How well PV Sindhu inspired India



Lectures at the HHU Düsseldorf

SS 1982, WS 1993/94, WS 1998/99

Teaching material from the Philosophical Institute of the HHU

Research Department for Philosophy of Science


Lutz Money Setter

Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil - Duperron



Copyright 1999 reserved.

Single copy allowed for study use.





I. The Vedic Philosophical Literature

§ 10. Classification of the Vedic scripture groups

§ 11. The Vedas

§12. The Brahmanas

§ 13. The Upanishads

II. The six classical systems (darshanas) of Indian philosophy

§ 14. The six darshanas

§ 15. The Nyaya Philosophy

§ 16. The Vaishesika philosophy

§ 17. The Samkhya Philosophy

§ 18. The philosophy of yoga

§ 19. The Mimamsa Philosophy

§ 20. The Vedanta Philosophy

Bibliography on Indian Philosophy


Preliminary remark

Appropriate knowledge and understanding of Indian philosophy require a certain familiarity with the general development of occidental philosophy, as offered in the basic course at the University of Düsseldorf. Like other philosophies of its own cultural and linguistic areas (cf. "Japanese Philosophy" and "Chinese Philosophy"), Indian philosophy is presented in a comparative way. For our purposes, this requires the comparative standards of Western equivalents. Indian philosophy is therefore the subject of the main course, in which such standards can be introduced from the basic course.

Indian philosophy is rarely offered in academic teaching in Germany - in contrast to France and the Anglo-Saxon countries, for example. In Germany, since the heyday of comparative Indo-European linguistics in the 19th century, it has migrated to the department of this science, where it is cultivated less by philosophers than by linguists and literary scholars. In a countermovement to this, the specialist philosophers under the sign of Humboldtian neo-humanism concentrated more and more on the genuine occidental history of philosophy and its Greek and Latin roots. Therefore, in the standard works on the history of philosophy, there are no or extremely inadequate descriptions of Indian philosophy. This must be seen as a big step backwards compared to the first heyday of the history of philosophy in the 18th century, when Indian philosophy already took a firm place in the presentation of the philosophies of all major cultures within the framework of "oriental philosophy".

The noticeable uncertainty in one's own Western traditions stimulates a wide popular interest in everything foreign and different. The world-wide tourism corresponds to an intellectual and atmospheric tourism with curiosity and a lot of good will to take note and to settle in exotic conditions. Obviously, in India and among its spiritual representatives, this is met by a very missionary cultural propaganda, which uses modern advertising techniques to answer former and ongoing Christian missionary activity in the opposite direction.

The dissatisfaction with the prevailing realistic worldview, the scientificization of all living conditions and the mechanization of the world in the West as a whole motivates the search for the alternative to all of this. This alternative is obviously not so much sought after in one's own pushed into the background traditions of idealism, of the "simple life" and the "following of Christ" or of Francis of Assisi, and of the manual and artistic handling of things and nature, than in meditative immersion in higher regions or deeper layers of consciousness, in denial of the claims of the conventional or in sheer inactivity, to which Indian philosophy and brahmanic wisdom seem to invite frustrated Westerners.

Such longing is currently left to its own devices in the current state of affairs in the academic field. In order to assess what one can expect from Indian philosophy in this regard, it would have to be taught and, for the teaching itself, be explored further and deeper. And as long as that does not happen or does not happen to a desirable extent, it remains with a blind and hopeful ambition to embark à corps perdu into an uncertain adventure with the exotic and charming appearing.

§ 3. History of the occidental study of Indian philosophy.

The ancient Mediterranean world probably knew Indian philosophy very well through its representatives, whom it called "gymnosophists" ("naked philosophers"). The thinking of a Parmenides, Plato or a sophist like Gorgias ("there is nothing at all!") Is clearly related to certain philosophemes of Indian thought. And this relationship is probably due to the lively traffic back and forth, which must have been particularly well developed since the Alexander moves to India. Many writers of late antiquity mention the gymnosophists, some of them of a fabulous nature, and some patristicians value them as "pre-Christian saints".

The Islamic conquests then seem to have erected an impenetrable barrier between the West and India. As far as is known, medieval philosophy has no contact with Indian philosophy. All the more, it is in lively exchange with philosophy in the Islamic cultural area.

As with everything old as the roots of Christian culture, the Renaissance again takes note of Indian thought "antiquarian", as one can see at Gemisthios Plethon and GiovanniPico della Mirandola (cf. J. D. M. Derrett, Art. "Gymnosophists" in: Der Kleine Pauly, Lexikon der Antike, Volume 2, Munich 1979, Sp. 892/3). Indian philosophy interests and appears as an "ancient wisdom" in the mirror of ancient reports that are collected and processed philologically.

For India trade and missions, they are the first sources of an image of India that was enriched in the 17th century by travel and mission reports. One of the earliest monographic publications is Eduardus Bissaeus' (Ed.): "De Brachmanibus" (London 1665, 2nd ed. 1668), in which he des Pseudo-Palladius' "De gentibus Indiae et Brachmanibus" and one to the church father Ambrose of Milan "De moribus Brachmanum" and another anonymous font, "De Brachmanibus", were made accessible again, and the ancient reports were compiled. In the same decade of the 17th century appear: Abraham Roger 's "Open door to the hidden Heydenthum, or true demonstration of life, customs, together with the religion and the worship of the Bramines on the Chormandel coast and the surrounding countries" (translated from Dutch, Nuremberg 1663) and towards the end of the century Sebastian Gotthilf Stark's "Specimen sapientiae Indorum veterum" (graece et latine, Berlin 1697).

Already the first modern history of philosophy, Georg Horn's "Historiae philosophicae libri septem, quibus de origine, successione, sectis et vita Philosophorum ab orbe condito ad nostram aetatem agitur" (Seven books of philosophical history, in which about the origin, the sequence, the sects and the life of the philosophers from the creation the world up to our age, Leiden 1655) contains a chapter on the "Brachmanen as philosophers of the Indians" (Book II, Chap. 9, pp. 104-111). Here, in the style of the time and on the basis of ancient sources, considerations are made about the Hebrew etymological origin of the word "Brahmanes" - after all, many philosophers considered the Hebrew as the original language par excellence. A legendary "Jarcha" is mentioned as "brachmanus summus doctor", "Buddas" or "gymnosophistarum magister", and it is considered whether "Calanus" is the proper name of a sage or a sect name. The Indian sages are portrayed as godly ascetics, but doubts are also expressed about the reports of their unheard-of numbness to pain or long periods of standing.

That the mention of Indian philosophy was not a matter of course is shown by the fact that Thomas Stanley in his work "Historia Philosophiae, Vitas, Opiniones, Resque gestas et Dicta Philosophorum sectaeque cuiusvis complexa" (history of philosophy, life, opinions, deeds and sayings of the philosophers and all sects, Latin edition Leipzig 1711) reports in the final part about Chaldean, Persian and "Sabaean" (affecting the Kingdom of Saba on the Arabian Peninsula as far as East Africa) philosophy, but does not say a word about Indian philosophy. And this despite the Scottish doctor Thomas Burnet had already dealt with it in his "Archaeologia philosophica" (Amsterdam 1694, Appendix).

