The idea of distilling thousands of years of Indian philosophical thought into less than 200 pages may seem impossible, but British scholar Sue Hamilton does a superb job with her airtight and accessible introduction, which eloquently parses out the philosophy's tenets, frames it around the six darsanas, and illustrates its unique and inextricable link with Indian religion.
Neil Shah’s approachable yet authoritative tone suits the subject matter perfectly in this refreshingly simple but never condescending audiobook that’s palatable to all audiences.
India has a long, rich, and diverse tradition of philosophical thought, spanning some two and a half millennia and encompassing several major religious traditions. In this intriguing introduction to Indian philosophy, the diversity of Indian thought is emphasized. It is structured around six schools of thought that have received classic status.
Sue Hamilton explores how the traditions have attempted to understand the nature of reality in terms of inner or spiritual quest and introduces distinctively Indian concepts, such as karma and rebirth. She also explains how Indian thinkers have understood issues of reality and knowledge - issues that are also an important part of the Western philosophical tradition.
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©2001 Sue Hamilton (P)2013 Audible, Inc.
This book covers in less than 5 hours almost all the interesting and important schools in Indian Ontology and Epistemology between the Vedic times and 11th Century.
Starting from the Vedic speculations and the place of sacrifice in maintaining the cosmos and the distillation of Vedic thought in the Monism of the Upanishads, the book guides a reader with little background in Indian tradition through the debates between the Nyaya-Vaisheshika school of transcendental realism as well as the Buddhist exegesis on the two levels of reality and a very easy to follow discussion of the Nagarjuna's concept of emptiness.
The book ends with a brief overview of Shankara's Advait Vedanta and Ramanuja's Vishishtadvaita Vedanta.
Although Hamilton's point of view is what is considered relevant in Indian Philosophy from a Western point of view, she has accommodated the overreaching importance of Soteriology in all Indian philosophical positions discussed.
Strongly recommended for any one interested in the foundations of Hindu and Buddhist philosophy. Sadly the Jain Metaphysics is neglected but that is understandable given that this is a Very Short Introduction.
The narrator (Neil Shah) has done an excellent job.
This was a relatively good summary of the different strands of thought in in Indian philosophy. However, it was incredibly dry. There wasn't much background in terms of social history or political events. It was really difficult understand why one might want to care about the book's contents. If you're interested in it introduction to Indian philosophy, I would suggest looking elsewhere.
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