General procedure for conducting the interview


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


Interviewers now are increasingly seen as active participants in interactions with respondents, and interviews are seen as negotiated accomplishments of both interviewers and respondents that are shaped by the contexts and situations in which they take place. In other words, researchers are not visible, neutral entities; rather, they are part of the interactions they seek to study and influence those interactions. The interviewer’s role is complex and multifaceted. It includes the following tasks:

  • Clarifying any confusion/concerns – Interviewers have to be able to think on their feet. Interviewee may raise objections or concerns that were not anticipated. The interviewer has to be able to respond candidly and informatively.
  • Conducting a good interview – The interviewer has to conduct a good interview. Every interview has a life of its own. Some respondents are motivated and attentive, others are distracted or disinterested. The interviewer also has good or bad days. Assuring a consistently high-quality interview is a challenge that requires constant effort.
  • Identifying and gaining cooperation of Interviewee – The interviewer has to find the respondent. In door-to-door surveys, this means being able to locate specific addresses. Often, the interviewer has to work at the least desirable times as that’s when respondents are most readily available.
  • Motivating Interviewee – The interviewer has to be motivated and has to be able to communicate that motivation to the respondent. Often, this means that the interviewer has to be convinced of the importance of the research
  • Observing the quality of responses – Whether the interview is personal or over the phone, the interviewer is in the best position to judge the quality of the information that is being received. Even a verbatim transcript will not adequately convey how seriously the respondent took the task, or any gestures or body language that was evident.

Training the Interviewers

One of the most important aspects of any interview study is the training of the interviewers themselves. In many ways the interviewers end being the measures, and the quality of the results is totally in their hands. Even in small studies involving only a single researcher-interviewer, it is important to organize in detail and rehearse the interviewing process before beginning the formal study.

Following major consideration should be addressed for interviewer training:

  • Building the Interviewer’s Kit – It’s important that interviewers have all of the materials they need to do a professional job. Usually, one will want to assemble an interviewer kit that can be easily carried and includes all of the important materials such as: A “professional-looking” 3-ring notebook (this might even have the logo of the company or organization conducting the interviews) maps sufficient copies of the survey instrument official identification (preferable a picture ID) a cover letter from the Principal Investigator or Sponsor a phone number the respondent can call to verify the interviewer’s authenticity.
  • Communicating the sponsor of research – Interviewers need to know who they are working for. They — and their respondents — have a right to know not just what agency or company is conducting the research, but also, how the research is paid for.
  • Describing the entire study – Interviewers need to know more than simply how to conduct the interview itself. They should learn about the background for the study, previous work that has been done, and why the study is important.
  • Educating the sampling logic and process – Naive interviewers may not understand why sampling is so important. They may wonder why one goes through all the difficulties of selecting the sample so carefully. They should be explained that sampling is the basis for the conclusions that will be reached and for the degree to which the study will be useful.
  • Explaining interviewer bias – Interviewers need to know the many ways that they can inadvertently bias the results. And, they need to understand why it is important that they not bias the study. This is especially a problem when you are investigating political or moral issues on which people have strongly held convictions. While the interviewer may think they are doing well for society by slanting results in favor of what they believe, they need to recognize that doing so could jeopardize the entire study in the eyes of others.
  • Explaining respondent selection procedures, including reading maps – It’s astonishing how many adults don’t know how to follow directions on a map. In personal interviews, the interviewer may need to locate respondents who are spread over a wide geographic area. And, they often have to navigate by night (respondents tend to be most available in evening hours) in neighborhoods they’re not familiar with. Teaching basic map reading skills and confirming that the interviewers can follow maps is essential.
  • Explaining scheduling – The interviewers have to understand the demands being made on their schedules and why these are important to the study. In some studies it will be imperative to conduct the entire set of interviews within a certain time period. In most studies, it’s important to have the interviewers available when it’s convenient for the respondents, not necessarily the interviewer.
  • Explaining supervision – In most interview studies, the interviewers will work under the direction of a supervisor. In some contexts, the supervisor may be a faculty advisor; In order to assure the quality of the responses, the supervisor may have to observe a subsample of interviews, listen in on phone interviews, or conduct follow-up assessments of interviews with the respondents. This can be very threatening to the interviewers. One needs to develop an atmosphere where everyone on the research team — interviewers and supervisors — feels like they’re working together towards a common goal.
  • Identifying respondents – Just as with households, many studies require respondents who meet specific criteria. For instance, your study may require that you speak with a male head-of-house between the ages of 30 and 50 who has children under 20 living in the same household. It may be impossible to obtain statistics in advance to target such respondents. The interviewer may have to ask a series of filtering questions before determining whether the respondent meets the sampling needs.
  • Piloting the interview – When one first introduces the interview, it’s a good idea to walk through the entire protocol so the interviewers can get an idea of the various parts or phases and how they interrelate.
  • Rehearsing the interview – Several rehearsal sessions should be conducted with the interviewer team.  Videotaping of rehearsal interviews can be done to discuss how the trainees responded in difficult situations. The interviewers should be very familiar with the entire interview before ever facing a respondent.
  • Teaching about survey research – While you seldom have the time to teach a full course on survey research methods, the interviewers need to know enough that they respect the survey method and are motivated. Sometimes it may not be apparent why a question or set of questions was asked in a particular way. The interviewers will need to understand the rationale for how the instrument was constructed.

The Actual Interview

Each interview is unique, like a small work of art whether it’s a two-minute phone interview or a personal interview that spans hours, the interview is a bit of theater, a mini-drama that involves real lives in real time.

Each interview has its own ebb and flow — its own pace. To the outsider, an interview looks like a fairly standard, simple, prosaic effort.  But to the interviewer, it can be filled with special nuances and interpretations that aren’t often immediately apparent. Every interview includes some common components. There’s the opening act, where the interviewer gains entry and establishes the rapport and tone for what follows. There’s the middle act, the heart of the process that consists of the protocol of questions and the improvisations of the probe. And finally, there’s the closing act, the wrap-up, where the interviewer and respondent establish a sense of closure.

The Opening Act

  • Reciting the “Elevator Speech” – In many ways, the interviewer has the same initial problem that a salesperson has.  They will have to get the respondent’s attention initially for a long enough periods that they can sell them on the idea of participating in the study. Many of the remarks here assume an interview that is being conducted at a respondent’s residence.  The analogies to other interview contexts should be straightforward.
  • Gaining entry – The first thing the interviewer must do is gain entry. Several factors can enhance the prospects. Probably the most important factor is one’s initial appearance. The interviewer needs to dress professionally and in a manner that will be comfortable to the respondent. In some contexts a business suit and briefcase may be appropriate. In others, it may intimidate. The way the interviewer appears initially to the respondent has to communicate some simple messages — that they are trustworthy, honest, and non-threatening. Cultivating a manner of professional confidence, the sense that the respondent has nothing to worry about because one knows what they are
  • Introducing – Without waiting for the respondent to ask questions, one should move to introducing themselves. They should have this part of the process memorized so that they can deliver the essential information in 20-30 seconds at most. State the name of the organization represented. Show identification badge and the letter of introduction.  Have as legitimate an appearance as possible. If one has a three-ring binder or clipboard with the logo of organization, have it out and visible.
  • Explaining the study – At this point in time briefly explain the study.  Keep it short, one or two sentence description of the study. Big words, jargon and unnecessary details should be avoided.  The respondent doesn’t have to or want to know all of the neat nuances of this study, Some time should be spent on assuring the respondent that they are being interviewed confidentially, and that their participation is voluntary.
  • Using questionnaire intelligently – The questionnaire is a friend. It was developed with a lot of care and thoughtfulness. While one has to be ready to adapt to the needs of the setting, the first instinct should always be to trust the instrument that was designed. A rapport need to establish with the respondent. Reading the questions directly from the questionnaire will appear unprofessional and disinterested. Often, there might be nervousness on both parties that should be addressed carefully. Memorizing the first few questions, and referring to the instrument only occasionally, using eye contact and a confident manner will help set the tone for the interview and help the respondent get comfortable.
  • Asking questions – Sometimes an interviewer will think that they could improve on the tone of a question by altering a few words to make it simpler or more “friendly.”  This should be avoided.  The questions should be asked as they are on the instrument.  If there was a problem with a question, it should have been raised during the training and rehearsals, not during the actual interview. It is important that the interview be as standardized as possible across respondents There might be temptation for one to think the change made while asking the questions are inconsequential, in fact, it may change the entire meaning of the question or response.
  • Sequencing – During the interview, it may happen that a respondent bring up a topic that will be covered later in the interview. The jump to that section of the interview should be avoided.  It is likely that one may lose the place where the order was interrupted and result in omitting questions that build a foundation for later questions.
  • Elaborating – Just to encourage the respondent to give more information ask for elaboration. For instance, it is appropriate to ask questions like “Would you like to elaborate on that?” or “Is there anything else you would like to add?”
  • Obtaining Adequate Responses – After asking a question, probe. If the respondent gives a brief, cursory answer. Just to elicit a more thoughtful, thorough response? Just probe.  Silent probe – The most effective way to encourage someone to elaborate is to do nothing at all – just pause and wait. This is referred to as the “silent” probe. It works because the respondent is uncomfortable with pauses or silence. It suggests to the respondent that the interviewer is waiting, listening for what they will say next.
  • Repeating – Use the old psychotherapist technique.  Say something without really saying anything new. For instance, the respondent just described a interesting experience they had. Just say “What heard you say is that you found that experience very interesting.” Then, just pause. The respondent is likely to say something like “Well, yes, and it gave me a unique experience, even my family enjoyed it. In fact, my wife…”
  • Encouraging the Respondent explicitly – Often, encouraging the respondent directly is required to obtain best answers. It should be done in a way that does not imply approval or disapproval of what they said as it could bias their subsequent results. Overt encouragement could be as simple as saying “Uh-huh” or “OK” after the respondent completes a thought.
  • Clarifying – Sometimes, just to elicit greater detail ask the respondent to clarify something that was said earlier.  For example, say, “You just were talking about your interesting experience; can you tell me more about that?”
  • Recording the Response – Although we have the capability to record a respondent in audio and/or video, most interview methodologists don’t think it’s a good idea. Respondents are often uncomfortable when they know their remarks will be recorded word-for-word.  They may strain to only say things in a socially acceptable way. Although one would get a more detailed and accurate record, it is likely to be distorted by the very process of obtaining it. This may be more of a problem in some situations than in others. It is increasingly common to be told that your conversation may be recorded during a phone interview. And most focus group methodologies use unobtrusive recording equipment to capture what’s being said. But, in general, personal interviews are still best when recorded by the interviewer using the traditional pen and paper approach.
  • Recording responses immediately – The interviewer should record responses as they are being stated. This conveys the idea that the interviewer is interested enough in what the respondent is saying. Record certain key phrases or quotes verbatim. Develop a system for distinguishing what the respondent says verbatim from what are characterizing.
  • Including information obtained through probing – One needs to indicate every single probe that one uses. Developing shorthand for different standard probes are helpful.
  • Using abbreviations or other techniques to record expediently – Abbreviations will help to capture more of the discussion. Develop a standardized system. If an abbreviation is created while the interview is happening, have a way of indicating its origin.

The Middle Act and The Closing Act

After going through the entire interview, the interview needs to be brought to closure. Some important things must be remembered:

  • Thanking the respondent – This is important. Even if the respondent was troublesome or uninformative, it is important to be polite and thank them for their time.
  • Setting expectations on when the results would be published – It is annoying, when people conduct interviews and then don’t send results and summaries to the people who they get the information from. The interviewer owes it to the respondent to show them what the interviewer has learned. It’s common practice to prepare a short, readable, jargon-free summary of interviews that the interviewer can send to the respondents.
  • Closing the conversation – Allow for a few minutes of winding down conversation. The respondent may want to know a little bit about the interviewer or how much the interviewer likes doing this kind of work. They may be interested in how the results will be used. Use these kinds of interests as a way to wrap up the conversation..  The interviewer doesn’t want the respondent to feel as though they completed the interview and then rushed out on them — they may wonder what they said that was wrong. On the other hand, the interviewer has to be careful here. Some respondents may want to keep on talking long after the interview is over. Interviewers have to find a way to politely cut off the conversation and make their exit.
  • Documenting Immediately after completing the interview – Write down any notes about how the interview went.  Sometimes one will have observations about the interview that they didn’t want to write down while they were with the respondent.  The interviewer may have noticed them get upset at a question, or they may have detected hostility in a response. Immediately after the interview interviewers should go over your notes and make any other comments and observations

Analyzing the Interview Results

After creating and conducting interview, one must now process and analyze the results. These steps require strict attention to detail and, in some cases, knowledge of statistics and computer software packages. How these steps should be conducted will depend on the scope of study, and the audience to whom one wish to direct the work.

In general there are obviously advantages and disadvantages for using any interview method. It allows questioning to be guided as one wants it and can clarify points that need to be made clearer much more easily than in something like a mailed questionnaire. The technique does however rely on the respondent being willing to give accurate and complete answers  They may often lie due to feelings of embarrassment, inadequacy, lack of knowledge on the topic, nervousness, memory loss or confusion. On the contrary, they may also provide very elaborate answers in an attempt to figure out the purpose of the study. Validity and reliability of the interview data may be influenced by these interviewing is a complex and demanding technique.


Bell, J (1999) Doing Your Research Project (3rd edition), Buckingham, OUP

Clough, P & Nutbrown, C (2002) A Student’s Guide to Methodology, London

Cohen, L ; Manion, L & Morrison, K (2000) Research Methods in Education (5th edition), London

Routledge Falmer Denscombe, M (2003) The Good Research Guide: 2nd edition, Buckingham

Frey, J.H & S.M.Oishi (1995): How to Conduct Interviews by Telephone and in Person. London: Sage.

Pollard, A (1985) The Social World of the Primary School, London, Cassell.

Radnor, H (1994) Collecting & Analysing Interview Data, University of Exeter, Research Support Unit, School of Education.

Steinar Kvale, Sage Publications, Thousand Oaks California, 1996

Wengraf, T (2001) Qualitative Research Interviewing, London, Sage.

Wragg, E C (1978) Conducting and Analyzing Interviews, Nottingham University School of Education, TRC-Rediguides.



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Entering behavior and Terminal behavior in Lesson planning

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

According to Bining and Bining “Daily lesson planning involves defining the objective, selecting and arranging the subject matter and determining the method and procedure

Learner behaviour comprises collective activities displayed by the learner. Learner behaviour is different at the point in time they begin to participate in the teaching-learning process, it varies during the process and finally, at the end of the process. For our purpose, we are concerned with entry and terminal beaviour, which are assessed by the teacher .

The  Entering behavior

Entering behavior describes the student level before the instruction begins. It refers to what the student has previously learned, his intellectual ability and development, his motivational state, and certain social and cultural determinants of his learning ability. Entering behavior is a more precise term than its usual alternatives—human ability, individual differences, and readiness. This precision may come at the price of seeing the student as less complex, less able, and less experienced than he may in fact be.

Schools tend to define entering behavior in terms of the traditions curriculum rather than in terms of student ability, experience, and interest. A student with the more abstractive ability and interest of the mathematician, therefore, may be viewed as having a higher level entering behavior than that of a student whose major interest and ability are in creating the visual, geometric forms of modern painting and sculpture.

Entry behaviour includes the prerequisite knowledge, attitudes or skills which the student already possesses that are relevant to the learning task or subject matter and that you may require students to demonstrate before beginning your module. This includes previous education and experience that the student brings to the new learningcontext. The ultimate goal of the module being to advance the student from where he is (entry behaviour) to where you would like him to be (having mastered the learning objectives or terminal behaviour).

There are many potential influences on student behaviour, and many factors should be considered before determining the  entering behaviour . These include:

  • biophysical factors, such as medical conditions or disabilities
  • psychological factors, including emotional trauma or lack of social skills
  • behavioural/social factors, including where a student’s problem behaviour has been learned through reinforcement, consequences or adaptation to social practices. For example, a student with a learning difficulty repeatedly misbehaves knowing that he/she will be removed from the class and this will avoid his/her learning difficulty being exposed.
  • historical community factors, including for Koorie students whose family member/s had difficult, sometimes traumatic, experiences of school and government agencies
  • cultural factors, for example dalit community
  • environmental factors, for example the level of classroom noise or classroom seating arrangements
  • classroom organisation issues, such as inconsistent routines, inadequate materials or obliviousness to cultural differences

Listing Entry Behaviors

To determine the entry behavior, test a small sample of the learners to establish if your assumption of their threshold knowledge and the starting point of the training program are correct.

The proposed learners have the needed  to master the terminal learning objective in the training program, ensure  their previous knowledge.

For example, an instructional program might instruct several advanced uses of learning strategies. These basic strategies should be tested on a sample of the learners to validate the instructional plan assumption.

Once you have tested their present previous knowledge status , then the tasks to be taught should be tested on a small sample  students.

Finally, a sample of the proposed learners are tested to see if they can pass any portions of the test without any instruction to ensure you are not teaching them what they already know.

This process helps you to ensure  that presenting the instructional content to the learners in a manner that allows them to build upon previous content (what they already know).

Motivation is also tied closely with what they think their teachers want them to do — they perform the things they know their teacher notice and tend to neglect the things their teacher do not care about. Thus, it is not only important that they have the basic requirements before entering a learning platform, but that they are also motivated to learn.

The Terminal behavior

in modem education one often hears of the concept terminal behavior this is a term supplied from the field of psychology which reflects the belief that the measure of any successful educational activity is the degree to which the students behavior is modified to what extent does he do or  do things he did not or could not before the lessons were presented.

Desired final behavior being shaped by a training or learning process, and which the trainee or learner is to demonstrate at the end of the process.

Describing terminal behavior has two purposes. First, the teacher has a means for assessing the adequacy of the performance and for determining the need for further instruction. The teacher at a given point in time may not desire that the students for completely able to identify and use the concept. The prior description of the students’ expected performance  clearly indicates to the teacher and to the students the degree of adequacy the students are to attain at a particular time. Second, the students have a way of assessing their own performance and of determining when their learning is complete. The students’ self-assessments then become a way of generation their own reinforcement.

A three components learning objective format consists of the terminal behavior, the conditions and the standard. Terminal behavior describes what the learner should be able to do in order to demonstrate that s(he) achieve the objective. The terminal behavior is any performance that can be observed or recorded. Terminal behaviour should be expressed using action verbs. If the behavioral component is missing it is difficult to measure whether the student has achieved an instructional goal. The terminal behavior should describe different cognitive processes – remembering, understanding, applying, problem solving etc, that leads to the different level of accomplishment.

The standard property of learning objective formulation describes the minimal accepted level of performance at the end of the instruction. The standard is a kind of proof that a learner is achieved at the objective. The type of standard selected depends on the specificity of the terminal behaviour. It could be occurrence of behaviour, time, speed, accuracy, reference, consequences, etc.

Terminal behavior usually refers to something very specific-for example the teacher may say “I want to see everyone reading quietly for the next five minutes”-and includes what can be termed the “form and frequency of a desired response” (Ormrod & Rice, 2003, p. 71). In the earlier example of students lining up, the teacher’s desired terminal behavior may be something similar to “I want all of my students to quietly line up within one minute of my first asking them to do so.”

Terminal behavior can be quite difficult to achieve. If, at the beginning of the school year, the class typically took ten minutes or more to line up, getting to the terminal behavior can be quite a feat. The operant conditioning theory keeps this in mind and recommends the use of shaping to gradually achieve the terminal behavior. Shaping is especially useful when an individual’s baseline behavior is very low. In the process of developing the desired terminal behavior plan, the teacher should develop a set of reference points that show that the student is progressing towards the terminal behavior. Instead of focusing on the terminal behavior, the teacher should reinforce each successive benchmark. Once behavior at one level comes “naturally” or without reinforcement, the teacher should start reinforcing at the levels that bring the student closer to the terminal behavior  In the example of lining up, the teacher may begin by first reinforcing how students behave in the line, and later focus on reducing the amount of time it takes students to respond to the request to line up.

Describing terminal behavior has two purposes. First, the teacher has a means for assessing the adequacy of the performance and for determining the need for further instruction. The teacher at a given point in time may not desire that the students for completely able to identify and use the concept. In the beginning, for example, the teacher may be quite satisfied to have the students recognize direct objects only in simple English sentences. Later, he may want the students to recognize direct objects in compound sentences in both dependent and independent clauses. Still later he may want the students to use direct objects in various sentence contexts. The prior description of the students’ expected performance  clearly indicates to the teacher and to the students the degree of adequacy the students are to attain at a particular time. Second, the students have a way of assessing their own performance and of determining when their learning is complete. The students’ self-assessments then become a way of generation their own reinforcement.

To conclude it can be said that More simply, entering behavior describes the present status of the student’s knowledge and skill in reference to a future status the teacher wants him to attain. Entering behavior, therefore, is where the instruction must always begin. Terminal behavior is where the instruction concludes.. This way the teaching can be described as getting the student from where he is to where we would like him to be- as moving from entering to terminal behavior. Together descriptions of entering and terminal behavior define the limits of instructional responsibility for each degree of teaching.

Entry behaviour includes the prerequisite knowledge, attitudes or skills which the student already possesses that are relevant to the learning task or subject matter and that you may require students to demonstrate before beginning your module. This includes previous education and experience that the student brings to the new learning context. The ultimate purpose is  to advance the student from where he is (entry behaviour) to where you would like him to be (having mastered the learning objectives or terminal behaviour).

Entry behaviour comprises the activities/responses of the learners prior to the teaching-learning process. The prior knowledge of learners, their interests, attitudes, abilities, etc make up the entry behaviour of students. Terminal behaviour comprises the activities/responses displayed by learners after the completion of the teaching-learning process. Thus the change in behaviour after the teaching-learning process will make up the terminal behaviour.





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Philosophy of Existentialism – An Introduction


Dr. V.K. Maheshwari, Former Principal

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

In short, Existentialism is an attitude and outlook that emphasizes human existence, the qualities of individual persons rather than man in abstract of nature and the world in general. Education, therefore, must edify and enrich man’s mind so that it may be respectable in his own eyes and in the eyes of the, others. It should help him to make him human.

Existentialism is the most individualistic of all modern philosophies. Its overriding concern is with the individual and its primary value is the absolute freedom of the person, who is only what he, makes himself to be, and who is the final and exclusive arbiter of the values he freely determines for himself. Great emphasis is placed on art, on literature, and the humanistic studies, for it is in these areas that man finds himself and discovers what values he will seek to attain.

The term “existentialism” seems to have been coined by the French philosopher Gabriel Marcel  and adopted by Jean-Paul Sartre, Etymological meaning of ‘existence’ from two German words -: ‘ex-sistent’ meaning that which stands out, that which ‘emerges’ suggests that existentialism is a philosophy that emerges out of problems of life.