In France then took Pierre Bayle the ancient reports and the tradition under the critical magnifying glass in his famous "Dictionnaire historique et critique" (5th edition Amsterdam-Leiden 1740, Art. "Brachmanes" in the 1st volume, pp. 651-655) and put "quelques- unes des contradictions que l 'on rencontre dans les livres touchant les Philosophes Indiens ". He explains her strange doctrine of soul and nirvana with many quotations from his contemporary "quietistic" or mystical literature of a Madame Guyon, and he compares the way of life of the Brahmins with that of the Carthusian monks. He also correctly sees that the Brachmanen still exist in the Orient ("Les Brahmanes subsistent encore dans l 'Orient").

A compiler then relied on Abraham Roger's reports to compile a "Histoire générale des dogmes et opinions philosophiques depuis les plus anciens temps jusqu 'à nos jours" (3 volumes, London 1759) from articles in the French encyclopedia. He thinks that one finds "hardly less ignorance and superstition" among the Indians than in the rest of the Orient (Volume I, p. 123), and that the reporting is of a "variété fort embarassante"; Last but not least, little is known because Braminen are so reserved towards strangers. Only their belief in the gods in Vishnu and Brahma is mentioned as essential. In more detail, however, the author presents the exoteric and esoteric teaching "Buddas" or "Xekias", this "imposteurs ... si celebre parmi les Indiens, auquels il enseigna le culte qu 'on doit rendre à la divinité, et que ces peuples regardent comme le plus grand philosophe qui ait jamais existé "(I, p. 123/4). Obviously, however, he relies on reports Engelbert fighters on Japanese Buddhism (see E. Kämper, History and Description of Japan, ed. BC W. Dohm, Lemgo 1777-1779, first London 1727, French La Haye 1729). He also assumes that Buddha was a sage who immigrated to India from Africa and trained with the ancient Egyptians: "qu 'il se donna pour un autre Hermès, pour un nouveau législateur, et qu'`il enseigna à ces peuples non seulement la doctrtine hiéroglyphique des Egyptiens, mais encore leur doctrine mystérieuse "(ibid. p. 130). This assumption about the Egyptian origin also of the Indian, at least the Buddhist philosophy is justified with several arguments, among others. also the one that the Buddha images showed "un visage éthiopien et les cheveux crépus". In addition, the Buddha's teaching is compared with the Jewish Kabbalah and the En-Soph teaching (teaching of the Infinite). None of this would be worth mentioning if it had not had an impact in the history of philosophy debates about the Egyptian or Indian origins of philosophy in the 19th century.

The judgments made by the actual founder of the history of German philosophy were more correct Jakob Brucker in his monumental 5-volume "Historia critica philosophiae" on Indian philosophy. In the first volume (1st edition Leipzig 1742, pp. 190-212) he dedicated an entire chapter of the second book (with the same text in the 2nd edition from 1767) "De Philosophia Indorum" to her. It is set here - after the "Philosophy before the Flood (Philosophia antediluviana)" - and before the Greek in the context of the "barbaric philosophy", namely the Hebrew, Chaldean, Persian and that of the ancient Arabs, Phoenicians, Egyptians, Celts, Etruscans and Scythians. Again, it is only viewed from an antiquarian perspective, i.e. H. as a phenomenon of antiquity. Brucker knows the sources mentioned from antiquity and thinks that the best minds in Greece would have considered it necessary to learn wisdom and virtue from the Indians - which was also claimed in ancient literature with regard to the Greek preference for Egyptian wisdom - and therefore "to run out to the Indians" ("De cuius - scl. Indiae - Philosophis magna apud veteres fama atque existimatio fuit, adeo, ut qui sapientiae, virtutis cultura et iustam indolem perductae, praecepta inter Graecos discendi cupidi erant, necessarium sibi ducerent, adeo Indos excurrere, et sapientiam gentis tanto studio excultum atque custoditam discere; id quod magnos inter Graecos philosophos, Pythagoram, Democritum, Anaxarchum, Pyrrhonem, Apollonium fecisse, et ipsum Alexandrum M. India nuncupata non neglexisse, relationes varias, feruntur "(S. 190).

At the center of their teachings he sees the doctrine of God: God as invisible light and as logos ("Deum esse lumen, non quale quis aspicit, aut qualis sol vel ignis, sed esse Deum, non articulatum sermonem, sed illum cognitionis, cuius ope occulta notitiae mysteria cernantur a sapientibus ". I, p. 205), as" creator et administrator universi ", besides which there should be a lot of lower deities. They considered the human soul to be immortal and only enclosed in bodies during soul wanderings. Unmistakably he interprets this entirely in the Neoplatonic sense. He sees the natural philosophy of the Indians in Aristotelian terms as the doctrine of four material elements and one heavenly or astral element in a cosmic-centered order. He describes their moral philosophy as related to the Stoic-Cynical and Christian. He does not miss out on describing the way of life of the "gymnosophists" and, on the basis of the various old reports, assessing how far they were really naked.

Brucker also knows the existence of her holy book "Vedam" and expresses the hope that it will soon be translated and published so that a more credible history of philosophy can be written ("Vedam ... qui legis divini instar ab Indorum sacerdotibus servatur, et quam maxime occultatur, tandem publice edatur, ut meliori fide de Indorum religione atque placitis inde historia confici queat ", I, p. 192).

With Brucker's authoritative work, philosophers' interest in Indian philosophy is fixed for the remainder of the 18th century. The British colonial administration of the Indian subcontinent soon made the sources of information gush more abundantly. Most of what appears in English or French is also translated into German.

Johann Friedrich Kleuker translated "Holwel's remarkable historical news from Indostan and Bengal with notes and a treatise on the religion and philosophy of the Indians "(Leipzig 1778, the English original 3 volumes, London 1764). Alexander Dow's "History of Hindostan" (from the Persian by Muhammad Casim Ferishta, 2 volumes, London 1768) with its introduction "Customs, manners, language, religion and philosophy of the Indoos" appears in German translation at Leipzig 1772. Johann Gottfried Bremer translated J. R. Sinner's Work "On the migration of souls of the Braminen von Indostan" from the French (Leipzig 1772), published in Bern in 1771. Johann Ith translates the "Ezour-Vedam" (Bern 1779), the one the year before St. Croix published as "L'Ezour-Vedam, ou ancien commentaire du Vedam, contenant l 'exposition des opinions religieuses et philosophiques des India, traduit du Sanscretam par un Brame", 2 volumes, Yverdon 1778. From Paulinus a St. Bartholomaeo's "Systema Brahmanicum, liturgicum, mythologicum, civile, ex monumentis Indicis" (Rome 1791) appear at the same time as two German translations: von Kleuker "The Brahmanic Religious System", Riga 1797, and another translation on Gotha 1797.

Even before the end of the 18th century, the Bagavad-Gita ("The Sublime Song") from the Indian national epic "Mahabharata" was performed Charles Wilkins Translated from Sanskrit: "The Bhaguat-Geetaa, or Dialogues of Kreeshna and Ardjoon", London 1785. Olsonville gives the French version "Bagavadam, or doctrine divine, ouvrage indien canonique sur l 'être suprême, les dieux, les gens, les hommes, les divers parties de l' univers", Paris 1788. Also the code of Manu, of William Jones Translated and published as "Institutes of Hindu Law, or the ordonances of Menu" (Calcutta 1794, again 1796), is by Johannes Chr. Hütter Translated into German (Weimar 1797).

