary in size from a fraction of an inch to elves who are three to four feet tall.


Findhorn is a spiritual community in Scotland. It was started by Peter and Eileen Caddy, Dorothy Maclean, and Lena Lamount

. Later David Spangler and Ogilvie Crombie  became involved. Each of these people had very special and unique talents— each channel something else. In the Findhorn material, the term refers to archetypal spiritual intelligences behind species, in other words the group soul of a species.

Some New Age sources use the term is used as a generic term to designate any being regarded as being composed of etheric matter—elementals

, nature spirits (including the various types of nature spirits such as fairies, ondines, etc.).

Eileen: Channeled God

Dorothy: the deva kingdom

David: being called Limitless Love and Light

Ogilvie: could see and talk to nature spirits

Peter: represented the human worker aspect of the group. He created the Findhorn garden. At one point he had cut back some of the bushes which upset the elves who told Ogilvie that they were leaving. Everyone was upset. After a ceremony and apology from Peter the elves agreed to stay.



. The basic concept of an elemental refers to the ancient idea of elements as fundamental building blocks of nature. In the system prevailing in the Classical world,

there were four elements: fire, earth, air, and water.

This paradigm was highly influential in Medieval natural philosophy, and Paracelsus evidently intended to draw a range of mythological Beingin to this paradigm by identifying

An elemental is a mythological being first appearing in the alchemical works of Paracelsus in the 16th century. Traditionally, there are four types:

Gnomes, earth elementals

Undines, water elementals

Sylphs, air elementals – clouds

Salamanders, fire elementals

The exact term for each type varies somewhat from source to source, though these four are now the most usual. Most of these beings are found in folklore as well as alchemy; their names are often used interchangeably with similar beings from folklore. The sylph, however, is rarely encountered outside of alchemical contexts and fan media.them as belonging to one of these four elemental types

There are four basic elements of nature:





Within each of the four elements are nature spirits that are the spiritual essence of that element. They are made up of etheric substance that is unique and specific to their particular element. They are living entities  oftentimes resembling humans in shape but inhabiting a world of their own.

The beings in the Elemental Kingdom work primarily on the mental plane and are known as “builders of form.” Their specialty is translating thought-forms into physical forms by transforming mental patterns into etheric and then physical patterns. Each of them is a specialist in creating some specific form whether it be an electron or interstellar space.

Elementals range in size from smaller than an electron to vaster than galactic space. Like the angels, elemental beings begin their evolution small in size and increase their size as they evolve. The elementals serving on planet Earth materialize whatever they pick up from the thoughts and feelings of mankind. This relationship was intended to facilitate the remanifestation of “heaven on Earth.”

They take their orders from the devas.

They do not remain individualized as humans are. These beings are animated by the thought power of the lower angels and so are thought forms of sorts.

They may be etheric thoughts forms, yet they have etheric flesh, blood, and bones. They live, propagate off spring, eat, talk, act, and sleep.

They cannot be destroyed be frosser material elements such as fire, air, earth, and water because they are etheric in nature. they are not immortal. When their work is finished they are absorbed back into the ocean of spirit. They do live a very long time–300 to 1,000 years.

They have the power to change their size and appearance almost at will. They cannot, however, change elements.


The nature spirits of the Earth are called Gnomes





Earth Spirits








The salamanders are the spirit of fire. Without these beings, fire cannot exist. You cannot light a match without a salamander’s being present.

There are many families of salamanders, differing in size, appearance, and dignity. Some people have seen them as small balls of light, but most commonly they are perceived as being lizard-like in shape and about a foot or more in length.

The salamanders are considered the strongest and most powerful of all the elementals. Their ruler is a magnificent flaming being called Djin.

Those who have seen him say that he is terrible, yet awe-inspiring in appearance.

Salamanders have the ability to extend their size or diminish it, as needed. If you ever need to light a campfire in the wilderness, call to the salamanders and they will help you.

It has also been said that salamanders (and the other elemental beings) can be mischievous at times. For example, a fiery temper and inharmonious conditions in a person’s home can cause these beings to make trouble. They are like children in that they don’t fully understand the results of their actions. They are greatly affected, as are all nature spirits, by human humankind’s thinking.


The sylphs are the air spirits. Their element has the highest vibratory rate of the four (beside earth, fire, water). They live hundreds of years, often reaching one thousand and never seeming to get old. They are said to live on the tops of mountains. The leader of the sylphs is a being called Paralda who is said to dwell on the highest mountain of Earth.

Sylphs often assume human form but only for short periods of time. The vary in size from being as large as a human to being much smaller.

They are volatile and changeable. The winds are their particular vehicle. The work through the gases and ethers of the Earth and are kindly toward humans. They are usually seen with wings, looking like cherubs or fairies. Because of their connection to air, which is associated with the mental aspect, one of their functions is to help humans receive inspiration. The sylphs are drawn to theose who use their minds, particularly those on creative arts.


The undines are the elemental beings that compose water. They are able to control, to a great degree, the course and function of the water element. Etheric in nature, they exist within the water itself and this is why they can’t be seen with the normal physical vision. These beings are beautiful to look at and are very graceful. They are often seen riding the waves of the ocean. They can also be found in rocky pools and in marshlands. They are clothed in a shimmery substance looking like water but shinning with all the colors of the sea, with green predominating. The concept of the mermaid is connected with these elemental beings.

The undines also work with the plants that grow under the water and with the motion of water. Some undines inhabit waterfalls, others live in rivers and lakes. Every fountain has its nymph. Every ocean has its oceanids. The undines closely resemble humans in appearance and size, except for those inhabiting smaller streams and ponds. The undines often live in coral caves under the ocean or on the shores of lakes or banks of rivers. Smaller undines live under lily pads.

The undines work with the vital essences and liquids of plants, animals, and human beings. They are present in everything containing water. There are many families of undines, as the chart indicates. The ruler of the undines is a being called Necksa. The undines love, serve, and honor her unceasingly.

They are emotional beings, very friendly and open to being of service to human beings.

The smaller undines are often seen as winged beings that people have mistakenly called fairies. Those winged beings are seen near flowers that grow in watery areas. They have gossamer wings and gossamer clothing








Sea Maids

Water Spirits


“Geopathic stress” may be defined as developing bodily imbalance or illness, due to lines of harmful energies which radiate from the earth. Earth acupuncture is the process used to neutralize these fields.

Geopathic stress has been found to be the common factor in many serious and minor illnesses and psychological conditions, especially those conditions in which the immune system is severely compromised. Cardiovascular deficiency, attention deficit disorder, immune deficiency disorders, chronic fatigue, and can–r, are samples of chronic geopathic stress influence. Some lesser effects of influence are chronic body pains, headaches, sudden signs of physical aging, irritability, and restless sleep. It is also a common factor in cases of infertility and miscarriages, learning difficulties, behavioral problems and neurological disabilities in children.

When treating patients who continue to be effected by earth radiation during periods of sleep or work, response to treatment tends to be slow or uneventful, however when their home or work place is neutralized, the geopathic stress conditions resolve themselves and the body begins to heal. There are four lines of geopathic energy which can be detected and neutralized: The Hartmann Grids and Geopathic Zones adversely effect

the cellular structure of living organisms. Interference Zones and Personal Zones effect one’s emotions and objectives.

Personal Zones may also effect one’s physical health. Hartmann Grids were discovered in 1950 by a German medical doctor, Ernst Hartmann. The lines form a grid around the earth, running north to south and east to west, and extend to a height of 60 – 600 feet. The north-south lines appear approximately every 6 feet 6 inches and the east-west lines appear approximately every 8 feet 2 inches. According to Dr. Hartmann, the worst place that a person can sleep or work is over a Hartmann knot, where two Hartmann lines cross, as harmful radiation is intensified at this juncture. Geopathic Zones have a range of influence from 2 to 200 feet, and reach a height of 600 to 30,000 feet.

Their direction is random and may be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. When natural radiation rises through the earth, its wavelength is distorted by weak electromagnetic fields emanating from subterranean  running water, mineral concentrations, fault lines and underground cavities. These distorted fields of radiation are harmful to living organisms, and produce the geopathic zones. It is not uncommon to find them parallel to, or imposed upon the Hartmann Grids. Geopathic zones can also be man made. These would include electromagnetic fields which emanate from such structures as high tension, or satellite towers, electrical street poles, or fuse boxes.

Personal Zones are also random in direction, with a variable range of influence and height. These zones produce energies that uniquely effect an individual  on a personal level. Simply stated, they produce an energy that grates on the energy of any given person, producing a chronic subtly annoying and irritating effect. Animals are also affected by these zones.

Interference Lines, as with Personal Zones, are random in direction, with a variable range of influence and height, and produce an energy which interferes with one’s personal goals. Interference lines were only discovered several months ago, and I can attest to the power of their negative influence, and the quick and incredible positive changes that occurred when they were neutralized. I strongly recommend that one’s house be checked for Interference lines if one has a home-based business which seems to be hindered in some way, or feels that “something” is blocking one’s goals.

Neutralization of all geopathic lines is first accomplished by discovering the lines through dowsing. After finding the direction of flowand center of the line, we bury copper wire perpendicular to its center. This blocks the line, causing the energies to dome over the structure being neutralized.the structure.

A deva is an intelligent energy that works in conjunction with the elementals, but more in a overseeing capacity. The devas do not create form, but are responsible for the activities of the form builders. Where an elemental may have responsibility over a pine seed, the overseeing deva may have responsibility for the entire Pine forest.









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Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,


During the pre vedic period some ancient cults of Saivism were in vogue in the Indian subcontinent. We have references to believe that Shiva or his aspects were worshipped by some ancient communities outside India in far away places such as the Mediterranean, Africa, Central Asia and Europe. According to some the name Shiva is of Dravidian origin, derived from the word Chivan or Shivan meaning red color. Sambhu, another name of Lord Shiva, also said to have been of Dravidian origin, derived from the word Chembu, or Chempu or Sembu, meaning copper or red metal.

According to some the phallic symbol of Shiva is of Austric origin and so is the name linga.SHIVA-  This is a word with many meanings. In the Hindu trinity of Gods it means the God who dissolves us from the Earth, the power called the destroyer which releases humans from the earth-body. It is a ‘God’venerated by Yogis who seek release from the flesh.We have three forms, which is birth, life, and death.

There is a ‘God’ which determines when we shall beborn. There is a ‘God’ which supervises us during life,and there is a ‘God’ (Shiva) which gives us release

Actually LINGA  is a sign representing God Shiva, but it is also used to indicate a phallic symbol.Since the beginning of civilization  the peoples of the Earth had the most interesting task of populating the Earth as quickly as they could. Iit is that the priests, who thought that the more subjects they had the more powerthey would have, made an order and called it a Divine Order. The order was to the effect that everyone should be fruitful and multiply. People had great hordes of  children because that strengthened individual tribes,and the bigger the tribe, the more powerful it became.

So, under the ‘Divine Instruction’ of the priests the warriors of the big tribes invaded small tribes and killedoff the men and captured the women so that these women could be used for making more little tribesmen, who then could go out and capture more and more small tribes. .

The male organ, or a representation of it, thus became an object of great worship, and in various partsof the world even  today such stone pillars are regarded with awe and veneration. It is an amusing fact that the cupolas and minarets of mosques and temples, and thespires of Christian churches, were of phallic-symbolorigin.

In  Harappans culture a powerful class of priests, drawing authority from their role asintermediary between the populace and gods, dominated society. Promoting fertility was a paramount concern. The most prominent deity depicted was a fierce-faced naked male with ahorned head. The concern with fertility was demonstrated by numerous naked female figures (devis, or mother-goddesses, and sacred animals—especially bulls), and phallic-shaped objects.

Megasthanese noted the worship of Shiva in his book Indika. He thought that the deity whom Indians worshipped was Dionysus, a Greek god who had some affinity with Shiva.

From Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, we understand that images of Shiva were in use probably for religious worship.Shiva ( Siva) as we know him today was unknown to the Vedic people. They knew a form of Shiva who was different from the Shiva who was worshipped elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent. They worshipped a deity who personified their fears and anxieties in an unfamiliar territory surrounded byhostile tribes and an unfavorable nature.

Interesting fact about Kabba is that it has been in existence way before the birth of Islam. In the Pre-Islamic Era, it was a holy site for the various Bedouin tribes of the area. Few historian even today believes that .

As in the headquarters of Christianity (namely the Vatican in Rome) at the headquarters of Islam too (namely in the Kaaba temple in Mecca city of Saudi Arabia) the ancient Hindu Shiva Linga may still be seen.

This cylindrical stone, rendered immovable for security by being fixed in the outer corner of a wall, is the object of reverence of all Muslims. Here Muslims still continue the seven perambulations

in the age old Hindu style except that they move anti-clockwise. White silver foil shrouds the stone. The oval uncovered central portion gives the pilgrims an idea of how the stone looks. Syrians had once carried away the stone as a war trophy and kept it for 22 years.When we study the ancient Celtic gods like Norse Odin and the Celtic Cernunnos we cannot miss some similarities between them and Shiva. Some scholars also find parallels between the Tantric practices of Saivism and the magical-religious practices of Shamanism of the Mexican, American Indian, Inuit, and Australian Aboriginal peoples. It is possible that the similarities might be due to the fact that the religious beliefs of ancient cultures emerged mainly from the fertility rites and the father god and mother god traditions of prehistoric times.

In Ireland, a very, very old land indeed, there are what are called ‘the round towers.’ These towers,cylindrical, and sometimes taller than a church tower, had a rounded top. They were phallic symbols, symbols of fertility, symbols that one must not forget that the more numerous a nation the stronger it became, and themore easily it could conquer lesser nations.

As the Irish became converted to Christianity they found a fresh use for their phallic-symbol roundtowers ; they used to climb up a special staircase inside the tower and peer out from the top so that they could see if invaders were coming to steal things from their  lands or to capture people to use as slaves. The roundtowers were very useful for keeping watch for the predatory English, who looked upon hunting the Irish as almost a national sport. Naturally enough, the Irish looked upon such ‘sport’ with considerable disfavour.While on the subject it might be worth mentioning that in addition to the phallic symbol of the male organ there are also phallic symbols of the female organ. In  female organ !

Prior to his integration into Vedic religion, Lord Shiva was worshipped mainly outside the Vedic society by people with whom they were not very familiar. Even today we find Lord Shiva being exceptionally popular among many ancient tribes of India such as the Chenchus and the Malavans who live in the remote areas of South India and consider Shiva not only as a hunter and a forest deity but also as the ancestor of their tribes.

The integration of Shiva into Vedic religion took place over a long period of time probably as a result of the coming together of diverse groups of people speaking different languages and practicing different religious traditions The vedic people originally frowned upon the practice of the worship of Shiva lingas but subsequently integrated the practice into a Vedic religion.

Shiva In The Vedic Texts

Shiva is mentioned in the Rigveda in three hymns as the fearful and vengeful Rudra. He is described as the god of sickness, disease, death, destruction and calamity. For the Vedic people his very name fear . They believed that the best way to avoid trouble was by seeking protection from himself through appeasement because only Rudra would save them from the wrath of Rudra. So they implored him not to harm anyone, not to hurt pregnancies, not to vilify the dead and not to slay their heroes in the war.The Satarudriya invocation in the Yajurveda is perhaps the most discussed and analyzed hymn. It is part of an invocation offered to the god Agni to avert his wrath and pacify him after he transforms himself into Rudra. The hymn depicts him both as terrifying and pleasing. The prayer is offered to Rudra to bring health and prosperity to the people as a divine physician and also to save them from his own wrath.

the Satarudriya hymn was probably part of several invocations adapted from the prevailing Saiva literature into the Vedas or probably part of a much longer hymn most of which was lost to us.

We find in the Atharvaveda more references to this God than in the Rigveda, suggestive of his growing popularity. Rudra is implored not to harm the cattle and the people. In the Atharvaveda as well as the Yajurveda, Shiva is addressed variously as Sarva, Bhava, Nilakantha, Pasupathi, Nilagriva, Sitkantha and Sobhya. While these names are presumed to be his epithets,

The Satapatha Brahmana mentions eight names of Rudra. In one place he is mentioned as Rudra- Shiva. In some cases he is also identified with Agni

In the Svetasvatara Upanishad Lord Shiva was elevated to the status of Brahman, by the sage who composed it, after he had a vision of Lord Shiva as the Absolute and Supreme Brahman. He is described as the god who wields the power of maya or delusion by which he controls the world. He is also the indweller (antaratman) of all Brhajjabala Upanishad and Bhasmajabala Upanishad are other minor Saiva Upanishads dealing with some important concepts and aspects of worship of Shiva.