Existentialism in the broader sense is a 20th century philosophy that is centered upon the analysis of existence and of the way humans find themselves existing in the world. The notion is that humans exist first and then each individual spends a lifetime changing their essence or nature.

In simpler terms, existentialism is a philosophy concerned with finding self and the meaning of life through free will, choice, and personal responsibility. The belief is that people are searching to find out who and what they are throughout life as they make choices based on their experiences, beliefs, and outlook. And personal choices become unique without the necessity of an objective form of truth. An existentialist believes that a person should be forced to choose and be responsible without the help of laws, ethnic rules, or traditions.

Initially Existentialism may appear to be a morbid philosophy because it deals with depressing themes such as alienation, anxiety, death and crises. To conclude this however, would be to misunderstand it. An expressed purpose of so many of the philosophers, who have contributed to this school of thought, is to allow people to experience a greater richness and happiness in their lives and to feel at ‘home’ in their world. In order to achieve a richer and more valuable existence however, the philosophy often refers to some ‘uncomfortable’ suggestions

Just as the whole of Indian philosophy is an extension, interpretation, criticism and corroboration of the Vedas and in it the Upanishads or an outright revolt against them, similarly it may be remarked of western philosophy as either a clarification of Socrates or his rejection. One would be still right in saying that the whole of western philosophy is an appendix on Socrates. So it is even true with existentialism that Socrates has been considered to be the first existentialist. Socrates statement: “I am and always have been a man to obey nothing in my nature except the reasoning which upon reflection, appears to be the best.” Right from Plato down to Descartes, the majority of western thinkers have believed in the immutability of ideas and the rest of the thinkers have been suggesting correctives to it. Anyhow their frame of reference has always been ‘Essence Precedes Existence’, essence being referred to ideas, values, ideals, thoughts, etc. and existence being referred to our lives.

Emergence of Existentialism as a movement

Modern existentialism reproduced such ideas and combined them in more or less coherent ways. Human existence is, for all the forms of existentialism, the projection of the future on the basis of the possibilities that constitute it. For some existentialists , the existential possibilities, inasmuch as they are rooted in the past, merely lead every project for the future back to the past, so that only what has already been chosen can be chosen . For others , the possibilities that are offered to existential choice are infinite and equivalent, such that the choice between them is indifferent; and for still others , the existential possibilities are limited by the situation, but they neither determine the choice nor render it indifferent. The issue is one of individuating, in every concrete situation and by means of a specific inquiry, the real possibilities offered to humans. For all the existentialists, however, the choice among possibilities—i.e., the projection of existence—implies risks, renunciation, and limitation. Among the risks, the most serious is the descent into inauthenticity or alienation, the degradation from being a person into being a thing. Against that risk, for the theological forms of existentialism , there is the guarantee of transcendent help from God, which in its turn is guaranteed by faith.

Existentialism, consequently, by insisting on the individuality and nonrepeatability of existence , is sometimes led to regard one’s coexistence with other humans (held to be, however, an ineluctable fact of the human situation) as a condemnation or alienation of humanity. Marcel said that all that exists in society beyond the individual is “expressible by a minus sign,” and Sartre affirmed, in his major work , that “the Other is the hidden death of my possibilities.” For other forms of existentialism, however, a coexistence that is not anonymous  but grounded on personal communication is the condition of authentic existence.

Existentialism has had ramifications in various areas of contemporary culture. In literature, Franz Kafka, author of haunting novels, walking in Kierkegaard’s footsteps, described human existence as the quest for a stable, secure, and radiant reality that continually eludes it  or as threatened by a guilty verdict about which it knows neither the reason nor the circumstances but against which it can do nothing—a verdict that ends with death .

The theses of contemporary existentialism were then diffused and popularized by the novels and plays of Sartre and by the writings of the French novelists and dramatists Simone de Beauvoir—an important philosopher of existentialism in her own right—and Albert Camus.

Existentialism made its entrance into psychopathology through Jaspers’s Allgemeine Psychopathologie (1913; General Psychopathology), which was inspired by the need to understand the world in which the mental patient lives by means of a sympathetic participation in his experience. Later, the Swiss psychiatrist Ludwig Binswanger, in one of his celebrated works), inspired by Heidegger’s thought, viewed the origin of mental illness as a failure in the existential possibilities that constitute human existence. From Jaspers and Binswanger, the existentialist current became diffused and variously stated in contemporary psychiatry.

In theology, Barth started the “Kierkegaard revival,” the emblem of which was expressed by Barth himself; it is “the relation of this God with this man; the relation of this man with this God—this is the only theme of the Bible and of philosophy.” Within the bounds of that current, on the one hand, there was an insistence upon the absolute transcendence of God with respect to the individual, who could place himself in relationship with God only by denying himself and by abandoning himself to a gratuitously granted faith. On the other hand, there was the requirement to demythologize the religious content of faith, particularly of the Christian faith, in order to allow the message of the eschatological event (of salvation) to emerge from among human existential possibilities.

Theoretical Rationale of Existentialism

Rather than attempt to define existentialism (which existentialists themselves maintain is futile it might to be better to determine what the task of philosophy is according to the proponents of this school of thought. First of all, the existentialist does not concern himself with problems concerning the nature, origin, and destiny of the physical universe. The philosopher should not even concern himself with the basic assumptions of the physical or biological sciences.

Metaphysical Position

Concept of God

Frederic Nietzsche’s statement, “God is dead,” succinctly expresses the atheistic existentialist’s view on the issue of the existence of a supernatural realm. Nietzsche says: Where is God gone? I mean to tell you! We have killed him – you and I! Do we not here the noise of the grave – diggers who are burying God? God is dead! God remains dead! And we have killed! …. The holiest and the mightiest that the world has hitherto possessed had bled to death under our knife – …. What are our churches now, if they are not the tombs and monuments of God?

Assume that God exists and is all-powerful & all-knowing & all-good. Then also assume that evil exists in the world. Then God is either responsible for the existence of evil, in which case God is Himself evil & not all-good; or else God is not responsible for the existence of evil & yet knew that it was going to happen & couldn’t prevent it–so God is not all-powerful; or else God would have prevented evil but didn’t know it was going to happen, and is therefore not all-knowing. So given evil, God is either not all-good, not all-powerful, not all-knowing, or does not exist.

Concept of Self

Man is nothing else but what he makes of himself. Such is the first principle of existentialism.” Jean Paul Sartre

The very question of the nature of man is a meaningless one for the existentialist. In both of the sections above it was emphasized that man has no “nature” as such but rather that he must create his own essence. The uniqueness of man comes from his emotions, feelings, perception and thinking. The philosophy of existentialism stresses meaning, only through development of meaning in his life; man can make something of the absurdity which surrounds him. Man is the maker, and, therefore, the master of culture. It is man who imposes a meaning on his universe, although that universe may well function without him. Man cannot be ‘taught’ what the world is about. He must create this for himself.

Man is not alone in the world. He is connected to other men; he communicates with others; therefore, he cannot live in a state of anarchy. Life is seen as a gift, which, in part is a mystery. Man is free to choose commitments in life, in his choice, he becomes himself. He is the product of his choices. He is, therefore, an individual who is different from other persons.

Second, individual man is not bound to other men by any predetermined notion of brotherhood or by allegiance to a certain group. On the contrary, each man should express his freedom in the creation of his own selfhood, first by “withdrawing from the crowd,” and then by communicating only with those whom he personally chooses . Sartre feels that the entire network of social life is anti-individual. Churches, schools, political parties, and even the family tend to militate against man’s absolute freedom.

Epistemological position

The existentialist approach  to knowledge is known as the phenomenological method. The atheistic existentialists inherited this method from Husserl. It was adapted further by Heidegger and Sartre to suit their philosophy of “will and action,” especially as it concerns the individual… The phenomenological method consists in the expression of the experiences of consciousness through the media of ordinary language

Existentialists have given little attention to inductive reasoning. Science, they believe, has been one of the major dehumanizing forces in the modern world

In opposition to this cold impersonal approach to knowledge, the existentialist argues that true knowledge is “choosing, actions, living, and dying.”

Axiological position

Existential ethics

Kierkegaard reacted to this way of thinking by saying that it was up to the individual to find his or her own moral perfection and his or her own way there. “I must find the truth that is the truth for me . . . the idea for which I can live or die” he wrote.

Authenticity & human freedom

Existentialists have a special connotation of the Authentic man According to the existentialists, becoming authentic allows one to determine how things are to count towards one’s situation and how one is to act in relation to them.

Generally the existentialists consider authentic individuals to take responsibility for determining and choosing possibilities and not to simply become a determined product of a cultural moment. One can choose one’s own identity and possibilities rather than have these dictated by the crowd.

According to existential ethics the highest good for humans is “becoming an individual or “authenticity” = psychological coherence + integrity = not merely being alive but having a real life by being true to yourself

In authenticity & human unfreedom the failure to choose in this way, or the failure to take full responsibility for one’s choices, is “inauthenticity” = psychic incoherence + lack of integrity. Accordingly, the worst thing of all is in authenticity & unfreedom, so it is morally impermissible.

The very essence of good is choosing.It seems them, that man never chooses evil. A man “becomes a man” when he makes choice. When he makes choices he creates his own values. When he creates his own values, he creates his own being or essence.


Another distinctive feature of the aesthetical views of existentialists lies in their use of the art forms, especially literature, drama, and painting, as media for communicating philosophical doctrines.

Problems of existentialist philosophy

The key problems for existentialism are those of the individual himself, of his situation in the world, and of his more ultimate significance.

Humanity and human relationships

Existentialist anthropology is strictly connected with its ontology. The traditional distinction between mind and body (or soul and body) is completely eliminated; thus, the body is a lived-through experience that is an integral part of human existence in its relationship with the world. According to Sartre, “In each project of the For-itself, in each perception the body is there; it is the immediate Past in so far as it still touches on the Present which flees it.” As such, however, the body is not reduced to a datum of consciousness, to subjective representation. Consciousness, according to Sartre, is constant openness toward the world, a transcendent relationship with other beings and thereby with the in-itself. Consciousness is existence itself, or, as Jaspers says, it is “the manifestation of being.” In order to avoid any subjectivistic equivocation, Heidegger went so far as to renounce the use of the term consciousness, preferring the term Dasein, which is more appropriate for designating human reality in its totality. For the same reasons, the traditional opposition between subject and object, or between the self and the nonself, loses all sense. Dasein is always particular and individual. It is always a self; but it is also always a project of the world that includes the self, determining or conditioning its modes of being.

All of the existentialists are in agreement on the difficulty of communication—i.e., of well-grounded intersubjective relationships. Jaspers is perhaps the one to insist most on the relationship between truth and communication. Truths are and can be different from existence. But if fanaticism and dogmatism are avoided on the one hand while relativism and skepticism are avoided on the other, then the only other way is a constant confrontation between the different truths through an always more extended and deepened intersubjective communication.

Sartre, however, denied that there is authentic communication. According to him, consciousness is not only the nullification of things but also the nullification of the other person as other. To look at another person is to make of him a thing.

The human situation in the world

Heidegger pointed to the foundation of the intersubjective relationship in dread. When a person decides to escape from the banality of anonymous existence—which hides the nothingness of existence, or the nonreality of its possibilities, behind the mask of daily concerns—his understanding of that nothingness leads him to choose the only unconditioned and insurmountable possibility that belongs to him: death. The possibility of death, unlike the possibilities that relate him to other things and to other humans, isolates him. It is a certain possibility, not through its apodictic evidence but because it continuously weighs upon existence. To understand that possibility means to decide for it, to acknowledge “the possibility of the impossibility of any existence at all” and to live for death. The emotive tonality that accompanies such understanding is dread, through which the individual feels himself to be “face to face with the ‘nothing’ of the possible impossibility of [his] existence.”

But neither the understanding of death nor its emotive accompaniment opens up a specific task, a way to transform one’s own situation in the world. They enable one only to perceive the common destiny to which all humans are subject; and they offer, therefore, the possibility of remaining faithful to that destiny and of freely accepting the necessity that all humans have in common. In that fidelity consists the historicity of existence, which is the repetition of tradition, the return to the possibilities from which existence had earlier been constituted, the wanting for the future what has been in the past.

It has been said that a coherent existentialism should avoid the constant mortal leap between Being and Nothingness; should not confuse the problematic character of existence with the fall into factuality; should not confuse the finitude of possibilities with resignation to the situation, choice with determinism, freedom conditioned by the limits of the situation with the acknowledgment of the omnipresent necessity of the Whole. In that inquiry, it is held, existentialism could well benefit from a more attentive consideration of science, which it has viewed only as a preparatory, imperfect, and objectifying knowledge in comparison with the authentic understanding of Being, which it considers to be a more fundamental mode of the being of humans in the world. 

From that point of view, there is always a certain freedom in situations, although its degree varies from situation to situation.

Significance of Being and transcendence

Heidegger came more and more to insist on the massive presence of Being in the face of human existence, by attributing to Being all initiative and to humans only the possibility of abandoning themselves to Being and to the things that are the modes of the language of Being. For Heidegger, Being is interpreted better through the etymology of those words that designate the most common things of daily life than through the analysis of existential possibilities.

Problems of existentialist theology

Existentialism has a theological dimension. Jaspers, in his last writings, emphasized more and more the religious character of faith in transcendence. Faith is the way to withdraw from the world and to resume contact with the Being that is beyond the world. Faith is life itself, in that it returns to the encompassing Whole and allows itself to be guided and fulfilled by it. Jaspers even developed a theology of history. He spoke of an axial age, which he placed between the 8th and 2nd centuries BCE, the age in which the great religions and the great philosophers of the Orient arose—Confucius and Laozi, the Upanishads, Buddha, Zoroaster, the great prophets of Israel—and in Greece the age of Homer and of Classical philosophy as well as Thucydides and Archimedes. In that age, for the first time, humans became aware of Being in general, of themselves, and of their limits. The age in which humans now live, that of science and technology, is perhaps the beginning of a new axial age that is the authentic destiny of humans but a destiny that is far off and unimaginable.

For Bultmann, the theologian of the demythologization of Christianity, inauthentic existence is tied to the past, to fact, to the world, while authentic existence is open to the future, to the nonfact, to the nonworld—i.e., to the end of the world and to God. Thus, authentic existence is not the self-projection of humans in the world but, rather, the self-projection of humans in the love of and obedience to God. But that self-projection is no longer the work of human freedom; it is the saving event that enters miraculously through faith into the future possibilities of humans.

In such theological speculations and in others that are comparable, the common presupposition of the existentialists is recognized.

Kierkegaard had earlier distinguished three stages of existence between which there is neither development nor continuity but gaps and jumps: the aesthetic stage is the one in which one lives for the pleasure of the moment; the ethical stage is the one based on the stability and continuity of life in work and in matrimony; and the religious stage is the one characterized by faith, which is always a “dreadful certainty”—i.e., a dread that becomes certain of a hidden relationship with God.

The ethical and religious stages correspond roughly to what Heideggerand Jaspers called, respectively, the inauthenticity and the authenticity of existence. Art was not as a rule recognized by modern existentialists as an autonomous stage; it was almost always for them an essential manifestation of existence itself

From that point of view, art would be a way of reshaping the world beyond its factual forms, in order that it might show their negative and troublesome characteristics. The directions of contemporary art that have deliberately forsaken the imitation of reality find their justification in that point of view.

Methodological Issues In Existentialism

The methods that existentialists employ in their interpretations have a presupposition in common: the immediacy of the relationship between the interpreter and the interpreted, between the interrogator and the interrogated, between the problem of being and Being itself..

Each existentialist thinker has defended and worked out his own method for the interpretation of existence. Heidegger, an existentialist with ontological concerns, availed himself of the philosophy of Edmund Husserl, the founder of phenomenology, The phenomenon is, from Heidegger’s point of view, not mere appearance, but the manifestation or disclosure of Being in itself. Phenomenology is thus capable of disclosing the structure of Being and hence is an ontologyof which the point of departure is the being of the one who poses the question about Being, namely, the human being.

Jaspers, an authority in psychopathology as well as in the philosophy of human existence, employed the method of the rational clarification of existence; he maintained that existence, as the quest for Being, is humanity’s effort of rational self-understanding, or universalizing, and of communicating—a method that presupposes that existence and reason are the two poles of the being of humans.

According to Sartre, the foremost philosopher of mid-20th-century France, the method of philosophy is existential psychoanalysis—i.e., the analysis of the “fundamental project” in which human existence consists. In contrast to the precepts of Freudian psychoanalysis, which stop short at the irreducibility of the libido, or primitive psychic drive, existential psychoanalysis tries to determine the “original choice” through which humans construct their world and decide in a preliminary way upon particular choices .

According to Marcel, the method of philosophy depends upon a recognition of the mystery of Being ; The Mystery of Being)—i.e., of the impossibility of discovering Being through objective or rational analyses or demonstrations. Philosophy should lead humanity up, however, to the point of making possible “the productive illumination of Revelation.”

According to humanistic existentialism, as represented by Abbagnano and Merleau-Ponty, the method of philosophy consists of the analysis and the determination—by employing all available techniques, including those of science—of the structures that constitute existence—i.e., of the relations that connect the individual with other beings and that figure, therefore, not only in the constitution of the individual but in the constitution of other beings as well.

Evaluation of Existentialism

The evaluation of existentialism has been quite negative. Some even view it as an ant philosophical movement. Others, however, do not take such a dismal view of it. James Collins believes that it is a challenging and instructive philosophy. It embodies a legitimate continuation of several important European traditions and addresses itself to vital problems of the greatest contemporary moment for both philosophy and life . Perhaps the somewhat morbid popular interest in the personality of Sartre may be advanced as an excuse for not giving careful hearing to the arguments of the existentialists


After studying the philosophy of Existentialism, the question will arise in anybody’s mind: how can the aims, curricula and methods in a school depend upon the individual’s choice and freedom? Organization of such a programmed would be impossible and bring about chaos.

The teacher’s individual relationship and close understanding of every pupil’s personality would require a great deal of time and effort.

The concepts of ‘Being’, ‘meaning’, ‘Person’ are not very clear and appear nebulous. It is not easy to build up an educational programmed when the terminology for the objectives of the educational process is not clear…

Educational standards and practices that manipulate the child’s behaviors in an arbitrary manner violate the principle of free choice.

Many teaching practices, testing procedures, and bureaucratic system of classifying children may be questioned.

Teachers who have learned to provide existential encounters for their students enable the learners, “to create meanings in a cosmos devoid of objective meaning to find reasons for being in a society with fewer and fewer open doors.”

There are some major areas of conflict between atheistic existentialism and traditional. The former’s complete denial of any forces outside the “human situation” and its rejection of any essential characteristic in man are contrary to traditional metaphysical beliefs. The radical subjectivity of existentialist epistemology, ethics, and aesthetics is also not in harmony with both traditional and many modern views of these issues.

Other limitations of existentialism lessen the acceptability of this school of thought as a philosophy for modern man. The most glaring one seems to be the naïve view the existentialists take of the “social realities” of the modern industrial, urban world. They offer no social theory for solving the complex problems of our scientific age Thus proposals for “individual living “ might appeal to the hermit or the frontiersman but they are of little help to the people who must spend their lives in large cities, work for large companies, worship in large congregations, and even recreate in crowds.. Man is responsible, not only for himself but for his fellowmen.

Yet another weakness might be noted in existentialist philosophy which limits its application to the modern world, namely, the neglect of the scientific mode of knowing in their general theory of knowledge. After all, this is the “age of science” and complete philosophy of life cannot relegate the philosophy of science to a position of minor importance.

As an educational philosophy, existentialism, at least in its present form, does not provide an adequate basis for educational theory. Perhaps this state of affairs is due to the fact that most existentialists have given no serious consideration to the development of the educational implications of their fundamental philosophical tenets.

There is no place in existentialist philosophy for social theory as developed within the other philosophies The existentialist often is accused of being “antisocial” in his behavior as well as in his philosophy. If existentialists have no theory of society, it might be more accurate to ask how they view other men. First, they would grant to others the same existential freedom which they demand for themselves. That is, man is never to be viewed as a means but rather as an end.

The school itself has become a place where the individual is “socialized” so that he can be a good group member, a good citizen rather than a good person. If existentialism does nothing else but bring about a proper balance between the individual and society, it will have merited the praise of educators.

The existential view of development is not without its critics, many of whom view of theory and its practices as representing a neurotic, narcissistic philosophy of pain and anguish.


In contrast, existentialism’s protagonists see it as the only hope for human survival as in existentialism.   Since existentialism is optimistic, the preaches the doctrine of action and emphasizes the concept of freedom, responsibility and choice, it has exerted an increasing appeal to the educator, who has been shown the new horizons

Interest is directed on the ‘man’ – his genuine or authentic self, his choices made with full responsibility of consequences, and freedom. It describes and diagnoses human weaknesses, limitations and conflicts

Man cannot be explained by reason as the idealists emphasize. It traces the origin of all these and anticipates that man will overcome them. These arise; they say when a man comes to have a sense of meaninglessness of his life.

They do not want man to be philistine (one whose interests are material and common place) or mediocre who submerges himself. They want the ‘transcendence’ of man, which means that he should become more and more ‘authentic’.

“Because I exist, because I think, therefore, I think that I exist.” According to the statement ‘I think’ it is clear that ‘I’ exists and it has existence. ‘I’ that exists is always subjective and not objective. Now the person because of knowing the object does not desire to know the object, but he emerges himself in knowing the self. Kierkegaard





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PHILOSOPHY and SCIENCE – Two sides of the same coin


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


Science and philosophy have always learned from each other. Philosophy tirelessly draws from scientific discoveries fresh strength, material for broad generalizations, while to the sciences it imparts the world-view and methodological impulses of its universal principles. Many general guiding ideas that lie at the foundation of modern science were first enunciated by the perceptive force of philosophical thought.

The Concept of Science

The word `Science ` is derived from the Latin word termed as “Scientia” which has the meaning ` to Know `. Science can be defined in a number of ways.

Science has been defined as a body of knowledge obtained by scientists. The body of knowledge includes facts, concepts, theories and laws that are subjected to rigorous testing. Scientific information is constantly modified, rearrange and reoriented in the light of recent developments.

According to the Columbia dictionary “Science is an accumulated & systematized learning, in general usage restricted to natural phenomenon.”

According to ‘Science Manpower Project’, “Science is a cumulative and endless series of empirical observation which result in the formation of concepts & theories, with both concepts & theories being subject of modification in the light of further empirical observation. Science is both a body of knowledge & the process of acquiring & refining knowledge.”

According to Griggs, “In the literal sense science means the pursuit of knowledge but it has a wider connotation for our purpose, and can be said to mean a knowledge of nature in the widest possible form.”

The Characteristics of Science

Six Criteria of Science: Consistent, Observable, Natural, Predictable, Testable, and Tentative.