There appear de Guigne's "Recherches historiques sur la Religion Indiane et sur les livres fondamentaux de cette religion" and further of his studies in the memoirs of the Académie des Inscriptions in Paris, which in turn Hißmann partially translated in his "Magazin" (Volume 3). Likewise the Abbé Mignot a series of studies appear in the Mémoirs (Volume 31), the titles of which are characteristic of the questions. These "Memoirs sur les ancien Philosophes de l 'Inde" are headed: I. Sur la vie, les moeurs, les usages et les pratiques de ces philosophes. II. Ces philosophes sont-ils redevables à l 'Egypte de leur doctrine et de leurs pratiques? III. Exam des communications prétendues entre l 'Inde et l' Egypte. Preuves de la Communication des Indiens avec les Perses, les Grecs, les Romains, les Juifs, les Chrétiens, et avec quelques Hérésiarques. IV. Et IV. Exposé de la doctrine des anciens philosophes de l 'Inde, et comparaison de cette doctrine avec celle des philosophes des autres pays.

Since 1788 the "Asiatic Researches, or Transactions of the Society, instituted in Bengal for Inquiring into the History ... of Asia (4 volumes, Calcutta 1788-1797, also London 1788-97) have been published Johann Chr. Fick translated into German and by Kleuker explained and published as "Treatises on the history and antiquities, arts, sciences and literature of Asia" in Riga (3 volumes, Riga 1795-1796).

This and other relevant literature can then also be found listed - as belonging to the history of philosophy - in Johann Andreas Ortloff's "Handbuch der Literatur der Geschichte der Philosophie" (Erlangen 1798, ND ed. V. L. Geldsetzer in: Instrumenta Philosophica Series Indices Librorum III, Düsseldorf 1967, pp. 56-65). And it is also, again increasingly, with Johann Heinrich Martin Ernesti in the "Encyclopedia Manual of a General History of Philosophy and Its Literature (only 1st volume published Lemgo 1802, ND. edited by L. Geldsetzer in: Instrumenta Philosophica Series Indices Librorum VI, Düsseldorf 1972, pp. 146-157). This shows that the bibliographers were counting on the public's interest in Indian philosophy.

In the new century directs Abraham Hyacinthe Anquetil-Duperron draws attention to these core pieces of Indian philosophy through its Latin translation and edition of fifty Upanishads (philosophical commentary literature on the Vedas). This translation was published under the title "Oupnek 'hat (id est, secretum tegendum): Opus ipsa in India rarissimum, continens antiquam et arcanam, seu theologicam et philosophicam, doctrinam, e quattuor sacris Indorum libris: Rak Beid, Djedjir Beid, Sam Beid , Athrban Beid, excerptam. Ad verbum e Persico idiomate, Sanscreticis vocabulis intermixto, in Latinum convertum; dissertationibus et annotationibus difficiliora explanantibus illustratum ", 2 volumes, Strasbourg 1801-1802. Schopenhauer was enthusiastic about it and led to his thesis that Indian philosophy had long since contained the knowledge that the whole of Western philosophy, and even more so its own metaphysics of will, aimed at (see M. Hecker, Schopenhauer and the Indian philosophy, 1897). But it was not until the end of the 19th century that other Upanishads became available in translations (from Otto von Böhtlingk, Leipzig 1889; of Paul Deussen, Sixty Upanishads of the Veda, Leipzig 1897; of Max Muller in volumes 1 and 15 of the "Sacred Books of the East, 1879 ff.). For the time being only brought Chr. Let with "Gymnosophista sive Indicae philosophiae documenta" (Bonn 1832) documents on the Samkhya philosophy, and Othmar Frank "The philosophy of the Hindu. Vädanta Sara von Sadamanda, Sanskrit-German" (Munich 1835) out.

The philosophical interest in India, however, expanded more generally to the language and literatures of India (cf. A. L. Wilson, A Mythical Image. The Ideal of India in German Romanticism, Durham 1964). Friedrich Schlegel made himself known in Paris with Sanskrit and original scripts in this language and caused a wave of enthusiasm with his book "Language and Wisdom of the Indians" (Heidelberg 1808). Franz Bopp examined the already from William Jones In 1876, Sanskrit was first assumed to be related to Greek and Latin and, through comparative studies, determined the common Indo-Germanic (to which Persian also belongs) language type. His work "About the conjugation system of the Sanskrit language, in comparison with that of the Greek, Persian and Germanic languages" (Frankfurt 1816) marks the birth of Indo-European comparative linguistics. Bopp himself took over a chair for oriental literature and general linguistics in Berlin. His comparative "Glossarium sanscritum" (Berlin 1830 and Austria), his "Grammatica critica linguae sanscritae" (Berlin 1829-1832) and his "Critical grammar of the Sanscrit language in a shorter version (Berlin 1834 and Austria) laid the groundwork for all philological study of Sanskrit. This research already reached with Otto von Böhtlingks (together with R. Roth i.a. written) huge "Sanskrit dictionary" (7 sections, St. Petersburg 1855-1875) and "Sanskrit dictionary in a shorter version, 7 volumes, St. Petersburg 1879-1889) a hitherto unsurpassed highlight. The one by Böhtlingk also first in the Sanskrit grammar published by the Sanskrit text Panini from the 3rd century BC Chr. (2 volumes, Bonn 1840; ND "Ashtadhyayi", Sanskrit-German, Hildesheim 1964) provided the West with surprising insights into the linguistic description and reflection work of Indian grammarians, which was already completed in the days of the classical philosophers of Greece (cf. Th. Goldstücker, Panini, his Place in Sanskrit Literature, 1861, ND Osnabrück 1966). August Wilhelm Schlegel, Professor at a chair for Sanskrit established for him in Bonn, also made the "Bhagavad-Gita" (Bonn 1823) known to the Germans, about the Wilhelm von Humboldt made his effective reflections "On the episode of the Mahabharata known under the name Bhagavad-Gita" (Berlin 1826).

Henceforth it was up to the Sanskritists to keep an eye on the philosophy of the Indians in addition to their literature and general culture. Credit to these specialists for doing it. The philosophers, however, have to be reproached for having mastered Greek and Latin as an indispensable basis for the study of philosophy and, on this basis, for the history of Greek and Roman philosophy, but neglected the knowledge of Sanskrit and thus Indian philosophy in the context of their subject, yes as good as giving up. The only notable exception was K. H. Windischmann, professor of medicine and philosophy historian in Bonn with his extensive work "Philosophy in the Progress of World History, 4 volumes (Bonn 1827-1834), which also dealt with Indian and Chinese philosophy.

A sign of this strange situation is the fact that Friedrich Ueberweg still lists the relevant literature in his "Grundriß der Geschichte der Philosophie" (Berlin 1865, p. 14), which has become a standard work, but does not say a word about Indian philosophy in the text. And that has remained so up to the last manifold expanded editions (Volume I, 1926, ND. 1957; Volume IV "Philosophy of Foreign Countries", 1928 with half a page about India). Since then there has not been a lack of philologically brilliant text editions, information and still enthusiastically colored literature on Indian spirituality, there is still a great lack of actually philosophical penetration of the accumulated treasures on the part of the technical philosophers and a genuine reclamation of Indian philosophy for philosophy. The author, who still had the opportunity to experience one of the old masters of comparative Indo-European linguistics, namely Walter Porzig, for several semesters as a teacher of Sanskrit, and who remembers it gratefully, only has the rudiments of Sanskrit knowledge available from such long-gone periods of study . But they might enable him to assess what could genuinely philosophically be achieved in Indian philosophy with such a language.

The language of Indian philosophy is Sanskrit, and has been since the oldest Vedic times up to the present day. In this function it can be compared with Greek, later with Latin, with regard to Western philosophy, which were initially popular languages ​​and then learned languages, and whose philosophical terms are still now in the later European national languages ​​developed from them as loanwords (especially in the educated and academic language ) are included.