Shiva in the Epics and the Puranas

Shiva is mentioned in both the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. In the Ramayana he is described as Sitikantha, Mahadeva, Rudra, Trayambaka, Pasupathi and ShankaraThe demon king Ravana is described as a great devotee of Lord Shiva and the Ramayana itself as a narration by Shiva to Parvathi. Anjaneya, who was instrumental in finding Sita and destroying many demons, is the son or an aspect of Shiva only, born under strange circumstances as a part of the plan associated with the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Sri Rama.

In the Mahabharata we find more detailed references to Lord Shiva in several chapters. In the Anusasana Parva, we are told how Lord Krishna was initiated by Lord Shiva into Shiva bhakti or devotion to Shiva. In the Santhi Parvan the narration goes on to show that both Hari and Hara are the same.

In the Puranas we find in some of the Puranas deal exclusively with Shiva and Saivism. They are categorized as Shiva Puranas. The Shiva Puranas describe Shiva as the highest and Supreme Being and other gods and divinities subordinate to him as a part of his vast creation. Vayu Purana is considered to be one of the oldest of the Shiva Puranas, composed probably around 2nd Century BC. Other important Shiva Puranas are the Matsya Purana, the Brahmanda Purana, Skanda Purana, Linga Purana, Vamana Purana and of course the Shiva Purana.

Saivism In The Vedic Times

During the pre vedic period some ancient cults of Saivism were in vogue in the Indian subcontinent.

We have references to believe that Shiva or his aspects were worshipped by some ancient communities outside India

in far away places such as the Mediterranean, Africa, Central Asia and Europe. According to some the name Shiva is of Dravidian origin, derived from the word Chivan or Shivan meaning red color. Sambhu, another name of Lord Shiva, also said to have been of Dravidian origin, derived from the word Chembu, or Chempu or Sembu, meaning copper or red metal. According to some the phallic symbol of Shiva is of Austric origin and so is the name linga.

When we study the ancient Celtic gods like Norse Odin and the Celtic Cernunnos we cannot miss some similarities between them and Shiva. Some scholars also find parallels between the Tantric practices of Saivism and the magical-religious practices of Shamanism of the Mexican, American Indian, Inuit, and Australian Aboriginal peoples. It is possible that the similarities might be due to the fact that the religious beliefs of ancient cultures emerged mainly from the fertility rites and the father god and mother god traditions of prehistoric times.

According to some scholars, Shaktism, Samkhya, Yoga and Tantrism were not new concepts that developed in the post Vedic India, but very ancient traditions which were subsequently revived and integrated into the religious life of the subcontinent. Some of these beliefs and practices of Saivism gradually found their way into Brahmanism and Buddhism. Many magical rituals, fertility rites and left-hand techniques and practices of Shaktism and Tantricism aimed to cultivate detachment and gain control over the senses and the mind, were incorporated with some variations into Brahmanism and subsequently into Vajrayana Buddhism. The mentally unsettling and provocative imagery of Tantricism found it way into Vajrayaana Buddhism.

During the Vedic period Shiva was worshipped mostly by non Vedic tribes, such as the Sibis who lived on the fringes of the Vedic society and were hardly understood by vedic people. The Mahabharata mentions the name of Pasupathas, one of the most ancient and secretive sects of Saivism. Kapalikas, Kalamukhas were other prominent sects of Saivism in ancient India. Followers of the Ajivika sect were also probably worshippers of Lord Shiva.

The Satavahanas ruled a vast territory in the south for over 400 years in the post Mauryan era. They patronized vedic religion and worshipped many gods including Shiva and Skanda. They worshipped Shiva under such popular names as Shiva, Mahadeva, Bhava and Bhutapala. They also worshipped his vehicle Nandi and his son Skanda both as individual deities and in association with Shiva. Some of the foreign dynasities who established their rule in the Indian subcontinent such as the Sakas, the Pahlavas and the Kushanas often turned to Saivism. The Kushanas worshipped many native and foreign deities including Shiva and Skanda. Kadhaphises II of the was a follower of Shiva. His successor Kanishka was a worshipper of Shiva and Skanda. In the later part of his life, he converted to Buddhism.

The Barashivas ruled parts of central and northern India from about 2nd Century AD. They were also known in history as the Nagas. The Bharashiva reestablished Hindu traditions. They were great devotees of Lord Shiva, a tradition that was continued later by Vakatakas and the Guptas.

Saivism rose to prominence during the Gupta period. IInscriptions belonging to their period show that they also worshipped Lord Shiva, Skanda and Parvathi. Ujjain rose to prominence as an important Saivite center. Many sacred texts of Saivism were composed during this period, which included Agamas, Tantras and Puranas connected with Lord Shiva and the Mother Goddess.

Saivism continued to flourish during the post Gupta period despite the fact that many rulers like Harshavardhana continued to patronize Buddhism. There were however some pockets of Hindu influence such as as the Chandelas of Bundelkhand (9th century AD) who built 30 or so temples of Shiva and other deities at Khajuraho. During the same period else where also Rajput rulers built many temples in honor of Shiva and Shakti.

In the south the Chalukyas, the Pallavas and the Cholas built many temples in honor of Shiva. Worth mentioning are the cave temple of Shiva at Badami, the Kailasanatha temple at Kanchi and the Briahdiswara temple at Tanjore. The Pallva kings witnessed the development of Saiva literature of the Tamils. It was also the period during which the bhakti movement became popular in the south. Sundaramurthy lived during this period and worked for the reformation of many Saiva traditions. Kanchi became a prominent center of religious education to which royal families sent their children. The Cholas were also great devotees of Shiva. They built many temples in his honor. They were instrumental in the creation of greater Hindu civilization that extended beyond the Indian subcontinent to Cambodia and adjoining territories.

The Nayanars

The Nayanars of south lived between 6th and 8th Century AD. They were poet saints who spread the awareness of Shiva and Saivism expressing their intense love and devotion by visiting various parts of the country and singing devotional songs in public at holy places, temples and pilgrim centers. Saiva literature records the names of 63 Nayanars, a few of whom were women. They came from different backgrounds, from the highest to the lowest strata of society, including the caste of untouchables. The most prominent Nayanaras are considered to be Appar, Sambanthar and Sundarar. In 11th century Nambi Andar Nambi composed Tirumurai, in which he recorded the lives of all the 63 saints. It has immense historical and spiritual value and considered as an important text of Saiva canon.

The Growth of the Sectarian Movements

Between 9th and 13th centuries, a new movment now known as Kashmiri Saivism grew into prominence. It gained popularity in parts of northern India, especially Kashmir, because of the teachings and compositions of eminent personalities like Vasugupta, Somananda, Utpaladeva, Abhinavagupta and Kshemaraja. Kashmiri Saivism follows Advaita or the philosophy of monism . It regards Shiva as the Supreme Lord and the only reality by realizing whom people are liberated for ever from their state of bondage to identity, delusion and karma. With its emphasis on master (guru) and disciple relationship, awakening of kundalini energy and the teaching of Pratyabhigna or realization of Shiva as one’s hidden self, Kashmiri Saivism caught the attention of many including some Buddhists and Muslims during the medieval period.

Saiva Siddhanta was another school of Saivism that grew into prominence in southern India. It was inspired by the compositions of the Nayanars and others like Manikkavachakar, author of the famous Tiruvachakam (10th century) and Mekyandar the composer of Shivajnanabodhanam (13th century). Saiva Siddhanta school follows dvaita or dualism. It regards Shiva as the Supreme Lord of all but acknowledges a marked distinction between the Supreme Self and the individual selves. According to it, when individual selves are liberated from the bonds of karma, egoism and delusion they do not merge with Shiva. They attain the same consciousness as Shiva and continue to remain as free souls for ever.

In the 13th century another school of Saivism, known as Virasaiva movement rose to prominence in Karnataka. It was influenced by the bhakti movement that swept across the country during the medieval period. It was initiated by the legendary religious leader Basavanna, who was not just a religious leader but a social reformer also.

Gorakshanatha school of Saivism is the most esoteric of all schools of Saivism. It lays heavy emphasis on magical religious rituals of tantric nature verging on the supernatural. They are kept mostly secret from the general public and revealed only to the chosen few.Also known as Natha yoga sect , it was said to have been founded originally by Matsyendranatha and brought to prominence by Gorakshanath who lived in 12the century

1. The Mool (Main) Mantra of Lord Shiva is a five syllable mantra, known as panchakshri mantra. It is believed that the chanters are bowing to themselves, as the Lord Shiva is considered as the ultimate reality.

OM Namah Shivaya

Meaning: I bow to Shiva.


2. Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra is the greatest Mantra for Lord Shiva found in Rig Veda.

OM. Tryambakam yajamahe
Sugandhim pushti-vardhanam
Urvarukamiva bandhanan
Mrityor mukshiya mamritat

3. Shree Shiva- Parvati Stuti is the mantra which praises Lord with his consort Parvati.

Karpoor Gauram Karunnaavataram Sansaar Saaram
Bhujgendra Haaram.
Sadaa Vasantam Hridyaarvrinde
Bhavam Bhavaani Sahitam Namaami.

Meaning: I Bow to Bhavani as well as to Lord Shiva who is white as camphor, who is compassion incarnate, who is the essence of the world, who wears a garland of a large snake and who always dwells in the lotus like hearts of his devotees.


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4a. Shree Rudraashtak Stotram is the eight fold hymn recited by Brahma to please Shiva. This mantra can be used by anyone to get the blessing from the Lord Shiva.

Namaam-Iisham-Iishaana Nirvaanna-Ruupam
Vibhum Vyaapakam Brahma-Veda-Svaruupam
Nijam Nirgunnam Nirvikalpam Niriiham
Cidaakaasham-Aakaasha-Vaasam Bhaje-[A]ham

Meaning: I Salute the Lord Ishana. It is the Form that represents the state of the highest Nirvana. This is the form that manifests the essence He is pervading everywhere and The Lord embodies the Highest Knowledge of Brahman present in the core of the Vedas. He who remains absorbed in His own self which is beyond the three Gunas. Beyond any change and Manifoldness, and which is free from any movement. I worship Ishana, who abides in the spiritual sky.


Niraakaaram-Ongkara-Muulam Turiiyam
Giraa-Jnyaana-Go-[A]tiitam-Iisham Giriisham
Karaalam Mahaakaala-Kaalam Krpaalam
Gunna-[A]agaara-Samsaara-Paaram Nato-[A]ham

Meaning: I bow to the supreme Lord who is the formless source of “OM” The Self of All, transcending all conditions and states. Beyond speech, He understands the sense perception. Awe-full, but gracious, the ruler of Kailash, Devourer of Death, the immortal abode of all virtues.


Tussaara-Adri-Samkaasha-Gauram Gabhiram
Mano-Bhuuta-Kotti-Prabhaa-Shrii Shariiram
Sphuran-Mauli-Kallolinii Caaru-Ganggaa
Lasad-Bhaala-Baale[a-I]ndu Kanntthe Bhujanggaa

Meaning: I offer salutations to Sri Rudra, Who is shining white resembling a mountain of snow; and He resides deep in the mind in Millions of Rays of Splendor, which expresses His Auspicious Body. Over whose Head, the Beautiful Ganga Throbs and Surges forth towards the Worlds. The newly risen moon shines in His forehead spreading its rays and His Neck adorns the beautiful Serpents.


Calat-Kunnddalam Bhruu-Sunetram Vishaalam
Prasanna-[A]ananam Niila-Kannttham Dayaalam
Mrga-Adhiisha-Carma-Ambaram Munndda-Maalam
Priyam Shangkaram Sarva-Naatham Bhajaami

Meaning: The beloved Lord of All, with shimmering pendants hanging from his ears, Beautiful eyebrows and large eyes, Full of Mercy with a cheerful countenance and a blue speck on his throat. I Worship Him Who is Beloved of His Devotees, Who is Shankara, the Lord of All.


Pracannddam Prakrssttam Pragalbham Pare[a-Ii]sham
Akhannddam Ajam Bhaanu-Kotti-Prakaasham
Tryah-Shuula-Nirmuulanam Shuula-Paannim
Bhaje[a-A]ham Bhavaanii-Patim Bhaava-Gamyam

Meaning: I worship Shankara, Bhavani’s husband. I owe to the fierce, exalted, luminous and the supreme Lord Shiva. Indivisible, unborn and radiant with the glory of a million suns; Who, holding a trident, tears out the root of the three-fold suffering, And who is reached only through Love.


Kalaatiita-Kalyaanna Kalpa-Anta-Kaarii
Sadaa Sajjana-[A]ananda-Daataa Pura-Arii
Cid-Aananda-Samdoha Moha-Apahaarii
Prasiida Prasiida Prabho Manmatha-Arii

Meaning: Salutations to Sri Rudra, Whose Auspicious Nature are Beyond the Elements of the gross material world and He who Brings an end to the cycle of creation when all gross elements are dissolved. He is the one who always give to the wise men and is the destroyer of Adharma. By Taking Away the Great Delusion, He plunges the prepared Soul in the Fullness of Cidananda (the Bliss of Brahman or Pure Consciousness). O, the signifying Destroyer of Manmatha; Please be Gracious to me; Please be Gracious to me, O Lord.


Na Yaavad Umaa-Naatha-Paada-Aravindam
Bhajanti-Iha Loke Pare Vaa Naraannaam
Na Taavat-Sukham Shaanti Santaapa-Naasham
Prasiida Prabho Sarva-Bhuuta-Adhi-Vaasam

Meaning: Oh Lord of Uma, so long as you are not worshiped, there is no happiness, peace or freedom from suffering in this world or the next. You who dwell in the hearts of all living beings, and in whom all beings have their existence, Have mercy on me, Lord.


Na Jaanaami Yogam Japam Naiva Puujaam
Natoham Sadaa Sarvadaa Shambhu-Tubhyam
Jaraa-Janma-Duhkhau-[A]gha Taatapyamaanam
Prabho Paahi Aapanna-Maam-Iisha Shambho

Meaning: O my lord, I do Not Know how to perform Yoga, Japa or Puja. I always at All Times only Bow down to You, O Shambhu. Please protect me from the Sorrows of Birth and Old Age, as well as from the sins which lead to Sufferings. Please protect me O Lord from Afflictions; protect me O My Lord Shambhu.

Rudraastak Midam Proktam. Vipreyn haratoshyey,
Yey pathanti paraa bhaktayaa. Teyshaam Shambhu Praseedati.

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5a. Lingashtakam Mantra is one of the main mantras of Lord Shiva.

Brahma Muraari Surarchita Lingam
Nirmala Bhaashita Sobhitha Lingam
Janmaja Dhukha Vinaasaha Lingam
Tatpranamaami Sadaashiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Lingam, which is worshiped by BrahmaVishnu and other Gods. It is pure and resplendent, and destroys sorrows arising out of birth and death.


Devamuni Pravaraarchita Lingam
Kaama Dahana Karunaakara Lingam
Ravana Darpa Vinaasaha Lingam
Tatpranamaami Sadaashiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Lingam, which is worshiped by great sages and devas (God). He is the destroyer of Kama, Linga, the compassionate, and which destroyed the pride of Ravana.


Sarva Sugandha Sulepitha Lingam
Buddhi Vivaardhana Kaarana Lingam
Siddha Suraasura Vandhitha Lingam
Tatpranamaami Sadaashiva Lingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Lingam, which is well anointed with all fragrances, leads to growth of wisdom. It is worshiped by sages, devas and asuras (Demons).


Kanaga Mahaamani Bhooshitha Lingam
Panipati Veshthitha Sobitha Lingam
Daksha Suyajna Vinaasana Lingam
Tatpranamaami Sadaashiva Lingam

Meaning: I salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam, Which is decorated with Gold and other Precious Gems, which is adorned with the Best of the Serpents Wrapped around it, and which destroyed the Grand Sacrifice of Daksha. I Salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam.

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Kunkuma Chandhana Lehpitha Lingam
Pankaja Haara Susobhitha Lingam
Devaganarchita sevita lingam bhavairbhaktirevacha lingam
Dinakarakoti prabhakara lingam tatpranamami sadasivalingam

Meaning: I salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam Which is anointed with Saffron and Sandal Paste, which is Beautifully Decorated with Garlands of Lotuses, and which destroys the accumulated Sins. I Salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam.


Astadalopari vestithalingam sarvasmudva karanalingam
Astadaridra vinasana lingam tatpranamami sadasivalingam
Suruguru suravara poojita lingam surapushpa sadarchita lingam
Paramapadam paramatmakalingam tatpranamami sadasivalingam

Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Lingam, Which is enveloped with eight-fold petals, which is the cause of all creation, and which destroys eight types of poverty. I Salute that Eternal Shiva Lingam Which is Worshiped by the Preceptor of Gods and the Best of the Gods, which is Always Worshiped by the Flowers from the Celestial Garden, Which is Superior than the Best and which is the Greatest. I Salute that Eternal Shiva Linga.