1. Consistency: The results of repeated observations and/or experiments concerning a naturally occurring  phenomenon are reasonably the same when performed and repeated by competent investigators.

2. Observability: Evidence of the occurrence of the event, can be observed and explained. The observations are limited to the basic human senses or to extensions of the senses by such things as electron microscopes etc.

3. Natural: A natural cause  must be used to explain why or how the naturally occurring event happens. Scientists may not use supernatural explanations as to why or how naturally occurring events happen because reference to the supernatural is outside of the realm of science.

4. Predictability: The natural cause  of the naturally occurring event can be used to make specific predictions. Each prediction can be tested to determine if the prediction is true of false.

5. Testability: The natural cause  of the naturally occurring event must be testable through the processes of science, controlled experimentation being only one of these. Reference to supernatural events or causes are not relevant tests.

6. Tentativeness: Scientific theories are subject to revision and correction, even to the point of the theory being proven wrong. Scientific theories have been modified and will continue to be modified to consistently explain observations of naturally occurring events.

Basis of Science

Science share certain basic beliefs and attitudes about what they do and how they view their work.

The World Is Understandable

Science presumes that the things and events in the universe occur in consistent patterns that are comprehensible through careful, systematic study. Scientists believe that through the use of the intellect, and with the aid of instruments that extend the senses, people can discover patterns in all of nature.

Science also assumes that the universe is, as its name implies, a vast single system in which the basic rules are everywhere the same.

Scientific Ideas Are Subject To Change

Science is a process for producing knowledge. The process depends both on making careful observations of phenomena and on inventing theories for making sense out of those observations. Change in knowledge is inevitable because new observations may challenge prevailing theories.

Scientific Knowledge Is Durable

Although scientists reject the notion of attaining absolute truth and accept some uncertainty as part of nature, most scientific knowledge is durable. The modification of ideas, rather than their outright rejection, is the norm in science, as powerful constructs tend to survive and grow more precise and to become widely accepted

Science Cannot Provide Complete Answers to all  matters

There are many matters that cannot usefully be examined in a scientific way. There are, for instance, beliefs that—by their very nature—cannot be proved or disproved (such as the existence of supernatural powers and beings, or the true purposes of life).

Scientific inquiry

Fundamentally, the various scientific disciplines are alike in their reliance on evidence, the use of hypothesis and theories, the kinds of logic used, and much more.

Scientific inquiry is not easily described apart from the context of particular investigations. There simply is no fixed set of steps that scientists always follow, no one path that leads them unerringly to scientific knowledge.

Science Demands Evidence

Sooner or later, the validity of scientific claims is settled by referring to observations of phenomena. Hence, scientists concentrate on getting accurate data. Such evidence is obtained by observations and measurements taken in situations that range from natural settings (such as a forest) to completely contrived ones (such as the laboratory

Science Is a Blend of Logic and Imagination

The use of logic and the close examination of evidence are necessary but not usually sufficient for the advancement of science. Scientific concepts do not emerge automatically from data or from any amount of analysis alone. Inventing hypotheses or theories to imagine how the world works and then figuring out how they can be put to the test of reality is as creative as writing poetry, composing music, or designing skyscrapers.

Science Explains and Predicts

The essence of science is validation by observation. But it is not enough for scientific theories to fit only the observations that are already known. Theories should also fit additional observations that were not used in formulating the theories in the first place; that is, theories should have predictive power. Demonstrating the predictive power of a theory does not necessarily require the prediction of events in the future. The predictions may be about evidence from the past that has not yet been found or studied.

Scientists Try to Identify and Avoid Bias

When faced with a claim that something is true, scientists respond by asking what evidence supports it. But scientific evidence can be biased in how the data are interpreted, in the recording or reporting of the data, or even in the choice of what data to consider in the first place. Scientists’ nationality, sex, ethnic origin, age, political convictions, and so on may incline them to look for or emphasize one or another kind of evidence or interpretation.

Bias attributable to the investigator, the sample, the method, or the instrument may not be completely avoidable in every instance, but scientists want to know the possible sources of bias and how bias is likely to influence evidence. Scientists want, and are expected, to be as alert to possible bias in their own work as in that of other scientists, although such objectivity is not always achieved.

Science Is not Authoritarian

It is appropriate in science, as elsewhere, to turn to knowledgeable sources of information and opinion, usually people who specialize in relevant disciplines. But esteemed authorities have been wrong many times in the history of science. In the long run, no scientist, however famous or highly placed, is empowered to decide for other scientists what is true, for none are believed by other scientists to have special access to the truth. There are no pre-established conclusions that scientists must reach on the basis of their investigations. When someone comes up with a new or improved version that explains more phenomena or answers more important questions than the previous version, the new one eventually takes its place.

The Nature of Science

The nature of science is a multifaceted concept that defies simple definition. It includes aspects of history, sociology, and philosophy of science, and has variously been defined as science epistemology, the characteristics of scientific knowledge, and science as a way of knowing.

The “Nature of Science” consists of those seldom-taught but very important features of working science, e.g., its realm and limits, its levels of uncertainty, its biases, its social aspects, and the reasons for its reliability. Popular ignorance of these features of science has lead to many misuses, misrepresentations and abuses of science.

Science has its limits; it cannot be used to solve any kind of problem. Science can only address natural phenomena (not supernatural phenomena, as such), and only natural explanations can be used in science. Supernatural or magical explanations cannot be definitively or reliably tested . Natural explanations are testable (open to being disproved) by being shown not to consistently follow the rules of nature. The fact that the most highly credible concepts in science today have survived such critical testing attests to the practical reliability of scientific knowledge and the processes of science that created that knowledge.

Problems that require subjective, political, religious, ethical or esthetic judgment are generally beyond the power of science. Science can be used to shed light on such issues, but it seldom provides any final answers.

Scientific knowledge is inherently uncertain. What we know in science is only with a relative level of confidence – a particular degree of probability. Many ideas in science have been extensively tested and found to be highly reliable, as close to a fact as an idea can be. Others are merely speculative hunches, awaiting suitable testing to measure their respective probabilities.

Science can be done poorly, and it can be misused. There are many variations of medical quackery, false advertising and other types of “pseudoscience,” where unconfirmed claims are presented as “scientific fact” to “prove” a flood of discredited assertions about a whole range of seemingly mysterious phenomena.

Science is a very social process. It is done by people working together collaboratively. Its procedures, results and analyses must be shared with the scientific community, and the public, through conferences and peer-reviewed publications. These communications are critically assessed by the science community, where errors, oversights and fraud can be exposed, while confirmation and consilience can be achieved to strengthen its findings. Being done by people, science is also subject to any of the biases that its workers have, but its openness to critical science community oversight tends to expose those biases when they have been allowed to creep in.

Science is not only hands-on; it is ‘minds-on’ as well. When hands are on, the students are allowed to perform science as they construct meaning and acquire understanding. Similarly minds are on with the activities which focus on core concepts, allowing students to develop thinking processes and encouraging them to question and seek answers, enhance their knowledge and thereby help to acquire an understanding of the physical universe in which they live (NCISE, 1991 and NCTM,.

Concept of Philosophy

Since philosophy is the art which teaches us how to live, and since children need to learn it as much as we do at other ages, why do we not instruct them in it? .. But in truth I know nothing about the philosophy of education except this: that the greatest and the most important difficulty known to human learning seems to lie in that area which treats how to bring up children and how to educate them.
(de Montaigne, On teaching Philosophy of Education)

Each philosophy reflects a unique view of what is good and what is important. In this sense, philosophy is the system of beliefs about life.

The literal meaning of philosophy is the love of wisdom which is derived from the Greek word “Philos” (Love) and Sophia (Wisdom). Wisdom does not merely mean knowledge. It is a continuous seeking of insight into basic realities – the physical world, life, mind, society, knowledge and values.

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.

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

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.

“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  are the ability to analyze, to question orthodoxies and to express things clearly .

The three great problems of philosophy are the problems of reality, knowledge, and value-Philosophy deals with these in three aspects-

What Aspects- deals with Meta-physics

Metaphysics :

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

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. 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.

Branches of Metaphysics:

Aristotle’s book on metaphysics was divided into three sections: ontology, theology, and universal science.

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.”

Theology, of course, is the study of gods — does a god exist, what a god is, what a god wants, etc.

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.

Metaphysics - Theories of the nature of reality-


A .Cosmology. Theories of the nature of the cosmos and explanations of its origin and development

B. . Conception of and about God.

The different point of views in this area are :.Atheism. There is no ultimate reality in or behind the cosmos which is Person or Spirit.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.Pantheism. All is God and God is all. The cosmos and God are identical.Polytheism. Spiritual reality is plural rather than a unity. Thee is more than one God.Theism. Ultimate reality is a personal God who is more than the cosmos but within whom and through the cosmos exists.

C. Teleology.

Considerations as to whether or not there is purpose in the universe. Considerations relating to the constancy, or lack of it, in reality. It includes, Absolutism( Fundamental reality is constant, unchanging, fixed, and dependable.) and Relativism( Reality is a changing thing. So called realities are always relative to something or other.)

D. Problems of quantity.

Consideration of the number of ultimate realities, Apart from qualitative aspects.It includes Monism( Reality is unified. It is one.) Dualism( Reality are two. Usually these realities are antithetical, as spirit and matter, good and evil.)  and .Pluralism. ( Reality is many.)

E. Ontology.

The meaning of existence as such, it deals with: Space-time or Nature as identical with existence. Spirit or God as identical with existence. Existence as a category which is not valid. 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.

How Aspects- deals with Epistemology

Epistemology is important because it is fundamental to how we think. Epistemology is based on:Empiricism( knowledge is obtained through experience. The position, or sense-perceptual experience, is the medium through which knowledge is gained.) Rationalism ( knowledge can be acquired through the use of reason. Intuitionism-(A position that knowledge is gained through immediate insight and awareness  ). Autoritarionism  (The position that much important knowledge is certified to us by an indisputable authority.)and Reveleation –( The 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 is the science of exact thought. The systematic treatment of the relation of ideas. A study of methods distinguishing valid thinking.  Logic is concerned with the various forms of reasoning and arriving at genuine conclusions. It includes the system of statements and arguments. Logic is slightly different than the other branches as it aims to suggest the correct ways of studying philosophy in general.The genral forms of logic are:

Induction.( Reasoning from particulars to a general conclusion.)

Deduction.( Reasoning from general principle to particular)

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

What ought to be aspects -deals with Axiology:

It’s the general theory of value, the nature of values, the different kinds of value, specific values worthy of possession, the inquiry into the nature, criteria, and metaphysical status of value. Axiology, in turn, is divided into two main parts: ethics and aesthetics.

Ethics. :

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 problems of good, right, duty, virtue, and choice; the study of the principles of living well and doing well as a human being.

Forms of Ethics

Optimism.( Existence is good. Life is worth living.)

Pessimism.( Existence is evil. Life is not worth the struggle;)

Meliorism.( Conclusions as to the goodness or evil of existence cannot be made final. Human effort may improve the human situation.). The highest good or summum bonum.( The end, aim, or objective of living which is above all other ends.).

Hedonism.( The highest good is pleasure. Hedonist ranging from the intense pleasure of the moment to highly refined and enduring pleasure or contentment.) .Perfectionism.( The highest good is the perfection of the self, or self-realization.).


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.

The Relationship between Science and Philosophy

In many  areas  philosophy and science seems alike, Both of them are interested in knowledge, both of them asks questions and seek to determine answers, both of them uses inquiry and investigation and for both  the goal is knowledge.

The total concept of philosophy and science can be summarized in two .words- ‘IS’ and ‘OUGHT’- There is a relationship between “is” and “ought” — that what is, determines what one ought to do. Because people think that science identifies the “is” and philosophy says what we “ought” to do, that science (the “is”) determines philosophy (the “ought”). This is an error because science can only identify what “is” in terms defined by philosophy, and for reasons defined by philosophy. Science is a tool for man to accomplish goals, and is preceded by philosophic conclusions.

The concept “is” is defined through the axiom of existence. The law of existence states that “existence exists”, or that “what is, is”. Without this philosophic premise, science cannot begin to ask the question, “What is there in the universe?”

The historical relationship between science and philosophy has not been a friendly one. We’ve all seen philosophy at its worst.  Philosophers are often completely disconnected from reality and, more recently, don’t care.  Rationalism, the view that only deductive  knowledge is really reliable, is commonplace.  Philosophers often expound their ideas from armchairs and ivory towers, where the facts of reality don’t concern them Can philosophy develop by itself, without the support of science? Can science “work” without philosophy? Some people think that the sciences can stand apart from philosophy, that the scientist should actually avoid philosophizing, the latter often being understood as groundless and generally vague theorizing. If the term philosophy is he given such a poor interpretation, then of course anyone would agree with the warning “Physics, beware of metaphysics!” But no such warning applies to philosophy in the higher sense of the term. The specific sciences cannot and should not break their connections with true philosophy.

Now a day’s some people believes that science has reached such a level of theoretical thought that it no longer needs philosophy. But the  scientists, particularly the theoreticians, knows in their heart that their creative activity is closely linked with philosophy and that without serious knowledge of philosophical culture the results of that activity cannot become theoretically effective. All the outstanding theoreticians have themselves been guided by philosophical thought and tried to inspire their students with its beneficent influence in order to make them specialists capable of comprehensively and critically analyzing all the principles and systems known to science, discovering their internal contradictions and overcoming them by means of new concepts.

Real scientists, and the scientists with a powerful theoretical grasp, have never turned their backs on philosophy. Truly scientific thought is philosophical to the core, just as truly philosophical thought is profoundly scientific, rooted in the sum-total of scientific achievements Philosophical training gives the scientist a breadth and penetration, a wider scope in posing and resolving problems.

If we trace the whole history of natural and social science, we cannot fail to notice that scientists in their specific researches, in constructing hypotheses and theories have constantly applied, sometimes unconsciously, world-views and methodological principles, categories and logical systems today evolved by philosophers and absorbed by scientists in the process of their training and self-education. All scientists who think in terms of theory constantly speak of this with a deep feeling of gratitude both in their works.  So the connection between philosophy and science is mutual and characterized by their ever deepening interaction.

Philosophy is not simply an abstract science. It also possesses an evaluative aspect, its moral principles. Science has given man a lot of things, but ethics or, to put it more bluntly, conscience, is not one of them. The evaluative, axiological and aesthetic aspects are also important for science.

The most general purpose of science is to produce useful models of reality Indeed; the very purpose of science is a philosophic purpose! Man constructs the sciences in order to further man’s life. Physics, astronomy, psychology, sociology, and all sciences exist in order to make man’s life easier, more productive, and ultimately more pleasurable. If it were not for the philosophic premise that happiness is man’s goal, man would have no need for the sciences at all, and would never engage in their study.

The physical sciences, such as physics, can and must use mathematics as the means of inducing new discoveries. But mathematics itself presupposes a litany of philosophic conclusions, such as the law of existence and the law of identity. The numeral “1″, for example, is an abstraction representing the law of existence — that a singular thing exists as apart from the rest of the universe. Thus counting, multiplying, and all math are derived from and based upon a philosophic conclusion — the conclusion that entities exist apart from other entities — and could not exist without it.

The relationship between the two fields can be marked all the more clearly be distinguishing the respective methods of science and philosophy.

The methods of science are observation, experimentation, description, and explanation of the immediate relations of facts. The method of philosophy involves interpretation and explanation of the ultimate relations and meaning of facts.

The philosopher’s method on the other hand is more inclusive. He takes given facts and pointing to their relations to the totality of our experience, suggests their meaning for life. He infers from the facts of human experience, the nature of the universe the meaning and purpose of living. Whereas the method of scientist is descriptive and observational, his method is interpretative

A methodology is a system of principles and general ways of organizing and structuring theoretical and practical activity, and also the theory of this system. As philosophy emerged, methodology became a special target of cognition and could be defined as a system of socially approved rules and standards of intellectual and practical activity. These rules and standards had to be aligned with the objective logic of events, with the properties and laws of phenomena. The problems of accumulating and transmitting experience called for a certain formalization of the principles and precepts, the techniques and operations involved in activity itself.

In science, methodology often decides the fate of a research project. Different approaches may lead to opposite conclusions being drawn from one and the same factual material.

Describing the role of correct method in scientific cognition, philosophers have compared it to a torch illuminating the road for the traveler in darkness. Even a lame man who chooses the right road will arrive ahead of the aimless wanderer. It goes without saying that method in itself cannot guarantee success in research. Not only a good method but skill in applying it is required.

Science uses induction as its method, and renames it the “scientific method”. Beginning with already established knowledge, a scientist asks the question: what do these facts suggest? He then constructs experiments to test his theories and discover the answers. But induction is only valid as a means of knowledge if philosophy can confirm it. Induction must be valid in order for the scientific method to be valid. There is no way to validate induction through any means other than a philosophic one, because you cannot use induction to prove induction (i.e. the fallacy of self-reference). Thus, math cannot be used, nor can any other scientific (i.e. inductive) process be used to do so. Only philosophy can answer the question: is induction valid? And thus, philosophic identification and validation is presupposed by all science, since science is applied induction.

Until modern times, however, the problems of methodology had no independent place in the system of knowledge and arose only in the context of logical and natural philosophical arguments. Scientific progress is not limited to the accumulation of knowledge. It is also a process of evolving new means of seeking knowledge. The rapid advance of natural science called for radical changes in methodology. This need was reflected in new principles of methodology and corresponding philosophical ideas, both rationalistic and empirical, directed against scholasticism. According to Galileo, scientific knowledge, by uniting the inductive and deductive methods, should be based on planned, accurate mental and practical experiment

Another classification relies on different methods of qualitative and quantitative study of reality. One or another method makes it possible to know only separate aspects of the object of research. In order to comprehend all the essential aspects of the object, there must be complementarily of methods. The whole system of methodological knowledge necessarily involves a world-view interpretation of the basis of the research and its results. It should be stressed that general methodology is always at work in the brain of every scientist but, as a rule, it is kept in obscurity, as the intellectual background of a searching mind. This obscurity is sometimes so complete that the scientist may even deny that he acts according to any philosophical methodology, and insist that he is in general free of any philosophy. But this is merely an illusion of the consciousness.

As far as proof, science alone cannot prove anything. The concept of proof itself rests upon the foundation of an array of philosophic conclusions, such as consciousness and the fact that knowledge of the truth is possible. Without philosophy, there could be no such thing as “proof”, and science would have no purpose.

Philosophy tells us whether existence exists or not, it tells us what that existence means to man, it tells us what consciousness is, it tells us the proper means of knowledge, and it gives us a reason for seeking it. Without all of these prerequisites, science would never have come into existence. Without recognition of these facts, the short-sighted scientist is doomed to exclaim erroneously that “pure science” is necessary to prove or disprove the very philosophic premises which give rise to the existence of science in the first place. In reality, the best science can do is illustrate an already-established philosophic premise. It cannot suggest new ones or even prove any premises upon which the idea of science itself is based..

Besides influencing the development of the specialized fields of knowledge, philosophy itself has been substantially enriched by progress in the concrete sciences. Every major scientific discovery is at the same time a step forward in the development of the philosophical world-view. Philosophical statements are based on sets of facts studied by the sciences and also on the system of propositions, principles, concepts and laws discovered through the generalization of these facts.

The achievements of the specialized sciences are summed up in philosophical statements. The latest theories of the unity of matter, motion, space and time, the unity of the discontinuous and continuous, the principles of the conservation of matter and motion, the ideas of the infinity and inexhaustibility of matter were stated in a general form in philosophy Euclidian geometry, the mechanics of Galileo and Newton, which have influenced men’s minds for centuries, were great achievements of human reason which played ‘a significant role in forming world-views. And what an intellectual revolution was produced by Copernicus’ heliocentric system, which changed the whole conception of the structure of the universe, or by Darwin’s theory of evolution, which had a profound impact on biological science in general and our whole conception of man’s place in nature.  The theory of higher nervous activity evolved by Watson and Pavlov deepened the understanding of the material foundations of mental activity, of consciousness.,

The common ground of a substantial part of the content of science, its facts and laws has always related it to philosophy, particularly in the field of the theory of knowledge, and today this common ground links it with the problems of the moral and social aspects of scientific discoveries and technical inventions. This is understandable enough. In ancient times, as we have seen, nearly every notable scientist was at the same time a philosopher and every philosopher was to some extent a scientist. The connection between science and philosophy has endured for thousands of years. In present-day conditions it has not only been preserved but is also growing substantially stronger. The scale of the scientific work and the social significance of research have acquired huge proportions. At one time it was commonly held that philosophy was the science of sciences, their supreme ruler. Today physics is regarded as the queen of sciences. Both views contain a certain measure of truth. Physics with its tradition, the specific objects of study and vast range of exact methods of observation and experiment exerts an exceptionally fruitful influence on all or nearly all spheres of knowledge.

Philosophy may be called the “science of sciences” probably in the sense that it is, in effect, the self-awareness of the sciences and the source from which all the sciences draw their world-view and methodological principles, which in the course of centuries have been honed down into concise forms. As a whole, philosophy and the sciences are equal partners assisting creative thought in its explorations to attain generalizing truth. Philosophy does not replace the specialized sciences and does not command them, but it does arm them with general principles of theoretical thinking, with a method of cognition and world-view. In this sense scientific philosophy legitimately holds one of the key positions in the system of the sciences.

To artificially isolate the specialized sciences from philosophy amounts to condemning scientists to finding for themselves world-view and methodological guidelines for their researches. Ignorance of philosophical culture is bound to have a negative effect on any general theoretical conclusions from a given set of scientific facts. One cannot achieve any real theoretical comprehension, particularly of the global problems of a specialized science, without a broad grasp of inter-disciplinary and philosophical views. The specialized scientists who ignore philosophical problems sometimes turn out to be in thrall to completely obsolete or makeshift philosophical ideas without even knowing it themselves.

The desire to ignore philosophy is particularly characteristic of such a trend in bourgeois thought as positivism, whose advocates have claimed that science has no need of philosophy. Their ill-considered principle is that “science is in itself philosophy”. They work on the assumption that scientific knowledge has developed widely enough to provide answers to all philosophical problems without resorting to any actual philosophical system. But the “cunning” of philosophy lies in the fact that any form of contempt for it, any rejection of philosophy is in itself a kind of philosophy. It is as impossible to get rid of philosophy as it is to rid oneself of all convictions. Philosophy is the regulative nucleus of the theoretically-minded individual. Philosophy takes its revenge on those who dissociate themselves from it. This can be seen from the example of a number of scientists who after maintaining the positions of crude empiricism and scorning philosophy have eventually fallen into mysticism. So, calls for freedom from any philosophical assumptions are a sign of intellectual narrowness. The positivists, while denying philosophy in words, actually preach the flawed philosophy of agnosticism and deny the possibility of knowing the laws of existence, particularly those of the development of society. This is also a philosophy, but one that is totally misguided and also socially harmful.