In the Vedic period (the time of the immigration of the Aryan conqueror peoples into the Indian subcontinent until approx. 500 BC), Sanskrit was the language of the conquerors. In the classical period (since approx. 500 BC) with their formation of the "classical schools" (darshanas) and the emergence of Buddhism, Sanskrit was already an esoteric scholarly language with its own script like medieval Latin in the international scholarly world and in of the Roman Church. The Vedic Sanskrit, as an earlier living vernacular language, had developed into Prakrit in contact with the superimposed indigenous population of India. In the literature of this period, Prakrit is used as the language of the people.

In the post-classical Hindu period (from approx. 1000 AD), the so-called Prakrit dialects such as Pali (especially in Ceylon and Sri Lanka), Hindi, Urdu and Bengali developed from the Prakrit in contact with the languages ​​of the Indian peoples , Bihari, Marathi, Punjabi, Gudscharati, Radschastani and others, not least the language of the Gypsies (Sinti), each with its own literature. But even besides these, Sanskrit as a scholarly language remains in constant maintenance and use. It should be mentioned by the way that the Old Persian (Avestian, Zend) forms a subsidiary branch of the Old Indian, from which the Pelehvi (Parthian) and from this in turn, since about 1000 AD, the New Persian emerged.

In the West, Sanskrit was often considered to be the original language of the Indo-Aryan peoples. In this supposed function as the original language, it replaced the older biblically based opinion about Hebrew as the original language of mankind. In fact, besides Greek and Latin, it is a subsidiary branch of one of these common language roots, of which no traces or traditions have survived, but which has been called the actual "Indo-Germanic" due to hypothetical developmental laws of the languages ​​and has been tried to reconstruct in many cases (cf. Jos. Schrijnen, Introduction to the Study of Indo-European Linguistics, translated by W. Fischer, Heidelberg 1921; and J. Pokorny, Indo-European Etymological Dictionary, Bern-Munich 1948 ff.).

Sanskrit is closely related to Greek. It shows a rich inflection of nouns (8 cases in three gender genders and three numbers), has, like the Greek for the verbs active, passive and medium, as well as an articulated tense structure (present, imperfect, aorist, future, conditional) with numerous modes. As in all Germanic languages, the ablaut plays an important role.

The Sanskrit script forms this since the 8th century BC. Nagari alphabet ("Devanagari") that emerged in the 4th century BC. The oldest documents, predecessors of the Devanagari, are inscriptions on rocks and buildings of King Ashoka (263-222 BC). In the north of India it was a right to left script (like the Semitic scripts) called "Karoshthi", in the south a script that ran from left to right (like Devanagari and the European scripts), called "Brahmi" in Indian literature . These ancient forms have only been used since 1837 by James Prinsep deciphered. It is assumed that they go back to the Semitic (Aramaic) alphabet on the way via Persia.

Like our writings, it runs from left to right. In contrast to this, it is not written on but under a line: the individual letters hang to a certain extent on this very emphatically drawn line, which means that Semitic originals also appear upside down in the typeface. There are 33 consonates that are usually pronounced with an a-vowel, plus 9 separate vowel and 4 diphtong signs. Numerous forms of ligature appear in the current script. Vocalization of the consonants that deviate from the a-sound is then usually marked above the line by additional characters, which corresponds to the Semitic and Arabic punctuation (cf. H. Pedersen, The discovery of language. Linguistic science in the nineteenth century, Bloomington-London 1972 , P. 188 f.). Let us put a Vedic hymn on Agni here as an example (from: A. A. Macdonnell, A Vedic Reader, Madras-Oxford 1917, 5th ed. 1960, p. 3):

The following works can be used to study Sanskrit:

J. Gonda, Brief Elementary Grammar of the Sanskrit Language. With exercise examples, reading pieces and a glossary, 4th edition. Leiden 1963 ;. M. Mayrhofer, Sanskrit grammar with linguistic comparative explanations, 2nd edition Berlin 1965 (Coll. Göschen 1158); A. F. Stenzler, Elementary Book of the Sanskrit Language. Grammar, texts, dictionary (adapted from K. F. Geldner and S. B. Biswas), 15th edition Berlin 1965; A. Thumb, Handbook of Sanskrit. With texts and a glossary. An introduction to the linguistic study of ancient Indian, 2 parts in 3 volumes, part I / 1-2, 3rd edition Heidelberg 1958-1959, part II, 2nd edition Heidelberg 1953; C. Capeller, Sanskrit dictionary (based on Böhtlingk, see below), ND of the 1887 edition, Berlin 1966; H. Grassmann, Dictionary of the Rig-Veda, 3.

Wiesbaden 1955 edition; M Mayrhofer, Kurzgefaßtes etymological dictionary des Altindischen / A concise etymological Sanskrit dictionary, Heidelberg 1953 ff .; O. Bohtlingk and R. Roth, Sanskrit dictionary, ed. from the Imperial Academy of Sciences, 7 parts St. Petersburg 1855-1875, ND Osnabrück-Wiesbaden 1966; O. Bohtlingk, Sanskrit dictionary in a shorter version, 7 parts in 3 volumes, St. Petersburg 1879-1889, ND Graz 1959, also Delhi 1998.

To study the Pali serve: M. Mayrhofer, Manual of the Pali. With texts and a glossary. An introduction to the linguistic study of Middle Indian, 2 volumes, Heidelberg 1951; K. Schmidt, Pali, Buddha's language. Beginners course for self-tuition, Konstanz 1951.

The philosophical literature of India is essentially a domain of the Indian philosophers themselves. However, their main works are available in good translations. Since English in India has been made the common language of modern India by the British colonial administration in view of the numerous dialects that do not allow internal-Indian communication, numerous works by more recent Indian philosophers are also written directly in English or by them at the same time in Published in English. In keeping with the traditionally close ties between India and Britain, English scholars have contributed most to the modern literature on Indian philosophy.

German Indology can also be proud of its well-known and numerous studies. However, Indian philosophy is then mostly cultivated in the context of religious and cultural studies. France's contributions were and are also to be valued for Indian philosophy studies.

For the bibliography of this literature, see the individual chapters and the bibliographical literature appendix.

Indian culture is, in its own historical essence, a timeless culture. This at least in the sense that time has received in the West as the "measure of what is earlier or what is later" since Aristotle. If there is such a thing as time consciousness, it is not aimed at mathematically measuring time, but rather at the qualifying value determination of temporal relationships. The old and outdated as such enjoy the highest respect and appreciation - it may not be so old and so far outdated, chronologically determined. This Indian tendency means that what is old or is taken to be old is made even older, and that what appears new must legitimize itself by deriving it from the old.

This guarantees a tremendous continuity in all relationships, especially the careful elaboration of a constant context of tradition and interpretation of the spiritual culture. In contrast to the West with its ideology of progress, unbroken since the Renaissance, which endows the real or pretended new as such with the aura of truth, value and utility and summarizes all of this in the concept of progress, Indian thinking behaves rather skeptically. Rather, it looks back and examines and evaluates the new with regard to whether and how it is compatible with the old, agrees with it, only keeps it rejuvenated and lively. Because one knows and masters the old and essentially always the same and takes it as a yardstick for assessing all things, not least the achievements of the West, which one is confronted with. And wherever you adopt and adapt these, there is also a tendency to relate them to existing tendencies and predecessors of your own cultural heritage.At international philosophy congresses one observes easily and again and again that there is hardly anything that Westerners have to present that is not interpreted by Indian scholars as having long been at home with them.