Lingastakam punyam ya pathecchivasanndhu
sivaloka mavapnoti sivena sahamodithe

Whoever Recites this Lingasthakam near Shiva, Will Attain the Abode of Shiva and enjoy His Bliss






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Qualitative research methodologies: Ethnography


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

There are several methodological approaches commonly used by qualitative researchers in social sciences. Ethnography is the study of social interactions, behaviours, and perceptions that occur within groups, teams, organisations, and communities. Its roots can be traced back to anthropological studies of small, rural (and often remote) societies that were undertaken in the early 1900s, when researchers such as Bronislaw Malinowski and Alfred Radcliffe-Brown participated in these societies over long periods and documented their social arrangements and belief systems.

The word ‘ethnography’ is derived from the Greek ἔθνος (ethnos), meaning “a company, later a people, nation” and -graphy meaning “field of study”. Ethnographic studies focus on large cultural groups of people who interact over time. An ethnography is a means to represent graphically and in writing the culture of a group. The word can thus be said to have a double meaning, which partly depends on whether it is used as a count noun or uncountable. The resulting field study or a case report reflects the knowledge and the system of meanings in the lives of a cultural group..

Gerhard Friedrich Müller developed the concept of ethnography as a separate discipline whilst participating in the Second Kamchatka Expedition (1733–43) as a professor of history and geography. Whilst involved in the expedition, he differentiated Völker-Beschreibung as a distinct area of study. This became known as “ethnography,” following the introduction of the Greek neologism ethnographia by Johann Friedrich Schöpperlin and the German variant by A. F. Thilo in 1767. August Ludwig von Schlözer and Christoph Wilhelm Jacob Gatterer of the University of Göttingen introduced the term into the academic discourse in an attempt to reform the contemporary understanding of world history.[11][12]

Herodotus known as the Father of History had significant works on the cultures of various peoples beyond the Hellenic realm such as nations in Scythia, which earned him the title “Barbarian Lover” and may have produced the first ethnographic works.

Ethnography means trying to understand behavior and culture by going out and talking to and observing people wherever they are, while they’re doing whatever they do. It means entering someone’s world for a while, be it a couple of hours or a couple of days, or like our anthropological forefathers and foremothers, a couple of years.

Ethnography is a set of qualitative methods that are used in social sciences that focus on the observation of social practices and interactions. Its aim is to observe a situation without imposing any deductive structure or framework upon it and to view everything as strange or unique.

Ethnographic research is a qualitative method where researchers observe and/or interact with a study’s participants in their real-life environment. Ethnography was popularised by anthropology, but is used across a wide range of social sciences.

Within the field of usability, user-centred design and service design, ethnography is used to support a designer’s deeper understanding of the design problem – including the relevant domain, audience(s), processes, goals and context(s) of use.

Ethnography, as the presentation of empirical data on human societies and cultures, was pioneered in the biological, social, and cultural branches of anthropology, but it has also become popular in the social sciences in general—sociology, communication studies, history—wherever people study ethnic groups, formations, compositions, resettlements, social welfare characteristics, materiality, spirituality, and a people’s ethnogenesis. The typical ethnography is a holistic study[7][8] and so includes a brief history, and an analysis of the terrain, the climate, and the habitat. In all cases, it should be reflexive, make a substantial contribution toward the understanding of the social life of humans, have an aesthetic impact on the reader, and express a credible reality. An ethnography records all observed behavior and describes all symbol-meaning relations, using concepts that avoid causal explanations.

The aim of an ethnographic study within a usability project is to get ‘under the skin’ of a design problem (and all its associated issues). It is hoped that by achieving this, a designer will be able to truly understand the problem and therefore design a far better solution

The central aim of ethnography is to provide rich, holistic insights into people’s views and actions, as well as the nature (that is, sights, sounds) of the location they inhabit, through the collection of detailed observations and interviews. As Hammersley states, “The task [of ethnographers] is to document the culture, the perspectives and practices, of the people in these settings. The aim is to ‘get inside’ the way each group of people sees the world.”

A major difference between ethnography and other types of research is the depth and intimacy of our work. We get up close and personal with our research participants. By spending time with people as they go about their daily lives, we develop a better understanding of the cultural .

Features of ethnographic research

  • The ethnographic method is different from other ways of conducting social science approach due to the following reasons:
  • An ethnographer conducting field interviews, Valašské muzeum v přírodě
  • It is field-based. It is conducted in the settings in which real people actually live, rather than in laboratories where the researcher controls the elements of the behaviors to be observed or measured.
  • It is personalized. It is conducted by researchers who are in the day-to-day, face-to-face contact with the people they are studying and who are thus both participants in and observers of the lives under study.
  • It is multifactorial. It is conducted through the use of two or more data collection techniques – which may be qualitative or quantitative in nature – in order to get a conclusion.
  • It requires a long-term commitment i.e. it is conducted by a researcher who intends to interact with people they are studying for an extended period of time. The exact time frame can vary from several weeks to a year or more.
  • It is inductive. It is conducted in such a way to use an accumulation of descriptive detail to build toward general patterns or explanatory theories rather than structured to test hypotheses derived from existing theories or models.
  • It is dialogic. It is conducted by a researcher whose interpretations and findings may be expounded on by the study’s participants while conclusions are still in the process of formulation.
  • It is holistic. It is conducted so as to yield the fullest possible portrait of the group under study.

It can also be used in other methodological frameworks, for instance, an action research program of study where one of the goals is to change and improve the situation.

Areas of Ethnography

Ethnography is most useful in the early stages of a user-centred design project. This is because ethnography focuses on developing an understanding of the design problem. Therefore, it makes more sense to conduct ethnographic studies at the beginning of a project in order to support future design decisions (which will happen later in the user-centred design process).

Ethnographic methods (such as participant observation) could also be used to evaluate an existing design – but their true value comes from developing an early understanding of the relevant domain, audience(s), processes, goals and context(s) of use.

We would normally recommend that ethnographic methods are used for very complex and/or critical design problems. More complex design problems (in terms of their domain, audience(s), processes, goals and/or context(s) of use) are likely to need the deeper understanding which ethnographic studies can bring. Equally, highly critical systems (where failure or error can lead to disaster) could also justify significant ethnographic research.

Ethnography as method

The ethnographic method is different from other ways of conducting social science approach due to the following reasons:

An ethnographer conducting field interviews, Valašské muzeum v přírodě

  • It is field-based. It is conducted in the settings in which real people actually live, rather than in laboratories where the researcher controls the elements of the behaviors to be observed or measured.
  • It is personalized. It is conducted by researchers who are in the day-to-day, face-to-face contact with the people they are studying and who are thus both participants in and observers of the lives under study.
  • It is multifactorial. It is conducted through the use of two or more data collection techniques – which may be qualitative or quantitative in nature – in order to get a conclusion.
  • It requires a long-term commitment i.e. it is conducted by a researcher who intends to interact with people they are studying for an extended period of time. The exact time frame can vary from several weeks to a year or more.
  • It is inductive. It is conducted in such a way to use an accumulation of descriptive detail to build toward general patterns or explanatory theories rather than structured to test hypotheses derived from existing theories or models.
  • It is dialogic. It is conducted by a researcher whose interpretations and findings may be expounded on by the study’s participants while conclusions are still in the process of formulation.
  • It is holistic. It is conducted so as to yield the fullest possible portrait of the group under study.
  • It can also be used in other methodological frameworks, for instance, an action research program of study where one of the goals is to change and improve the situation

Forms of ethnography:

Confessional ethnography; life history; feminist ethnography etc. Two popular forms of ethnography are realist ethnography and critical ethnography. (Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, 93)

Realist ethnography: is a traditional approach used by cultural anthropologists. Characterized by Van Maanen (1988), it reflects a particular instance taken by the researcher toward the individual being studied. It’s an objective study of the situation. It’s composed from a third person’s perspective by getting the data from the members on the site. The ethnographer stays as omniscient correspondent of actualities out of sight. The realist reports information in a measured style ostensibly uncontaminated by individual predisposition, political objectives, and judgment. The analyst will give a detailed report of the everyday life of the individuals under study. The ethnographer also uses standard categories for cultural description (e.g., family life, communication network). The ethnographer produces the participant’s views through closely edited quotations and has the final work on how the culture is to be interpreted and presented. (Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, 93)

Critical ethnography: is a kind of ethnographic research in which the creators advocate for the liberation of groups which are marginalized in society. Critical researchers typically are politically minded people who look to take a stand of opposition to inequality and domination. For example, a critical ethnographer might study schools that provide privileges to certain types of students, or counseling practices that serve to overlook the needs of underrepresented groups. (Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design, 94). The important components of a critical ethnographer are to incorporate a value- laden introduction, empower people by giving them more authority, challenging the status quo, and addressing concerns about power and control. A critical ethnographer will study issues of power, empowerment, inequality inequity, dominance, repression, hegemony, and victimization.

Data collection methods

According to the leading social scientist, John Brewer, data collection methods are meant to capture the “social meanings and ordinary activities” of people (informants) in “naturally occurring settings” that are commonly referred to as “the field.” The goal is to collect data in such a way that the researcher imposes a minimal amount of personal bias in the data. Multiple methods of data collection may be employed to facilitate a relationship that allows for a more personal and in-depth portrait of the informants and their community. These can include participant observation, field notes, interviews, and surveys.

Interviews are often taped and later transcribed, allowing the interview to proceed unimpaired of note-taking, but with all information available later for full analysis. Secondary research and document analysis are also used to provide insight into the research topic. In the past, kinship charts were commonly used to “discover logical patterns and social structure in non-Western societies”. In the 21st century, anthropology focuses more on the study of people in urban settings and the use of kinship charts is seldom employed.

In order to make the data collection and interpretation transparent, researchers creating ethnographies often attempt to be “reflexive”. Reflexivity refers to the researcher’s aim “to explore the ways in which [the] researcher’s involvement with a particular study influences, acts upon and informs such research”. Despite these attempts of reflexivity, no researcher can be totally unbiased. This factor has provided a basis to criticize ethnography.

Traditionally, the ethnographer focuses attention on a community, selecting knowledgeable informants who know the activities of the community well.[16] These informants are typically asked to identify other informants who represent the community, often using snowball or chain sampling.[16] This process is often effective in revealing common cultural denominators connected to the topic being studied.[16]Ethnography relies greatly on up-close, personal experience. Participation, rather than just observation, is one of the keys to this process.[17] Ethnography is very useful in social research.

Ybema et al. (2010) examine the ontological and epistemological presuppositions underlying ethnography. Ethnographic research can range from a realist perspective, in which behavior is observed, to a constructivist perspective where understanding is socially constructed by the researcher and subjects. Research can range from an objectivist account of fixed, observable behaviors to an interpretive narrative describing “the interplay of individual agency and social structure.” Critical theory researchers address “issues of power within the researcher-researched relationships and the links between knowledge and power.”

Another form of data collection is that of the “image.” The image is the projection that an individual puts on an object or abstract idea. An image can be contained within the physical world through a particular individual’s perspective, primarily based on that individual’s past experiences. One example of an image is how an individual views a novel after completing it. The physical entity that is the novel contains a specific image in the perspective of the interpreting individual and can only be expressed by the individual in the terms of “I can tell you what an image is by telling you what it feels like.” The idea of an image relies on the imagination and has been seen to be utilized by children in a very spontaneous and natural manner. Effectively, the idea of the image is a primary tool for ethnographers to collect data. The image presents the perspective, experiences, and influences of an individual as a single entity and in consequence, the individual will always contain this image in the group under study.

Risks associated with Ethnography

As stated above, ethnographic studies consist of the researcher observing and/or interacting with subjects within the environment which the (future) design is intended to support. The two main potential weaknesses with ethnographic studies are:

Researcher-Ethnographic researchers need to be very highly-skilled to avoid all the potential pitfalls of an ethnographic study. Some of these include the detail & completeness of observations, as well as potential bias (and mistakes) in data collection or analysis.

Subjects-It is essential that any studies’ subjects are as true a representation of the larger user audience as possible (assuming that the study has been designed this way). It is also vital that the subjects are open and honest with the researcher. Of course, both of these issues are related to the quality of the researcher themselves and their role in the study’s design.

As we can see from the above, most of the risks associated with ethnographic studies relate to the researcher, either directly or indirectly. This, of course, means that the choice of ethnographic researcher is critical to a study’s success. We recommend choosing a researcher with a proven background of past involvement in successful projects across varying domains.

Advantages of Ethnography

One of the main advantages associated with ethnographic research is that ethnography can help identify and analyse unexpected issues. When conducting other types of studies, which are not based on in-situ observation or interaction, it can very easy to miss unexpected issues. This can happen either because questions are not asked, or respondents neglect to mention something. An ethnographic researcher’s in-situ presence helps mitigate this risk because the issues will (hopefully) become directly apparent to the researcher.

Ethnography’s other main benefit is generally considered to be its ability to deliver a detailed and faithful representation of users’ behaviours and attitudes. Because of its subjective nature, an ethnographic study (with a skilled researcher) can be very useful in uncovering and analysing relevant user attitudes and emotions.

It can open up certain experiences during group research that other research methods fail to cover.Notions that are taken for granted can be highlighted and confronted.

It can tap into intuitive and deep human understanding of and interpretations of (by the ethnographer) the accounts of informants (those who are being studied), which goes far beyond what quantitative research can do in terms of extracting meanings.

Ethnography allows people outside of a culture (whether of a primitive tribe or of a corporation’s employees) to learn about its members’ practices, motives, understandings, and values.

Disadvantages of ethnography

  • Access: Negotiating access to field sites and participants can be time-consuming and difficult. Secretive or guarded organizations may require different approaches in order for researchers to succeed.[45]
  • Bias: Ethnographers bring their own experience to bear in pursuing questions to ask and reviewing data, which can lead to biases in directions of inquiry and analysis.
  • Deep expertise is required: Ethnographers must accumulate knowledge about the methods and domains of interest, which can take considerable training and time.
  • Descriptive approach: Ethnography relies heavily on storytelling and the presentation of critical incidents, which is inevitably selective and viewed as a weakness by those used to the scientific approaches of hypothesis testing, quantification and replication.
  • Duration and cost: Research can involve prolonged time in the field, particularly because building trust with participants is usually necessary for obtaining rich data.
  • Sensitivity: The ethnographer is an outsider and must exercise discretion and caution to avoid offending, alienating or harming those being observed.
  • subjects may not act naturally during a short study. Longer studies normally counter-act this because the subjects grow to trust the researcher and/or get tired of any pretence.

We would generally recommend that an ethnographic approach may be suitable for the early stages of a user-centred project that deals with a particularly complicated or critical design challenge. This is because ethnographic methods allow a particularly deep understanding of a design problem’s domain, audience(s), processes, goals and context(s) of use. These ethnographic methods can also be very useful in discovering and exploring previously unknown issues.

Perhaps the most critical decision within an ethnographic study is the choice of ethnographic researcher. This individual will design, conduct and analyse the study’s findings – so it is essential that they have the skill and experience to make sure the study is representative, accurate and fair.


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Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee,

India In Indian religions moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष mokṣa “liberation”) or mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति “release”) is the liberation from samsara, the [[cycle of deat] and rebirth]

The concept of Moksa is perhaps the biggest idea in man’s quest of happiness. Sri Ramashankar Bhattacharya says that the science of Moksa is an experimental science of mental power. The history of human existence is a history of endless effort to eliminate sorrow and attain happiness. This is human nature. But we do not get what we want. We are a miserable lot. Death alone is the full-stop to our sufferings. But if we accept this idea of death, it would mean a tragic blow to the sense of human adventure, freedom and effort. We cannot be satisfied with less than immortality. More than that, Immortality must be accompanied by joy. This state of eternal joy bereft of all sufferings is regarded as Moksa or liberation. This liberation in itself seems to be a purely negative idea; but since the search for absolute freedom involves the search for ultimate purpose of the life of the individual (Parama Purusartha), there is a positive aspect also.

As the goal of all existence, moksha is the ultimate purpose behind Hindu religious beliefs and practices and is conceptually a form of Hindu salvation/liberation. Moksha is an important element in all faith traditions of Indian origin. The Buddhist view of nirvana, the state of liberation from suffering, is similar to moksha, and Hindus view nirvana as the state a person enters into after achieving moksha. Jainism shares the Hindu view of moksha with the caveat that all karmas, even good, must be annihilated prior to attaining moksha since karma necessitates consequences. Hindu Dvaita conception of moksha.

