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Philosophies of India Paperback – December 1, 1969


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Product Details

  • Series: Bollingen Series (Book 26)
  • Paperback: 708 pages
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press (December 1, 1969)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0691017581
  • ISBN-13: 978-0691017587
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Indian philosophy was at the heart of Zimmer's interest in oriental studies, and this volume therefore represents his major contribution to our understanding of Asia. It is both the most complete and most intelligent account of this extraordinarily rich and complex philosophical tradition yet written."--New York Times Book Review

From the Back Cover

"Indian philosophy was at the heart of Zimmer's interest in oriental studies, and this volume therefore represents his major contribution to our understanding of Asia. It is both the most complete and most intelligent account of this extraordinarily rich and complex philosophical tradition yet written."--The New York Times Book Review


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Very informative, great detail.
Steven E. Buchanan
Great book on the history of humans and how our civilizations have evolved.
Michelle E. Smith
This should be mandatory reading in all U.S. high schools.
shutterbug

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

56 of 62 people found the following review helpful By John McConnell on June 22, 2000
Format: Paperback
The book, of course, is a classic.

Heinrich Zimmer intended this book, and fortunately Joseph Campbell proved the midwife for what would otherwise have been an intellectual stillborn child, due to the former's untimely passing. My copy was a first edition hardcover - a lovely book to hold and touch.

To my thinking, this book is THE first (and perhaps final) reference for those interested in beginning to explore the depths and subtleties of the Hindu tradition. I have never found a more accessible and enjoyable introduction to the broad topic of Indian Spirituality.

The history of Hindu religious development, and the import of its symbols, are nicely embellished throughout with the relevant Sanskrit terminology, which adds a considerable pleasure in the course of the read - especially when Zimmer describes the rich philosophical texture of these terms. One is immediately reminded of the difficult translational passage on leaving the psychologically rich Greek language for our practical, utilitarian English. Zimmer nicely bridges this gap. Further, the reader is never at a loss to follow the scholarly exposition of ideas.

The presentation nicely dovetails with Campbell's own work in comparative religion and mythology, and for anyone that appreciates his clarity and articulate manner of presentation, or has unhappily fallen back from unsuccessful attempts to appreciate the broad outlines and import of the philosophies of India, this book is simply a gem. My only proviso is that the book does become mildly tedious toward the middle, as historical minutiae begin to proliferate. Nevertheless, if this topic interests you, be sure to consult Philosophies of India first; it is most certainly an excellent primer.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Dennis Littrell HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Professor Zimmer composed most of this book during the last years of his life. He died in 1943 while teaching at Columbia University. Joseph Campbell, who was one of his students, took up the task of editing and completing the work some years later. This 687-page volume is the result, published by Pantheon Books as part of the distinguished Bollingen Series in 1951.

Zimmer goes beyond the six orthodox systems of Indian philosophy to include Buddhism, Tantra, and various minor philosophies which are identified as philosophies of e.g., "success," "pleasure," and "duty." These are practical philosophies in the Indian constellation aimed at advising kings and princes on how to maintain power and govern (much in the manner of Machiavelli's Prince, by the way), and laypersons on how to live within the caste system and conduct one's daily life. In the Arthasastra (the science of wealth) and the voluminous Mahabharata, for example, one learns how to approach a neighbor--that is, a neighboring tribe--safely and profitably. The seven ways are (1) saman, conciliation or negotiation; (2) danda, attack, assault; (3) dana, with presents; (4) bheda, divide and confuse; (5) maya, trick, deceive; (6) upeksa, pretending not to notice; and (7) indrajala, trickery in war, such as using a Trojan horse. What Zimmer has achieved here is something beyond the usual presentation of the ideas and tenets of the Indian philosophies. We are given a rich source of material for understanding the Indian mind and how it differs from the Western.

Unlike Western philosophy, Indian philosophy is intricately interwoven with religious ideas and practices. Unlike Western philosophy, Indian philosophy does not attempt a rigorous logical expression.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By kristopher on January 31, 2002
Format: Paperback
After reading both JN Mohanty's Classical Indian Philosophy and Zimmer's Philosophies of India, I definitely favor the later. He exposes the philosophy of India mainly through religion and history, which makes this massive book much more readable than one would expect... that he takes the questionable liberty of associating sankya/yoga, jainism, and buddhism as having a common pre-aryan origin, but it is not made without support, and ultimately has little effect on the quality of the work. Ample quotations from a range of origional documents are provided (vedas, upanisads, bhagavad-gita, buddhist and jain sutras, etc.) Definitely recommended.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Robert Millard on May 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
A monumental work, Philosophies of India is divided into three main sections: The Highest Good, a discussion of Eastern and Western thought and their meeting, and of the foundations of Indian philsophy; The philosophies of Time, being the philosophies of success, of pleasure, and of duty; finally, and this forms the major portion of the work, The Philosophies of Eternity: Jainism, Sankhya and Yoga, Brahmanism, Buddhism, Tantra.
"Indian philosophy was at the heart of Zimmer's interest in oriental studies, and this volume therefore represents his major contribution to our understanding of Asia. It is both the most complete and most intelligent account of this extraordinarily rich and complex philosophical tradition yet written."-Alan Watts, New York Times Book Review
"Dr. Zimmer has introduced such order and coherence into the rich profustion of Indian thought that one wonders whether his services to Indian philosophy are not as great as his contribution to Western understanding of India."-R. J. K. Murray, The Philosophical Quarterly
"Unhesitatingly, we call this a great book, one which represents a definite advance in the treatment of the philosophical though of India."-Kurt F. Leidecker, The Personalist
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