Make the thought experiment of thinking away all publication dates and author names from printed books from the history of Western philosophy and science, and then assigning the scientific work the task of not both a chronology of the successive and building up of a thought development, but rather the factual identity and To work out the differences in the masses of thought. With the fundamental lack of dates and names, at least in the older Indian literature and philosophy, one comes close to what Indian philosophy understood as its task. The result of such work is a fundamental classification of dominant interpretive currents of the Vedic heritage in the classical systems and their own development in later times. In the West, this would correspond to pursuing the continued effect of the positions of pre-Socratic world models right up to the latest scientific developments, or to understanding Platonism, Aristotelianism, Stoicism and skepticism as basic patterns of possible metaphysics and all individual science as an exhaustion of these basic patterns - which is certainly possible and partly in Is attacked.

This has consequences for the chronology. It stems essentially from occidental science: the astronomical calendar setting and the philological-historical filling of the calendar frame by attributing facts and dates that support and secure each other in the chronological context of synchrony and diachrony. Indian thinking, however, values ​​age. And so one observes the tendency that Indian scholars like to make everything a little older than Western science claims. Does this the Vedic literature settle in pre-Homeric times up to approx. 1500 BC In India, 10,000 years are considered to be a worthy and appropriate age - although one has to know that 10,000 is a word for an unimaginably large number in the whole of the Orient and therefore something unimaginable, obscured by uncertainty.

For the chronology, one otherwise only has basic political data that are linked to "cultural offensives" or relationships of rule through which the Indians came into contact with other peoples - and their chronology. Subdividing the Indian history of philosophy and ideas according to this therefore appears precarious and actually inappropriate, but this must suffice for a preliminary overview.

We take such a table with all reservations from Helmut v. Glasenapps "The Philosophy of the Indians":

I. Vedic Period (approx. 2000 BC - 550 BC)

1. The Vedic Hymns (2000-1000 BC)

2. Brahmanas ("sacrificial mysticism") (1000 - 750 BC)

3rd Upanishads (interpretation of the Vedas) (750-550 BC)

II. Classical or Brahmanic-Buddhist period (550 BC - 1000 AD)

1st age of Buddha and Mahavira (approx. 550 - 326 BC)

2nd age of the Mauryas and Shungas (326 - 1 BC)

3rd Age of Mahayana Buddhism (1 BC - 250 AD)

4th Age of the Guptas (rulers) (250-500 AD)

5th age of greatest cultural expansion (500 - 750 AD)

6th age of the Brahmin Counter-Reformation (against Buddhism) (750-1000 AD).

III. Post-Classical or Hindu Period (1000 AD - Present)

1st age of sectarian scholasticism (1000 - 1200 AD)

2nd Age of Islamic Dominance (1206 - 1526 AD)

3rd Age of the Islamic Great Mughals (1526 - 1761 AD)

4th Age of British Rule (1761-1947 AD)

5. Republic of India and Pakistan (since 1947).

§ 7 Basic Provisions of Indian Philosophy.

The following traits seem to distinguish Indian philosophy. We compare them with analogous features of Western philosophy.

1. Indian philosophy is based on its oldest sources, the Vedas, and it is the interpretative development of its intellectual content. This can be roughly compared with what "Christian philosophy" means for the West. In a well-understood sense, this is the interpretative development of the Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (especially Neoplatonic inspired) New Testament canons of the Bible, which in turn guaranteed the unification of Jewish and Greek traditions for the West.

2. Even the Buddhist revolution does not mean a breakout from the Vedic tradition of Indian thought, but rather a repristination and clarification of its dominant idealistic content. This can be roughly compared with the "Reformation" repristination of Augustinian-Neoplatonic thought within the framework of Christian philosophy. From a philosophical perspective, this cannot be measured against "religious" denominational disputes, which have been gaining political relevance since Luther, but rather against the Neoplatonic reformulation of the Christian image of the world and God by Anselm von Canterbury, Duns Scotus and Nikolaus von Kues as opposed to a Stoic-Aristotelian realism.

3. Indian philosophy offers the picture of a compact dogmatic context of interpretation. Everything that can be formulated and thought in it is to be understood from its Vedic basis and formulates its content in a contemporary adaptation. This can be compared with the scientific spirituality of the old "higher faculties" of occidental university sciences. Western legal thinking is based on Roman law and interprets and adapts the legal dogmas and points of view that have become binding in the Justinian Codification (Corpus Iustiniani, 529 AD). Even where this appears to be superseded by newer legislation, its "spirit" has also entered the newer codifications, and it also regulates the freer legal structure of the Germanic-Anglo-Saxon case law. This is all the more true of all Western theology with regard to its biblical code.

4. Indian philosophy appears as timeless as its cultural institutions. This has no parallel in the West. What could be considered as such is expressed in ideals of a "philosophia perennis" (Augustinus Steuco, Leibniz, Hegel) as an always the same and true basic content of genuine philosophizing in all variations and opposites of the historically elaborated positions.

5. Indian philosophy is idealistic. But this can only be said in an occidental diagnosis. Its basic idealistic trait can be understood and corresponds to the role of the Platonic and Neoplatonic philosophy in the West. And this commonality should also embody and express the common Indo-Aryan heritage. The Indian idealism is at the same time monisticby understanding everything different as a unity and discriminating against the distinction as such. This is particularly pronounced in the Advaita (non-duality) philosophy, which corresponds to the position of a Parmenides: The same one is being and thinking, but the multiple is void appearance. We know to what extent Plato received this Parmenidic program.

Indian idealism is at the same time a spiritualism. The one and essence of all things is the spiritual, and everything material, the so-called nature, is an apparent reflection of this spiritual. This corresponds very precisely to the Neoplatonic basic content of Christian philosophy.

Indian idealism is next to it too pragmatism. The essential character of the spiritual is action. Only in its actions does it "appear", and all appearances must therefore be explained as the "effect of the spirit". Non-action therefore also makes all appearances disappear. This corresponds to an old, obscure occidental conception of "reality" that was inaugurated by Aristotle. According to this, all reality is "energeia" (being-at-work, doing), and this view has been carried up into everyday language, where the present and given are still "reality", "fact" (made) or "fact" is called. The West has only lost the concept of what works, makes and does. For Aristotle it was the divine Arché, for Christian philosophy and Neoplatonism it was God. But Leibniz defined his spirit monad as a beings of action (être capable d'action) and made the world "appear" as the product of the cognitive and striving actions of the monad, which was intended to be entirely analogous to the Indian spirit. After all, Fichte built the spiritual and the non-spiritual (nature) through the "original act" of the "I" and thus became the father of modern pragmatism. But with the "I" he was again beyond Indian thinking. No matter how much he warned against confusing this ego with empirical self-consciousness, asserting his "transcendentality" (which impresses the Indians as the closest Western category), even after him through German idealism and afterwards, individual self-consciousness remained the standard and the model of more recent Western idealisms. Schopenhauer has surely seen more clearly here and in his metaphysics of the will invoked the inexplicable, "irrational" dynamism that refuses all objectification, a primordial reason that the adepts of philosophy and psychoanalysis of the unconscious are still trying to bring to the concept.