Right from the time we are born as human beings and till the time we die, all of us remain chained to our deeds and, therefore, to sorrow. Moksha is liberation from all sorrow and attainment of enlightenment. Moksha has been talked in Hindu religion as the final goal of life. Moksha is liberation from all sorrow and attainment of enlightenment Moksha in Hindu religion refers to liberation from the cycle of births and deaths as human life is believed to be one full of pains and sufferings

It means liberation from the cycle of births and deaths to escape from the harsh realities of life that is full of sorrows. It is through truth alone that man can attain liberation from reincarnation and all the pain and suffering that every human being is subjected to in all his lives. It is when a human soul realizes that it is just a part of the larger soul or is being that an individual attains liberation or Moksha. The soul of an individual is referred to as atman while the soul of the Supreme Being is referred to as paramatman. It is when atman vanishes into paramatman that one is said to have attained Moksha.

Moksha is the liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth known as samsara. As such, moksha is the ultimate goal of Hindu religious practice. The believer achieves moksha through self-realization. It is the highest pursuit (Moksa eva paramapurusartha). The genesis of the idea of Moksa is traced in “the endeavor of man to find out ways and means by which he could become happy or at least be free from misery”, as in the state of `sound sleep’.

In Hindu traditions, moksha is a central concept and included as one of the four aspects and goals of human life; the other three goals are dharma (virtuous, proper, moral life), artha (material prosperity, income security, means of life), and kama (pleasure, sensuality, emotional fulfillment). Together, these four aims of life are called Puruṣārtha in Hinduism.

Moksha is the liberation from rebirth or samsara.This liberation can be attained while one is on earth (jivanmukti) or eschatologically (karmamukti).The idea of samsara originated with new religious movements in the first millenniumBCE. These new movements saw human life as bondage to a repeated process of rebirth.

In some schools of Indian religions, moksha is considered equivalent to and used interchangeably with other terms such as vimoksha, vimukti, kaivalya, apavarga, mukti, nihsreyasa and nirvana. However, terms such as moksha and nirvana differ and mean different states between various schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The term nirvana is more common in Buddhism, while moksha is more prevalent in Hinduism.

Liberation. In Indian religions and Indian philosophy, moksha, also called vimoksha, vimukti and mukti, means emancipation, liberation or release. In the soteriological and eschatological sense, it connotes freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth. In the epistemological and psychological sense, moksha connotes freedom, self-realization and self-knowledge.

Some similar words

Mokugyo A wooden fish, also known as a Chinese temple block is a wooden percussion instrument. The wooden fish is used by monks and lay people in the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. A wooden drum carved from one piece, usually in the form of a fish, also known as a Chinese temple block or Mokugyo, is a wooden percussion instrument. It is often used during rituals usually involving the recitation of sutras, mantras, or other Buddhist texts. The wooden fish is mainly used by Buddhist disciples in China, Japan, Korea, and other East Asian countries where the practice of Mahayana, such as the ceremonious reciting of sutras, is prevalent. In most Zen/Ch’an Buddhist traditions, the wooden fish serves to keep the rhythm during sutra chanting. In Pure Land Buddhism, it is used when chanting the name of Amitabha. The Taoist clergy has also adapted the wooden fish into their rituals. Mondo In Zen, a short dialogue between teacher and student. The Mondō is a recorded collection of dialogues between a pupil and a Rōshi (a Zen Buddhist teacher). Zen tradition values direct experience and communication over scriptures. (Some teachers go so far as to instruct their pupils to tear up their scriptures.) However, sometimes the mondō acts as a guide on the method of instruction. One example of a non-Buddhist mondō is the Sokuratesu-no-mondō, the Japanese translation of the “Socratic method”, whereby Socrates asked his students questions in order to elicit the innate truth from assumed facts.

Nirvana Nirvana is a concept in Buddhism that is believed to be the end of all sufferings.Nirvana in Buddhism is believed to be a state of mind that is attained when one reaches enlightenment. It is a state of mind when human emotions become stable, and the feelings or emotions get dissolved. It is also called enlightenment as the founder of the religion himself attained. Nirvana is the highest individual attainment in the life of an individual and a state of mind where all pain, hatred, greed, desire etc. melt and dissolve. These are the feelings or emotions that are believed to be at the root of all the pain and suffering that a human being goes through. It is when there is inner awakening the individual realizes what reality is. This is when a person has become a Buddha, the enlightened one.

Concept of Moksha in Indian Philosophy

The theoretical rationale behind the concept of mukti is based on two basic ideas. First God is the giver of salvation to the worshipper if the worshipper obeys his commandment & surrender.

The other idea is man by own effort attains to salvation by his good works. “Ramanuj’s marjar theory. Where the off spring is taken to a different place by the mother cat (self surrender). Other is markat theory (were monkey the off spring stick to mothers stomach to be carried to another place. Man by his own good work attains to heaven this is also what the natural religious propagate against revealed religions.

Not only we have two different theories one based on faith of surrender and other based on self effort but what is Moksha is also very differently defined by some of our schools of philosophy.

“The nature of moksha differs widely, as conceived in the various systems. It may generally be represented as achieving self-perfection, and it will suffice for the present to draw attention to but one point about it.

While some Indian thinkers maintained that could be achieved in this very life (jivanmukti). This distinction persists in the age of the systems also. But whether here or elsewhere, the ideal of moksha is assumed in all the systems to be actually attainable. It may, or course, be held that a goal like self-perfection is never actually reached, but is significant only in so far as its deliberate choosing and its persistent pursuit are concerned.

Broadly, there are two different approaches to the conception of liberation in Indian Philosophy :

(1) The Materialistic Conception of Moksa of the Carvakas, and

(2) The Non-materialistic Conception :

(a) Positive Conception – Vedanta & Jainism.

 Salokya – Residing in the world of God (Vaikuntha) = Ramanuijists.

 Sampya – Blessed fellowship = Madhva, Nimbarka, Vallabha, Caitanya etc.

 Sarupya – Becoming like God in Nature and Form = Gita.

 Sayujya – Becoming one with God = Advaita Vedanta.

(b) Negative Conception : Buddhism

.  Nirodha – Cessation of suffering = Nyaya-Vaisesikas & Mimamsakas.

 Uccheda – Nihilism = Madhyamika Buddhism.

(c) Neutralistic Conception :

 Samkhya

 Yoga. But some of the Buddhists texts, and some Naiyayikas and Mimasakas go so far as to prove a positivistic conception of liberation


The Vedas are ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism. The Vedas are a large body of religious texts originating in the ancient Indian subcontinent. Composed in Vedic Sanskrit, the texts constitute the oldest layer of Sanskrit literature and the oldest scriptures of Hinduism. Hindus consider the Vedas to be apaurueya, which means “not of a man, superhuman” and “impersonal, authorless” The Vedas are a collection of hymns and other ancient religious texts written in India between about 1500 and 1000 BCE. It includes elements such as liturgical material as well as mythological accounts, poems, prayers, and formulas considered to be sacred by the Vedic religion. Vedas are also called Shruti (“what is heard”) literature, distinguishing them from other religious texts, which are called Smirti (“what is remembered”). The Veda, for orthodox Indian theologians, are considered revelations seen by ancient sages after intense meditation, and texts that have been more carefully preserved since ancient times In the Hindu Epic the Mahabharata, the creation of Vedas is credited to Brahma. The Vedic hymns themselves assert that they were skillfully created by Rishis (sages), after inspired creativity, just as a carpenter builds a chariot.

In Vedas it is clearly shown that the “Atman” and “Brahmann” are two synonyms terms. If we see fou mahavakyas (important quotes) of Vedas, they are “Ahm bramhasmi”, “Ayamatma Brahmann” “Tattvamasi” and “Pragyanam Bramhan, they all Indicates knowing pure form of Atman as Brahman is the chief aim of human life. “The diversity given in everyday experience may only be an appearance of Brahmann and therefore false, as different school of thought interpreters it differently.

According to one school, it is not the whole of truth, unity also is equally real. And yet it appears to be the sole truth, owing to an inveterate habit of our mind which should be traced to our ignorance (avidya) of the ultimate reality. This is what is meant by Maya-the power or the principle that conceals from us the true character of reality. When maya functions it hide bramhan and it presents what is not real. If ignorance is the cause of birth and rebirth than Jnan is the only way to obtain moksha. The ignorance may be regarded as negative, as it gives rise to a misapprehension, making us see the manifold world where there is Brahmann and only Brahmann.”

The goal of life is to overcome this congenital ignorance, by attaining full enlightenment or jnan. The enlightened state is called release or moksha. It is attaining one’s true selfhood in Brahmann “Moksha is infinite peace, freedom from sorrow, eternal bliss. Extinction of desire is extinction of sorrow. Realization of the Atman extinguishes sorrow.

Moksha is merging of the individual soul in Brahmann”. The central theme of Vedas is soul+bramhan is one. one+one=1. (As two drop of water unites with another two drop ,is still be one drop ) Bramhan+Atman= Bramhan. moksha here means achieving which is already there and leaving which is not there. “The self (Atman) is spoken of in one place as the essence of the world, and when we trace the idea in the Brahmanns and the Aranyakas we see that Atman has begun the mean the supreme essence in man as well as in the universe, and has thus approached the great Atman , “we are all divinities”

The self transcends both the knower and the known. As it cannot be differenced from anything else , it is infinite like space, but as it is without dimensions, it may equally well be called a point. This lay behind all successional existence, and the realization of union with it brought deliverance from the samsara”. “Observation of the physical world suggested cycles of origin and decay; the dawn was reborn daily, and this rebirth (punarbhava) was the mythological statement of the maxim that whatever has a beginning in time must also have an end. Connection with material form (however refined) thus involved production and dissolution, where re-death (punarmrityu) corresponded to rebirth.

As Vedas consist of two parts poorva mimansa (Karmkand) & Uttarmimansa. (jnankand). Vedas are more concerned about karma. The continuity of the product of a man’s life is explained in the doctrine of the ‘deed’ (karma). Every deed was regarded as producing something; it had a value, and this value remained even when the physical form of the agent and the external content of the action disappeared.

Accordingly it was laid down that ‘the deed does not perish’ (karma na kshiyate, )Death conveyed each person into a new environment of happiness or suffering suitable to Bramhasmi, Tattvamasi etc. It means, I am that- that I am, realizing it is moksha. In the Rig Veda, we find the concept of Maya which is – which is not.

The ignorance is the cause of births and rebirths. When with the help of ‘Tap’ the ajnan is destroyed and jnan shines, that is moksha. “Moksha is infinite peace, freedom from sorrow, eternal bliss. Extinction of desire is extinction of sorrow. Realization of the Atman extinguishes sorrow. Moksha is merging of the individual soul in him, which dispels avidya and appearance of the world ,In some books like Ramayan and Mahabharat even the god’s are under the law of karma therefore the law of karma is supreme.


The Upanishads a part of the Vedas, are ancient Sanskrit texts that contain some of the central philosophical concepts and ideas of Hinduism. Etymologically, the name Upanishad is composed of the terms upa (near) and shad (to sit), meaning something like “sitting down near”. The name is inspired by the action of sitting at the feet of an illuminated teacher to engage in a session of spiritual instructions, as aspirants still do in India today. The Upanishads are a collection of texts of religious and philosophical nature, written in India probably between c. 800 BCE and c. 500 BCE, during a time when Indian society started to question the traditional Vedic religious order. More than 200 Upanishads are known, only 14 are considered to be the most important. The names of these Upanishads are: Isa, Kena, Katha, Prasna, Mundaka, Mandukya, Taittiriya, Aitareya, Chandogya, Brhadaranyaka, Svetasvatara, Kausitaki, Mahanarayana and the Maitri of which the first dozen or so are the oldest and most important and are referred to as the principal or main (mukhya) Upanishads. The mukhya Upanishads are found mostly in the concluding part of the Brahmanas and Aranyakas

The early Upanishads all predate the Common Era, in all likelihood pre-Buddhist (6th century BCE),down to the Maurya period. Of the remainder, 95 Upanishads are part of the Muktika canon, composed from about the last centuries of 1st-millennium BCE through about 15th-century CE. New Upanishads, beyond the 108 in the Muktika canon, continued to be composed through the early modern and modern era, though often dealing with subjects which are unconnected to the Vedas.

In Upanishad teachings knowing the true nature of self or Atman as bramhan is moksha. Moksha in Upanishads is freedom from bondage. Avidya is bondage vidya is moksha. Vidya is knowledge of Brahman and Atman as one and in all creatures, moksha is becoming bramha (Bramha Bhavna) becoming all (sarva bhavna) vision of the self of the universe (ek atma darsana) it is complete autonomy (svarajya) or freedom (ananda).

It is clearly mentioned in Upanishads that knowing ourselves as bramhan is the only way of liberation or moksha .It is said in Shevatashvar “He who knows Brahman becomes Brahman. This is the secret teaching. Only by knowing it can one cross the ocean of birth and death; there is no other way of liberation.”  It is said in Mundaka “The eye does not go there, nor does speech, nor does mind we cannot know it. We cannot teach it. Also just as rivers, leaving their names and forms, merge in the ocean, so a wise man, arising above name and form, becomes one with the absolute.

In the Chhandogya Upanishad there is a dialogue between Uddalak and Svetketu. The father teaches his sons Svetketu in the beginning sat alone was without a second. Sat thought “may I be many” then it evolved itself in to this manifold world, thou, O Svetaketu! art that, tat tvam asi, Svetketu. This teaching blends the subject with the object the inhabitable with the infinite the microcosm with the macrocosm, the self with the not self, None of them can be taken as independent and separate both are relative terms and like the two sides of the same coin, both are manifestations of the same sat


The Bhagavad Gita bhagavad-gita, lit. “The Song of God”, often referred to as the Gita, is a 700-verse Hindu scripture in Sanskrit that is part of the Hindu epic Mahabharata (chapters 23–40 of the 6th book of Mahabharata).The Bhagavad Gita is an ancient Indian text that became an important work of Hindu tradition in terms of both literature and philosophy. Although it is normally edited as an independent text, the Bhagavad Gita became a section of a massive Indian epic named “The Mahabharata”, the longest Indian epic, consisting of 18 brief chapters and about 700 verses: this is the section known as the Bhagavad Gita. The Gita is set in a narrative framework of a dialogue between Pandava prince Arjuna and his guide and charioteer Krishna.

Gita teaches that by fulfilling his class function to the best of his ability, with devotion to God and without personal ambition, a man can find salvation, whatever his class. The teachings of the Bhagavad-Gita are summed up in the maxim ‘your business is with deed and not with the result’

. In the, Gita, we find that the status of souls is that of different fragments or sparks of God; hence Moksa must be the unity with Purusottam-indeed a blissful state. However, it must be sameness of nature (Sadharmya) with God, and not Identity (Sarupya).

But in the Upandisads, as in the Advait Vedanta, the realization of Oneness with God is the ideal of man, which is a state of ecstasy and rapture, a joyous expansion of the soul. The supreme experience is freedom, and the word jnana is employed to refer to both the goal of the adventure as well as the path leading to it.

On account of this confusion some have been led to think that jnana as a path is superior to the other methods of approach, and that cognition alone persists, while the other elements of emotion and will fall out in the supreme state of freedom. There does not seem to be any justification for such an opinion. Freedom or moksa is unity with the supreme self. The freed soul is beyond all good and evil. Virtue is transcended in perfection. The mukta rises above any mere ethical rule of living to the light, largeness and power of spiritual life. Even if he should have committed any evicts which would in ordinary circumstances necessitate another birth on earth no such thing is necessary. He is freed from ordinary rules and regulations.


Jainism, founded about the 6th century bce by Vardhamana Mahavira, the 24th in a succession of religious leaders known either as Tirthankaras(Saviours) or as Jinas (Conquerors), rejects the idea of God as the creator of the world but teaches the perfectibility of humanity, to be accomplished through the strictly moral and ascetic life. In Jainism, moksa and nirvana are one and the same.When a soul (atman) achieves moksa, it is released from the cycle of births and deaths, and achieves its pure self. It then becomes a siddha (literally means one who has accomplished his ultimate objective).Attaining Moksa requires annihilation of all karmas, good and bad, because if karma is left, it must bear fruit.

The ultimate goal of Jainism is for the soul to achieve liberation through understanding and realization. This is accomplished through the supreme ideals in the Jain religion of nonviolence, equal kindness, reverence for all forms of life, nonpossessiveness, and through the philosophy of non-absolutism (Anekäntväd).

Jains believe in the philosophy of karma, reincarnation of worldly soul, hell and heaven as a punishment or reward for one’s deeds, and liberation (Nirvän or Moksha) of the self from life’s misery of birth and death in a way similar to the Hindu and Buddhist beliefs .

