Guidelines in Indian Philosophy
|Author:||Richard De Smet and Ivo Coelho|
|Publisher:||Motilal Banarsidass Publishing House, Delhi|
|Other Details||8.50 X 5.50 inch|
Richard De Smet’s Guidelines in Indian Philosophy originated as notes for students composed over the years 1954-1975. They are a rather sophisticated introduction to Indian philosophy taken in a broad sense as including all efforts of Indian thinkers to unravel the mystery of existence. Beginning with the birth of philosophical reflection in the Vedas, Brahmanas, Aranyakasand Upanisads, they go on to deal with the various darsans, nastika and astika, as also with the Bhagavad Gita and the evolution of Isvaravada, before coming to a rather abrupt end with Sankara’s Advaita Vedanta, itself sadly incomplete. De Smet, however, was convinced that Indian thought revealed a progressive development, a kind of finality even, and he considered Sankara one of the great peaks of that development. The chapter on the great acarya’s Advaitavada is therefore a fitting end for the book. With the publication of the Guidelines, all of De Smet’s major studies on Sankara are now easily accessible, with the exception of his doctoral dissertation.
Richard De Smet taught Indian Philosophy at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune. Born in Belgium in 1916, he joined the Jesuits in 1934 and came to India in 1946. He earned a PhD in 1953 from the Gregorian University, Rome for his thesis on the theological method of Sankara, proposing both that Sankara was a Srutivadin, and that he used the method of laksana / analogy in his interpretation of the Upanisadic mahavakyas. De Smet was a life member of the Indian Philosophical Congress and the Indian Philosophical Association, and Founder-President of the Association of Christian Philosophers of India, and in these capacities carried out an ongoing dialogue with Indian philosophers and religious personalities. He died in 1997.
Ivo Coelho is Reader in Gnoseology and Metaphysics at Divyadaan: Salesian Institute of Philosophy, Nashik. Born in 1958 at Mumbai, he studied under De Smet at Pune, and later specialized in the hermeneutical thought of the Canadian philosopher, theologian and economist Bernard Lonergan. He is the author of Hermeneutics and Method: The ‘Universal Viewpoint’ in Bernard Lonergan (Toronto, 2001), and editor of Brahman and Person: Essays by Richard De Smet (Delhi, 2010) and Understanding Sankara: Essays by Richard De Smet (Delhi, 2013).
After Brahman and Person: Essays by Richard De Smet (2010) and Understanding Sankara: Essays by Richard De Smet (2013), it gives me great satisfaction to be able to present Richard De Smet's Guidelines in Indian Philosophy.
In contrast to the two earlier collections of essays, the Guidelines are cyclostyled notes for undergraduate students of De Smet's course in Indian Philosophy at Jnana Deepa Vidyapeeth, Pune - unfortunately incomplete, but nonetheless valuable. They were published in serial form in Divyadaan: Journal of Philosophy and Education (Nashik - India), with due permission from the Rector, De Nobili College, Pune, and are now being made available in book format. As I say at greater length in the Introduction, with the publication of the Guidelines, most of De Smet's major contributions in the area of Sankara studies are now accessible to a wider public, with the exception of his doctoral dissertation, 'The Theological Method of Samkara' (1953).
A warm word of thanks to Motilal Banarsidass and its team who have been exceptionally supportive in this venture of making Richard De Smet's opus available to a larger public. Special thanks also to Banzelao Teixeira, principal of Divyadaan: Salesian Institute of Philosophy, and his team, especially Jins Joseph and Shyju Babykutty, for their invaluable assistance and unflagging support. And thanks to Constantine Fernandes for the beautiful cover design.
Richard De Smet spent all his life becoming a bridge among peoples. May this effort at making his work more easily available be one more little step towards the great goal of human fellowship.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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