Finally, one must think of Indian as well understood nihilism speak to. If and as far as the spiritual reveals and shows itself, it becomes appearance and "something". And everything something is therefore not the spiritual itself. But knowledge remains bound to something, and proceeding from it it can only control this spiritual being behind the appearances as pure nothing - and of course neither recognize nor express it (because then it would be something). But knowledge and action are constitutive for appearance and something. But the dimension that points to the essence of the spiritual cannot be gained in knowledge and not in action. Indian philosophy, too, can only pronounce this as not knowing and not acting. Beyond the utterance, however, it shows itself in the curious "practices" of yoga and mystical immersion. Similar is also familiar to the West and is considered strange and curious. The sophist Gorgias, who first formulated nihilism ("It is nothing at all, and if something were, it could not be known, and if something could be known, it could not be expressed") is considered to be an ironic antagonist of Parmenides who says of nothing what he said of being. But he probably learned from the gymnosophists.

Neoplatonism, however, naturally came to this insight and has repeatedly invoked the highest and divine as the inexpressible and unknowable. From this arose occidental mysticism, which strives to merge into the one - in the Unio mystica - wordless, sightless and inactive. What was supposed to happen in word and knowledge was the concern of "negative theology", which cannot say what it means and cannot mean what it says. But what the theologians did not succeed because it would have meant squaring the circle, the mathematicians succeeded after they had adopted the Indian zero from the Arabs.

Until then, nothing had been treated logically as a certain negation of something, even if the philosophers had tried again and again - and in vain - to give it an independent meaning. The zero, however, was something special beyond the negative numbers, which resulted from subtraction as the reverse of the addition and thus as negative numbers as a mirror image. The zero was and is easy to calculate, and the calculations are correct, provided that certain prohibitions are observed that are recommended for it - this in contrast to all other numbers.

But the application of arithmetic in physics as a general methodology also had to allow it a physical sense, as it were to ascribe a piece of nature. And that is the case wherever nature is measured in positive and negative parameters: states of energy, motion sequences, more recently the matter (positive and anti-matter). We do not mean to suggest that this leads to fruitful research programs and insights. But it certainly leads in the same direction that Indian philosophy has taken since its origins: to nothing but the general zero state of natural phenomena, in which everything positive and negative is neutralized and canceled out. And the fact that even physicists see this state as something like the state of the cosmos before its creation - or after its demise - embarrasses them in all mysticism to talk about what is before something was and when nothing is anymore .

§ 8 The four great themes of classical Indian philosophy.

These four topics, to which O. Strauss (Indian Philosophy, Munich 1825, p. 253) draws attention, already emerged in Brahma literature. They are the following:

1. Karman. The term denotes the deed or the work. Karman is an ontological basic given, since everything phenomenal, the "reality" is built up from deed and work. But just as the work is a consequence of the deed and the deed gains objectivity in the work, so also vice versa: every act is a consequence of works. And so all deeds and works form a large chain, which together represent a causal connection of reality. Whatever is done leaves traces, and the traces give birth to new deeds and works.

Thus, the task of cognition arises to research this connection, and the task of observing and accounting for it arises in practice. Every living being and every person is found in this causal network and is constantly involved in it. Through his existence he takes responsibility for his karman work and must allow the consequences to be ascribed to him.

But finding himself to be conditional, he must also allow the conditions under which his existence is to be ascribed to himself. Just as he perpetuates himself as it were through the consequences of his deeds, so he is also perpetuated in the preconditions of his own existence. Every individual existence is only a part of this encompassing Karman chain, which the living consciousness usually only becomes known in the context of its experience. It is important, however, to expand the knowledge to the preceding and following chain links, to find and recognize in them the continuity of something identical and identical. This forms the starting point for the development of the doctrine of the transmigration of souls.

At the same time it leads to the question of the beginning and the end of this chain. The beginning gets lost with the gods - and even in Indian thought they are only perplexed answers to this question. The end, however, is thought of as the extinction and consumption of the energy, the active force, which to bring about forms the content of all Indian ethics and lifestyle. And this also leads the Karman teaching back to the mystical point where being is inverted into nothingness.

The Karman doctrine is most likely related to the stoic universal determinism in the West. But even this, according to occidental cause-and-effect research, always only addresses the most closely related links of the alleged overall context. It ignores long-term consequences and long-range effects and even prohibits research into the first causes. And so in the West there was no comparable awareness of the responsibility and attribution of distant and later relationships with and to actors. The Roman legal system, which is so multifaceted and stoic, has adopted this: the immediate act and the work are attributable and give rise to responsibility, but what goes beyond that is considered a non-justiciable fate.

As far as the conditions of one's own existence are concerned, only Plato touched the Karman doctrine and also the doctrine of the transmigration of souls in the myth of the choice of life's destinies in a prenatal state of the soul. And this is evident under Indian influence. In Jewish Neo-Platonism it can be found at most in the doctrine of the Adam-Kadmon, the primitive man who unites all following sexes in himself, in the Christian version in the doctrine of original sin, according to which every person in himself "the old Adam" as the hypothesis of the first fall of sin finds a certain correspondence. Later Christianity, however, quickly calmed down that God only wanted to punish the sins of the fathers up to the third and fourth members, but would reward good behavior in a thousand generations. Thus, although it explained the good or bad circumstances of the existence of the individual, it assigned responsibility for them to God. The secular society of the modern age, however, has also abolished the responsible God and finally "discovered" the groundlessness and pure facticity of human existence. It celebrates freedom and spontaneity and understands them as a groundless and causeless beginning.And so she is very far from being able to understand a thought like that of the Karman.

2. Samsara (Sanskrit: walking around). Samsara denotes an aspect of the overall context of physical existences that comes about through karman: the "cycle of rebirths".

This notion is related to the Stoic doctrine of the "return of all things" (apokatástasis pantón "), which, among the Stoics, relates to the cosmic" revolution "of the star constellations after an" aion "(the world year, approx. 10,000 solar years) and so that the return of all relationships, including historical and individual developments, was related.Lately the doctrine of Nietzsche has been taken up again.

Just like the doctrine of Karman, the doctrine of samsara also presupposes an identically consistent one. In Indian thinking this is addressed as Atman (self). In the occidental realm it is the soul. Among the pre-Socratics, Empedocles, probably also under Indian influence, was a representative of such a theory of the migration of souls, of which traces can still be found in Plato. Of Empedocles it is reported: "He also teaches that the soul goes into various forms of animals and plants" Diogenes Laertios VIII, 77) and that he said of himself: "I was once a boy, a girl, a bush, Bird and mute fish emerging from the sea ". Empedocles' statement provides a beautiful model for this integration of the soul existences into samsara: "This is the punishment that the demiurge carries out with them like a blacksmith who transforms iron and dips from fire into water".

3. Duhkha describes the painful character of the life that is repeated in the rebirths and beyond that of the appearing existences in general.

The experience of the hardship and suffering of existence is extended to the entire world context, so that ultimately pleasure, joy and happiness only have to be explained as distractions, appearances and improper phenomena. Punishment and penance must always serve as an explanatory model, as is evident from the words of Empedocles. Anaximander expressed it more fundamentally, who regards existence as absolutely punishable and therefore as an atonement: things "make atonement and repentance for one another for their injustice in accordance with the ordinance of the times".

In Christian thought, this attitude is reflected in the thesis that the world is "a valley of tears" (and accordingly in the concept of paradise of the hereafter). Schopenhauer's "pessimism" is the metaphysical counterpart of this teaching. Finally, Heidegger emphasized the fundamental ontological guilt character of existence similar to Anaximan-der.

4. Moksa emerges as the central theme from all of the previous themes: salvation from the karma connection of samsara with its painful Duhkha. All Indian philosophemes also culminate in a moksa doctrine, but they differ specifically in terms of what salvation is to be seen in and how it is to be achieved.