The Jain philosophy believes that the universe and all its entities such as soul and matter are eternal (there is no beginning or end), no one has created them and no one can destroy them. Jains do not believe that there is a supernatural power who does favor to us if we please him. Jains rely a great deal on self-efforts and self-initiative, for both – their worldly requirements and their salvation. Jains believe that from eternity, the soul is bounded by karma and is ignorant of its true nature. It is due to karma soul migrates from one life cycle to another and continues to attract new karma, and the ignorant soul continues to bind with new karma.

To overcome the sufferings, Jainism addresses the path of liberation in a rational way. It states that the proper Knowledge of reality, when combined with right Faith and right Conduct leads the worldly soul to liberation (Moksha or Nirvän). One can detach from karma and attain liberation by following the path of Right Faith (Samyak-darshan), Right Knowledge (Samyak-jnän), and Right Conduct (Samyak-chäritra) Moksa, the last of the Jaina moral categories, is the gist of Karma-phenomenology and its relation to the Science of the Soul.

Mukti is total deliverance of the Soul from karmic-veil – Sarvavarnavimuktirmuktih. As Umasvami says, Moksa is the total and final freedom from all Karmic-matter; in other words, the non-existence of the cause of bondage and the shedding of all the Karmas. Asrava is the influx of the Karma-particles into the Soul. This influx is caused by the actions of the body, speech and mind.

As the Karmic inflow is the principle of bondage and its stoppage is a condition of Moksa, so Samvara is opposite to Asrava. Samvara literally means controlling. But Samvara only arrests fresh-flow of karma-particles. What we require is not only stoppage of the fresh-flow, but also dissipation of the old one.

This shedding or dissipation called Nirjara is possible by austerities. Umasvami has used two prefixes – VI (Visesarupena), PRA (Prakrstarupena) in defining Moksa, meaning thereby that Moksa is the total and exhaustive dissolution of all karmic particles, which is the condition of omniscience. The Agamic verse “sukhamatyantikarm yatra” etc. admits the experience of eternal bliss in the state of Mukti. “It is the safe, happy and quiet place which is reached by the great sages.” Jaina claim for attaining a state of eternal happiness in the state of Moksa faces a serious dilemma. If it is a product (of spiritual Sadhana), it is non-eternal, and if it is not such a product, it must be conceded that either it is constitutional and inherent or at least impossible of attainment.

So the very conception of Jaina Self and bondage makes the enjoyment of eternal happiness well-nigh impossible. This might be a logical objection. But the Jaina idea of Moksa is one of Infinite Bliss, which follows from the Doctrine of Four-fold Infinities of the Soul.

The Doctrine of Constitutional Freedom and Four-fold Infinities holds that the Jivas possess four-infinities (ananta catustaya) inherently, which are obscured by the veil of four Ghatia (destructive) Karmas. but the Jaina doctrine of Constitutional Freedom of the Soul and the Four Infinities presents a difficulty. All the doctrines, of Moksa-Sadhana then seem to be quite meaningless. Bondage and Moksa are both phenomenal, not real.

As Samkhya-Karika says – “Of certainity, therefore, not any (Spirit) is bound or liberated.” We think that the Soul is constitutionally free. But this freedom cannot be manifested without spiritual discipline. This is in consonance with the Jaina doctrine of Satkaryavada which makes a distinction between the Manifest and the unmanifest. The Jainas work out a scheme of `manifestation’. The logic is simple. If what is non-existent cannot be produced, the effect is existent even before the operation of the cause. Jivan-Mukti and Videha-Mukti : The Jainas, recognize the existence of Jivana-Mukti together with Videha-Mukti. Jainas, believe in release through the dawn of wisdom and the annulement of nescience, Jivana-Mukti is the one and only legitimate concept.

Mukti refers to the soul, not to the body; and the dissolution of the body is neither an inevitable pre-condition nor an integral feature of Mukti.” Mosha literally means `release’, release of the soul from eternal fetters of Karma. Nirvana (Buddhist) is derived from the Pali root `nibuttu’, which means `blowing out’. However, instead of taking it in a metaphorical sense of `blowing out’ of passions etc., it is taken in the literal sense of extinction.

The Jiva attains Moksa when he is free from the snares of Karma (Karma-phala-vinirmuktah moksa). The Moksa is either Bhava (Objective) or Dravya (Subjective). When the soul is free from four Ghatiya Karmas (Jnanavaraniya), Darsnavaraniya, Mohaniya, Vedaniya), it is Bhava Moksa; and when it is free from Aghatiya Karmas (Nama, Ayu, Gotra, Antaraya), it is Dravya-Moksa. After freedom from Aghatiya Karmas (action-currents of non-injury), the Soul attains a state of never ending beatitude. A person attains the state of Omniscience when Mohaniya (Deluding), Jnanavaraniya (Knowledge-obscuring), Darsanavaraniya (Faith-obscuring) and Antaraya (Obstructive) karmas are destroyed. After the attainment of Kevala-Jnana a person is free from all kinds of Karmas and attains final liberation.

The Soul comes into its own and regains infinite knowledge, infinite bliss and infinite power. When the Jiva attains freedom, it rises higher and higher and reaches the summit of Lokakasa which is called Siddha-Sila (Region of the Free and Liberated). It may be pointed out that this is a new conception. Jaina concept of Dharma and Adharama (Medium of motion and rest), present in each object, leads us to think that there must be a fixed state where the motion must stop. Moksa in Jainism is not something new. It is a rediscovery of man himself through self-realization.

True happiness lies within. `Look within’ is what Jainism says. “Self-realization is the ideal of systems such as Nyaya-Vaisesikas and the Samkhya too.” Advaita-Vedanta also is a philosophy of self-realization par-excellence. The Karma-phenomenology of the Jainas is the realistic and the externalistic approach.

Constitutional freedom of the soul is a logical necessity. This is simple Satkaryavada. Madhavacharya commenting on Jainism concept of Moksha, writes in his book Sarvadharma Sangrih:- “Asrava is the source of bondage and the thing which covers it is sanvar. Infiltration of karma is bondage and separating from them is moksha, when eight type of karmas destroyed one attains moksha.

By the jain philosophy it seems that evil exists somewhere outside man and soul draws evil. Like a peace of iron drawn to itself by peace of magnet. Some people collects good karma (Punya) in their inner feelings (sanvar) and some destroys bad karmas (Pap) nirjara. Person who gets four things jnan, darshan, Veerya and sukkha is not bound and soul whose eight karmas are destroyed gets infallible liberation”.


Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of Siddhartha Gautama, He came to be called “the Buddha,” which means “awakened one,” after he experienced a profound realization of the nature of life, death and existence. He taught that awakening comes through one’s own direct experience, not through beliefs and dogmas. Instead of teaching doctrines to be memorized and believed, the Buddha taught how we can realize truth for ourselves. The focus of Buddhism is on practice rather than belief. The major outline of Buddhist practice is the Eightfold Path. The Buddha discouraged his followers from indulging in intellectual disputation for its own sake, which is fruitless, and distracting from true awakening. Nevertheless, the delivered sayings of the Buddha contain a philosophical component, in its teachings on the working of the mind, and its criticisms of the philosophies of his contemporaries. According to the scriptures, during his lifetime the Buddha remained silent when asked several metaphysical questions. These regarded issues such as whether the universe is eternal or non-eternal (or whether it is finite or infinite), the unity or separation of the body and the self, the complete inexistence of a person after Nirvana and death, and others.

In Buddhism the concept of liberation is Nirvana.It is referred to as “the highest happiness” and is the goal of the Theravada-Buddhist path, while in the Mahayana it is seen as a secondary effect of becoming a fully enlightened Buddha (Samyaksambuddha).

Buddhism nirvana means “going out” i.e. to mean complete nothingness. Nirvaan is often compared with the extinction of the flam of a lamp. As oil of lamp consumed the flame of lamp ends. Similarly when the desires and the passions consumed a person obtains nirvana.

According to Buddha’s third and fourth Nobel truths are (iii) there is cessation of suffering & (iv) there is a way leading to this cessation of suffering this state is called Nirvaan. In the state of nirvana, False individuality that disappeared while the true being remains as the rainbow is a mixture of fact and imagination, so is individuality a combination of being and non being.

“Buddha does not attempt to define nirvaan, since it is the root principle of all and so is indefinable. It is said that in nirvana, which is compared to deep sleep, the soul loses its individuality and lapses into the objective whole”, “The individual consciousness enters into a state where all relative existence is dissolved. It is the silent beyond. In one sense it is self extinction in another absolute freedom”. According to fourth nobel truth right knowledge is the means of removing evil. Avidya or false knowledge is accepted as cause of evils as we have seen in upanisiadic philosophy also.

Buddha does not believe in existence of soul, then Nirvaan only means going out of the chain of births & rebirths and ending in to nothingness or going out of existence. Buddha has rightly used the world nirvaan which means blowing out”. The Buddhist notion of nirvana is not annihilation as some scholars described it. In the Therarada tradition it is realization of the state of perfect peace and in the Mahayana it is realization of perfect bliss. It is described as “amatapadam.” Nirvana is deliverance from suffering and suffering is symbolic representation of imperfection of life.

“According to Buddha cessation of avidya (false knowledge) & its works happen not of “Nirvaan” or “Mukta”. In the Upanishads the adjectives which sages have used for Atman (pure self), Buddha has used for nirvaan. Atman is neti-neti, Nirvaan is also defined by negative terms. Atman & nirvaan are beyond the range of senses & intellect and it is anirvachniya (unelectable). Neti-Neti negates matters related with Atman, not of Atman, negative terms negates matters related with Nirvaan not of nirvaan. Atman & nirvaan both are calm. Complete cessation of avidya is accepted in both Atman & Nirvaan”.

In Buddhism the main thrust is on universal salvation rather than individual. For example Buddha preach “O Monks, move around for the well being of every one, for the happiness of every one showering compaction on the entire world, for the good for the welfare, for the happiness of divine and human.18 Buddha insisted on sangha jivan. He prescribed the practice of bramhaam vihars and advocated yog sutra of patanjali. He advocated the pursuit of pragyan and practice of sila some time Buddha says Nirvaan is freedom from psychophysical wants and mundane existence.


Samkhya, also Sankhya, Sāṃkhya, or Sāṅkhya (Sanskrit: सांख्य, : sāṃkhya – ‘enumeration’) is one of the six schools of classical Indian philosophy. Sage Kapila is traditionally considered as the founder of the Samkhya school, although no historical verification is possible. It is regarded as one of the oldest philosophical systems in India.This is the most significant system of philosophy that India has produced.” Professor Garbe, who devoted a large part of his life to the study of the Sankhya, consoled himself with the thought that “in Kapila’s doctrine, for the first time in the history of the world, the complete independence and freedom of the human mind, its full confidence in its own powers, were exhibited When we study sankhya we don’t find concept of moksha as stated in other schools of Indian philosophy. According to sankhya salvation is only phenomenal since bondage does not belong to purush. Bondage and release refers to the conjunction and the disjunction of purusha and prakriti resulting from non-discrimination and discrimination. Prakriti does not bind the purusha but itself in various shapes. Kapila is once a realist and a scholastic. He begins almost medically by laying it down, in his first aphorism, that “the complete cessation of pain … is the complete goal of man.” He rejects as inadequate the at- tempt to elude suffering by physical means; he refutes, with much logical prestidigitation, the views of all and sundry on the matter, and then proceeds to construct, in one unintelligibly abbreviated sutra after another, his own metaphysical system. It derives its name from his enumeration of the twenty-five Realities (Tattivas, “Thatnesses”) which, in Kapila’s judgment, make up the world. Broadly, the Samkhya system classifies all objects as falling into one of the two categories: Purusha and Prakriti.

The Samkhya recognizes only two ultimate entities, Prakriti and Purusha. While the Prakriti is a single entity, the Samkhya admits a plurality of the Purushas. Unintelligent, unmanifest, uncaused, ever-active, imperceptible and eternal Prakriti is alone the final source of the world of objects which is implicitly and potentially contained in its bosom. The Purusha is considered as the intelligent principle, a passive enjoyer (bhokta) and the Prakriti is the enjoyed (bhogya). Samkhya believes that the Purusha cannot be regarded as the source of inanimate world, because an intelligent principle cannot transform itself into the unintelligent world. It is a pluralistic spiritualism, atheistic realism and uncompromising dualism.

To understand the concept of moksha according to Samkhya system oh philosophy we must understand that the Sankhya system is an exponent of an evolutionary theory of matter beginning with primordial matter. In evolution, Prakriti is transformed and differentiated into multiplicity of objects.

Evolution is followed by dissolution. In dissolution the physical existence, all the worldly objects mingle back into Prakriti, which now remains as the undifferentiated, primordial substance. This is how the cycles of evolution and dissolution follow each other. Tis concept provides the base of mukti which accordingly is the final stage of evolution. Sankhya theorizes that Prakriti is the source of the world of becoming. It is pure potentiality that evolves itself successively into twenty four tattvas or principles.

The evolution itself is possible because Prakriti is always in a state of tension among its constituent strands -

* Sattva – a template of balance or equilibrium;

* Rajas – a template of expansion or activity;

* Tamas – a template of inertia or resistance to action.

The Mukti obeys causality relationships, with primal Nature itself being the material cause of all physical creation. The cause and effect theory of Sankhya is called Satkaarya-vaada (theory of existent causes), and holds that nothing can really be created from or destroyed into nothingness – all evolution is simply the transformation of primal Nature from one form to another. The evolution of matter occurs when the relative strengths of the attributes change. The evolution ceases when the spirit realizes that it is distinct from primal Nature and thus cannot evolve. This destroys the purpose of evolution, thus stopping Prakrti from evolving for Purusha. Same may raise a question about jivanmukta that when he had attain moksha why he has to suffer for his bad deeds? The writer of the Sankhya Karika has explained it that as the wheel of the pot maker continues to move after the potter has taken away the completed pot because of its previous speed and stops automatically after some time. According to samkhya philosophy complete cessation of suffering is liberation of moksha.

According to Samkhys, consciousness is not a mere quality but the soul’s very essence. The soul is pure, eternal and immutable. Hence it is not blissful consciousness (ananda svarupa) or stream of consciousness (caitanya pravaha) or material consciousness (caitanya-deha-visita). The Self (Purusa) of Samkhya remains untouched either by joy or sorrow, migration, bondage and liberation.

Bondage and liberation are phenomenal. The latter requires the formal and final cessation of all the three kinds of sufferings without a possibility of return. This neutral and colorless state of Kaivalya is again an unattractive picture with no appeal to the aspirant.


Yoga is Practice of Meditation and Samadhi for Renunciation, Self Discipline for Self Realization The Yoga system of philosophy was founded by Patanjali. He authored the Yoga Sutras or the aphorisms of Yoga. This system explains the practical process of heart purification which may qualify the individual to experience the absolute Divine. Yoga is literally, a yoke: not so much a yoking or union of the soul with the Supreme Being, as the yoke of ascetic discipline and abstinence which the aspirant puts upon himself in order to cleanse his spirit of all material limitations, and achieve supernatural intelligence and powers. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yug, which meant “TO UNITE“. The yoga system provides a methodology for linking up individual consiousness with the Supreme Being. Various schools of yoga systems are: Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma yoga, Ashtanga Yoga (practical application of Sankhya Philosophy), etc. The Yoga system of philosophy accepts three fundamental realities, namely, Ishwara, Purusha and Prakriti or the primordial matter. Patanjali says that scriptures are the sources of the existence of Ishwara. Ishwara is omniscient and is free from the qualities inherent in Prakriti. Patanjali defines Yoga as ‘Chittavriitinirodha’. Yoga is the restraint of the mental operations. Patanjali names some obstacles to the path of Yoga. Explain the practical process of heart purification which may qualify the individual to experience the absolute Divine. The word Yoga is derived from the Sanskrit root yug, which meant “TO UNITE“. The yoga system provides a methodology for linking up individual consiousness with the Supreme Being. Various schools of yoga systems are: Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Karma yoga, Ashtanga Yoga (practical application of Sankhya Philosophy), etc.

The Yoga system of philosophy accepts three fundamental realities, namely, Ishwara, Purusha and Prakriti or the primordial matter. Patanjali says that scriptures are the sources of the existence of Ishwara. Ishwara is omniscient and is free from the qualities inherent in Prakriti. Patanjali defines Yoga as ‘Chittavriitinirodha’.

Yoga is the restraint of the mental operations. Patanjali names some obstacles to the path of Yoga. They are called ‘Antarayas’ and they include:

 Vyadhi (illness),

 styana (apathy),  Samsaya (doubt),

 Pramada (inadvertence),  Alasya (laziness),

 Avirati (incontinence),  Bhrantidarshana (wrong understanding)

,  Alabdha Bhumikatva (non-attainment of mental plane)

 Anavasthitatva (instability).