It may appear to some scientists that they are using the logical and methodological means evolved strictly within the framework of their particular specialist. But this is a profound delusion. In reality every scientist, whether he realizes it or not, even in simple acts of theoretical thought, makes use of the overall results of the development of mankind’s cognitive activity enshrined mainly in the philosophical categories, which we absorb as we are absorbing our own natural that no man can put together any theoretical statement language, and later, the special language of theoretical thought.

As for as the concept of knowledge for both is concerned the basic difference between the two lies in the kind of knowledge which they seek, science seeks knowledge of facts while philosophy seeks ultimate knowledge. Sometimes this ultimate knowledge seems to be fundamentals than the facts of science. Compromisingly if it is to keep pace with the time and have any meaning for the contemporary mind. Philosophy must take full cognizance of the findings of science and   vice-versa

Knowledge of the course and results of the historical development of cognition, of the philosophical views that have been held at various times of the world’s universal objective connections is also essential for theoretical thinking because it gives the scientist a reliable yardstick for assessing the hypotheses and theories that he himself produces. Everything is known through comparison. Philosophy plays a tremendous integrating role in scientific knowledge, particularly in the present age, when knowledge has formed an extremely ramified system.

Sciences have become so ramified that no brain, however versatile can master all their branches, or even one chosen field. Like Goethe’s Faust, scientists realize that they cannot know everything about everything. So they are trying to know as much as possible about as little as possible and becoming like people digging deeper and deeper into a well and seeing less and less of what is going on around them, or like a chorus of the deaf, in which each member sings his own tune without hearing anyone else. Such narrow specialization may lead, and has in some cases already led, to professional narrow-mindedness. Here we have a paradox. This process is both harmful and historically necessary and justified. Without narrow specialization we cannot make progress and at the same time such specialization must be constantly filled out by a broad inter-disciplinary approach, by the integrative power of philosophical reason. Otherwise a situation may arise when the common front of developing science will move ahead more and more rapidly and humanity’s total knowledge will increase while the individual, the scientist,

As for as assembling integral knowledge is concerned Such an assembly can nevertheless be built by the integrative power of philosophy, which is the highest form of generalization of all human knowledge and life experience, By means of philosophy the human reason synthesizes the results of human knowledge of nature, society, man and his self-awareness, which gives people a sense of freedom, an open-ended view of the world, an understanding of what is to be found beyond the limits of his usual occupation and narrow professional interests. If we take not the hacks of science but scientists on the big scale, with a truly creative cast of mind, who honestly, wisely and responsibly consider what their hands and minds are doing, we find that they do ultimately realize that to get their bearings in their own field they must take into consideration the results and methods of other fields of knowledge; such scientists range as widely as possible over the history and theory of cognition, building a scientific picture of the world, and absorb philosophical culture through its historically formed system of categories by consciously mastering all the subtleties of logical thought.

Max Born, one of the creators of quantum mechanics, provides us with a vivid example of this process .Einstein  had a profound grasp of physical thought illumined by philosophical understanding of his subject. He was the author of many philosophical works and he himself admitted that the philosophical implications of science had always interested him more than narrow specialized results. he was one of the first of the world’s leading scientists to realize the futility of positivism’s attempts to act as a basis for understanding the external world and science and to deny this role to philosophy.

The philosophical approach enables us to overcome the one-sidedness in research which has a negative effect in modern highly specialized scientific work. For example, natural science today is strongly influenced by integrative trends. It is seeking new generalizing theories, such as a unitary field theory, a general theory of elementary particles, a general theory of systems, a general theory of control, information, and so on. Generalizations at such a high level presuppose a high degree of general scientific, natural-humanitarian and also philosophical culture. It is philosophy that safeguards the unity and interconnection of all aspects of knowledge of the vast and diversified world whose substance is matter. As for senses the world consists of an infinite variety of things and events, colors and sounds. But in order to understand it we have to introduce some kind of order, and order means to recognize what is equal, it means some sort of unity. From this spring’s the belief that there is one fundamental principle, and at the same time the difficulty to derive from it the infinite variety of things. The natural point of departure is that there exists a material prime cause of things since the world consists of matter.

The intensive development of modern science, which by its brilliance has tended to eclipse other forms of intellectual activity, the process of its differentiation and integration, gives rise to a vast number of new problems involving world-view. Certain fields of knowledge constantly run into difficulties of a methodological nature. In modern science not only has there been an unusually rapid accumulation of new knowledge; the techniques, methods and style of thinking have also substantially changed and continue to change. The very methods of research attract the scientist’s growing interest,. Hence the higher demands on philosophy, on theoretical thought in general. The further scientific knowledge in various fields develops, the stronger is the tendency to study the logical system by which we obtain knowledge, the nature of theory and how it is constructed, to analyze the empirical and theoretical levels of cognition, the initial concepts of science and methods of arriving at the truth. In short, the sciences show an increasing desire to know them; the mind is becoming more and more reflective.

The methodological significance of the philosophical principles, categories and laws should not be oversimplified. It is wrong to suggest that not a single specific problem can be solved without them. When we think of the place and role of philosophy in the system of scientific cognition, we have in mind not separate experiments or calculations but the development of science as a whole, the making and substantiation of hypotheses, the battle of opinions, the creation of theory, the solving of inner contradictions in a given theory, the examination in depth of the initial concepts of science, the comprehension of new, pivotal facts and assessment of the conclusions drawn from them, the methods of scientific research, and so on.

Philosophy, besides all its other functions, goes deep into the personal side of human life. The destinies of the individual, his inner emotions and desires, in a word, his life and death, have from time immemorial constituted one of the cardinal philosophical problems. The indifference to this “human” set of problems, which is a characteristic feature of neopositivism, is rightly regarded as one-sided scientism, the essence of which is primitively simple: philosophy must be a science like natural science, and strive to reach the same ideal of mathematical precision and authenticity. But while many scientific researchers look only outwards, philosophers look both outwards and inwards, that is to say, at the world around man and man’s place in that world. Philosophical consciousness is reflective in its very essence. The degree of precision and the very character of precision and authenticity in science and philosophy must therefore differ. Who, for instance, reflects man’s inner world with all its pathological aberrations “more precisely”—the natural scientist with his experimental techniques,  or, for example,  Indian caravakas, in their immortal works that are so highly charged with philosophical meaning.

Philosophy helps us to achieve a deeper understanding of the social significance and general prospects of scientific discoveries and their technical applications. The impressive achievements of the scientific and technological revolution, the contradictions and social consequences it has evoked, raise profound philosophical problems.. But this raises the question of the responsibility of philosophy, since philosophy seeks to understand the essence of things and here we are dealing with the activity of human reason and its “unreasonable” consequences. Revolutionary changes have today invaded all spheres of life: Man himself is changing. What is the essence, the cause of these changes that are spreading across the world and affecting the most diverse aspects of human life? Only the collective effort of philosophy and science can provide some insight to these situations.

The sciences are the windows through which philosophy views the world – Will Durant




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Research Proposal for Behavioural Sciences -A Procedural Analysis


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


When social scientists desire to conduct an experiment, they first develop a proposal. A proposal introduces the problem, purpose, and significance of a study as well as the experimenter’s research question and hypothesis. It also gives a brief explanation of the theory guiding the study, a review of relevant literature pertaining to the theory, and the procedure for the experiment.

The research proposal can be envisaged as the process (step by step guidelines) to plan and to give structure to the prospective research with the final aim of increasing the validity of the research. It is therefore a written submission to spell out in a logic format the nature of the design and the means and strategies that are going to be used.

Proposal writing stifles the creative process necessary to conduct good research The research proposal is a detailed description of how the study will be conducted that includes the study title and researcher names, statement of the research problem and research purpose, review of relevant literature, and the research question(s) or hypothesis(es).  The proposal also includes a formal description of the procedure to be used in the study that includes the information or variables to be gathered, the participants of the study and potential benefits or risks, the design and procedure for gathering data, what data gathering method(s) will be used, and how the data will be analyzed.

Before an attempt is made to start with a research project, a research proposal should be compiled. The synopsis should be between 1000 and 4000 words in length and must be typed in double spacing. Figures and tables may be included if considered absolutely necessary.

Purpose of a Proposal

The purpose of the proposal is to help you (as a student) to focus and define your research plans. These plans are not binding, in that they may well change substantially as you progress in the research. The proposal is expected to:

  • Develop your skills in thinking about and designing a comprehensive research study;
  • Establish a particular theoretical orientation
  • Establish your methodological approach, and Critically review, examine, and consider the use of different methods for gathering and analyzing data related to the research problem; and,
  • Improve your general research and writing skills;
  • Learn how to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature to ensure a research problem has not already been answered .
  • link your proposed work with the work of others, while proving you are acquainted with major schools of thought relevant to the topic
  • Nurture a sense of inquisitiveness within yourself and to help see yourself as an active participant in the process of doing scholarly research.
  • Practice identifying the logical steps that must be taken to accomplish one’s research goals;
  • Show that you are engaging in genuine enquiry, finding out about something worthwhile in a particular context
  • Show you have thought about the ethical issues.

A proposal should contain all the key elements involved in designing a completed research study, with sufficient information that allows readers to assess the validity and usefulness of your proposed study. The only elements missing from a research proposal are the findings of the study and your analysis of those results. Finally, an effective proposal is judged on the quality of your writing and, therefore, it is important that your writing is coherent, clear, and compelling.

Regardless of the research problem you are investigating and the methodology you choose, all research proposals must address the following questions:

  1. What do you plan to accomplish? Be clear and succinct in defining the research problem and what it is you are proposing to research.
  2. Why do you want to do it? In addition to detailing your research design, you also must conduct a thorough review of the literature and provide convincing evidence that it is a topic worthy of study. Be sure to answer the “So What?” question.
  3. How are you going to do it? Be sure that what you propose is doable. If you’re having trouble formulating a research problem to propose investigating.

General Structure of Research proposal

The synopsis / Research proposal  must be divided into subsections with titles.

Cover page- identifies topic, writer, institution and degree

  • Proposed thesis title (should be descriptive of focus, concise, eye-catching and preferably use keywords from international information retrieval systems).
  • Your name and qualifications.
  • Department, university and degree the proposal is for.
  • (Working) Title of your planned dissertation or research report.
  • Words in the title should be chosen with great care, and their association with one another must be carefully considered.
  • While the title should be brief, it should be accurate, descriptive and comprehensive, clearly indicating the subject of the investigation.
  • In order to develop a clear title, you must also be clear about the focus of your research!
    Strive for the title to be ten words or 60 characters: focus on or incorporate keywords that reference the classification of the research subject
  • Indicate a realistic time frame toward project completion, followed by the name(s) of your supervisor(s), the university department where you hope to do your research and, if applicable, information about other academics with whom you plan to collaborate.

Table of Contents

Lists sections of proposal and page references

  • Use a hierarchy for titles and subtitles
  • Use the numbering system as follows: 1; 1.1, 1.2…; 1.1.1, 1.1.2…;,…etc. (don’t use more than four digits)

Abstract/Summary statement of the Research Project

This one page summary focuses on the research topic, its new, current and relevant aspects. Strive for clarity; your greatest challenge might be narrowing the topic The abstract is a brief summary of the entire proposal, typically ranging from 150 to 250 words.

It is different from a thesis statement in that the abstract summarizes the entire proposal, not just

mentioning the study’s purpose or hypothesis. Therefore, the abstract should outline the proposal’s major headings: the research question, theoretical framework, research design, sampling method, instrumentation, and data and analysis procedures. A good abstract accurately reflects the content of the proposal, while at the same time being coherent, readable, and concise.

Do not add any information in the abstract that is not previously discussed throughout the proposal. Notice this paragraph is not indented; the abstract will be the only paragraph in the

entire proposal that is not indented. Because it highlights the entire proposal, it would be wise to wait and write the abstract last. This way, one merely has to reword information that was previously written.

Note-  Writing of Abstract is not essential for writing Research Proposal


The introduction explains in detail several components of the experiment that must be included in any proposal. After reading the Introduction, the reader should conclude why the experimenter is conducting the research and how this research will affect the academic community and society at large. For this paragraph in particular, it is sufficient to grab the reader’s attention, introduce the topic at hand, and provide a brief definition of the theory from which the study is based.

The introduction is the part of the  that research proposal  that provides   the background information for the research proposal. Its purpose is to establish a framework for the research.

In an introduction, the Investigator  , create  interest in the topic, lay the broad foundation for the problem that leads to the study, and place the study within the larger context of the scholarly literature.

If a researcher is working within a particular theoretical framework/line of inquiry, the theory or line of inquiry should be introduced and discussed  in the introduction . The theory/line of inquiry selected will include the statement of the problem, rationale for the study,  hypotheses, selection of instruments, and choice of methods. Ultimately, findings will be discussed in terms of how they relate to the theory/line of inquiry that undergirds the study.

In Quantitative studies,  use theory deductively and places it toward the beginning of the plan for a study. The objective is to test or verify theory.  Thus begins the study advancing a theory, collects data to test it, and reflects on whether the theory was confirmed or disconfirmed by the results in the study. The theory becomes a framework for the entire study, an organizing model for the research questions or hypotheses for the data collection procedure.

In qualitative inquiry, the use of theory and of a line of inquiry depends on the nature of the investigation. In studies aiming at “grounded theory,” for example, theory and theoretical tenets emerge from findings. Much qualitative inquiry, however, also aims to test or verify theory, hence in these cases the theoretical framework, as in quantitative efforts, should be identified and discussed early on.

The introduction should also include;

  • Background information relating to the social/political/historical/ educational (etc.) context of the study.
  • Historical, cultural, political, social or organisational information about the context of the research
  • A theoretical starting point or policy
  • Personal motivation
  • Problematise the current status quo
  • Need for the study/ Rationale follows from background to persuade the reader that the study is needed and will be useful/interesting.
  • Reference to a ‘gap’ in the research literature, to the need to apply certain ideas in a new context, or to the significance of your particular topic
  • Ways in which the study may be significant for the educational community may also be discussed

Background and Significance

This section can be melded into your introduction or you can create a separate section to help with the organization and narrative flow of your proposal. This is where you explain the context of your proposal and describe in detail why it’s important. Approach writing this section with the thought that you can’t assume your readers will know as much about the research problem as you do. Note that this section is not an essay going over everything you have learned about the topic; instead, you must choose what is relevant to help explain the goals for your study.

Key points:

  • Describe the major issues or problems to be addressed by your research.
  • Explain  plan to go about conducting your research. Clearly identify the key sources  intended to use and explain how they will contribute to the analysis of the topic.
  • If necessary, provide definitions of key concepts or terms.
  • Present the rationale of your proposed study and clearly indicate why it is worth doing.
  • Set the boundaries of  proposed research in order to provide a clear focus.
  • State the research problem and give a more detailed explanation about the purpose of the study than what you stated in the introduction.

Statement of the Problem

The  research forms a circle. It starts with a problem and ends with a solution to the problem. Problem statement is therefore the axis around  which the whole research revolves around, as  it explains in short the aim of the research. Prospective researchers can search within their own subject field for suitable problems. What should, however, be mentioned, is that not all identified problems within a scientific field of study is suitable for research.

The problem statement describes the context for the study and it also identifies the general analysis approach . It  refers to some difficulty that the researcher experiences in the context of either a theoretical or practical situation/ issue that exists in the literature, theory, or practice that leads to a need for the study”  and to which he/she wants to obtain a solution. The formulation of a problem is far more  essential than its solutions. To raise new questions, new possibilities, to comprehend  old problems from a new angle requires creative imagination and marks real advance in the related subject.

A good problem statement begins by introducing the broad area in which  research is centred and then gradually leads  to the more narrow questions .A problem statement should be presented within a context, and that context should be provided and briefly explained, including a discussion of the conceptual or theoretical framework in which it is embedded. Clearly and succinctly identify and explain the problem within the framework of the theory or line of inquiry that undergirds the study. This is of major importance in nearly all proposals and requires careful attention. It is essential in all quantitative research and much in  qualitative research.

State the problem in terms intelligible to someone who is generally sophisticated but who is relatively uninformed in the area of  investigation.In an experimental study (and even in some ethnographic research) the questions are one of the most important parts of the proposal. They should be carefully worded and measurable. For  testable hypotheses, write them as directional hypotheses  rather than in the null form The  research questions,  which  are not predicting an effect or relationship, simply label them as such and state them

The research problem should be stated in such a way that it would lead to analytical thinking on the part of the researcher with the aim of possibly concluding solutions to the stated problem.

The following aspects are important when formulating a research problem:

  • The research problem should always be formulated grammatically correct and as completely as possible. You should bear in mind the wording (expressions) you use. Avoid meaningless words. There should be no doubt in the mind of the reader what your intentions are.
  • Demarcating the research field into manageable parts by dividing the main problem into sub problems is of the utmost importance.

Delimitations of the Study

In this section a precise indication is given of the scope of the research with indication of the assumptions made, limitations and delimitations of the research before the research is started

A limitation identifies potential weaknesses of the study. Think about the analysis, the nature of self-report, the instruments, the sample. Think about threats to internal validity that may have been impossible to avoid or minimize—explain.

Delimitation addresses how a study will be narrowed in scope, that is, how it is bounded.

The Title

The title is usually only formulated after the research problem and subproblems have been stated in a more or less final format. The research project title should demarcate the following:

  • The WHO or/and WHAT is researched;
  • The WHERE;
  • The WHEN;
  • The HOW; and
  • An indication of the ENVISAGED SOLUTION

Definitions of  Terminology/Concepts and Terms used

The success of any research depends on unambiguity and clarity on each inherent aspect. The terms used must be related with the study in question. To make the things clear, the investigator  must define the terms in clear terms.

Indication of how the researcher interpreted and is going to use terminology/ concepts in the research report  is very important, because some concepts/terms are often used in different meanings by different authors.

Every research study involves certain key or technical terms which have some special connotation in the context of study; hence it is always desirable to define such key words. There are two types definitions,

(i)                  Theoretical / constitutive and

(ii)                (ii) Operational.

A constitutive definition elucidates a term and perhaps gives some more insight into the phenomena described by the terms. Thus, this definition is based on some theory. While an operational  definition is one which ascribes meaning to a concept by specifying the operations that must be performed in order to measure the concept. Apart from operational definitions, one can define some terms which have definite meaning with reference to particular investigation. The terms like Minimum Levels of Learning, Programmed Learning etc. can be define in particular context of research.

So avoid broad topic areas which would be unmanageable as research topics ,vague descriptions of research areas and subject areas where  University  has no expertise

In experimental research, it is essential that one defines the central ideas or concepts of the research study. Therefore, carefully define each concept/variable that will be used in the study, citing other research studies as much as needed. List each term, italicize it, and use a hyphen to define the term.

Variables :

Variables involved in the research need to be identified here. Their operational definitions should be given in the research proposal. Especially in study where experimental research is conducted, variables be specified with enough care. Their classification should be done in terms and dependent variables, independent variables, intervening variables, extraneous variables etc. Controlling of some variables need to be discussed at an appropriate stage in proposal.

Exploration of the Purpose of the Research

The researcher should indicate and defend why it is necessary to undertake the research. The benefits that will result from the research and to whom it will be beneficial should be indicated.

Identifying a clear purpose and creating a purpose statement helps determine how the research should be conducted, what research design to use, and the research  hypothesis(es) of your study.

Four general purposes for conducting educational research are to explore, describe, predict, or explain the relation between two or more educational variables.

  • Explore – an attempt to generate ideas about educational phenomenon
  • Describe – an attempt to describe the characteristics of educational phenomenon
  • Predict – an attempt to forecast an educational phenomenon
  • Explain – an attempt to show why and how an educational  phenomenon operates

The identification  of purpose of  study will help in determining  the research design  should follow.   Three research designs are mixed, qualitative, and quantitative paradigms

Research purpose  foreshadow the hypotheses to be tested or the questions to be raised, as well as the significance of the study. These will require specific elaboration in subsequent sections.

“The purpose statement should provide a specific and accurate synopsis of the overall purpose of the study” . If the purpose is not clear to the writer, it cannot be clear to the reader..  So briefly define and delimit the specific area of the research  The purpose statement can also incorporate the rationale for the study. Some committees prefer that the purpose and rationale be provided in separate sections.

Precautions when preparing a Purpose statement.

  • Clearly identify and define the central concepts or ideas of the study. Some committee Chairs prefer a separate section to this end. When defining terms, make a judicious choice between using descriptive or operational definitions.
  • Identify the specific method of inquiry to be used.
  • Identify the unit of analysis in the study.
  • Try to incorporate a sentence that begins with “The purpose of this study is . . .” This will clarify the mind  to the purpose and it will inform the reader directly and explicitly.

Review of the Literature

In this section, one presents what is so far known about the problem under investigation. Generally theoretical / conceptual frame work is already reported in earlier section. In this section researcher concentrates on studies conducted in the area of interest. here, a researcher will locate various studies conducted in his area and interest. Try to justify that all such located studies are related to your work.

This section of the proposal need not be equivalent to the literature review chapter of thesis  or dissertation. Again, two or three pages may suffice. The goal is not to give description of every study that has ever been conducted in the area, but to weave a careful overview of what has been done and how this study adds to existing knowledge

To conduct research regarding a topic, by implication means that the researcher has obtained sound knowledge with regard to the research topic. It is therefore imperative that the researcher, at the time of the submission of the research proposal, clearly indicates what theoretical knowledge he possesses about the prospective research. A literature search therefore will entail the literature the prospective researcher has already consulted.

An overview of the literature anticipates the background knowledge of the researcher and a possible classification of the content for the purpose of stating the research problem. This should also reveal the importance of the contemplated research. A literature search therefore simplifies the formulation of hypotheses for the researcher.

Explore the research literature to gain an understanding of the current state of knowledge pertaining to your research problem.  A review of prior research will inform about the research problem has already been explored (and if a revision or replication is needed), how to design  the study, what data collection methods to use, and how to make sense of the findings of the study once data analysis is complete. Reviewing prior research can also help with creating research questions, what population to explore, and laying the theoretical groundwork for the study.

“The review of the literature provides the background and context for the research problem. It should establish the need for the research and indicate that the investigator is knowledgeable about the area

The aims of a literature study are :

  • To give all-round perspectives on the latest research findings regarding the topic.
  • To indicate the best method, scale of measurements and statistics that can be used.
  • To interpret the research findings in a better way; and
  • To determine the relevancy of the prospective research.
  • To  shares with the reader the results of other studies that are closely related to the study  being reported .
  • To  relates a study to the larger, ongoing dialogue in the literature about a topic, filling in gaps and extending prior studies .
  • To  provides a framework for establishing the importance of the study, as well as a benchmark for comparing the results of a study with other findings.
  • To  “frames” the problem earlier identified.
  • To demonstrate  that the investigator have a comprehensive grasp of the field and are aware of important recent substantive and methodological developments.