It is obvious that here the pretensions of all religions converge with philosophical theory about the end of the world and of life. Hence the subject is primordial in Christianity as well. A secularized, but Christian world, has correspondingly secularized doctrines of salvation: They are the basis of all therapeutics. Its current proliferation also makes the West extremely sensitive to the subject of moksa teaching; but also for their embarrassments. The more the awareness of what is wrong spreads (or is cultivated), the greater the embarrassment to indicate whereupon it could or should be changed or cured. That is why the West looks to India with hope. But the "principle of hope" is itself already the occidental, secularized form of a moksa doctrine.

§ 9 Equivalents of the concept of philosophy in Indian philosophy.

An oldest counterpart is likely anvikshiki vidya, "scrutinizing science" or "critical knowledge" (from the politics textbook of Kautilya, 3rd century c. Chr.). This corresponds roughly to the formal concept of philosophy, which has become established as a designation of the theoretical superstructure of science in the occidental faculty system and is now still alive in the name of the "Philosophical Faculty", insofar as the theoretical and general part of the natural and human sciences (des Quadriviums and Triviums) was meant.

In later times this becomes synonymous with tarka shastra, "doctrine based on reasoning" or "theory". But even later in classical times the Nyaya system claimed this honorary title exclusively for itself. Therefore, in turn, the more non-binding set in classic times darshana, View, teaching or "system" through.

But that makes the highest demands tattva-vidya shastra, "Doctrine of truth science" or "truth knowledge doctrine", which has become generally accepted in recent times. The same is in circulation in the West as a definition of philosophy, in particular of epistemology (as a discipline of the truth criteria of knowledge), but it is noticeable that the retention of the Greek word "philosophy", which means "the love of wisdom or of Knowledge ", understood through all epochs of the development of science as an effort and endeavor and contains nothing about whether and how it can ever lead to possession or even to possession of truth, denotes decidedly inferior claims.

Another common term in this area is atman vidya, "Science of the Self". But this mainly expresses a certain understanding of philosophy as a doctrine of spirit and consciousness, as it is especially widespread in Buddhism.


I. The Vedic Philosophical Literature

§ 10. Classification of the font groups.

Vedic literature is the literature of the Vedic period mentioned in the chronological table up to about 550 BC. Chr.

It is divided into the font group of Vedas, which represent four collections of hymns to the gods and sacrificial sayings for the use of priests, then the group of scriptures of Brahmanaswhich contain regulations and explanations for the worship service also for the use of the priests.

A particularly outstanding group of scriptures among the Brahmanas are then those Upanishads, also Vedanta ("standing at the end of the Vedas") called. They are actually philosophically interesting and productive commentaries on the aforementioned writings.

§ 11. The Vedas.

Its name literally means knowledge (indog. Root: vid-, from it also Greek: idea, Latin: videre = see, German: know), and it means the highest and most important knowledge about the gods and the origin of all things.

Its origin is uncertain. In the oral tradition, they must have been cultivated and guarded in priestly communities and families for centuries before they were also recorded in writing. This happened around 600 BC. Chr.

Four "collections" (Samhita) are available as the corpus of writings:

1. Rig Veda (from rik = verse). It is probably the oldest and in any case the most important collection, the contents of which are only reproduced in a different order in the others. It consists of 1017 hymns (suktas) and an additional 11 more, obviously from a later period, so a total of 1028. They are divided into 8 sections (ashtakas = "group of eight"), these again into chapters, and finally into 10417 verses (riks), the consist of 153826 words (padas) in total. This exact counting of the constituents has proven extremely useful for reliable transmission from the earliest times. There is also a competing division into 10 "circles" (mandalas) and 85 sections (anuvakas) with the same number of hymns.

2. Sama-Veda (from saman = song). It consists of 1549 verses, only 78 of which cannot be traced back to the Rig-Veda. According to tradition, these are chants that are to be sung by the sacrificial priest (Utgatar) when offering sacrificial potions (Soma).

3. Yayur Veda (from yayus = sacrifice). It exists in two editorial offices, commonly referred to as "black yayur" (Taittiriya Samhita) and "white yayur" (Vajasaneyi Samhita). The black Yayur seems to be older. It is divided into 7 books (kandas), 44 chapters (prasnas), 651 sections (anuvakas) and 2198 "pieces" (kandikas) of an average of 50 words. The white Yayur comprises 40 chapters with 303 sections and 1975 kandikas. He seems younger and more systematic in character.

In terms of content, the Yayur-Veda consists almost exclusively of slightly varied hymns from the Rig-Veda, but there are also some prose passages. It is addressed to the sacrificial priest (Adhvaryu), who recites these hymns at the sacrifice.

4. Atharva Veda (from atharvan = name of a priest). It seems to be much younger than the others and contains 760 hymns in 6000 verses (partly from the Rig-Veda) and considerable prose portions. Compared to the priestly-esoteric character of the other Samhitas, it has an exoteric basic trait. Nevertheless, it is regarded as the ultimate priest's book of rites (Brahman) and is therefore also referred to as Brahman-Veda.

Editions of the Vedas:

1. Rig VedaSanskrit edition with commentary on Sayana (from the 14th century AD) ed. v. Max Muller, 6 vols London 1849-75, 2nd edition 4 vols London 1890 ff.

Sanskrit edition in Latin script ed. v. Theodor upright, 2 vols 2nd edition Bonn 1877.

German translations: H. Graßmann, 2 vols Leipzig 1876-77, ND 1990; A. Ludwig, 6 vols Prague 1875-88; Karl FriedrichGeldner, The Rig-Veda, from Sanskrit into German transl. and provided with a running commentary (Harvard Oriental Series 33-36), Cambridge-Wiesbaden 1951-1957, 4 parts, of which the 4th "Name and subject index, plus supplements and improvements from the translator's estate", ed. v. Joh. Nobel. Th. Upright, The Hymns of Rig-Veda, 2 vols 3rd edition Berlin-Wiesbaden 1955.

English translations: Griffith, 2nd ed. Benares 1896-1897 in 2 vols. Selection output of M. Muller and Oldenberg in: Sacred Books of the East, Vols 32 and 46, Oxford 1891, 1897, ND ed. by B. A. van Nosten and G. B. Holland, Cambridge 1994 (Harvard Oriental Series, 50). Rgveda Samhita, Sanskrit-English, transl. of H. H. Wilson, ed. by Ravi Prakash Arya and K. L. Joshi, 4 volumes, Delhi 1997.

Selection outputs: H. Lommel, Poems of the Rig-Veda. German selection and translation, Munich-Planegg 1955. P. Thieme, Poems from the Rig-Veda, Stuttgart 1964; A. A. Macdonell, A Vedic Reader (Sanskrit-English), Oxford 1960.

On the history of the text and criticism: H. Oldenberg, Hymns of Rig-Veda, Berlin 1888; V. Gampert, On the problem of the age of the Rgveda, in: Archive orientalni Vol 20, Prague 1952.

2. Sama-Veda, Edition in Sanskrit with translation and glossary of Th. Benfey, Leipzig 1848; with commentary by Sayana in: Bibliotheca Indica, Calcutta 1874 - 78 in 5 volumes; Sanskrit-English ed. of Devi Chand, 2nd edition New Delhi 1981, ND 1995.

3. Yayur Veda: Taittiriya-Samhita (Black Yayur) ed. v. A. Weber in: Indian Studies Vol. 11-12, 1871-72; English translation: by A. B. Keith (Harvard Oriental Series Vol: 18.19) Oxford 1914.

