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Mains Answer Writing

22-November-2023

Q1) The fabric of Indian philosophical thought owes as much to Northern India as to Southern India. Elucidate.

ANSWER

Several traditions of philosophical thought have originated in the Indian subcontinent which are far ahead of their time and they dealt with complex concepts of life, in a rational manner. Over the course of centuries, India’s philosophical quest into truth has been embodied in six primary systems.

But apart from that there are several other philosophical systems that originated in both northern and southern parts of India.

PHILOSOPHY FROM NORTHERN INDIA

  1. Vedic Philosophy: The Vedas, ancient scriptures that form the foundation of Hindu philosophy, were composed in the sapthsindu region and transmitted by sages to Indo-Gangetic plains.
  2. Buddhism: This Philosophy espoused by Gautam Budha, believes that human life is a cycle of suffering and rebirth, but if one achieves a state of enlightenment i.e. Nirvana, it’s possible to escape this cycle forever.
  3. Jainism: It believes that god is not the creator of the world and teaches the perfectibility of humanity to be accomplished through strict moral discipline in human life.
  4. Shuddhadvaita: It was given by Vallabhacharya and it states that both God and the individual self are the same, and not different.
  5. Achintya Bheda Abheda: It was given by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, and it emphasizes that the individual self (Jīvatman) is both different and not different from Brahman.

PHILOSOPHY FROM SOUTHERN INDIA

  1. Tamil Shaiva Siddhanta: It emphasizes the union of the individual soul (atman) with the supreme reality (Shiva). This tradition incorporates elements of Shaivism, Vedanta, and Tamil literature, and it has a strong focus on devotion, ethics, and rituals.
  2. Advaita Siddhanta: It is a non-dualistic school of thought that follows the teachings of Adi Shankara, who was born in Kerala but spent considerable time in Southern India. Advaita Siddhanta posits the ultimate reality of Brahman and the non-dual nature of the individual self (atman) and Brahman.
  3. Alvars and Vaishnavism: The Alvars’ devotional philosophy and teachings, found in the Divya Prabandham, have had a significant impact on Vaishnavism in the region.
  4. Siddha Tradition: The Siddha tradition, rooted in Tamil Nadu, is a school of thought that combines elements of philosophy, medicine, and spirituality.
  5. Bhakti Movement: The Bhakti movement, which spread across different parts of India, had a significant influence in Southern India. Bhakti saints like Andal, Nammalvar, and Basavanna played a crucial role in promoting devotional and egalitarian philosophies.

While Northern India is associated with the Vedic traditions, Advaita Vedanta, Nyaya, and Vaisheshika, Southern India has contributed through the Sangam literature, Shaiva Siddhanta, and Vaishnavism. The philosophical diversity and richness of India’s intellectual heritage owe much to the synthesis of ideas from various regions across the country.

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