In research proposal, the review of studies conducted earlier is reported briefly. There are two was of reporting the same. One way could be all such related studies be reported chronologically in brief indicating purpose, sample, tools and major findings. Of course, this will increase the volume of research proposal. Second studies with similar trends be put together and its important trend/s be highlighted. This is bit difficult, but innovative. Normally in review the surname of author and year in bracket is mentioned. There is also a trend to report studies conducted in other countries separately. It is left to guide and researcher whether such separate caption is necessary or not.

In qualitative research, this step is sometimes used throughout the research process or after data is collected (e.g., grounded theory research).

The most effective and efficient way to review prior research is to search educational journals through electronic computer databases .   Searching other library databases is also recommended.

It should further noted that the research design must be accompanied by a preliminary list of references consulted by the researcher during the preparation of the research proposal. The list should include the most recent publications on the research topic. It must however be emphasized that this reference list by no means is sufficient to complete the research project – it must be augmented during further literature searches as the research process continues.

The “five C’s” of writing a literature Review:

  1. Cite, so as to keep the primary focus on the literature pertinent to your research problem.
  2. Compare the various arguments, theories, methodologies, and findings expressed in the literature: what do the authors agree on? Who applies similar approaches to analyzing the research problem?
  3. Contrast the various arguments, themes, methodologies, approaches, and controversies expressed in the literature: what are the major areas of disagreement, controversy, or debate?
  4. Critique the literature: Which arguments are more persuasive, and why? Which approaches, findings, methodologies seem most reliable, valid, or appropriate, and why? Pay attention to the verbs you use to describe what an author says/does [e.g., asserts, demonstrates, argues, etc.].
  5. Connect the literature to your own area of research and investigation: how does your own work draw upon, depart from, synthesize, or add a new perspective to what has been said in the literature?

At the end of review, in research proposal, there should be conclusion. (Of course a separate caption like conclusion be avoided.) Here, the researcher shares the insights he has gained from the review. Also, on the basis of review he will justice the need of conducting present study. The researcher should conclude with following points :

What has been done so far in this area?

Where? (Area wise)

When? (Year wise)

How? (Methodology wise)


What needs to be done?


Thus, the researcher will identify the Research Gap‘.


Formulating Hypotheses

A hypothesis states  expectations concerning the relation between two or more variables in the research problem .  Usually, a hypothesis represents an extension of a purpose statement or research question by adding a prediction or explanation component.

The practice of using hypotheses was derived from using the scientific method in social science inquiry. They have philosophical advantages in statistical testing, as researchers should be and tend to be conservative and cautious in their statements of conclusions

A hypothesis is a tentative statement, that implies a proposed answer to a problem, setting accountability and responsibility of effective research procedure as high priority Hypotheses are thus tentative statements that should either be acknowledged or rejected by means of research.

Hypotheses are relevant to theoretical research and are typically used only in quantitative inquiry. When a writer states hypotheses, the reader is entitled to have an exposition of the theory that lead to them (and of the assumptions underlying the theory). Just as conclusions must be grounded in the data, hypotheses must be grounded in the theoretical framework.

Deciding whether to use questions or hypotheses depends on factors such as the purpose of the study, the nature of the design and methodology, and the audience of the research

A hypothesis represents a declarative statement of the relations between two or more variables  Hypotheses can be couched in four kinds of statements.

  • Literary null—a “no difference” form in terms of theoretical constructs. For example, “There is no relationship between support services and academic persistence of nontraditional-aged college women.” Or, “There is no difference in school achievement for high and low self-regulated students.
  • Operational null—a “no difference” form in terms of the operation required to test the hypothesis. The operational null is generally the preferred form of hypothesis-writing.
  • Literary alternative—a form that states the hypothesis you will accept if the null hypothesis is rejected, stated in terms of theoretical constructs. In other words, this is usually what you hope the results will show,
  • Operational alternative—Similar to the literary alternative except that the operations are specified.

Precautions  in Formulating a Hypothesis:

  • Hypotheses can only be formulated after the researcher has gained enough knowledge regarding the nature, extent and intensity of the problem.
  • Hypotheses should figure throughout the research process in order to give structure to the research.
  • Hypotheses are tentative statements/solutions or explanations of the formulated problem. Care should be taken not to over-simplify and generalize the formulation of hypotheses.
  • The research problem does not have to consist of one hypothesis only. The type of problem area investigated, the extent which encircles the research field are the determination factors on how many hypotheses will be included in the research proposal.

A research hypothesis is usually stated in an explanatory form, because it indicates the expected reference of the difference between two variables. ln other words it verifies the reference that the researcher expects by means of incorporating selected research procedures.

The research hypothesis may be stated in a directional or non-directional form. A directional hypothesis statement indicates the expected direction of results, while a no directional one indicates no difference or no relationship

In general, the null hypothesis is used if theory does not suggest a hypothesized relationship between the variables under investigation; the alternative is generally reserved for situations in which theory/research suggests a relationship or directional interplay.

Make a clear and careful distinction between the dependent and independent variables and be certain they are clear to the reader. Be excruciatingly consistent in your use of terms. If appropriate, use the same pattern of wording and word order in all hypotheses.

Criteria for the Formulation of a Hypothesis

A hypothesis should:

  • stand a test;
  • be expressed in clear language;
  • be in accordance with the general theme of other hypotheses statements in the same field of study, and should be regarded as valid;
  • be co-ordinated with the theory of science;
  • be a tentative answer to the formulated problem;
  • be logical and simplistic;
  • consider available research techniques (to be able to analyze and interpret the results);
  • be specific; and
  • be relevant to the collection of empirical phenomenon and not merely conclude value judgements.

Propose in Research Methods and Procedures

It is one task to generate a research question, it is quite another to determine an effective way to answer the question. First, we must decide to use a specific paradigm or mixture of paradigms. Each paradigm or research method has certain advantages and disadvantages and can be applied appropriately or inappropriately. The task of the proposal writer is to determine which method or combination of methods would be most effective to answer the research questions posed.

The methods or procedures section is really the heart of the research proposal. The activities should be described with as much detail as possible, and the continuity between them should be apparent

Indicate the methodological steps you will take to answer every question or to test every hypothesis illustrated in the hypotheses section.

All research is plagued by the presence of confounding variables .Confounding variables should be minimized by various kinds of controls or be estimated and taken into account by randomization processes. In the design section, indicate,   the variables to control and to control them, experimentally or statistically, and   the variables to be randomize, and the nature of the randomizing unit.

Be aware and anticipate possible sources of error and attempt to overcome them or take them into account in the analysis. Moreover, disclose the sources and identify the efforts to account for them.

•             Decide on the method, techniques and tools to use

•             Explain the rationale of each vis-à-vis the statement of the problems

•             Describe the tool development process or use of existing one

•             Describe how you will gather data for the study

•             Indicate the population, sample size and the sampling procedure.Explain the statistical methods to be used with rationale

Describe the overall research design by building upon and drawing examples from your review of the literature. Consider not only methods that other researchers have used but methods of data gathering that have not been used but perhaps could be. Be specific about the methodological approaches you plan to undertake to obtain information, the techniques you would use to analyze the data, and the tests of external validity to which you commit yourself [i.e., the trustworthiness by which you can generalize from your study to other people, places, events, and/or periods of time].

When describing the methods you will use, be sure to cover the following:

  • Specify the research operations you will undertake and the way you will interpret the results of these operations in relation to the research problem.
  • Keep in mind that a methodology is not just a list of tasks; it is an argument as to why these tasks add up to the best way to investigate the research problem. Mere listing of tasks to be performed does not demonstrate that, collectively, they effectively address the research problem. Be sure you explain this.
  • Anticipate and acknowledge any potential barriers and pitfalls in carrying out your research design and explain how you plan to address them. No method is perfect so you need to describe where you believe challenges may exist in obtaining data or accessing information.


The key reason for being concerned with sampling is that of validity—the extent to which the interpretations of the results of the study follow from the study itself and the extent to which results may be generalized to other situations with other people .

Sampling is critical to external validity—the extent to which findings of a study can be generalized to people or situations other than those observed in the study. To generalize validly the findings from a sample to some defined population requires that the sample has been drawn from that population according to one of several probability sampling plans. By a probability sample is meant that the probability of inclusion in the sample of any element in the population must be given a priori. All probability samples involve the idea of random sampling at some stage . In experimentation, two distinct steps are involved.

Random selection—participants to be included in the sample have been chosen at random from the same population. Define the population and indicate the sampling plan in detail.

Random assignment—participants for the sample have been assigned at random to one of the experimental conditions.

Another reason for being concerned with sampling is that of internal validity—the extent to which the outcomes of a study result from the variables that were manipulated, measured, or selected rather than from other variables not systematically treated. Without probability sampling, error estimates cannot be constructed .

Perhaps the key word in sampling is representative. One must ask oneself, “How representative is the sample of the survey population (the group from which the sample is selected) and how representative is the survey population of the target population (the larger group to which we wish to generalize)?”

When a sample is drawn out of convenience (a nonprobability sample), rationale and limitations must be clearly provided.

If available, outline the characteristics of the sample (by gender, race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or other relevant group membership).

Detail procedures to follow to obtain informed consent and ensure anonymity and/or confidentiality.


Outline the instruments propose to be used (surveys, scales, interview, standardised tests observation  etc ). If instruments have previously been used, identify previous studies and findings related to reliability and validity. If instruments have not previously been used, outline procedures to develop and test their reliability and validity. In the latter case, a pilot study is nearly essential.

Because selection of instruments in most cases provides the operational definition of constructs, this is a crucial step in the proposal

  • Include an appendix with a copy of the instruments to be used or the interview protocol to be followed. Also include sample items in the description of the instrument.
  • For a mailed survey, identify steps to be taken in administering and following up the survey to obtain a high response rate.

Data Collection

Data gathering focuses on information acquisition that will attempt to answer the research questions or support the hypotheses.

Data gathering includes consideration about what variables to investigate, the unit of analysis or participants of the study (population and sample), human subject protections, procedures used for selecting participants, the methods and procedures used for data collection, and any reliability or validity of collection methods.

Outline the general plan for collecting the data. This may include survey administration procedures, interview or observation procedures. Include an explicit statement covering the field controls to be employed.

Provide a general outline of the time schedule you expect to follow.

Proposed Analysis of Data

Data or statistical analysis will depend on whether the collected quantitative data, qualitative data , or both.

For quantitative data, there are a variety of statistical analysis tools can be used to identify statistical relationships between variables.  For qualitative data, data analysis generally involves holistically identifying patterns, categories, and themes.

Bibliography : During preparation of proposal, researcher consults various sources like books, journals, reports, Ph.D. theses etc. All such primary / secondary sources need to be reported in the bibliography. Generally American Psychological Association – Publication Manual be followed to write references. All authors quoted in proposal need to be listed in bibliography. Authors who are not quoted but they are useful for further reading be also listed. Consistency and uniformity be observed in reporting references.

Timetable/Plan (may be part of Research Design)

  • Depicts the tasks proposed and the stages/times for their completion
  • This may take the form of a chart, timeline or flowchart (or any other)

Final  Editing of the Research Proposal

In this part we discuss some aspects of good academic writing.

Aspects of Academic writing

Although the research proposal is considered the preliminary planning of a research problem, it should comply with the following requirements:

•             It should preferably be typed in double spacing on size A4 paper.

•             A margin of 4cm is required on the left side of the paper.

Information-prominent and Author-prominent references

Swales  shows how you can decide whether to focus on the source of an idea or on the idea itself in your writing. He provides two categories of referencing: author prominent, where the author’s name appears in your sentence, or information prominent, where the author’s name appears only in parentheses (brackets).

Verb tense

The three tenses which appear most frequently are used in the following ways:

The present tense is used for: generalisation (in overviews, statements of main points); a statement which is generally applicable or which seems relevant; a statement made by you as writer; or to report the position of a theorist/ researcher to which you feel some proximity, either in time or allegiance.

The past tense is used to “claim non-generality about past literature” ; that is, it is used to report or describe the content, findings or conclusions of past research. The specificity of the study is thus emphasised. Past tense can be used in your methodology chapter to describe what you have done.

The present perfect is used to indicate that inquiry into the specified area continues, to generalise about past literature, or to present a view using a non-integral form of referencing.

The future tense is often used in the methodology section in a proposal to state intention. When you are describing what appears in your writing, use the present tense, not the future .

Referencing and Citing Conventions:

Note some very basic rules:

Book titles are in italics but only the first word (and the first word in subtitle) and proper nouns are capitalised

Journal names are in italics and capitalised – the volume number also appears in italics

The titles of articles in journals and chapters of books are in plain font and are not capitalised

• When a chapter of an edited book (one where the different chapters are written by different authors) is referenced, the chapter is treated in the same way as a journal article, but instead of the journal name, the book in which the chapter appears must also be referenced in the reference list entry. Note that the book is introduced by the word “In”, which is followed by the initials of the author (first) and then the family name. This is the reverse of what you do in the rest of the list, where the family name comes first and then the initials of the given name.

Facilitating  writing process

Discussion, concept maps, questions, note-taking techniques may all facilitate your writing. Using certain software (e.g., Endnote, NVivo, MS OneNote, EverNote) can also help.


It is a great help to your reader if you make a clearly signposted ‘map’ of your writing. You can do this by:

  • Repeating key words or further developing propositions from an earlier sentence in order to make clear the connection between the ideas discussed earlier and those discussed later.
  • Stating explicitly the points you will focus on in the introduction of a chapter or (for a longer piece) at the beginning of a major section; and
  • Using subheadings which indicate what you will focus on in that part of your writing.


The use of mapping or advance organisers is very important in a long piece of work. In such pieces of writing you may insert maps at strategic points (e.g. beginnings of chapters/sections) so that readers reorient themselves and know where they’re headed. For example look at the opening paragraph of section 4.

Useful Discourse Markers

The ways in which parts of your writing are related to other parts can be made clearer by using discourse markers, which can be grouped according to their function in the discourse. Here are some groups of markers that might help you when you need a little variety.

Ordering points or Sequencing

Firstly, …; secondly, …; finally,…

Adding something

Moreover, …; Furthermore,…; Further,…; In addition,…; Additionally,…

NOTE: “Besides” is mainly used in speaking

Comparing (Similarity)

Similarly,…; … likewise,…; equally,…

Comparing (difference – establishing contrast)

However,…; in fact,…; On the other hand,…; …, rather,…; In contrast, …; On the contrary,…; Nevertheless,…; Nonetheless,…; …, yet …; Despite…; In spite of…; Notwithstanding…

Introducing a Cause

As a result of…; Because of…; Because…; Owing to …; Due to…

Introducing a Result

Consequently…; Therefore…; Hence,…; As a result,…; Thus,…; So …; Then…


For example,…; For instance,…; Notably,…


In other words,…; that is,…; namely,…


In general, …; generally,…; on the whole,…


In summary,…; In conclusion,…

6. Common problems (Grammar, style, conventions)

Below are examples of some commonly confused words/expressions in academic writing. Can you think of more?

Et al. (and others)

Only one of these two words is abbreviated. Et is a whole word meaning and, while alii, a word meaning others, is abbreviated to al. (note the full stop/period mark.

Use of the ‘&’ sign

The &’ (ampersand) sign in referencing appears only in brackets or in the reference list at the end of your thesis.

Plurals and Singulars

  • Criterion/criteria
  • Datum/data (the data were categorised…)
  • Focus/foci (or focuses) (The foci of this study were…)
  • Phenomenon/phenomena (… was understood to be a phenomenon)
  • Research/information (used as non-countable nouns in the singular)

Often Confused Spelling


When these words mean influence, affect is used as a verb and effect is used as a noun.


Its is used when you are talking about something belonging to the thing you have already mentioned. It’s is a contraction or a shortened form of “It is” or “It has” – the apostrophe stands for the letter omitted.

That or which?

In academic writing, which often needs to very specifically define the issues that it is discussing, while the word “that” is used more frequently than “which”. Both these words introduce information that is related to a word or phrase that appeared earlier. “That” is used when you wish to specify more closely the defining characteristics of the word or phrase (the word or phrase that appeared earlier). “Which” is used to provide extra information rather than to specify or define. You need a comma before “which”, but not before “that” (“that” must stick to the word it is defining).

‘As’ and ‘that’

Many writers use both ‘as’ and ‘that’ to introduce what other authors are saying. They both mean the same thing, so you must choose only ONE of these words.

Hanging (dangling) Modifiers

  • In a sentence with two parts, the writer’s intention might be to give the reader one piece of information that can enlighten us about the other (main) part of the sentence. This extra information seems to remain hanging or dangling if the writer forgets to indicate clearly who is doing what in both parts of the sentence.
  • The rule is that if you have an –ing word at the beginning of the first part of the sentence, the action of that word must be carried out by the first word of the second part of the sentence.

The goal of a research proposal is to present and justify the need to study a research problem and to present the practical ways in which the proposed study should be conducted. The design elements and procedures for conducting the research are governed by standards within the predominant discipline in which the problem resides, so guidelines for research proposals are more exacting and less formal than a general project proposal. Research proposals contain extensive literature reviews. They must provide persuasive evidence that a need exists for the proposed study. In addition to providing a rationale, a proposal describes detailed methodology for conducting the research consistent with requirements of the professional or academic field and a statement on anticipated outcomes and/or benefits derived from the study’s completion.





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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

“Temporal notions in Europe were overturned by an India rooted in eternity. The Bible had been the yardstick for measuring time, but the infinitely vast time cycles of India suggested that the world was much older than anything the Bible spoke of. It seem as if the Indian mind was better prepared for the chronological mutations of Darwinian evolution and astrophysics.”

Guy Sorman, visiting scholar at Hoover Institution at Stanford and the leader of new liberalism in France

One answer to the question “What is time?” is that it is a collection of objects called “times” that ultimately reduce to relationships among events. A competing answer is that time is a substance, not a relationship among events. Before the creation of Einstein’s  theory of relativity, it might have been said that time must have these  characteristics for any event, or any pair of events   :

  • it specifies when it occurs.
  • it specifies its duration—how long it lasts.
  • it specifies what other events are simultaneous with it.
  • it specifies which happens first.

It was realized that these questions can get different answers in different frame of reference.

Time in Hindu mythology is conceived as a wheel turning through vast cycles of creation and destruction (pralaya), known as kalpa.

According to the Hindu theory of creation, time (Sanskrit ‘kal’) is a manifestation of God. Creation begins when God makes his energies active and ends when he withdraws all his energies into a state of inactivity. God is timeless, for time is relative and ceases to exist in the Absolute. The past, the present and the future coexist in him simultaneously.

In Hinduism time is known as kala. Kala means both time and death. Time is personified as the god of death, Yama, because death is a limiting factor in human life. Kala as god of death determines how long a person should live upon earth. So death and time are associated together. An individual’s time upon earth begins with his birth and ends with his death. However for the soul, there is no death. It has no time because it is without a beginning and without an end.

After a cycle of universal dissolution, the Supreme Being decides to recreate the cosmos so that we souls can experience worlds of shape and solidity. Very subtle atoms begin to combine, eventually generating a cosmic wind that blows heavier and heavier atoms together. Souls depending on their karma earned in previous world systems, spontaneously draw to themselves atoms that coalesce into an appropriate body.” – Prashasta Pada.

Surya Siddhanta: The Startlingly Accurate Astronomy Book of the 1st Millennium BC

Many people know Ravana,  in the Indian Epic the Ramayana; however, less well known are the incredible accomplishments of his father-in-law, King Maya. According to legend, the Hindu Sun god, Surya, revealed to Maya highly specific knowledge of the cosmos, presumably to allow the people of Earth to better worship him. This series of treatises is known as the Surya Siddhanta and it is the oldest book of astronomy known to exist. It is startlingly accurate.

However, the present version available is believed to be more than 2500 years old, which still makes it the oldest book on earth in Astronomy.

This book covers kinds of time, length of the year of gods and demons, day and night of god Brahma, the elapsed period since creation, how planets move eastwards and sidereal revolution. The lengths of the Earth’s diameter, circumference are also given. Eclipses and color of the eclipsed portion of the moon is mentioned.

Citation of the Surya Siddhanta is also found in the works of Aryabhata.

The work as preserved and edited by Burgess (1860) dates to the Middle Ages.

Utpala, a 10th-century commentator of Varahamihira, quotes six shlokas of the Surya Siddhanta of his day . The present version was modified by Bhaskaracharya during the Middle Ages.

The present Surya Siddhanta may nevertheless be considered a direct descendant of the text available to Varahamihira (who lived between 505–587 CE)

The Surya Siddhanta is an incredible testament to the advanced thinking of ancient Indians. In this text, one can find the roots of trigonometry as well as essential mathematical inventions such as standard notation and the decimal system. In addition, the text describes gravity over a millennium before Sir Isaac Newton developed his theory in 1687. It explains sidereal revolutions and how planets move eastward. It accurately calculates the size and position of distant planets, the length of a tropical year, and the amount of time that has passed since creation. Finally, in its discussion of how time passes at different rates under different circumstances, it contains the seeds for relativity.

Concept of Time

The tricky part about understanding Yugas in a historical context is that time is relative. Yugas pertaining to the mechanics of the universe and affairs of the gods have a different scale than those pertaining to human history.

Here is the definition given in Surya Siddhanta :

Time creates, maintains and destroys everything.
There are two types of time, finite and infinite.
Infinite time has no beginning or end.
We are currently aware only of finite time, which has beginnings and endings.

There are two types of finite time: practical and philosophical.
Measurable time is practical.
Time too small to be measured is “philosophical time.”

Practical time begins with a unit called “respiration” (prANa).
Philosophical time begins with an “atomic” unit (truTi).

. Surya Siddhanta is concerned only with practical time:

6 repirations = 1 “semi-pulse” (vinADI)
60 semi-pulses = 1 “pulse” (nADI)

A sidereal “day” (which includes the night), has 60 pulses.

There are 30 sidereal days in a month.
[Another system:] A “common” month instead has 30 sunrises.
[Another system:] A “lunar” month instead has 30 “phases” (tithi [relative distance of the Moon and Sun]).

A “tropical” month begins when the Sun enters a new zodiac sign.

There are 12 months in a year.

A year = 1 “day” for the gods.

Day for the gods is night for the anti-gods, and visa versa.
360 years = 1 “year” for the gods.

12,000 divine years = a “quadruple-age” (catur-yuga)
It is the same as 4,320,000 solar years.
These figures account for the “dawns” and “twilights” in the ages.

Each of the four ages in the quadruple-age possesses on less “foot” of the “bull” named dharma. The duration of each age (“yuga”) is a tenth of the catur-yuga multiplied by the number of legs the age possess. The durations of the twilight and dawn are each a 10th of this.