Vajasaneyi-Samhita (White Yayur) ed. v. A. Weber, Berlin 1852; Sanskrit-English ed. of R. T. Griffith, New Delhi 1997 (Parimal Sanskrit Series, 39).

4. Atharva Veda Output of R. Roth and W. D. Whitney 1855-65; of Bloomfield and sheaf 1901.

English translation: by W.D. Whitney, Cambridge, Mass. 2 vols (Harvard Oriental

German translation: Hundred songs of the Atharva Veda, translated by grill, 2nd edition Stuttgart 1888.

Complete edition of all Vedas: R. T. H. Griffith, Rgveda, Samaveda, White Yayurveda, Atharvaveda (English translation), Benares 1895-1907.

Literature on the Vedas: Colebrooke, On the Vedas, Calcutta 1805, German by Poley, Leipzig 1847; R. Roth, On the literature and history of the Veda, Stuttgart 1846; M. Muller, History of ancient Sanscrit Literature, 2nd ed. London 1860; Muir, Original Sanskrit Texts, 5 vols 1858-72; Pischel and Geldner, Vedic Studies, 2 vols Stuttgart 1889-97; H. Oldenberg, Vedaforschung, Stuttgart 1905; A. Hillebrandt, Vedische Mythologie, 2 vols Breslau 1927-29 (reprint Hildesheim 1965); A. K. A. Coomaraswami, A New Approach to the Vedas. An Essay in Translation and Exegesis, London 1933; H. Lommel, Vedic sketches, in: Contributions to Indian philosophy and antiquity (Festschrift Schubring), Hamburg 1951; W. Ruben, Beginning of philosophy in India. From the Vedas, 3rd edition Berlin (-Ost) 1961 (Texts of Indian Philosophy 1); K. M. Talreja, Philosophy of Vedas, Bombay 1982; B. G. Tilak, Origine popular de la Tradition védique. Nouvelles clés pour l'interpretation de nombreux textes et legends védiques. Traduction de Jean et C. Remy, Milan 1979.

Bibliography: L. Renou, Bibliography Vedique, Paris 1931; R. N. Dandekar, Vedic Bibliography, An up-to-date comprehensive and analytically arranged register of all important work done since 1930 in the field of the veda and allied antiquities, Bombay 1946.

Dictionary: Suryakanta, a Practical Vedic Dictionary, Delhi 1981 (768 pp.).

The Vedas gave the Indians - like Homer to the Greeks - their gods. They are invoked, praised and used for various services in the Vedic hymns.

In the Rigveda, the main work of the Vedas, 33 are named by name, but there are also innumerable hosts without names. What is called God and gods here is of course understood in retrospect from a religious point of view. For, as with the Homeric gods, it is easy to see that they are personifications of natural objects and forces or even significant personalities of the past. And since they do and cause many things, they also take on the form of causes for what is attributed to their activity, in this respect comparable to the Greek "Archai". Their groupings and relationships are therefore also the first indications of the concept of order about the cosmos and the things in it. These overlap in many ways, so that the gods cannot always be differentiated and "individualized". One has reason to assume that some god names mean the same thing, some mean partial aspects of the same thing, some point to properties of other gods, etc. So the arrangement and overview of all gods is already a major problem in the Vedas, especially in the interpretative literature.

1. The Rig-Veda itself proposes a classification according to the cosmic place of your stay - whereby it is again questionable whether such places can be understood other than by the names of gods. It divides into:

heavenly gods: Dyaus, Varuna, Mitra, Surya, Savitr, Agni, Pusan, the Asvins, the goddesses Usas and Ratri;

atmospheric gods: Indra, Apam, Napat, Rudra, the Maruts, Vayn, Paryanya, Apas;

earthly gods: Agni, Soma, Prthivi. Some can be seen river names, such as Sindhu (Indus), Vipas and Sutudri. A fire bringer (like Prometheus) named Matarisvan can also be found here.

2. Another classification can be made according to the services that these gods perform - or that are named by their names. There is, for example, a Dhatr (creator, sustainer, often nickname Indras), Prajapati (creator or lord of the creatures), Vidhatr (arranger), Tratr (protector), Tvastr (artist, a kind of Hephaist) or Savitr (sun, stimulator) . Among these, the very often mentioned Brhaspati should stand out as Lord of all prayers and sacrifices or as sacrifice and prayer itself.

3. A solitaire among the gods is Ka (literally "Who?"), The unknown god among the Vedic gods, who is only asked about in the Vedas (kasmai devaja havisa vidhema Which god should we sacrifice?), But who is then in that literature is stylized as a god. This procedure is known from the Greeks, who in Athens also worshiped the "unknown God" - one could say: to be on the safe side, so as not to miss anything - and thus gave Paul the opportunity to concretize him as the Christ and Messiah.

4. A number of gods are activities, qualities or attitudes, but they are less common. So Manyu (anger), Sraddha (faith), Anumati (grace, pardon), Aramati (piety), Nrrti (dying), Aditi (liberation, solution, especially from pain) and their counterpart Diti (bondage, unresolvedness).

5. There are a number of goddesses with corresponding female proper names, some of them only as a female form of male god names such as Agnayi, Indrani, Varunani, which are then introduced as the wives Agnis, Indras and Varunas. Some of them are striking natural phenomena such as Usas (twilight) and Ratri (night). Prthivi (earth) and Aranyani (forest) are also female. The most significant is Vac (speech, language, meaning), which later - comparable to the Greek Logos - gives rise to the most profound speculations.Let us also mention the water nymph Apsaras or the fruitful Sita.

6. Whole armies are also named under a common name as servants or entourage of individual gods: the Maruts (entourage of Indra), the Adityas (sons of the Aditi under their leader Varuna), the Vasus and generally indefinite Vishve devas (succession of gods).

7. Finally, there are also the gods of joke or shameful deeds and crimes who are portrayed as enemies of the rest, such as the Svarbhanu, who makes the sun disappear, Vishvarupa, the three-headed ox-claw, or the Raksas (goblins), of which the Consume Pishaca's corpses.

We do not attach importance to completeness nor to the particular depth of such a classification. The examples, however, may show how the poetic fantasy of a lordly cattle-breeding people concentrates on details of their surroundings: the natural phenomena, the virtues and vices, the attitudes and capabilities, and the way they deal with them in ritual and speech stands out from the unholy and often unconscious handling of everyday life and thus ensures constant attention, questioning and questioning for them in the following times, which is a prerequisite for all research in reality.

But even more important than this "divine" constitution of the object seem to us the approaches to a comprehensive one Affiliate Foundationwhich also begins in the Vedas. In some passages of the Rig-Veda there is talk of the Rta (Rita), the order and disposition in which things are directed. From this also their truth results - and this is how Rta is also translated - and it is also the designation of true knowledge (rta-jna). It is likely to be the Indian counterpart to the Greek cosmos, the structural law of which the Stoics elevated to Heimarméne, in the Latin version to fate, which even includes the gods.

Such coherence finds its poetic expression in the hymn of primitive man (Purusha), from whose members the world arose, and which is also reflected in the Germanic sagas of the giant Ymir. This passage reads: (Rig-Veda 10, 90,: Geldner edition, vol. 3, p. 286 ff.):

"Purusha is a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand feet: he completely covered the earth and rose ten fingers above it."

Purusha alone is this whole world, past and future, and he is the master of immortality (and also of that which grows through food). Such is its greatness, and even greater than this is Purusha. A quarter of him are all creatures, three quarters of him is the immortal in heaven.