In addition to the obstacles mentioned above, Patanjali accepts five more obstacles called: 1) Dukha (pain),

2) Daurmanasya (frustration,

3) Angamejayatva (fickle limbs),

4) Svasa (spasmodic breathing in)

5) Prasvasa (spasmodic breathing out).

Patanjali speaks about Jatyantara Parinama or the phenomenon of the evolution of one species or genus into another species or genus. Matter is the root of ignorance and suffering; therefore Yoga seeks to free the soul from all sense phenomena and all bodily attachment; it is an attempt to attain supreme enlightenment and salvation in one life by atoning in one existence for all the sins of the soul’s past incarnations.

Such enlightenment cannot be won at a stroke; the aspirant must move towards it step by step, and no stage of the process can be understood by anyone who has not passed through the stages before it; one comes to Yoga only by long and patient study and self-discipline. The stages of Yoga are eight:

I. Yama, or the death of desire; here the soul accepts the restraints of ahmsa and Brahmacharia, abandons all self-seeking, emancipates itself from all material interests and pursuits, and wishes well to all things.

II. Niyama, a faithful observance of certain preliminary rules for Yoga: cleanliness, content, purification, study, and piety.

III. Asana, posture; the aim here is to still all movement as well as all sensation; the best asana for this purpose is to place the right foot upon the left thigh and the left foot upon the right thigh, to cross the hands and grasp the two great toes, to bend the chin upon the chest, and direct the eyes to the tip of the nose.

IV. Pranayama, or regulation of the breath: by these exercises one may forget everything but breathing, and in this way clear his mind for the passive emptiness that must precede absorption; at the same time one may learn to live on a minimum of air, and may let himself, with impunity, be buried in the earth for many days.

V. Pratyahara, abstraction; now the mind controls all the senses, and with- draws itself from all sense objects.

VI. Dharana, or concentration the identification or filling of the mind and the senses with one idea or object to the exclusion of everything else. The fixation of any one object long enough will free the soul of all sensation, all specific thought, and all selfish desire; then the mind, abstracted fromthings, will be left free to feel the immaterial essence of reality .

VII. Dhyana, or meditation: this is an almost hypnotic condition, resulting from Dharana; it may be produced, says Patanjali, by the persistent repetition of the sacred syllable Om.

VIII. Samadhi, or trance contemplation; even the last thought now disappears from the mind; empty, the mind loses consciousness of itself as a separate being; it is merged with totality, and achieves a blissful and god- like comprehension of all things in One.

Nevertheless it is not God, or union with God, that the yogi seeks; in the Yoga philosophy God (Ishvara) is not the creator or preserver of the universe, or the rewarder and punisher of men, but merely one of several objects on which the soul may meditate as a means of achieving concentration and enlightenment. The aim, frankly, is that dissociation of the mind from the body, that removal of all material obstruction from the spirit, which brings with it, in Yoga theory, supernatural understanding and capacity.

In the days of the Upanishads, Yoga was pure mysticism an attempt to realize the identity of the soul with God. In Hindu legend it is said that in ancient days seven Wise Men, or Rishis, acquired, by penance and medi- tation, complete knowledge of all things.

In the later history of India Yoga became corrupted with magic, and thought more of the power of miracles than of the peace of understanding. The Yogi trusts that by Yoga he will be able to anesthetize and control any part of his body by concentrating upon it; he will be able at will to make himself invisible, or to prevent his body from being moved, or to pass in a moment from any part of the earth, or to live as long as he desires, or to know the past and the future, and the most distant stars.

There are four forms of yoga, which can be used to realize supreme reality which leads to moksha:

There are four forms of yoga, which can be used to realize supreme reality which leads to moksha:

1) Bhakti, the way of devotion

2) Karma, the way of action

3) Jnana, the way of knowledge

4) Raja, the eightfold or eight-limbed path of the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali

Yoga explain the practical process of heart purification which may qualify the individual to experience the absolute Divine.

Patanjali say in his yog sutra that cessation of avidhya is moksha or kevalya. By the purusharth (efforts) of man qualities (satva, Rajas & tamas) becomes nil, means, it goes there from where it came (pratiprasav).

Chitishakti (Atman) knows and enjoys its own form is kaivalya. According to patanjali after attaining kaivalya man has no rebirth alike baked seeds as they cannot grow again when they are baked. It is explained by Madhavacharya in his book Sarvadarshan Sangrih,

Kaivalya state is explained as absolute independence. It is not a mere negation but is the eternal life of purusha when it is freed from prakriti.

Avidya is earlier explained as the cause of bondage of purusha. It can be destroyed by true knowledge. When one acquires true knowledge of self, all false notions disappears. In this state it remains untouched by worldly affairs.

In yoga philosophy we get the concept of jivan mukta also. “The disciple in the form of Samadhi remains conscious (as shown by its description as samprajnat) of having attained the discriminative knowledge which is the means to release, but in the next step (asamprajnat) he transcends it and the condition has been described as sleepless sleep. As in sleep, one becomes here oblivious of the world and even of his own existence. As an individual but yet it is not a blank since. Purusha exists then with its effulgence all un obscured.

In this final stage, all operations of the internal organs are suspended and spirit returns to itself, so to speak. The disciple than becomes a jivanmukta. In the stage of jivanmukta the fruit of good and bad actions which has already ripened has to suffer by the sage. It is the cause by the sage when attained true knowledge and is yet suffering mundane life in order to experience the karma that is already ripened. (tisthati samsakaravasat akrabraivaddhrtasarirah).

Similarly, in Yoga, freedom is absolute isolation of Matter from self. It is only when we can effect a cessation of the highest principle of matter (citta = mahat = Buddhi) that the state of absolute isolation and redirection of our consciousness is possible of matter (citta = mahat = Buddhi) that the state of absolute isolation and redirection of our consciousness is possible.

However, there is clear ambivalence in Samkhya doctrine of release in so far as it says “it is the spirit (Purusa) that is to obtain release, and yet the apparently predominant characterization of spirit is such that it is impossible that it should either be bound or released.” Unlike Samkhya-Yoga, the Self in Sankara is not only consciousness but also blissful consciousness.

Unlike Samkhya-Yoga and Nyaya-Vaisesika, what is needed is an intuition of identity instead of an intuition of difference. Unlike Purva-Mimamsa, Moksa in Advaita Vedanta is not only destruction of individual’s relation with the world (Prapanca-sambandhavilaya), but dissolution of the world itself (Prapanca-vilaya). Ramanuja believes that there is both identity and difference between God and Man. Man’s body and soul are real. The soul’s is not pure and impersonal consciousness, but a thinking substance with consciousness as its essential attribute.

Hence, Moksa is not self-annulment in the absolute, but a self-realization through self-surrender and self-effacement – the supreme satisfaction of religious emotion. The liberated soul is not God, but neither is he separated from His all-comprehensive existence. This is Sayujya-bhakti (unitive devotion).

To Madhva, the distinction between God and Self is real. Though the Jiva is absolutely dependent upon God, he is active and dynamic. Hence, Moksa is `blessed fellowship’ and not a mere identification. Thus in the state of Mukti, there is not only the utter absence of pain but also the presence of positive bliss. To Nimbarka, with whom the soul is both different and non-different from God (Bhedabheda), complete submission results in both God-realization and self-realization which is endless joy and bliss.

Suddhadvaita school of Vallabh regards the relation between God and Soul as that of whole and part. Duality and distress go together. The moment the soul is one with God, we get final release which is utter bliss. To other Vaisnavites like Sri Caitanyadeva, Jaideva, Vidyapati, Candidasa etc., to whom the ultimate reality is love and grace, liberation means love through divine grace. Bhakti is Mukti.


Nyaya by Sage Gautam is Logical Quest of Supreme, Phases of Creation, Science of Logical Reasoning The first of the “Brahmanical” systems in the logical order of Indian thought is a body of logical theory extending over two millenniums. Nyaya means an argument, a way of leading the mind to a conclusion. One of the six DARSHANS (orthodox systems) of Indian philosophy, important for its analysis of logic and epistemology and for its detailed model of the reasoning method of inference. Like other darshans, Nyaya is both a philosophy and a religion; its ultimate concern is to bring an end to human suffering, which results from ignorance of reality. It recognizes four valid means of knowledge: perception, inference, comparison, and testimony. It is called Nyaya because it is constituted of five “laws” – Pratijna, Hetu, Udaharana, Upanaya, Nigamana. Nyaya includes formal logic and modes of scientific debate. It explains the logical constructs like antecedent and laws of implying. It expounds various modes of scientific debate and methods for debate, like tarka, vitanda, chala, jalpa and so on. The Nyāya school of Hindu philosophy has had a long and illustrious history, Nyāya went through at least two stages in the history of Indian philosophy. At an earlier, purer stage, proponents of Nyāya sought to elaborate a philosophy that was distinct from contrary darśanas. At a later stage, some Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika authors (such as Śaṅkara-Misra, 15th cent. C.E.) became increasingly syncretistic and viewed their two schools as sister darśanas. As well, at the latter stages of the Nyāya tradition, the philosopher Gaṅgeśa (14th cent. C.E.) narrowed the focus to the epistemological issues discussed by the earlier authors, while leaving off metaphysical matters and so initiated a new school, which came to be known as Navya Nyāya, or “New” Nyāya. Our focus will be mainly on classical, non-syncretic, Nyāya. Its most famous text is the Nyaya Sutra. The sutras are divided into five chapters, each with two sections. , 10 ahnikas and 528 sutras. It accepts 4 pramanas and 16 padarthas. According to Nyaya, midhya jnana (nescience) causes sansara and tatva jnana (gnosis) brings liberation.The work begins with a statement of the subject matter, the purpose, and the relation of the subject matter to the attainment of that purpose.

The ultimate purpose is salvation—i.e., complete freedom from pain—and salvation is attained by knowledge of the 16 categories:

1) means of valid knowledge (pramana);

2) objects of valid knowledge (prameya);

3) doubt (samshaya);

4) purpose (prayojana);

5) example (drishtanta);

6) conclusion (siddhanta);

7) the constituents of a syllogism (avayava)

; 8) argumentation (tarka); 9) ascertainment (nirnaya);

10) debate (vada);

11) disputations (jalpa);

12) destructive criticism (vitanda);

13) fallacy (hetvabhasa);

14) quibble (chala); 15) refutations (jati);

16) points of the opponent’s defeat (nigrahasthana).

Gautama announces, as the purpose of his work, the achievement of Nirvana, or release from the tyranny of desire, here to be reached by clear and consistent thinking; but we suspect that his simple intent was to offer a guide to the perplexed wrestlers in India’s philosophical debates. He formulates for them the principles of argument, exposes the tricks of controversy, and lists the common fallacies of thought. “Upvarg or liberation is absolute cessation of pain and rebirth. Commenting on nyay concept of moksha. “liberation is the complete extinction of the special qualities of the soul viz. cognition, pleasure, pain, desire, aversion, volition, merit, demerit and impression.

The soul is free from cognition in the state of liberation. Cognition is produced by the intercourse of a sense organ with an object, the conjunction of manas with the soul. But the body, the sense organs and manas are destroyed in liberation. So there can be no cognition in it.

In liberation the soul is devoid of merits and demirts and consequently free from pleasure and pain”. According to nyaya Ignorance is the root of all suffering and rebirth and only complete knowledge (jnana) of the true nature of things will bring aparvarga or deliverance. Error is thus seen to be the cause of pain and eradication of error is the goal of man.

Moksha is not the destruction of self but only of bondage In the nyaya philosophy preexistence is proved by the logic that there must be a future where we can experience the fruits of our deeds and past to account for the difference in our lots in the present. According to Vatsayayan. The commentator on nyaya sutra. “The fruition of all one’s act comes about in the last birth preceding release”.

Nyaya philosophy does not accept joy (anand) in the state of liberation it says liberation is release- from pain. Radhakrishan commenting on nyaya view of moksha “It is defined negatively as the cessation of pain and not as the enjoyment of positive pleasure for pleasure is always tainted with pain it is caused as much as pain”.

Uddgotakara another commentator on nyaya sutra urges that if the released soul is to have everlasting body, since experiencing is not possible with out the bodily mechanism. The state of mukti is neither a state of pure knowledge nor of bliss but a state of perfect qualitylessness in which the self remains in itself in its own purity.

The nyay vaishesika tradition uses the terms moksha, upavarg and nihsreyasa to the state of perfection. Upavarg may be understood as going beyond the trivargas of darma, artha and kama comprehending them after their fulfillment nihsreyasa can also be understood in the some way as discussed earlier. Through tatvajnana (knowledge of real) at there is atmalabh (self realization) but divine grace is also helpful. Perhaps this is the first school of philosophy which educates the grace of god and somewhat reflection on the concept of law of karma. “According to nyaya moksha is not self transcendent pain & pleasure but all its specific qualities that is devoid at thought, feeling and will. Moksha thus becomes a condition of perfect gloom from which there will be no reawaking”.


As Gautama is the Aristotle of India, so Kanada is its Democritus. The founder of Vaisheshik philosophy is known to us by the name of his theory “Kanaad” (atom eater, or atom theorist), because he was the first person in the world (460-370 BC) to propound the atomic theory of matter. According to this theory, God has created different substances from several basic atoms of matter. This philosophy is very close to the Nyaaya philosophy. Vaisheshika system was formulated not before 300 B.C., and not after 800 A.D. Its name came from vishesha, meaning particularity: the world, in Kanada’s theory, is full of a number of things, but they are all, in some form, mere combinations of atoms; the forms change, but the atoms remain indestructible. Thoroughly Democritean, Kanada announces that nothing exists but “atoms and the void,” and that the atoms move not according to the will of an intelligent deity, but through an impersonal force or law Adrishta, “the invisible.” Kanada Vaiseshika darsana has 10 chapters, 20 ahnikas, 370 sutras. It accepts 2 pramanas (criteriafor verifiability) and 7 padarthas. Vaiseshika is one of the earliest darsanas hypothesised. According to it, atma-manas contact causes the nine Gunas – buddhi, sukha, dukha, iccha, dvesha, prayatna, dharma, adharma, sanskara. This is the samsara for atman. Realising this and separating mind from atman so that the Gunas get dissolved and do not arise again, is Moksha. This is possible through satkarma, sravana, manana and so on.

According to Vaiseshika darsana, Guna-nasha forever is moksha. According to Vaishashik absolute cessation of all the pain is liberation. Atman does karma due to false knowledge. Karma (action) is the source of all Pap (Sin) and Punya (auspicious). When Atman gets true knowledge it stops action. Now pap, punya & karma worn out then soul separates from body & mind and realizes its own nature. In moksha the liberated soul retain its own peculiar individuality and particularity and remains as it is knowing nothing, feeling nothing, doing nothing.

The concept of moksha in the schools of vaisheshika and nyay is not different. Like, Nyaya, the Self in Vaisesikas has cognitions of things when it is connected with the body. So it is only when the soul is free from the qualities (either pleasure or pain) produced by contact with name and form (atmavisesa gunanama atyantocchedah), or as Sridhara would say navnama atmavisesa gunasnama atyantocchgedah Moksa, that liberation is possible. It is the absolute destruction of nine specific qualities of the Self. To save this view from the charge that Moksa comes perilously near the unconscious condition of a pebble or a piece of stone, the Vaisesikas propound a doctrine of Inherent Felicity in the state of Moksa.


Sanskrit mīmāṁsā, literally, reflection, investigation, from manyate he thinks. It is an orthodox Hindu philosophy concerned with the interpretation of Vedic texts and literature and comprising one part dealing with the earlier writings concerned with right practice and another part dealing with the later writings concerned with right thought —called also Purva Mimamsa, . Meemaansaa philosophy is attributed to sage Jaimini (c 350 BC). Its author, Jaimini, protested against the disposition of Kapila and Kanada to ignore, while acknowledging, the authority of the Vedas. The human mind, said Jaimini, is too frail an instrument to solve the problems of metaphysics and theology; reason is a wanton who will serve any desire; it gives us not “science” and “truth,” but merely our own rationalized sensuality and pride. The road to wisdom and peace lies not through the vain labyrinths of logic, but in the modest acceptance of tradition and the humble performance of the rituals prescribed in the Scriptures. Meemaansaa is also basically atheistic.

Mimamsakas, regard the soul as eternal and infinite, with consciousness as its adventitious attribute, dependent upon its relation to the body. It survives death to reap the consequences of action. Since the Mimamsaka school belongs to the ritualistic period of the Vedic culture, the final destiny of an individual is regarded as the attainment of heaven – the usual end of rituals (Svarga kamoyajete). But latter on, the idea of heaven is replaced by the idea of liberation for they realized that we have to fall back to the earth as soon as we exhaust our merit. The concept of heaven was indeed a state of unalloyed bliss (at least temporary).