71 quadruple ages = 1 “patriarch-epoch” (manvantara)
The dawn and twilight of each manvantara is each equal to the length of Age 4, there is a catastrophic flood during this time.

14 patriach-epochs = 1 “aeon” (kalpa)
The aeon has its own dawn – the same length as Age 4 – so that there are 15 sets of transitional periods altogether in an aeon.

An aeon is thus equivalent to the duration of 1,000 quadruple-ages.

Everything is destroyed at the end of an aeon.

1 aeon = 1 daytime for Brahma (the creator), and his night is the same length

He lives for 100 years of such days and nights.
Half his life is past, and we are now in the first aeon of his second half [i.e. the first day” of his 50th “year”]

In this aeon, six patriarch-epochs have past, along with their transitions.
In the seventh patriarch-epochs (where the partiarch is named Vaivasvata) 27 quadruple-ages have past.

In this 28th quadruple-age, Age 1 has already passed.
Try to calculate the time that has passed till now!

From the beginning of the current day of Brahma, he spent 47,400 years setting up the creation of plants, stars, gods, anti-gods, etc.

The Surya Siddhanta also goes into a detailed discussion about time cycles and that time flows differently in differently circumstances, the roots of relativity. Here we have a perfect example of Indian philosophy’s belief that science and religion are not mutually exclusive.

This work shows that spirituality is all about the search for Truth (Satya) and that Science is as valid a path to God as living in a monastery. It is the search for ones own personal Truth that will lead one ultimately to God.

The astronomical time cycles contained in the text were remarkably accurate at the time.

That which begins with respirations (prana) is called real…. Six respirations make a vinadi, sixty of these a nadi

And sixty nadis make a sidereal day and night. Of thirty of these sidereal days is composed a month; a civil (savana) month consists of as many sunrises

A lunar month, of as many lunar days (tithi); a solar (saura) month is determined by the entrance of the sun into a sign of the zodiac; twelve months make a year. This is called a day of the gods. (Day at North Pole)

The day and night of the gods and of the demons are mutually opposed to one another. Six times sixty of them are a year of the gods, and likewise of the demons. (Day and Night being six months each at South Pole)

Twelve thousands of these divine years are denominated a chaturyuga; of ten thousand times four hundred and thirty-two solar years Is composed that chaturyuga, with its dawn and twilight. The difference of the kritayuga and the other yugas, as measured by the difference in the number of the feet of Virtue in each, is as follows:

A- The tenth part of a chaturyuga, multiplied successively by four, three, two, and one, gives the length of the krita and the other yugas: the sixth part of each belongs to its dawn and twilight.

B. One and seventy chaturyugas make a manu; at its end is a twilight which has the number of years of a kritayuga, and which is a deluge.

C. In a kalpa are reckoned fourteen manus with their respective twilights; at the commencement of the kalpa is a fifteenth dawn, having the length of a kritayuga.

D. The kalpa, thus composed of a thousand chaturyugas, and which brings about the destruction of all that exists, is a day of Brahma; his night is of the same length.

E. His extreme age is a hundred, according to this valuation of a day and a night. The half of his life is past; of the remainder, this is the first kalpa.

F. And of this kalpa, six manus are past, with their respective twilights; and of the Manu son of Vivasvant, twenty-seven chaturyugas are past;

G. Of the present, the twenty-eighth, chaturyuga, this kritayuga is past..

Beliefs of Hinduism associated with time

Here are some important beliefs of Hinduism associated with time as an aspect of creation.

1. Perceives time as cyclical. This is based on our own experience of time in terms of days and nights. We see this cyclical pattern in days, weeks, months, years, seasons and yugas or epochs. So from this perspective, time is a never-ending cyclical process, which is both repetitive and exhaustive. In a sense it is limited. In another it is eternal. From a spiritual perspective, time exists when we are in a state of duality but disappears when we enter into the state of unity or samadhi.

2. Each time-cycle has three components, srishti, sthithi and laya. Srishthi means creation. Sthithi means continuation and laya means dissolution. Each time cycle begins with creation, continues for certain duration of time and then dissolves into nothingness. After a brief respite, the cycle begins all over again. These three aspects of time are under the control of the Trinity, Brahma, Vishnu and Siva. Brahma is responsible for creation, Vishnu for existence and Siva for dissolution. We can see the same divisions in a day also. Each day is created in the early hours, continues throughout the day and then finally dissolves into darkness. We can see the same pattern in life also, as childhood, adulthood and old age.

3. The Hindu calculation of time comes to us from sage Ganita who is mentioned in the Manusmriti and the Mahabharata. He calculated the duration of each cycle of creation in human years. He divided the cosmic time into Kalpas, which is a day and night in the time and space of Brahma. It is considered to be equal to 8.64 billion years (Vishnu Purana). Each Kalpa consists of two Artha Kalpas of 4.32 billion years each. They are the day and night of Brahman. Each Kalpa is further divided into 1000 maha yugas. Each maha yuga is again divided into four yugas, namely krita yuga, treat yuga, dvapara yuga and kali yuga. Their duration varies. Krita yuga the first in the series has the longest duration of 1.728 million years and kali yuga, which is the last and the current, has a duration of only 432000 years.

4. The lifespan of Brahma is considered 100 Brahma years, which is known as Maha Kalpa or Parardha. It is equal to 311.04 trillion human years.

5. A day in the life of gods is equal to one year upon earth. It is divided into day and night. The day is known as uttarayana and the night as dakshinayana. They are equal to 180 days each.

6. In Hindu tradition there is another division of time called manvantara. A manavantara is the period during which the earth is ruled by a particular Manu, the father of man. The word ‘man’ comes from the Sanskrit word Manu. According to tradition, a new Manu manifests at the beginning of each manvantara to produce a new race of human beings. Each manvantara lasts for about 71 mahayugas or approximately 308 million years. In each manvantara along with Manu appear seven seers or rishis and one Indra. In all 14 Manus appear in each Kalpa over a period of 1000 mahayugas in succession. The current Manu is 7th in the line and is known as Vaivasvata Manu.

7. The current yuga or epoch is known as Kaliyuga. It is the last in the cycle of the current mahayuga or great epoch. Its calculated duration is 432000 years.

Time as a coefficient of all consciousness

The Indian philosophers are of opinion that time is a coefficient of all consciousness including external perception and internal perception. They do not recognize the perception of time as an independent entity. They believe that time is related to events or changes, and succession and duration are the two important constituents of time. They derive the perception of succession from the perception of changes, and the perception of duration from the perception of the ” specious present “. They regard the perception of the “specious present “as the nucleus of all our time-consciousness. They derive the conception of the past and the future from the perception of the ” specious present ” in which there is an echo of the immediate past and a foretaste of the immediate future. In it there is a rudimentary consciousness of the past and the future which are clearly brought to consciousness by memory and expectation respectively

The Indian philosophers discuss quite comprehensively the problems of temporal perception. The first question that arises in connection with temporal perception is whether time is an object of perception or not. According to the Vedantist philosophers, time is a coefficient of all perception. The Bhatta Mlmamsaka philosophers and Naiyayika philosophers too hold that time is perceived by both the external and the internal sense-organs as a qualification of their objects of perception.

Visual perception of time

Jayanta Bhatta has discussed the possibility of the visual perception of time. Can time be an object of visual perception ? According to the philosophers of Vaisesika philosophy, an object of visual perception must have extensity or appreciable magnitude (mahattva) and manifest or sensible colour (udbhutarupa). But time is colourless. How, then, can it be an object of visual perception ? But the Naiyayika philosophers argues : How is colour perceived though it is colourless ? Certainly an object has colour which inheres in it ; but colour itself has no colour inhering in it. And if colour can be perceived, though it is colourless, then time also can be an object of visual perception, though it is colourless. Jayanta Bhatta says that time is perceived through the visual organ ; it is a fact of experience, and so it cannot be denied, though we may not account for it as a fact of experience cannot be argued out of existence. As a matter of fact, that is visible which can be perceived through the visual organ, be it coloured or colourless ; and time can be perceived through the visual organ, though it is colourless hence none can deny the visual perception of time,

Ramakrsnadhvarin, the author of Sikhamani rightly points out that if we deny the visual perception of time because it is colourless, we cannot account for our visual perception of an object as existing at present, e.g. ” the jar exists now ” (idanlrh ghato vartate). If the present time were not an object of this perception, then there would be no certainty as to the time in which the jar is perceived to exist, but there would be a doubt whether the jar exists at present or not. But, in fact, the jar is definitely perceived as existing now; the actual perception of the jar is not vitiated by the least doubt whether the jar exists at present or not. Such an undoubted perception of an object as existing “now ” clearly shows that besides the object, an element of time also, viz. the present time, enters into the visual perception of the object.

But if time is regarded as an object of visual perception, though it is colourless, because of our visual perception of an object as existing ” now “, then it may equally be argued that akasa (ether) also is an object of visual perception, because of our visual perception of a row of herons in akasa (akase valaka). But akasa is not admitted to be an object of perception  it is regarded as a supersensible object which is inferred from sound as its substrate.  And if, in spite of our visual perception of a row of herons in akasa (akase valaka} akasa is not regarded as an object of visual perception, or of any kind of perception, whatsoever, then why should time be regarded as an object of visual perception, because of our visual perception of an object as existing ” now ” ?

It may be argued that the visual perception of a row of herons in akasa is an acquired perception like the visual perception of fragrant sandal. Just as in the visual perception of fragrant sandal the visual presentation of the sandal (i.e. its visual qualities) is blended with the representation of its fragrance perceived by the olfactory organ on a previous occasion and revived in memory by the sight of the sandal, so in the visual perception of a row of herons in akasa the visual perception of the row of herons (valdka) is blended with the idea of akasa which is represented to consciousness by another cognition by association, and so akasa is not an object of visual perception. But if this argument is valid, then it may as well be argued that the element of time which enters into every perceptive process is not an object of perception, but it is represented in consciousness by another cognition, with which it is associated in experience, and thus the element of time entering into every perception is not an object of direct perception.

The truth is that the visual perception of an object as existing ” now ” is not an acquired perception like the acquired perception of fragrant sandal, because in this perception the element of time (now) is felt as an object of direct visual perception  nor is it like the visual perception of a row of herons in akasa because akasa does not enter into the perception as a qualification (visesana} of its object. The present time is perceived as a qualification of every object of perception. Whenever an object, event, or action is perceived, it is not perceived as timeless, but as existing or occurring in time, or qualified by the present time.

And time is not only an object of visual perception, but of all kinds of perception. It is perceived by all the sense-organs, external and internal, as a qualification of their objects.  Here we are reminded of Kant’s doctrine that time is the form of external and internal perception.

Perception of Time as an Independent Entity

But though time is an object of perception, it is never perceived as an independent entity. One of the essential characteristics of time is succession, and succession is never perceived apart from changes. So we can never perceive time apart from actions or changes which occur In time. The temporal marks of before and after, sooner and later, etc., are never perceived apart from actions or changes. And if there is no distinct perception of time apart from that of changes, is it not natural to conclude that there is no perception of time, but only a perception of changes? Is time nothing but change or action ? Some hold that time apart from action is a fiction of imagination; time is identical with action or change ; time and action are synonymous. Hence there is no perception of time at all, but only that of actions(karyamatravalambana).

The Naiyayika philosopfers admits that there is no perception of time apart from that of actions. But from this it does not follow that there is no perception of time at all ; for an element of time always enters into the perception of actions as a constituent factor  actions are never perceived without being qualified by time ; actions unqualified by time or timeless actions are never perceived. The perception of time is inseparable from the perception of actions  but they are not identical with each other. Hence the legitimate conclusion is that time cannot be perceived as an independent entity, but only as a qualifying adjunct (visesana) of events or actions ; there is no perception of empty time devoid of all sensible content, but only of filled time or time filled with some sensible matter. Just as there is no perception of mere actions unqualified by time, so there is no perception of empty time devoid of all sensible content. When we perceive succession or simultaneity, sooner or later, we do not perceive mere actions, but we perceive something else which qualifies these actions, and that is time. Time, therefore, is perceived not as an independent entity, but as a qualification of the objects of perception ; there is no perception of empty time.

But it may be seen that,if time is an object of perception, why is it perceived not as an independent entity, but only as a qualification of perceptible objects ? Jayanta Bhatta says that it is the very nature of time (vastusvalhava] that it can be perceived only as a qualification of perceptible objects. This is the final limit of explanation. We can never account for the ultimate nature of things.

So time is an object of perception. The Bhatta Mlmaiiisaka also admits that time cannot be perceived by the sense-organs as an independent entity, but it is perceived by all the sense-organs as aqualification (visesana) of their own objects.

This psychological analysis of the perception of time is parallel to that of William James. ” We have no sense,” he says, ” for empty time. . . . We can no more intuit a duration than we can Intuit an extension devoid of all sensible content”  Kant’s notion of a pure intuition of time without any sensible matter is psychologically false.

Perception of the Present

Time could be linear or closed. Linear time might have a beginning or have no beginning; it might have an ending or no ending. There could be two disconnected time streams, in two parallel worlds; perhaps one would be linear and the other circular. There could be branching time, in which time is like the letter “Y”, and there could be a fusion time in which two different time streams merge into one. Time might be two dimensional instead of one dimensional. For all these topologies, there could be discrete time or continuous time.

Some deny the existence of the present time and consequently of the perception of the present. When a fruit falls to the ground, it is detached from its stalk and comes gradually nearer and nearer to the ground, traversing a certain space and gradually passing from one position to another, say, from A to B  from B to R, and so on until it comes to the ground. When the fruit has passed from A to B  the space between A and B is the space traversed, and the time related to that traversed space is that which has been passed through (patitakala or the past) ; and when the fruit will pass from B to R, the space between B and C is the space to be traversed, and the time related to this space is that which is to be passed through (patitavyakala or the future)  and apart from these two spaces, the traversed space and the space to be traversed, there is no third space left intervening between them which may be perceived as being traversed and give rise to the perception of the present time. So the present time does not exist. Here by the present time is meant the mathematical time-point which is the boundary line between the past and future. But such a time- point is never an object of actual perception. Hence there is no present time at all.  This argument reminds us of Zeno’s dialectic against the possibility of motion.

Vatsyayana rightly points out that time cannot be conceived in terms of space but only in terms of action.  Thus Vatsyayana  holds that there can be no spatial representation of time. According to him, time is perceived as qualifying an action  an action is perceived as occurring in time. When, for instance, the action of falling has ceased, and is no more, it is perceived as past ; and when the action of falling is going to happen and not yet commenced, it is perceived as future ; and when the action of falling is going on, it is perceived as present. Thus time- consciousness is found in the perception of action. When an action is no more it is perceived as past , when it is not yet begun, it is perceived as future ; and when it is going on  it is perceived as present.

If an action is never perceived as going on, how can it be perceived as no more or as not yet ? For instance, if the action of falling is not perceived as going on, how can it be perceived as having ceased, or as going to happen ? As a matter of fact, what is meant by the past time or the time ” that has been fallen through ” (patttakala] in the present case, is that the action of falling is over or no more and what is meant by the future time or the time ” to be fallen through ” (patitavyaksla) is that the action of falling is going to happen and not yet begun, so that at both these points of time, past and future, the object is devoid of action ; but when we perceive that the fruit is in the process of falling, we perceive the object in action. Thus time is perceived not in terms of space but in terms of actions  when they are perceived as going on or in the process of happening, they are perceived as present , when they are perceived as over or no more, they are perceived as past, and when they are perceived as going to happen and not yet begun, they are perceived as future. The consciousness of the present is the nucleus of the”  consciousness of the past and the future  the past and the future are built upon the present. Time is perceived only through an action ; the actual happening of an action is perceived as present ; and unless an action is perceived as happening or present, it can never be perceived as past or future, inasmuch as the action does not really exist in the past or in the future but only in the present. Hence the perception of the present cannot be denied as all our time- consciousness is centred in it.

The whole controversy hinges on the meaning of the present time. Vatsyayana takes it in the sense of the ” specious present ” or felt present .which is a tract of time. His opponent takes It in the sense of the mathematical time-point or indivisible instant which is never a fact of actual experience. Vatsyayana is right in so far as he gives a psychological explanation of the specious present which is the basis of our conception of the past and future.

The one issue upon which philosophers are deeply divided: What sort of ontological differences are there among the present, past and future? There are three competing theories. Presentists argue that necessarily only present objects and present experiences are real, and we conscious beings recognize this in the special “vividness” of our present experience. So, the dinosaurs have slipped out of reality. However,  the past and present are both real, but the future is not real because the future is .The third point of view is that there are no objective ontological differences among present, past, and future because the differences are merely subjective. This view  can be called eternalism.”

Time may be viewed either as one-dimensional or as bi-dimensional. Either it may be regarded as having only linear extension or succession, or it may be regarded as having simultaneity and succession both.

The Vedantist philosophers and some Naiyayika philosophers hold that the sensible present is not a mathematical point of time but has a certain duration ; the sensible present is a tract of time extending over a few moments it is an extended present or the ” specious present ” (vitata evakalah). According to them the ” specious present” having a certain duration yields us one unitary presentation without flickering of attention.

According to Prabhakara, in the consciousness ” I know this ” (aham idam janami) there is a simultaneity of three presentations, viz. the presentation of the knower , the presentation of the known object (this)) and the presentation of knowledge (or the relation between the knower and the known). This is Prabhakara’s doctrine of Triputl Samvit or triple consciousness.

Some Naiyayika philosophers hold that sometimes the present is perceived as extended or with a certain duration, for instance, when we perceive a continuous action, e.g. cooking, reading, etc. The sensible present is not momentary, but has a certain length of duration (vartamanaksano dtrghah) ; it is not made up of a single moment, but composed of a number of moments (ndndksanaganatmaka).

The Naiyayikaphilosophers  and the Vedantist philosophers  hold that a continuous and uniform impression bears clear testimony to the unbroken and uninterrupted existence of its object ; and consequently, it apprehends an extended present with a certain duration.

Some Naiyayika philosophers and the Vedantist philosophesr clearly recognize the importance of duration apart from which succession has no meaning. The Buddhist philosophers have argued that a presentation cannot apprehend the past and the future as they are not presented to consciousness ; it can apprehend only the present which is constituted by a single moment. The Naiyayika philosophers urges that even a momentary glance (nimesa-drsti] can apprehend the continued existence of an object. Why should, then, perception be regarded as apprehending the instantaneous present ?  Even supposing that a momentary glance cannot apprehend the past and the future, but only the present, what is the span of the present time perceived by a continuous and uniform impression (animesa-drsti} ? Is it a time-point or a tract of time ? Is it an instant or a length of duration ? The sensible present continues as long as the continuous and uniform impression persists without an oscillation of attention, and as long as it is not interrupted by another impression ; so that this single unitary presentation apprehends not an instantaneous present but a lengthened or extended present with a certain duration.

Most philosophers  believe time travel is physically possible. To define the term, we can say that in time travel, the traveller’s journey as judged by the traveller’s correct clock takes a different amount of time than the journey does as judged by the correct clocks of those who do not take the journey. The physical possibility of travel to the future is well accepted, but travel to the past is more controversial, and time travel that changes the future or the past is generally considered to be impossible.

You may have heard the remark that you have no time to take a spaceship ride across the galaxy since it is 100,000 light years across. So, even if you were to travel at just under the speed of light, it would take you over 100,000 years. Who has that kind of time? This remark contains a misunderstanding about time dilation. This is 100,000 years as judged by clocks that are stationary relative to Earth, not as judged by your clock. If you were in the spaceship that accelerated quickly to just under the speed of light, then you and your clock might age hardly at all as you traveled across the galaxy. In fact, with a very fast spaceship, you have plenty of time to go anywhere in the universe you wish to go.

Indian philosophers also believe the difference in time dimensions in other planes .we can find references of travelling to different planes and outer space and its impact on time status,in many mythology  events,(like marriage episode of Balram, the brother of Lord Krishna , with Raveti, the daughter of King Raivat, who just returned from Swarga after one month and find one complete yuga has passed here.)

A psychological investigation must not be guided by metaphysical speculation ; but metaphysics must be based on psychology. Psychologically considered, there is no mathematical point of time, but only a tract of time. That time must be regarded as present which is grasped by a single continuous impression without a break or interruption. And such an unbroken and uninterrupted impression apprehends the present as an unbroken and uninterrupted block or duration of time. Hence the sensible present is not an instant, but has a length of duration.

An object is apprehended by consciousness as having a continued existence. A pulse of consciousness, though existing at present can apprehend the past as well as the future as past and future.  The feeling of the past is not a past feeling and the feeling of the future is not a future feeling. For instance, a present recollection apprehends the past ; a present flash of intuition (pratibha jnana) apprehends the future ; and a present inference apprehends both the past and the future.

The Naiyayika philosophers  replies that peripheral action does not exist for a moment, but continues for some time. The perception of an object depends upon the intercourse of a sense-organ with an object, and this intercourse is not momentary, but persists for some time ;peripheral stimulation is not a momentary act, but a somewhat prolonged process ; and consequently perception does not apprehend an instant or a ” time-point “, but a tract of time with a certain duration,

Vatsyayana says that sometimes the present is perceived as unmixed with the past and the future, for instance, when we perceive that a substance exists. And sometimes the present is perceived as mixed up with the past and the future, for instance, when we perceive the continuity of an action, e.g. cooking, cutting, etc. Thus Vatsyayana admits that the present is sometimes perceived as having a certain duration.

According to the Vedantist phjlosophers , too, a continuous and uniform impression (dharavahikaluddhi] is a single unitary psychosis with a certain duration ; it is not a series of momentary impressions in rapid succession, as the Buddhist philosophers hold. In the continuous impression of a jar the mental mode which assumes the form of the jar is one and undivided as long as the jar is presented to consciousness without any flickering of attention, and is not interrupted by another psychosis. It is not made up of many momentary psychoses, because according to the Vedantist philosophers , a psychosis continues in the field of consciousness as long as the mind does not assume the form of a different object. So the Vedantist also admits that a continuous and uniform presentation does not apprehend an instantaneous present, but an extended present with a certain duration. Thus the Vedantist philosophers and some Naiyayika philosophers hold that the sensible present has duration, while the Buddhist philosophers hold that the sensible present is instantaneous or momentary. Certainly the former view is psychologically correct. The Buddhists deny the  specious present ” because it contradicts their fundamental doctrine of impermanence or momentariness.

The practically cognized present is no knife-edge, but a saddle- back, with a certain breadth of its own on which we sit perched, and from which we look in two directions into time. The unit of composition of our perception of time is a duration with a bow and a stern, as it were, a rearward and a forward looking end.”

Time is a real however it has many facets and it may not be possible to nail down our perception of time to any single one.

Is time more like a straight line or instead more like a circle? If your personal time were circular, then eventually you would be reborn. With circular time, the future is also in the past, and every event occurs before itself. If your time is like this, then the question arises as to whether you would be born an infinite number of times or only once.

