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Philosophies of India Paperback – December 1, 1969
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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"
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.Read more ›
"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
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent product, very happy with this vendor. I would use again. Thank you.Published 6 months ago by vallo Riberto
Excellent both as an in-depth resource book and as an overview to understanding Eastern spirituality. Read morePublished 19 months ago by B. Berthaume
Great book on the history of humans and how our civilizations have evolved. GREAT photos and lots of quotable information. Thanks for safe and timely delivery.Published on March 14, 2014 by Michelle E. Smith
I really an getting into this book, Hinduism is a mystery to me and this book is helping me understand the philosophical background for this very enigmatic religion . Read morePublished on January 20, 2014 by John Brent Wilson
Very informative, great detail. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to know more about the culture and philosphy.Published on September 16, 2013 by Steven E. Buchanan
I have been reading about India in an amateurish way for years, but no single work has a greater feel for the subject than this book. Read morePublished on October 21, 2012 by Fred
This should be mandatory reading in all U.S. high schools. Ignorance is not bliss (or ananda;), it is just ignorance.Published on December 28, 2010 by shutterbug