But the state of liberation is free from pleasure and pain, since consciousness is an adventitious quality of the Soul. It proclaims that the Soul does not die with the body, but passes from the body of the dead to the body of the one to be born.

The purpose of the migration of the Soul is to reap the rewards and punishments of the deeds of the previous lives to which it was attached. An Individual Soul can attain liberation from rebirth by means of knowledge and performance of duties. Knowledge alone will not help attain liberation. It is necessary not only to perform worldly duties, but also to perform religious rituals prescribed by Vedas.

Prabhakara holds that Self itself can only be cognized by mental perception. Or at the time of salvation there being none of the senses nor the manas the self remains in pure existence as the potency of knowledge without any actual expression or manifestation. So the state of salvation is the state in which the self remains. Devoid of any of is not characteristic qualities such as pleasure, pain, knowledge, willing, etc. , for the self itself is not knowledge nor is it bliss or ananda ; but these are generated in it by its energy and the operation of the senses. The self being divested of all its senses at that time, remains as a mere potency of the energy of knowledge, a mere existence. To Prabhakaras, Moksa is the realization of the Moral Imperative as duty (Niyoga-siddhi).

To Kumarila, it is the “Soul’s experience of its own intrinsic happiness with complete cessation of all kinds of misery,” which is very much like the Advaitic conception. The general conception of Bhattas is the realization of intrinsic happiness (atmasaukhyanubhuti). Parthasarathi Misra and Gagabhatta deny this. Narayanabhatta, Bhattasarvajna and Sucaritra Misra clearly admit the element of happiness in the state of Mukti, since to them, Soul is consciousness associated with ignorance (Ajnanopitacaitanyatmavada) during embodied existence.

Moksha is brought about when a man enjoys and suffers the fruits of this good and bad actions and thereby exhausts them and stops the further generation of new effects by refraining from the performance of kamya-karmas (sacrifices etc. performed for the attainment of certain beneficent results) and guarantees himself against the evil effects of sin by assiduously performing the nitya-karmas .This state is characterized by the dissolution of the body and the non-production of any further body or rebirth. Jaimini and Sabara pointed the way to a life in heaven, but not to freedom from samsara.

But according to Prabhakara, liberation consists in the total disappearance of dharma and adharma, whose operation is the cause of rebirth. It is defined as “the absolute cessation of the body, causes by the disappearance of all dharma and adharma. The individual, finding that in samsara pleasures are mixed up with pain, turns his attention to liberation. Mere knowledge cannot give us freedom from bondage, which can be attained only by the exhaustion of action. Knowledge prevents further accumulation of merit and demerit. Evidently the followers of Prabhakara do not regard karma by itself as sufficient for effecting release. Liberation is the cessation of pleasure as well as of pain. It is not a state of bliss, since the attributeless soul cannot have even bliss. Moksa is simply the natural form of the soul.

According to kumarila, moksa is the state of Atman in itself, free form all pain,asserts that liberation cannot be eternal unless it is of a negative character. Parthasarathi also holds that the state of release is one of freedom from pain, and not enjoyment of bless. Kumarila, however regards moksa as a positive state the realization of the Atman, and this comes very near to the Advaita view. He thinks that knowledge is not enough for liberation. He believes that release can be attained through karma combined with jnana.


Sanskrit Vedānta, literally, end of the Veda, from Veda +anta end; akin to Old English ende end First Known Use: 1788. One of the six orthodox systems (darshans) of Indian philosophy and the one that forms the basis of most modern schools of Hinduism. Its three fundamental texts are theUpanishads, the Bhagavadgita, and the Brahma Sutras, which are very brief interpretations of the doctrine of the Upanishads. Several schools of Vedanta have developed, differentiated by their conception of the relationship between the self (atman) and the absolute (Brahman). They share beliefs in samsara and the authority of the Vedas as well as the conviction that Brahman is both the material and instrumental cause of the world and that the atman is the agent of its own acts and therefore the recipient of the consequences of action Vedant philosophy was first expounded by Baadaraayan in c 650 BC. In his book Vedaant Sootra, also called “Brahm Sootra”. Baadaraayan claims that he has not put anything new – all was only the summary of Upanishadik teachings – but the claim does not seem to be totally justified.. There are three main approaches in Vedanta:

 Shankara’s strict non-duality (advaita)

 non-duality with qualifications (such as Ramanuja’s vishishtadvaita)

 duality (Madhva’s dvaita) Each contain their own view on the concept of moksa, or liberation, that is consistent with their philosophies; however, all three schools remain loyal to the overall understanding and worship of Brahman, and claim to hold the truths in reference to the Upanishads.


According to the Advaita (non-dual) school of Hindu thought, this self-realization comes through the recognition that one’s atman (self) is one and the same as Brahman—the pure, absolute reality comprising the entire universe. In the Dvaita (dualistic) school of thought, true self-realization comes through attaining a loving union with the Supreme Being, often manifested in the form of a god such as Vishnu, while maintaining one’s own existential uniqueness. Advaita Hindus emphasize meditation and thoughtful action in achieving moksha, while Dvaita Hindus emphasize loving worship and devotion to a deity.

According to the Advaita-tradition moksha is achieved by removing avidya (ignorance) regarding our misidentification with the five koshasand mayad comes to an understanding that the observable world is unreal and impermanent, and that atman or consciousness is the only true existence.

Moksha is seen as a final release from illusion, and the knowledge (anubhava) of one’s own fundamental nature, which is Satcitananda. Advaita holds that Atman, Brahman, and Paramatman are all one and the same – the formless Nirguna Brahman which is beyond the being/non-being distinction, tangibility, and comprehension. Advaita focuses on the knowledge of Brahman provided by traditional Vedanta literature and the teachings of its founder, Adi Shankara.

Advaita Vedanta emphasizes Jnana Yoga as the ultimate means of achieving moksha, and other yogas (such as Bhakti Yoga) are means to the knowledge, by which moksha is achieved. Shankar has given us a theory of concept of maya (illusion) or adhyas (superimposition). According to advait vedant philosophy this world is adhyas of bramha it is not result of world is only illusion is real & changeless. Because of maya or avidhya (false knowledge) jiva comes in bondage. Pure soul or Atman is mixed with beginningless avidhya like milk & water in such away that the natures of both do not appear separate. Mind etc. are maya’s product but jiva believes that these are his attributes. It does not separate itself from it and does not feel its true form.

According to Shankar moksha is realization of one’s own true form which is eternal and which can not be seen because of maya or avidhya. Radhakrishnan commeting on Shankar’s view of avidhya & moksha. Writes “Moksha is a matter of direct realization of some thing which is existent from eternity, though it is hidden from our view when the limitations are removed the soul is liberated”. Avidhya, maya or adhyas is said to be the cause of bondage. Avidhya is beginningless but not eternal. By true knowledge (jnan) avidhya vanishes and one attains moksha according to my view, in shankars philosophy we do not find any state called moksha because knowing your own form is not a different state. “

According to Shankar “the freed soul assumes the form of his true self. Moksha is not the abolition of self but the realization of its infinity and absoluteness by the expansion and illumination of consciousness”.30 In Brahman sutra Shankar declares in many passages that the nature of liberation is as state of oneness with Brahman by moksha world as said earlier as maya or addhyas does not destroys but ones view according to world changes. It can be explained by an example when we watch a play, we know we are not the part of play we are just seer of the play. Same way after attaining jnan of one’s own self one becomes seer of the worldly affairs explained by Shankar as drishta.

Says Hiryanna “The individual self is Brahman itself, and its supposed distinction from it is entirely due to the illusory adjuncts with which it identifies itself”. According to Shankar moksha is oneness with Brahman. Here it means that the identity of the self with is not to be newly attained, it is already there and has only to be realized in one’s own experience.

The main idea of Shankar’s schools of philosophy about moksha is that the ultimate and absolute truth is the self which is one though appearing as many in different individuals. It is said in Upanishads “that art thou” tat-tvam-asi it means that he is truth. It is the state of advait (non-dualism) between and jiva “jivo Brahman aaiv na parah”. According to Shankar moksha means one attains one’s own form, in the state of salvation, the true form of self is “sat, chit, anand” its nature is truth which is unchangeable in all the course of time, which is consciousness and not jad and anandghan.

According to Shankar anand means a state of soul, where except anand no other state or feeling exists. Mandayk Upanishad says A Through knowledge of Brahman one becomes Brahman. Radhakrishna commencing on the Mandukya Upanisad writes, “samkara observes that the turiya or the fourth (intergral experience) is realized by merging the three others (waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep) in it. The highest includes the rest, while transcending them. The phrase used “prapancopasamam” means the sinking of the world in Brahman, and not its denial. We posess faculties capable of responding to orders of truth, the use of which would change the whole character of our universe. When we attain to the state of turiya, we shall have reality from another angle, lit by another light; only this angle and this light are absolute.


In Dvaita (dualism) traditions, moksha is defined as the loving, eternal union with God (Vishnu) and considered the highest perfection of existence.The bhakta (devotee) attains the abode of the Supreme Lord in a perfected state but maintains his or her individual identity, with a spiritual form, personality, tastes, pastimes, and so on. Dvaita explains that every soul encounters liberation differently, and each soul requires a different level of satisfaction to reach moksha.Dualist schools (e.g. Gaudiya Vaishnava) see God as the most worshippable object of love, for example, a personified monotheisticconception of Shiva or Vishnu.Unlike Abrahamic traditions,

Dvaita/Hinduism does not prevent worship of other aspects of God, as they are all seen as rays from a single source. The concept is essentially of devotional service in love, since the ideal nature of being is seen as that of harmony, euphony, its manifestessence being love.By immersing oneself in the love of God, one’s karmas (good or bad, regardless) slough off, one’s illusions about beings decay and ‘truth’ is soon known and lived.Both the worshiped and worshiper gradually lose their illusory sense of separation and only One beyond all names remains.


Ramanuja’s Vishistadvaita (qualified monism) states that Brahman makes up every being, and to find liberation one must give up his will to the Lord. Here too moksha is defined as the loving, eternal union with God (Vishnu)

Ramanuja insists that the karmas should be performed in an absolutely disinterested manner simply to please God. When the soul performs these actions, it will realize that only this performance con not lead to liberation. Hence it will turn towards the study of the Jnanakanda, the Vedanta, which teaches the nature of God, soul and matter. The soul will now realize that matter and souls qualify god who is their inner ruler, that they form the body of God who is the real soul.

Ramanuja admits that knowledge is the immediate cause of liberation, but this knowledge is real knowledge and not the ordinary verbal knowledge. Otherwise all those who studied Vedanta would obtain liberation. The real knowlege3e is identified by Ramanuja with the highest bhakti or devotion which is obtained by prapatti or self surrender and by constant remembrance of God as the only object of devotion (dhruva smrthi) which remembrance is also called pure meditation (upasana) or dhyana or nididhyasana (concentrated contemplation).

It is very important to note that constant meditaion itself is not the highest bhakti (which is the me thing as real jnana), but only a means to realize it. Enjoined actions (karma) and ordinary knowledge (jnana) are means to realize ordinary bhakti which may be indentified with prapatti or flinging oneself on the absolute mercy of God and with constant remembrance and contemplation of God called smrti, upsana or nidhyasana.

This ordinary bhakti which means prapatti and upasana is itself a means to realize the highest bhakti which is pure jnana or the immediate intuitive knowledge of God which is the direct cause of liberation and which dawns only by the grace (prasada) of God.

Salvation, according to Ramanuja, is not the disappearance of the self, but its release from the limiting barriers. For disappearance of the self will be the destruction of the real self (satyAtmanasa) . One substance cannot pass over into another substance. The released soul attains the nature of God, though not identity with him. It is egoity that is opposed to salvation, and not individuality.

For Ramanuja there is no Jivanmukti. One attains to fellowship with God after exhausting all karma and throwing off the physical body. In the state of release the souls are all of the same type. In the released condition the souls have all the perfections of the Supreme except in two pints. They are atomic in size, while the supreme spirit is all pervading. Though of atomic size, the soul can enter into several bodies and experience different worlds created by the Lord but it has no power over the creative movements of the world, which belong exclusively to Brahmann.

The Vishishtadvaita philosophy distinguishes two classes of the released: those who are intent on service to God on earth and so do it in heaven and those (kaivalins) who are altogether isolated from the rest, since they achieved their end by constant meditation on the real nature of their won soul. The picture of the heaven where the redeemed souls dwell is not much deferent form the usual description. It only differs in details of dress, custom and landscape from the paradise of the popular imagination. In his theory of moksa,Ramanuja does not do justice to the mystics, who thus hunger for becoming one with the supreme.

The most significant point of agreement among the various schools of Indian philosophy is the recognition of liberation or release (Moksha) from the cycle of rebirths as the highest of human ends or values. The Indians generally speak of four values-artha, kama, dharma and moksa. Of these, the first two, which respectively mean “wealth” ahnd “pleasure”, are secular or purely worldly values. The other two, may, in contrast, be described as spiritual.


;  Chandradhar Sharma, Bhartiya darshan, Alochan Aur Anushilan,

 Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology, Vol.II, edited by J. M. Baldwin, mackmilan & co.  Hiryanna, The essential of Indian philosophy,

 Jadunath Sinha, History of the Indian philosophy

,  Jadunath Sinha, History of the Indian philosophy,

 Madhvacharya, Sarvadarshan Sangrih,  Mundaka Upanishad

 Radhakrishnan, Indian Philosophy,

 S. R. bhatt, History of science, philosophy and culture in Indian civilization,

 Shevatashvar Upanishad-

 Surendranath Dasgupta, A History of Indian philosophy,

 Surendranath Dasgupta, A history of Indian philosophy,.

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Mathematics Laboratory and Lab Method -Activity Oriented Pedagogy in Mathematics Teaching


Dr. V.K.Maheshwari, M.A(Sociology, Philosophy) B.Sc. M. Ed, Ph. D

Former Principal, K.L.D.A.V.(P.G) College, Roorkee, India

Mathematics as a subject is indispensable in the development of any nation with respect to science and technology since mathematics itself is the language of science. In this 21st century where virtually all attentions are shifted towards technological advancements and the mathematics education into the 21st century project is waxing stronger in objectively achieving all its goals in which mathematics is a veritable tool.

The past fifteen years has witnessed wide-spread activity relative to new mathematics curricula for elementary, junior high, and high school pupils. New school mathematics differ very little from old ones as far as subject matter is concerned. Only a few old topics have been de-emphasized and only a few new topics have been added. The chief difference between the old and the new is the point of view toward mathematics. Now there is an equal emphasis on an understanding of the basic concepts of mathematics and their interrelationships, i.e., the structure of mathematics.

The concept of a mathematics laboratory has become very popular in recent years. The phase has blossomed in to popularity so fast that the variety of meanings which have been attributed to it all are struggling to co-exist.

Mathematics laboratory is a room wherein we find collection of different kinds of materials and teaching/learning aids, needed to help the students understand the concepts through relevant, meaningful and concrete activities. These activities may be carried out by the teacher or the students to explore the world of mathematics, to learn, to discover and to develop an interest in the subject.

As defined by Adenegan (2003), the mathematics laboratory is a unique room or place, with relevant and up-to-date equipment known as instructional materials, designated for the teaching and learning of mathematics and other scientific or research work, whereby a trained and professionally qualified person (mathematics teacher) readily interact with learners (students) on specified set of instructions.

The functions of mathematics laboratory

Thus, as highlighted by Adenegan (2003), the functions of mathematics laboratory include the followings: – Permitting students to learn abstract concepts through concrete experiences and thus increase their understanding of those ideas. – Enabling students to personally experience the joy of discovering principles and relationships.

  • Arousing interest and motivating learning.
  • Cultivating favorable attitudes towards mathematics.
  • Enriching and varying instructions.
  • Encouraging and developing creative problems solving ability.
  • Allowing for individual differences in manner and speed at which students learn.
  • Making students to see the origin of mathematical ideas and participating in “mathematics in the making”
  • Allowing students to actually engage in the doing rather than being a passive observer or recipient of knowledge in the learning process.

Design and general layout.

A suggested design and general layout of laboratory which can accommodate about 30 students at a time. The schools may change the design and general layout to suit their own requirements.

Physical Infrastructure and Materials

It is envisaged that every school will have a Mathematics Laboratory with a general design and layout with suitable change, if desired, to meet its own requirements. The minimum materials required to be kept in the laboratory may include all essential equipment, raw materials and other essential things to carry out the activities included in the document effectively. The quantity of different materials may vary from one school to another depending upon the size of the group.