Indian philosophers strongly believe the essentiality of time as a dimension for the existence. That is why they believe in the existence of past , present and future. According to them past provide base and future is the by-product of present. Time is continuity. Remotely it appears that this concept of time gave the base to the theory of reincarnation and rebirth.

The present is a fleeting moment; whatever is happening now (present) is confined to an infinite simply narrow point on the time line which is being encroached upon by what we think of as the past and the future. Present resembles the sharp point of a recording laser or needle; it may be mental awareness of the recording  of memory as it is being inscribed into our brain..

Unlike the present we see past and future as measurable durations of time. Past historical events,  are all measurable durations or extensions in time, just like a recorded material on tape. This similarity suggests that past is just a recorded memory, while future can be compared to an unrecorded tape. Historical events have in them the same time characteristic as stories that are just creations of human imagination. Both contain in them the time concepts of earlier, the later, the past present and the future; this again suggests that past really is similar to memory of events.

Future appears to be a projection created by our past experiences stored in our memory. The fact that the present which gives us the most real feel of time cannot be measured while the inaccessible past and future can be measured as durations strongly suggest that the way we perceive time is an illusion. Time is most likely is a concept created by our mind by merging consciousness, memories, anticipation, perception, change and motion. There however is a real underlying process and there is a cause for this process the Time is a real phenomenon a continuous change through which we live. Time becomes evident through motion; sunrise sunsets, night and day, the changing seasons, the movement of the celestial bodies all is indicative of continuous change.

The Hindu holy book, the Rig Veda (X:129), has a much more realistic view of the matter:
“Who knows for certain? Who shall here declare it?
Whence was it born, whence came creation?
The gods are later than this world’s formation;
Who then can know the origins of the world?
None knows whence creation arose;
And whether he has or has not made it;
He who surveys it from the lofty skies,
Only he knows- or perhaps he knows not.”

(source: Broca’s Brain: Reflections on the Romance of Science – By Carl Sagan p. 106 – 137).


A Manual of Psychology., second edition, 1910,

Dictionary of Philosophy and Psychology,

James -Principles of Psychology,

Ladd -Psychology Descriptive and Explanatory ,

Nyayabindu of Dharmakirti (Benares, 1924).

Nyayabhasya of Vatsyayana (Jlvananda’s edition, Calcutta, 1919).

Nylyamanjari of Jayanta. (V.S.S., Benares, 1895

Nyayavartika of Udyotkara (B.L, 1887-1904).

NyayavartikatatparyatikS of Vacaspati Misra (V.S.S., Benares),

Vivaranaprameyasarngralia of Madhavacarya Vidyaranya

Vivaranaprameyasarngralia of Madhavacarya Vidyaranya (V.S.S,, Benares, 1893).





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Samkhya Yoga Darshan- The Classical Indian Philosophy


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


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.”

Its earliest extant literature, the Sankhya-karika of the commentator Ishvara Krishna,dates back only to the fifth century A.D., and the Sankbya-sutras once attributed to Kapila are not older than our fifteenth century; but the origins of the system apparently antedate Buddhism itself.  The Buddhist texts and the Mahabharata  repeatedly refer to it, and Winternitz finds its influence in Pythagoras.

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.

The Samkhya philosophy combines the basic doctrines of Samkhya and Yoga. However it should be remembered that the Samkhya represents the theory and Yoga  represents the application or the practical aspects.

The Sankhya system is based on Satkaryavada. According to Satkaryavada, the effect pre-exists in the cause. Cause and effect are seen as different temporal aspects of the same thing – the effect lies latent in the cause which in turn seeds the next effect.

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.

Samkhya is dualistic realism. It is dualistic because it advocates two ultimate realities: Prakriti, matter and Purusha, self (spirit). Samkhya is realism as it considers that both matter and spirit are equally real.  According to Samkhya the cause is always subtler than the effect.

Prakriti is the non-self.  It is devoid of consciousness Prakriti is unintelligible and gets greatly influenced by the Purusha, the self.  It can only manifest itself as the various objects of experience of the Purusha

Prakriti is constituted of three gunas, namely sattvarajas and tamas. The term guna, in ordinary sense means quality or nature. But here, it is to be understood in the sense of constituent (component) in Samkhya. Sattva is concerned with happiness. While rajas is concerned with action, tamas is associated with ignorance and inaction.

Sattva is the guna whose essence is purity, fineness and subtlety. Rajas is concerned with the actions of objects.

Tamas is the constituent concerned with the inertia and inaction. In material objects, it resists motion and activity.

Samkhya maintains that the three gunas of Prakriti are also associated with all the world-objects. Prakriti is the primordial and ultimate cause of all physical existence. Naturally the three gunas which constitute Prakriti also constitute every object of the physical world. Prakriti is never static. Even before evolution, the gunas are relentlessly changing and balancing each other. As a result, Prakriti and all the physical objects that are effected or produced by Prakriti, are also in a state of constant change and transformation. This is further confirmed by the scientists today.( It is now proved beyond doubt that ultra-minute particles of objects – like electrons – are in a state of incessant motion and transformation.)

According to Samkhya, the efficient cause of the world is Purusha and the material cause is the Prakriti. Here Purusha stands for the ‘Supreme spirit’ and Prakriti stands for ‘matter’. Purusha (spirit) is the first principle of Samkhya. Prakriti is the second, the material principle of Samkhya.

Prakriti is the material cause of the world. Prakriti is dynamic. Its dynamism is attributed to its constituent gunas. The gunas are not only constituents, nor are they simply qualities. The gunas are the very essence of PrakritiGunas are constituents not only of Prakriti but also of all world-objects as they are produced by PrakritiPrakriti is considered homogeneous and its constituent gunas cannot be separated. The gunas are always changing, rendering a dynamic character to Prakriti. Still a balance among three gunas is maintained in Prakriti. The changes in the gunas and in thePrakriti may take two forms: Homogeneous and Heterogeneous. Homogeneous changes do not affect the state of equilibrium in the Prakriti. As a result, worldly objects are not produced.  Heterogeneous changes involve radical interaction among the three gunas. They disturb the state of equilibrium. This is the preliminary phase of the evolution. As the gunas undergo more and more changes, Prakriti goes on differentiating into numerous, various world-objects. Thus it becomes more and more determinate. This is what is termed as evolution.

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.

The evolution  results in 23 different categories of objects. They comprise of three elements  of  Antahkaranas or the internal organs as well as the ten Bahyakaranas or the external organs

Among all these, the first to evolve is Mahat(the great one). Mahat evolves as a result of preponderance of sattva. Since it is an evolute of Prakriti, it is made of matter. But it has psychological, intellectual aspect known as buddhi or intellect. Mahat or intellect is a unique faculty of human beings. It helps man in judgment and discrimination. Buddhi can reflect  Purusha owing to these qualities.

The second evolute is ahamkara (ego). It arises out of the cosmic nature of MahatAhamkara is the self-sense. It is concerned with the self-identity and it brings about awareness of “I” and “mine”.

According to the Samkhya there emanates two sets of objects from ahamkara. The first set comprises of the manas (mind), the five sense-organs and the five motor organs. The second set consists of the five elements which may exist in two forms, subtle and gross.

The five subtle elements are also called tanmatras. These five subtle elements or tanmatras are:

  1. Shabda ( elemental sound)
  2. Sparsha (elemental touch)
  3. Rupa( elemental colour)
  4. Rasa( elemental taste)
  5. Gandha( elemental smell)

. The gross elements  arise as a result of combination of the subtle elements.

The five gross elements are space or ether (akasa), water, air, fire and earth.

It should be noted here that the manas or the mind is different from Mahat or the buddhiManas or the mind in co-ordination with the sense-organs, receives impressions from the external world, transforms them into determinate perceptions and conveys them to the experiencer or the ego. Thus manas is produced and is capable of producing also. But though Mahat is produced, it can not produce.

As we have seen ahamkara produces both the subtle and the gross elements. These gross elements are produced by various combinations of subtle elementsThe five gross elements combine in different ways to form all gross objects. All the gross elements and the gross objects in the world are perceivable.

The evolution 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.

Samkhya and the Theory of Knowledge

Samkhya accepts three sources of valid knowledge: Perception, inference and testimony.

According to Samkhya, the manas(mind), the Mahat (intellect = buddhi) and the purusha play a role in ‘producing’ knowledge. When the sense-organs come in contact with an object, the sensations and impressions reach the manas. The manas processes these impressions into proper forms and converts them into determinate percepts. These percepts are carried to the Mahat. By its own applications, Mahat gets modified. Mahat takes the form of the particular object. This transformation of Mahat is known as vritti or modification of buddhi. But still the process of knowledge is not completed.Mahat is a physical entity. It lacks consciousness so it can not generate knowledge on its own. However, it can reflect the consciousness of thePurusha(self). Illumined by the consciousness of the reflected self, the unconscious Mahat becomes conscious of the form into which it is modified (i.e. of the form of the object.

Samkhya cites out two types of perceptions:

Indeterminate (nirvikalpa) perceptions and determinate  (savikalpa) perceptions.

Indeterminate perceptions are sort of pure sensations or crude impressions. They reveal no knowledge of the form or the name of the object. There is vague awareness about an object. There is cognition, but no recognition.

Determinate perceptions are the mature state of perceptions which have been processed and differentiated appropriately. Once the sensations have been processed, categorized and interpreted properly, they become determinate perceptions. They can lead to identification and also generate knowledge.

Samkhya and God

Kapila, the proponent of the Samkhya School, rules out the existence of God. He asserts that the existence of God can not be proved and that God does not exist. Samkhya argues that if God exists and if God is eternal and unchanging as is widely claimed, then he can not be the cause of the world. A cause has to be active and changing.

Bondage and Salvation

Like other major systems of Indian philosophy, Samkhya regards ignorance as the root cause of bondage and suffering.  According to Samkhya, the self is eternal, pure consciousness.  Due to ignorance, the self identifies itself with the physical body and its constituents. Once the self becomes free of this false identification and the material bonds, the salvation is possible.

Yoga system of Indian philosophy

The Yoga system of philosophy was founded by Patanjali. He authored the Yoga Sutras or the aphorisms of Yoga. What is Yoga? 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.

Samkhya  system is based on atheism but Yoga believes in God.

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

  • Dukha (pain),
  • Daurmanasya (frustration,
  • Angamejayatva (fickle limbs)
  • , Svasa (spasmodic breathing in)
  • 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. Yama means restraint. One must turn to ethics by refraining himself from immoral activities. This is the first step towards self–discipline. Niyamameans observance. It refers to the cultivation of values and virtues in life. These two angaYama and Niyama – protects the aspirant from irresistible temptations and desires and offer a protection from the distractions.

II. Niyama, a faithful observance of certain preliminary rules for Yoga: cleanliness, content, purification, study, and piety.

The next two steps, asana and pranayama, prepares the physical body for the Yogic practice.

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. Pratyahara is concerned with the withdrawal of the senses. The senses, by their inherent nature, remain focused on the external world. Pratyaharahelps to detach the sense organs from the objects of the world. The isolation from the world objects facilitates the concentration of the mind on any particular object.

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. Samadhi is the ultimate stage of Yogic practice. Now all self-awareness of the mind disappearsThe illusion is gone. This is the ultimate, nirbeej Samadhi. There is the unification of the subject and the object. Now there is no object at all.  The duo, the subject and the object, mingles into unity. They are no separate entities. There is only one, but it is not an object.  There is oneness devoid of material existence; it is pure Consciousness.

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.

Eliot compares, for the illumination of this stage, a passage from Schopenhauer, obviously inspired by his study of Hindu philosophy: “When some sudden cause or inward disposition lifts us out of the endless stream of willing, the attention is no longer directed to the motives of willing, but comprehends things free from their relation to the will, and thus observes them without subjectivity, purely objectively, gives itself entirely up to them so far as they are ideas, but not in so far as they are motives. Then all at once the peace that we were always seeking, but which always fled from us on the former path of die desires, comes to us of its own accord, and it is well with us.” which remains when all sense attachments have been exercised away. To the extent to which the soul can free itself from its physical environment and prison it becomes Brahman, and exercises Brahman’s intelligence and power. Here the magical basis of religion reappears, and almost threatens the essence of religion itself the worship of powers superior to man.

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.


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Philosophy- Hindu point of view

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

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’.

In the context of spiritual philosophy darsana means a world vision, a view or window to the true nature of the world. Traditionally darsana is defined as one that envisions the true nature of of the world (samsara), the cause of binding (mula karana) and the path to liberation of self (nishreyasa). The purpose of darsana is to show the path to liberation, and the source of binding. The knowledge of self (jiva), phenomenal world (jagat) and absolute nature of the world (brahman) and the consciousness that relates these, is the basis for knowing the nature of binding and liberation.

Most darsanas have some  common elements. Many of the darsanas have developed along with spiritual philosophy, elaborate methods and practices that help the individual’s liberation. The methods are based on the theory of consciousness They all lay emphasis on dharmic life, devotion, turning mind inwards and meditation on the ultimate reality.

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.

Some of the fundamentals expressed in the Indian philosophy and the Western philosophy may be similar. However, Indian philosophy differs from the Western philosophy on several counts. While the Western philosophy deals with metaphysics, epistemology, psychology, ethics etc. separately, Indian philosophy takes a comprehensive view of all these topics.

All systems of Indian philosophy are ranged by the Hindus 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.

Of the “orthodox” systems or darshanas these six became so prominent that in time every Hindu thinker who acknowledged the authority of the Brahmans attached himself to one or another of these schools. All six make certain assumptions which are the bases of Hindu thought: that the Vedas are inspired; that reasoning is less reliable as a guide to reality and truth than the direct perception and feeling of an individual properly prepared for spiritual receptiveness and subtlety by ascetic practices and years of obedient tutelage; that the purpose of knowledge and philosophy is not control of the world so much as release from it; and that the goal of thought is to find freedom from the suffering of frustrated desire by achieving freedom from desire itself. These are the philosophies to which men come when they tire of ambition, struggle, wealth, “progress,” and “success.”

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.

The following characteristics are common to all other systems:

(1) All the schools emphasize that the philosophy must have a positive impact on life of man. The schools have a general agreement on the importance of the Purushartha.  All the schools agree that the philosophy should help man in realizing the main ends of human life: the purusharthas, i.e. arthakamadharma and moksha.

(2) All the systems reflect that the philosophy should lead a man from darkness and ignorance to light and knowledge.

(3) There is a general agreement among the systems that the truth and reality should be verifiable. They should be substantiated with reasoning and experience. An experience may be sensory, conceptual or intuitional.

(4) It is accepted by all the schools that man’s suffering results from his ignorance. Man can conquer ignorance and attain total freedom (moksha) in this bodily existence.

(5) There is a general agreement on man’s essential spirituality.

The History of Indian Philosophy

The philosophies develop over long spells of time.  It is difficult for the historians to ascertain the period for the development of a particular philosophy.

However, we can safely outline the history of Indian philosophies, as per Dr. Radhakrishnan,  as follows:

(1)    The Vedic period (1500 B.C. to 600 B.C.)

(2)    The Epic period (600 B.C. to 200 A.D.)

(3)    The Sutra period (200 A.D. to 1700 A.D.)

(4)    The Scholastic period ( From Sutra Period to 17th century )

Let us get an idea of these periods:

(1)    The Vedic Period: This period can be regarded as the dawn of civilization in the world.  The literature of the Vedic period is considered to be the most ancient in the world. It consists of the four Vedas, namely, Rig Veda, Yajur  Veda, Sama Veda and Atharva Veda. Each of the Vedas is divided into four parts: The Samhitas (the Mantras) , the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the Upanishads.

(2)    The Epic Period: It is the period of the development of the early Upanishads and the darshanas and is concerned with the enriching of intellect of man. The darshanas paved the way for the growth of the systems of philosophies in India. The invaluable dharma -shastras, the great treatises on ethical and social philosophy, are the gifts of this period.  The period is very significant because it witnessed the rise and early development of Shaivism and Vaishnavism as well as that of Jainism and Buddhism.

(3)    The Sutra Period: The  scholars made efforts to safeguard the rich heritage. That is how the illustrious Sutras were written. The Sutras are, mostly, epigrammatic sentences in the verse-form. The Sutras laid the foundation of the different systems of philosophies in India. The six orthodox systems based on the Sutras are Vaisheshika, Nyaya, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva-Mimamsa and Uttar-Mimamsa.

(4)    The Scholastic Period:. With the passage of time, the ancient literature became nearly incomprehensible.. Thus a number of commentaries were written. Chief among them were Shamkaracharya, Ramanujacharya and Madhavacharya. Incidentally, three schools of Vedanta were developed: Shamkaracharya’s Advaita Vedanta, Ramanujacharya’s Vishishtadvaita Vedanta and Madhavacharya’s DvaitaVedanta.

Briefly outline of Shad-Darshan is given below:

1. Nyaya - by Sage Gautam

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.

It is a logical quest for God, the absolute Divinity. It tells that the material power “Maya”, with the help of God, becomes the universe. Nyaya Darshan is based on establishing the fact that only the Divinity (God) is desirable, knowable and attainable, and not this world.Nyaya philosophy is primarily concerned with the correct knowledge to be acquire in the human life and the means of receiving this knowledge.

2. Vaishesika – by Sage Kanad

Science of Logic, Futility of Maya, Vedic Atomic Theory

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.

The date at which the Vaisheshika system was formulated has not been fixed with excessive accuracy: we are told that it was 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.”

According to this school of philosophy, there is no creation or annihilation but rather an orderly and morally systematized composition and decomposition of matter. Atoms (not we studied in our elementary science) are the smallest particle exists in the universe and are eternal in nature.

3. Sankhya -  by Sage Kapil

Eliminate Physical and Mental Pains for receiving liberations, Nontheistic Dualism

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.”

The dualistic philosophy of Purusa and Prakrti; according to many followers of Sankhyaphilosophy, there is no such God exists. For them Purusa is sufficient to inspire the unconscious Prakrti to manifest herself in the form of universe. However, a section of Sankhya philosophers believed about the existence of Supreme Being who guides Prakrtiindependently accordingly to His will. The extent of mayic creation and Divinity beyond that; it tells that the entire mayic creation is worth discarding and only the Divinity is to be attained because that is the only source of Bliss.

4. Yoga – by Sage Patanjali

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. What is Yoga? 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 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) and Anavasthitatva (instability). In addition to the obstacles mentioned above, Patanjali accepts five more obstacles called Dukha (pain), Daurmanasya (frustration, Angamejayatva (fickle limbs), Svasa (spasmodic breathing in) and 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.

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.

5. Karma Mimamsa -  by Sage Jaimini

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

Sanskrit mīmāṁ, 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,

To step from Yoga to the Purva-Mimansa is to pass from the most renowned to the least known and least important of the six systems of Brahmanical philosophy. Meemaansaa philosophy is attributed to sage Jaimini (c 350 BC). 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 Ved. Meemaansaa is also basically atheistic.

Vedanta – by Sage VedVyas

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

Sanskrit Vedānta, literally, end of the Veda, from Veda +anta end; akin to Old English ende endFirst 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. Complicating the matters further, there have been three Aachaarya, famously known for three systems of metaphysics, are known consecutively as A-Dwait, Vishisht A-Dwait and Dwait, explaining the relationship between man and God.

It reveals this secret that God is absolute Divinity and absolute Bliss, and He is Gracious. So desire, fully remember Him and with His Grace experience His absolute Blissfulness forever. Vedanta examines the Vedas teachings in the light of transcendental knowledge.

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 school.

The Charvakas apparently sought to establish their materialism on an epistemological basis. In their epistemology, they viewed sense perception alone as a means of valid knowledge. The validity of inferential knowledge was challenged on the ground that all inference requires a universal major premise (“All that possesses smoke possesses fire”) whereas there is no means of arriving at a certainty about such a proposition. No amount of finite observations could possibly yield the required universal premise. The supposed “invariable connection” may be vitiated by some unknown “condition,” and there is no means of knowing that such a vitiating factor does not exist. Since inference is not a means of valid knowledge, all such supersensible objects as “afterlife,” “destiny,” or “soul” do not exist. To say that such entities exist though there is no means of knowing them is regarded as absurd, for no unverifiable assertion of existence is meaningful.


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.

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).


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.



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Buddhism – the Rebel child of Hinduism.

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

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. Buddha (c. 500s B.C.E.) also known as Gotama Buddha, Siddhārtha Gautama, and Buddha Śākyamuni, was born in Lumbini, in the Nepalese region of Terai, near the Indian border The Buddha’s teaching formed the foundation for Buddhist philosophy, initially developed in South Asia, then later in the rest of Asia.

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.

Buddhism and Buddhist philosophy now have a global following. While the Buddha’s view of the spiritual path is traditionally described as a middle way between the extremes of self-indulgence and self-mortification, the Buddha’s epistemology can be interpreted as a middle way between the extremes of dogmatism and skepticism.

Higher Knowledge

Contemplative experiences are of two main types:

meditative absorptions or abstractions (jhāna), and higher or direct knowledge (abhiññā).
Stages of the Eight Jhānas // Meditative Absorption

EIGHT JHĀNAS – In the Pāli canon the Buddha describes eight progressive states of absorption meditation or jhāna. Four are considered to be meditations of form (rūpa jhāna) and four are formless meditations (arūpa jhāna). The first four jhānas are said by the Buddha to be conducive to a pleasant abiding and freedom from suffering.[10] The jhānasare states of meditation where the mind is free from the five hindrances — craving, aversion, sloth, agitation and doubt — and (from the second jhāna onwards) incapable of discursive thinking. The deeper jhānas can last for many hours. Jhāna empowers a meditator’s mind, making it able to penetrate into the deepest truths of existence.

There are four deeper states of meditative absorption called “the immaterial attainments.” Sometimes these are also referred to as the “formless” jhānas (arūpa jhānas) in distinction from the first four jhānas (rūpa jhānas). In the Buddhist canonical texts, the word “jhāna” is never explicitly used to denote them, but they are always mentioned in sequence after the first four jhānas. The enlightenment of complete dwelling in emptiness is reached when the eighth jhāna is transcended.