Human Resources

It is desirable that a person with minimum qualification of graduation (with mathematics as one of the subjects) and professional qualification of Bachelor in Education be made in charge of the Mathematics Laboratory. He/she is expected to have special skills and interest to carry out practical work in the subject. It will be an additional advantage if the in charge possesses related experience in the profession. The concerned mathematics teacher will accompany the class to the laboratory and the two will jointly conduct the desired activities. A laboratory attendant or laboratory assistant with suitable qualification and desired knowledge in the subject can be an added advantage.

Time Allocation for activities.

It is desirable that about 15% – 20% of the total available time for mathematics be devoted to activities. Proper allocation of periods for laboratory activities may be made in the time table.

List of materials used in the mathematics laboratory

  • Broom sticks
  • Chart papers, glazed papers, sketch pens.
  • Collage (Paper cutting & pasting)
  • Geo–board, rubber band
  • Graph paper
  • Paper folding
  • Pins & threads
  • Stationery
  • Transparency sheets, cello tape
  • Unit Cubes (wooden or any material)

General Pedagogy for Mathematic Lab usage

The  pedagogy must be developed in such a manner that it helps in the all round development of a learner at the same time it is easily understood by all. That is why, in developing the mathematics  pedagogy following must be specified -

  • Content to be made more relevant to the children’s life and experiences .
  • Effective approach of teaching learning process of the subject must be specified as activities based, learner centered, load free, stress free, enjoyable and effective.
  • It should be aimed at the learner’s 100% competency development and making her/ him a competent person covering her/his total mental growth, which can be, reflected in the day to day actions and whole life activities.
  • Mathematics Pedagogy must be more realistic, practical, useful, suitable and justified upto the learner’s mental ability according to its level rather than stereo type, theoretical and traditional.
  • Scope should be there for removing “fear psychosis” among the learners on the subject with proper instruction for creating interest and love for the subject.
  • Scope to be provided for the use of the essence of mathematics against the success of any type of programme at home as well as outside.
  • To make mathematics more understandable, enjoyable & permanently retained in the mind of the learner more use of fun and activities .

Mathematics lab can be maintained with the help of the community for spreading the message that there is no other subject like mathematics, which is so  interesting, enjoyable and useful and that nothing can be done in this world without mathematics.

Activities in the Math Lab

Activities in the Math Lab  have a great role in mathematics learning and developing various skills in solving problem as well as developing creative and logical thinking.  Activities in the Math Lab  is also a pure mathematics . The pedagogic value of activities in the Math Lab  is now widely recognized which in turn help the low achievers of mathematics and converting them into a lover of mathematics by removing fear-psychosis from their minds towards the subject. For a lover of mathematics, there is all beauty. One finds a huge treasure of pleasure after getting success in the solution of a Mathematics problem. It was the reason why Pythagoras sacrificed hundred oxen to the Goddess for celebrating his discovery of the theorem that goes by his name. In the same way, Archimedes had also forgotten his nakedness after discovering his principle.

The activities in the math’s lab should be appealing to a wide range of people, of different ages and varying mathematical proficiency. While the initial appeal is broad-based, the level of engagement of different individuals may vary. The maths lab activities listed here have been done with students and teachers of different grade levels. The activities are intended to give children an experience of doing mathematics and not merely for the purpose of demonstration.

List of activities

Thiyagumath in his blog ( ) has suggested some interesting activities. Here is a list of activities for young mathematics students:

1A. To carry out the following paper folding activities:

Finding –

  • Bisector of an angle,
  • Median of a triangle.
  • Mid point of a line segment,
  • Perpendicular bisector of a line segment,
  • Perpendicular to a line at a point given on the line,
  • Perpendicular to a line from a point given outside it,

1B. To carry out the following activities using a geoboard:

  • Find the area of any polygon by completing the rectangles.
  • Find the area of any triangle.
  • Given an area, obtain different polygons of the same area.
  • Obtain a square on a given line segment.

2. To obtain a parallelogram by paper–folding.

3. To show that the area of a parallelogram is product of its base and height, using paper cutting and pasting. (Ordinary parallelogram and slanted parallelogram)

4. To show that the area of a triangle is half the product of its base and height using paper cutting and pasting. (Acute, right and obtuse angled triangles)

5. To show that the area of a rhombus is half the product of its diagonals using paper cutting and pasting.

6. To show that the area of a trapezium is equal to half the product of its altitude and the sum of its parallel sides and its height, using paper cutting and pasting.

7. To verify the mid point theorem for a triangle, using paper cutting and pasting.

8. To divide a given strip of paper into a specified number of equal parts using a ruled graph paper.

9. To illustrate that the perpendicular bisectors of the sides of a triangle concur at a point (called the circumcentre) and that it falls

  • Inside for an acute-angled triangle.
  • On the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle.
  • Outside for an obtuse-angled triangle.

10. To illustrate that the internal bisectors of angles of a triangle concur at a point (called the incentre), which always lies inside the triangle.

11. To illustrate that the altitudes of a triangle concur at a point (called the orthocentre) and that it falls

  • At the right angle vertex for a right angled triangle.
  • Inside for an acute angled triangle.
  • Outside for an obtuse angled triangle.

12. To illustrate that the medians of a triangle concur at a point (called the centroid), which always lies inside the triangle.

13A. To give a suggestive demonstration of the formula that the area of a circle is half the product of its circumference and radius. (Using formula for the area of triangle)

13B. To give a suggestive demonstration of the formula that the area of a circle is half the product of its circumference and radius. (Using formula for the area of rectangle)

14. 1) To verify that sum of any two sides of a triangle is always greater than the third side.

2) To verify that the difference of any two sides of a triangle is always less than the third side.

15. To explore criteria of congruency of triangles using a set of triangle cut outs.

16. To explore the similarities and differences in the properties with respect to diagonals of the following quadrilaterals – a parallelogram, a square, a rectangle and a rhombus.

17. To explore the similarities and differences in the properties with respect to diagonals of the following quadrilaterals – a parallelogram, a square, a rectangle and a rhombus.

18. To show that the figure obtained by joining the mid points of the consecutive sides of any quadrilateral is a parallelogram.

19. To make nets for a right triangular prism and a right triangular pyramid (regular tetrahedron) and obtain the formula for the total surface area.

20. To verify Euler’s formula for different polyhedra: prism, pyramids and octahedron.

21. Obtain length segments corresponding to square roots of natural numbers using graduated wooden sticks.

22. To verify the identity a3 – b3 = (a – b) (a2 + ab + b2), for simple cases using a set of unit cubes.

23. To verify the identity a3 + b3 = (a + b) (a2 – ab + b2), for simple cases using a set of unit cubes.

24. To verify the identity (a + b)3 = a3 + b3 + 3ab (a + b), for simple cases using a set of unit cubes.

25. To verify the identity (a – b)3 = a3 – b3 – 3ab (a – b), for simple cases using a set of unit cubes.

26. To interpret geometrically the factors of a quadratic expression of the type x2 + bx + c, using square grids, strips and paper slips.

27. To obtain mirror images of figures with respect to a given line on a graph paper.

The Mathematics Laboratory method

Though mathematics may deal with some abstractions. But, it is the mathematics teacher who should try to inculcate sufficient interest in the class room transaction so that the subject mathematics may not be treated as dull and tiresome. And the main tool to answer all these for converting mathematics into a loved and enjoyable subject to all is the curriculum and text book which directs the teacher to apply recreational activities for proper and effective mathematics learning.

The term “laboratory method” is commonly used today to refer to an approach to teaching and learning of mathematics which provides opportunity to the learners to abstract mathematical ideas through their own experiences, that is to relate symbol to realities.

Laboratory method of teaching mathematics is that method in which we try to make the students learn mathematics by doing experiments and laboratory work in the mathematics room or laboratory on the same lines as they learn sciences by performing experiments in the science rooms or laboratories. It is based on psychological principles of learning such as ‘learning by doing’, ‘learning by observation’ and so on. Laboratory method is quite competent to relate the theoretical knowledge with the practical base. This approach makes the learning process more interesting, lively and meaningful.

The success of the laboratory method depends on an able skilled mathematics teacher as well as the availability of a well-equipped mathematics laboratory.  According to J.W.A young “ a room specially filled with drawing instruments, suitable tables and desks, good black boards and the apparatus necessary to perform the experiment of the course is really essential for the best success of the laboratory method”.

Laboratory method is a teaching method which allowed the pupil to work with manipulative materials. As far as possible, the pupil has an active role to play. The usual pattern is 10 to have pupils manipulate physical objects, then describe a pattern or rule based on an inductive sequence

The Mathematics Laboratory method is a method of teaching whereby children in small groups work through an assignment/ taskcard, learn and discover mathematics for themselves. The children work in an informal manner, move around, discuss and choose their materials and method of attacking a problem, assignment or task.

  •   This method is based on the maxim “learning by doing.”
  •   This is an activity method and it leads the students to discover mathematics facts.
  •   In it we proceed from concrete to abstract.
  •   Laboratory method is a procedure for stimulating the activities of the students and to encourage them to make discoveries.
  •   This method needs a laboratory in which equipment and other useful teaching aids related to mathematics are available.  For example, equipment related to geometry, mensuration, mathematical model, chart, balance, various figures and shapes made up of wood or hardboard, graph paper etc.

Objectives of Lab method:

  • Apply concepts learned in class to new situations.
  • Better appreciate the role of experimentation in science.
  • Develop critical, quantitative thinking.
  • Develop experimental and data analysis skills.
  • Develop intuition and deepen understanding of concepts.
  • Develop reporting skills (written and oral).
  • Exercise curiosity and creativity by designing a procedure to test a hypothesis.
  • Experience basic phenomena.
  • Learn to estimate statistical errors and recognize systematic errors.
  • Learn to use scientific apparatus.
  • Practice collaborative problem solving.
  • Test important laws and rules.

The basic principles of the new pedagogy for teaching mathematics

More recently, mathematics educators in colleges and universities, along with classroom teachers, have become concerned with the methods used to teach the new content which evolved from the “revolution.” Scott (56, p. 15) has summarized the basic principles of the new pedagogy for teaching mathematics in the following statements :

1. The structure of mathematics should be stressed at all levels.

2. Children are capable of learning more abstract and more complex concepts when the relationships between concepts are stressed.

3. Existing arithmetic programs may be severely condensed because children are capable of learning concepts at much earlier ages than formerly thought.

4. Any concept may be taught a child of any age in some intellectually honest manner, if one is able to find the proper language for expressing the concept.

5. The inductive approach or the discovery method is logically productive and should enhance learning end retention.

6. The major objective of a program is the development of independent and creative thinking processes.

7. Human learning seems to pass through the stages of preoperations, concrete operations, and formal operations.

8. Growth of understanding is dependent upon concept exploration through challenging apparatus and concrete materials and cannot be restricted to mere symbolic manipulations.

9. Teaching mathematical skills is regarded as a tidying-up of concepts developed through discovery rather than by a step by step process for memorization.

10. Practical application of isolated concepts or systems of concepts, particularly those drawn from the natural sciences, are valuable to reinforcement and retention.

Since 1965, discovery teaching, guided discovery, programmed instruction, computer assisted instruction, and inquiry training have been the subject of much study and 3 research. Still more recently, individually guided instruction and activity programs in mathematics have been the subject of action research in many classrooms.


  Aim of The Practical Work: The teacher clearly states the aim of the practical work or experiment to be carried out by the students.

  Provided materials and instruments: The students are provided with the necessary materials and instruments.

  Provide clear instructions: Provide clear instructions as to the procedure of the experiment.

  Carry out the experiment: The students carry out the experiment.

  draw the conclusions : The students are required to draw the conclusions as per the aim of the experiment.

Example  1:

Derivation of the formula for the volume of a cone.

Aims: to derive the formula for the volume of a cone.

Materials and instruments: cone and cylinders of the same diameter and height, at lease 3 sets of varying dimensions, sawdust, water and sand.

Procedure: ask the students to do the following activity.

  Take each pair of cylinder and cone having the same diameter and height

  Note down the diameter and height

  Fill the cone with saw dust / water or sand and empty into the cylinder till the cylinder is full.

  Count the number of times the cone is emptied into the cylinder and note it down in a tabular column.

  Repeat the same experiment with the other two sets of cone and cylinder and note down the reading as before.


1              3 CM     5 CM     3

2              5 CM     7 CM     3

3              6 CM     10 CM   3

Drawing conclusions:

Each time, irrespective of the variations in diameter and height it takes 3 measures of cone to fill the cylinder.

Volume of cone = 1/3 volume of cylinder

But volume of cylinder =  r2 h

Volume of cone =1/3  r2 h

Example 2:

Sum of three angles of a triangle is 180 degree. “How we can prove this in the laboratory.


To prove that sum of the three angles of a triangle is equal to two right angles or 180 degree.

Materials and instruments:

Card board sheet, pencil, scale, triangle and other necessary equipments.


In the laboratory pupils will be given on cardboard sheet each and then they are told how to draw triangles of different sizes on it. After drawing the triangles they cut this separately with the help of scissors.


Student will measure the angles of the triangles drawn and write these in a tabular form

Figure no.            Measure of different angles        Total

Angle A +B+C

Angle A – Angle B- Angle C

1              90           60                30               180

2              120         30                30                180

3              60           60               60                 180


Calculation: after measuring the angles of different triangles in the form of cardboard sheet. We calculate and conclude their sum.

In this way by calculating the three angles of a triangle the students will be able to conclude with inductive reasoning that the sum of three angles of a triangle is 180 degree or two right angles.

Some More Topics for Laboratory Method

Derivation of the formula for the

  Area of square, rectangle,, parallelogram, and trapezium

  Area of triangle, right angled triangle, isosceles right angles triangle

  Circumference of a circle, area of circle

  Total surface area of cone, cylinder

  Volume of a cone

  Volume of a sphere

Expansion of identities such as (a+b) 2, (a-b) 2 , (a+b+c) 2

Verification of

  Angle sum property in a triangle

  Congruency postulates

  Properties of certain geometrical figures like parallelogram, rhombus etc

  Theorems relating to triangles, circles and transversal properties.


   Based on the principle of learning by doing.

   Based on the student’s self pacing.

   Child-centred and therefore it is a psychological method.

   Develops in the child a habit of scientific, enquiry and investigation.

   Develops the self-confidence and teaches the students the dignity of labour.

   Helps in making clear certain fundamental concepts, ideas etc.

   Is psychological as we proceed from known to unknown.

   Presents mathematics as a practical subject.

   Provides opportunities for social interaction and co-operation among the students.

   Stimulates the interest of the students to work with concrete material.

  Children learn the use of different equipments, which are used in laboratory.

  Helps the students to actively participate in the learning process and therefore the learning becomes more meaningful and interesting.


   Is not possible to make progress quickly.

  All mathematics teachers cannot use this method effectively.

  An expensive method. All schools are not able to adopt this method.

  Can be used for a small class only.

  Has very little of theoretical part in it.

  Requires laboratory equipped with different apparatus.

   Requires a lot of planning and organization.

   Suitable only for certain topics.

It is important to note that while in science experiments provide evidence for hypotheses or theories, this is not so in mathematics. Observed patterns can only suggest mathematical hypotheses and conjectures, not provide evidence to support them. (Sometimes, they may help to disprove a conjecture through a counter-example.) Mathematical truths are accepted only on the basis of proofs, and not through experiment.

In conclusion we can say that this method is suitable for teaching mathematics to lower classes as at this stage teaching is done with the help of concrete things and examples. Math lab makes teaching and learning activity based and experimentation oriented at school stage. It exhibits relatedness of mathematics concepts with everyday life.


Adenegan, K. E. (2001). Issues and Problems in the National Mathematics Curriculum of theSenior Secondary Schools level. Pp.4-5. Unpublished paper.

Unpublished B.Sc.(Ed.) Project, Adeyemi College of Education, Ondo.

Adenegan, K. E. and Balogun, F.O. (2010): Some proffered Solutions to the Challenges ofTeaching mathematics in Our Schools. Unpublished Seminar Paper at Ebonyi for Pricipals

Alao, I. F. (1997). Psychological Perspective of education, psychology and education series(pp. 48, 91). Ibadan: Revelation Books, Dugbe.

Balogun et al (2002). Mathematics Methodology in Approaches to Science Techniques, Yinka Ogunlade and R. O. Oloyede (Ed).

Ekhaguere, G.O.S. (2010). Proofs and Paradigms: a Mathematical Journey into the Real World. Inaugural lecture, Ibadan University Press, Ibadan. Pp 1-30.

Olademo J. O. (1990). Mathematics and Universe. Journal of NAMSN ACE, Ondo Ifeoluwa (NOD), Ent. Ltd. Pp 30.

Oyekan, S. O.(2000). Foundation of teachers education (pp.17, 240). Ondo: Ebunoluwa Printers (Nig.) Ltd




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