The Rupa Jhānas

There are four stages of deep collectedness which are called the Rupa Jhāna (Fine-material Jhāna):

  1. First Jhāna – In the first jhana there are – “directed thought, evaluation, rapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention”
  2. Second Jhāna – In the second jhana there are – “internal assurancerapture, pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
  3. Third Jhāna – In the third jhana, there are – “equanimity-pleasure, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention”
  4. Fourth Jhāna – In the fourth jhana there are – “a feeling of equanimity, neither pleasure nor pain; an unconcern due to serenity of awareness; unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity & attention”.[11]

The Arupa Jhānas

Beyond the four jhānas lie four attainments, referred to in the early texts as aruppas. These are also referred to in commentarial literature as immaterial/the formless jhānas (arūpajhānas), also translated as The Formless Dimensions:

  1. Dimension of Infinite Space – In the dimension of infinite space there are – “the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of space, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
  2. Dimension of Infinite Consciousness – In the Dimension of infinite consciousness there are – “the perception of the dimension of the infinitude of consciousness, unification of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
  3. Dimension of Nothingness – In the dimension of nothingness, there are – “the perception of the dimension of nothingness, singleness of mind, contact, feeling, perception, intention, consciousness, desire, decision, persistence, mindfulness, equanimity, & attention”
  4. Dimension of Neither Perception nor Non-Perception – About the role of this jhana it is said: “He emerged mindfully from that attainment. On emerging mindfully from that attainment, he regarded the past qualities that had ceased & changed: ‘So this is how these qualities, not having been, come into play. Having been, they vanish.’ He remained unattracted & unrepelled with regard to those qualities, independent, detached, released, dissociated, with an awareness rid of barriers. He discerned that ‘There is a further escape,’ and pursuing it there really was for him.”

The four Arūpajhāna

While rupajhanas differ considering their characteristics, arupajhanas differ as their object is determined by the level of the jhana:

  • fifth jhāna: infinite space,
  • sixth jhāna: infinite consciousness,
  • seventh jhāna: infinite nothingness,
  • eighth jhāna: neither perception nor non-perception.

This has to be understood. In the fourth rupajhana, there is already Upekkha, equanimity and Ekkagata, concentration, but the mind is still focused on a “material” object, as any color.

  • In the fifth jhana, the meditator discovers that there is no object, but only an infinite space, which is empty. This perception motivates the interest of claiming arupajhanas.
  • In the sixth jhana, it becomes obvious that space has no existence. There is only infinite consciousness.
  • In the seventh jhana appears the feeling that there is no consciousness, but nothingness.
  • The eighth jhana consists in the most discrete possible state of mind, which justifies the using of “neither perception nor non-perception”.

These “explanations” do not refer to any intellectual, philosophical comprehension, which disappear since the second jhana. They attempt to figure mental process. The arūpajhānas are part of the kammatthanas, and are referred to as the four “formless states”.

The two elements of Arūpajhāna

Some Tipitaka texts identify arūpajhānas as a part of the fourth rūpajhāna, as they include two elements: upekkhā (Sanskrit: upekṣā) and ekaggatā (Skt: ekāgratā).


Upekkhā is a Pali word meaning equanimity. The opposition between comfortable sensations and uncomfortable ones disappears. More importantly, it is one of the fourth Jhāna’s factors, present only in this Jhāna.


Ekaggatā or “singlepointedness”, as a Jhāna’s factor, simply means a very deep concentration, which includes the ceasing of stimuli from the exterior world. It is the only jhānic factor present in each Jhāna

There are six classes of higher or direct knowledge:

the first one refers to a variety of supernatural powers including levitation and walking on water; in this sense, it is better understood as a know-how type of knowledge.

The second higher knowledge is literally called “divine ear element” or clairaudience.

The third higher knowledge is usually translated as telepathy, though it means simply the ability to know the underlying mental state of others, not the reading of their minds and thoughts.

The next three types of higher knowledge are especially important because they were experienced by the Buddha the night of his enlightenment, and because they are the Buddhist counterparts to the triple knowledge of the Vedas.

The fourth higher knowledge is retrocognition or knowledge of past lives, which entails a direct experience of the process of rebirth.

The fifth is the divine eye or clairvoyance; that is, direct experience of the process of karma, or as the texts put it, the passing away and reappearing of beings in accordance with their past actions. The sixth is knowledge of the destruction of taints, which implies experiential knowledge of the four noble truths and the process of liberation.

The Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truths are thus:

1. Life means suffering

2. The origin of suffering is attachment.

3. The cessation of suffering is attainable.

4. The path to the cessation of suffering.

The First Truth: Dukkhaṃ

In the Sutta on the Turning of the Wheel of Dhamma, the buddha explained the first truth at greater length than at other points in the Pali canon:

This, monks, is the noble truth that is pain. Birth is pain, old age is pain, illness is pain, death is pain, sorrow and grief, physical and mental suffering, and disturbance are pain. Association with things not liked is pain, separation from desired things is pain, not getting what one wants is pain; in short, the five aggregates of grasping are pain.

This is the most expansive description of the first truth of the noble ones: the truth that is pain is birth, old age, illness, death, and so on. An important distinction should be made here: the first truth is not pain in and of itself, but rather the pain that is associated with all of the following conditions: birth is pain, death is pain, not getting what we want is pain, and so on. All of these conditions are characteristic of human life, and thus the first truth is often understood to mean that Buddhism claims that human life is associated with pain, or to use a term from the Abrahamic religions, human life is suffering.

“The one who acts is the one who experiences [the result of the act]” amounts to the eternalist statement, “Existing from the very beginning, stress is self-made.” “The one who acts is someone other than the one who experiences” amounts to the annihilationist statement, “For one existing harassed by feeling, stress is other-made.” Avoiding these two extremes, the Tathagata teaches the dhamma via the middle.

To be born into this world means to suffer. That’s Buddha’s first Noble Truth. This is because human life isn’t perfect and neither are our surroundings. Our life in this world is subject to suffering and physical pain due to sickness, old age, disease, injury and death. We undergo mental suffering and pain due to sadness, disappointment, poverty, lust, love, fear, frustration, greed, injustice and depression.

The Second Truth: Samudayo (Arising)

The second truth of the four noble truths is samudayo, or arising. In the Sutta on the Turning of the Dhamma Wheel, it reads: “This, monks, is the noble truth that is the arising of pain. This is craving that leads to rebirth, is connected with pleasure and passion and finds pleasure in this or that; that is, craving for desire, craving for existence, and craving for existence to fade away.” This second truth is most often understood as laying out the causation of pain, the first truth

The origin of suffering is attachment to impermanence that’s perceived to bring us happiness. This is the second Noble Truth. The transient illusions(wealth, lust, power, beauty) condition our mindset into believing their permanence, thus preventing our mind from overcoming ignorance. We suffer because of our desire, passion, greed, pursue of wealth and status, by striving for fame and acceptance, or in other words – due to craving and attachment.

The Third Truth: Nirodho (Ending)

The third truth is nirodho, or ending. It is explained in the Sutta on the Turning of the Dhamma Wheel: “This, monks is the noble truth that is the ending of pain. This is the complete fading away and ending of that very craving, giving it up, renouncing it, releasing it, and letting go.” This is a natural movement in the sequence of the truths thus far: the first is to recognize the truth “this is pain” or “this is suffering.” The second step is to know why “this is pain.” The three types of thirst or craving lead to things that cause us pain in this life. We stop that pain, we stop that hurting or suffering by stopping craving or thirst: “the complete fading away and ending of that very craving, giving it up, renouncing it, releasing it, and letting it go.” This truth is just a simple fact: to end things that cause us pain, we need to end their arising.

The Buddha explicitly stated that attaining dispassion will eliminate suffering. Nirodha eliminates all forms of craving and attachment thus setting us off on our long journey towards ultimate salvation from suffering. The meaning of Nirodha is elimination of sensual craving and worldly attachment.

The Fourth Truth: Paṭipadā (Way)

The fourth truth, the way, according to the Sutta on the Turning of the Dhamma Wheel, reads:

This, monks, is the noble truth that is the way leading to the ending of pain. This is the eightfold path of the noble ones: right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.

The fourth truth, again, follows logically after the first three: pain, arising, ending, and the way—or the how. The eightfold path is always found as the explanation of the fourth truth, and is often taken as the buddha’s teaching of “the” path to enlightenment.

The Noble Eightfold Path ( Ariya Ashtanga Marga )

The Noble Eightfold Path ( Ariya Ashtanga Marga ) explains the gradual path of self-improvement towards the cessation of rebirth and its resultant suffering. Lord Buddha described the Eightfold Path as the Middle Path as it avoids extremes of self-indulgence (such as hedonism) and excessive self-mortification (asceticism). This is the Path which leads to the end of Samsara, the cycle of rebirth.

Eightfold Path

The Buddhist system of ethics can be summed up in the eightfold path:

The way of practice leading to the cessation of suffering – precisely is through  Noble Eightfold Path – right view, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration.

The purpose of living an ethical life is to escape the suffering inherent in samsara. Skillful actions condition the mind in a positive way and lead to future happiness, while the opposite is true for unskillful actions. Ethical discipline also provides the mental stability and freedom to embark upon mental cultivation via meditation.

The part of the Noble Eightfold path that covers morality/ethics is right speech, right action and right livelihood. The other parts cover concentration and wisdom, with wisdom being covered by right view and right intention and the remaining three belonging to concentration.

The three aggregates are not included under the noble eightfold path, friend Visakha, but the noble eightfold path is included under the three aggregates. Right speech, right action, & right livelihood come under the aggregate of virtue. Right effort, right mindfulness, & right concentration come under the aggregate of concentration. Right view & right resolve come under the aggregate of discernment.

he Path

1. * Samma-Ditthi — Complete or Perfect Vision, also translated as right view or understanding. Vision of the nature of reality and the path of transformation.

2. Samma-Sankappa — Perfected Emotion or Aspiration, also translated as right thought or attitude. Liberating emotional intelligence in your life and acting from love and compassion. An informed heart and feeling mind that are free to practice letting go.

3. Samma-Vaca — Perfected or whole Speech. Also called right speech. Clear, truthful, uplifting and non-harmful communication.

4. Samma-Kammanta — Integral Action. Also called right action. An ethical foundation for life based on the principle of non-exploitation of oneself and others. The five precepts.

5. Samma-Ajiva — Proper Livelihood. Also called right livelihood. This is a livelihood based on correct action the ethical principal of non-exploitation. The basis of an Ideal society.

6. Samma-Vayama Complete or Full Effort, Energy or Vitality. Also called right effort or diligence. Consciously directing our life energy to the transformative path of creative and healing action that fosters wholeness. Conscious evolution.

7. Samma-Sati Complete or Thorough Awareness. Also called “right mindfulness”. Developing awareness, “if you hold yourself dear watch yourself well”. Levels of Awareness and mindfulness – of things, oneself, feelings, thought, people and Reality.

8. Samma-Samadhi — Full, Integral or Holistic Samadhi. This is often translated as concentration, meditation, absorption or one-pointedness of mind. None of these translations is adequate. Samadhi literally means to be fixed, absorbed in or established at one point, thus the first level of meaning is concentration when the mind is fixed on a single object. The second level of meaning goes further and represents the establishment, not just of the mind, but also of the whole being in various levels or modes of consciousness and awareness. This is Samadhi in the sense of enlightenment or Buddhahood.

The word Samma means ‘proper’, ‘whole’, ‘thorough’, ‘integral’, ‘complete’, and ‘perfect’ – related to English ‘summit’ – It does not necessarily mean ‘right’, as opposed to ‘wrong’.

Early Buddhist schools

The main early Buddhist philosophical schools are the Abhidharma schools, particularly Sarvāstivāda and Theravāda.

Sarvastivadin realism

Early Buddhist philosophers and exegetes of the Sarvāstivādins created a pluralist metaphysical and phenomenological system, in which all experiences of people, things and events can be broken down into smaller and smaller perceptual or perceptual-ontological units called “dharmas”.

Texts of the Sarvastivada Abhidharma

The Sarvāstivāda Abhidharma consists of seven texts. The texts of the Sarvāstivādin Abhidharma are:


Theravada promotes the concept of vibhajjavada (Pāli, literally “Teaching of Analysis”) to non-Buddhists. This doctrine says that insight must come from the aspirant’s experience, critical investigation, and reasoning instead of by blind faith. As the Buddha said according to the canonical scriptures:

Do not accept anything by mere tradition … Do not accept anything just because it accords with your scriptures … Do not accept anything merely because it agrees with your pre-conceived notions … But when you know for yourselves—these things are moral, these things are blameless, these things are praised by the wise, these things, when performed and undertaken, conduce to well-being and happiness—then do you live acting accordingly.

Theravada accepts only the Pali Tipitika as scripture. There are a large number of other sutras that are venerated by Mahayana that Theravada does not accept as legitimate.

Buddhism  is divided into two sects: Mahayana and Hinayana. Mahayana literature is written in Sanskrit and Hinayana literature is written in Pali.


Mahayana often adopts a pragmatic concept of truth:[16] doctrines are regarded as conditionally “true” in the sense of being spiritually beneficial. In modern Chinese Buddhism, all doctrinal traditions are regarded as equally valid.[17]

Main Mahayana philosophical schools and traditions include the prajnaparamita, Madhyamaka, Tathagatagarbha, Yogācāra,  schools.


The Prajanaparamita-sutras emphasize the emptiness of the five skandhas.


The Mahāyānist Nāgārjuna, asserted a direct connection between, even identity of, dependent origination, selflessness (anatta), and emptiness (śūnyatā). He pointed out that implicit in the early Buddhist concept of dependent origination is the lack of any substantial being (anatta) underlying the participants in origination, so that they have no independent existence, a state identified as emptiness (śūnyatā), or emptiness of a nature or essence (svabhāva).


The tathāgathagarbha sutras, in a departure from mainstream Buddhist language, insist that the potential for awakening is inherent to every sentient being. They marked a shift from a largely apophatic (negative) philosophical trend within Buddhism to a decidedly more cataphatic (positive) modu.


The Yogacara-school tries to explain the arising of suffering by explaining the workings of our mind. It takes the concepts of the five skandhas and the six consciousnesses, to explain howmanas creates vijnapti, concepts to which we cling.

Chinese Buddhism

The schools of Buddhism that had existed in China prior to the emergence of the Tiantai are generally believed to represent direct transplantations from India, with little modification to their basic doctrines and methods. However, Tiantai grew and flourished as a natively Chinese Buddhist school under the 4th patriarch, Zhiyi, who developed a hierarchy Buddhist sutras that asserted the Lotus Sutra as the supreme teaching, as well as a system of meditation and practices around it.

The principal schools of Buddhism which flourished in China were:

1. The Vinaya School (Lu-tsung)

2. The Realistic School (Chu-she)

3. The Three Treatises School (San-lun)

4.The Idealist School (Fa-hsiang)

5. The Mantra or Tantric School (Mi-tsung or Chen-yen)

6. The Avatamsaka or Flower Adornment School (Hua-yen)

7. The T’ien-t’ai or White Lotus School (Fa-hua)

8. The Pure Land School (Ching t’u)

9. The Dhyana School (Ch’an)

Huayan school

The Huayan developed the doctrine of “interpenetration” or “coalescence” (Wylie: zung-’jug; Sanskrit: yuganaddha),[24][25] based on the Avataṃsaka Sūtra, a Mahāyāna scripture. It holds that all phenomena (Sanskrit: dharmas) are intimately connected (and mutually arising The doctrine of interpenetration influenced the Japanese monk Kūkai, who founded the Shingon school of Buddhism. Interpenetration and essence-function are mutually informing in the East Asian Buddhist traditions, especially the Korean Buddhist tradition.

The founding of the school is traditionally attributed to a series of five “patriarchs” who were instrumental in developing the schools’ doctrines. These five are (Wade-Giles in brackets):

  1. Dushun (Tu-Shun), 杜順, responsible for the establishment of Huayan studies as a distinct field;
  2. Zhiyan (Chih-yen), 智儼, considered to have established the basic doctrines of the sect;
  3. Fazang (Fa-tsang), 法藏, considered to have rationalized the Doctrine for greater acceptance by society;
  4. Chengguan (Ch’eng-kuan), 澄觀, together with Zongmi are understood to have further developed and transformed the teachings
  5. Zongmi (Tsung-mi), 宗密, who is simultaneous a Patriarch of the Chan tradition.

Tibetan Buddhism

The Tibetan tantra entitled the “All-Creating King” (Kunjed Gyalpo Tantra) also emphasizes how Buddhist realization lies beyond the range of discursive/verbal thought and is ultimately mysterious. The Tibetan expression of Buddhism (sometimes called Lamaism) is the form of Vajrayana Buddhism that developed in Tibet and the surrounding Himalayan region beginning in the 7th century CE.

Tibetan Buddhism incorporates Madhyamika and Yogacara philosophy, Tantric symbolic rituals, Theravadin monastic discipline and the shamanistic features of the local Tibetan religion Bön. Among its most unique characteristics are its system of reincarnating lamas and the vast number of deities in its pantheon.

The most famous Tibetan Buddhist text is the Bardo Thodol (“liberation through hearing in the intermediate state”), popularly known as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. The Bardo Thodol is a funerary text that describes the experiences of the soul during the interval between death and rebirth called bardo. It is recited by lamas over a dying or recently deceased person, or sometimes over an effigy of the deceased. It has been suggested that it is a sign of the influence of shamanism on Tibetan Buddhism.




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Jainism – A Religion of purely human origin

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

In ancient times Jainism was known by many names such as the Saman tradition, the religion of Nirgantha, or the religion of Jin.  Jin is one, who has conquered the inner enemies of worldly passions such as desire, hatred, anger, ego, deceit and greed by personal effort.  By definition, a Jin is a human being, like one of us and not a supernatural immortal nor an incarnation of an almighty God.  Jins are popularly viewed as Gods in Jainism. There are an infinite number of Jins existed in the past. The Jins that have established the religious order and revived the Jain philosophy at various times in the history of mankind are known as Tirthankars. The ascetic sage, Rishabhadev was the first Tirthankar and Mahavir was the last Tirthankar of the spiritual lineage of the twenty-four Tirthankars in the current era.

Though it is widely believed that Vardhamana Mahavira (? 599 B.C. – 527 B.C.?) founded Jainism, the Jain tradition maintains that he was the 24thTirthankara of Jainism. Rishabhadeva was the first Tirthankara. Parshvanatha was the 23rd Tirthankara. Jainism, founded about the 6th century B.C by Vardhamana Mahavira, 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.

The two main sects of Jainism are:

(1)    Digambara

(2)     Shwetambara.

The Digambaras believe that a monk must give up all property including clothes and then only they get moksha. They also deny the right of women to moksha.

Jainism is both a philosophy and a religion. It is a heterodox philosophy in the sense that it does not uphold the authority of the Vedas.  It is atheist and does not accept the existence of God. Jainism rejects the concept of a Supreme Being or the Brahman as the creator of the world. The Tirthankaras are the liberated souls. The followers offer prayers to the Tirthankaras.

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).

With regards to truth, the Jain philosophy firmly states that the whole truth cannot be observed from a single viewpoint.  To understand the true nature of reality, it is essential to acknowledge the multiple perspectives of each entity, situation or idea. This concept is called Anekäntväd.

The concept of universal interdependence underpins the Jain theory of knowledge, known as Anekäntaväd or the doctrine of many aspects. In this ever-changing universe an infinite number of viewpoints exist. These viewpoints depend on the time, place, circumstances, and nature of individuals. Anekäntaväd means acceptance of all viewpoints, which are positive in nature. This is known as non-absolutism.

Seven-valued logic,

As a consequence of their metaphysical liberalism, the Jain logicians developed a unique theory of seven-valued logic, according to which the three primary truth values are “true,” “false,” and “indefinite” and the other four values are “true and false,” “true and indefinite,” “false and indefinite,” and “true, false, and indefinite.” Every statement is regarded as having these seven values, considered from different standpoints.

This leads to the doctrine of Syädväd or relativity, which states that expression of truth is relative to different viewpoints (Nayas).  What is true from one point of view is open to question from another.  Absolute truth cannot be grasped from any particular viewpoint.  Absolute truth is the total sum of individual (partial) truths from many different viewpoints, even if they seem to contradict each other.

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).

In essence, Jainism addresses the true nature of reality.  Mahavir explained that all souls are equal in their potential for perfect knowledge, perfect vision, perfect conduct, unlimited energy and unobstructed bliss.

One can detach from karma and attain liberation by following the path of:

  • Right Faith (Samyak-darshan),
  • Right Knowledge (Samyak-jnän),
  • Right Conduct (Samyak-chäritra)

Jainism states that the universe is without a beginning or an end, and is everlasting and eternal.

Six fundamental entities (known as Dravya) constitute the universe.  Although all six entities are eternal, they continuously undergo countless changes (known as Paryäy). In these transformations nothing is lost or destroyed.

Lord Mahavir explained these phenomena in his Three Pronouncements known as Tripadi and proclaimed that Existence or Reality (also known as Sat) is a combination of appearance (Utpäda), disappearance (Vyaya), and persistence (Dhrauvya).

The Six Universal Substances or Entities (Dravyas) are as follows:

Jiva- The soul is the only living substance, which is consciousness and possesses knowledge. Similar to energy, the soul is invisible.  An infinite number of souls exist in the universe.  In its pure form each soul possesses infinite knowledge, infinite vision, perfect conduct, unobstructed bliss, and unlimited energy.

Pudgal- Matter is a nonliving substance, and possesses the characteristics such as touch, taste, smell, and color. Karma is considered matter in Jainism.  Extremely minute particles constitute karma.

Akash-The medium of motion helps the soul and matter to migrate from one place to another in the universe.

The space is divided into two parts.   Lokäkäsh, and Alokäkäsh.

Kal-Time measures the changes in soul and matter.  The wheel of time incessantly rolls on in a circular fashion.

The Doctrine of karma

The doctrine of karma occupies a significant position in Jain philosophy. It provides a rational explanation to the apparently inexplicable phenomena of birth and death, happiness and misery, inequalities in mental and physical attainments, and the existence of different species of living beings. It explains that the principle governing the successions of life is karma.

The seven or nine tattvas or fundamentals are the single most important subject of Jain philosophy. They deal with the theory of karma, which provides the basis for the path of liberation.

The Seven or Nine Tattvas (Fundamentals) are :

1)      Jiva

2)      Ajiva,

3)      Äsrava,

4)      Bandha

5)      Punya,

6)      Päpa,

7)      Samvara

8)      Nirjarä

9)       Moksha.

In Jainism, Ahimsä supersedes all concepts, ideologies, rules, customs and practices, traditional or modern, eastern or western, political or economical, self-centered or social.

Ahimsä (non-violence), Anekäntväd (multiplicity of views) and Aparigraha (non-possessiveness) are the cardinal principles of Jainism

.Aparigraha plays significant role in stopping the physical form of violence. And the proper application of Anekäntväd stops the violence of thoughts and speech. Anekäntväd is also called the intelligent expression of the Ahimsä. Non-violence in the center is guarded by truthfulness, non-stealing, celibacy and non-possessiveness.

Jainism is the first religion that has made vegetarianism a fundamental necessity for transforming consciousness. And they are right. Killing just to eat makes your consciousness heavy, insensitive; and you need a very sensitive consciousness – very light, very loving, very compassionate. It is difficult for a non-vegetarian to be compassionate; and without being compassionate and loving you will be hindering your own progress.




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