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How Indian Philosophy transcends Logic and Morality


Owing to the spirit of renunciation that runs them all, the way of life which the Indian doctrines prescribe may be characterized as aiming at transcending morality as commonly understood. In other words, the goal of Indian philosophy lies as much beyond Ethics as it does beyond logic.


Some schools admit the ultimacy of the individual self while others deny it in one sense or another. Buddhism for example altogether repudiates the individual self as a permanent entity, while Absolutism takes it as eventually merging in the true or Universal self so that its individuality is only provisional. Theism on the other hand like that of Ramanuja and pluralistic systems like Jainism or the Nyaya-Vaisesika recognize the individual self to be ultimate, but point out that the way to deliverance lies only through the annihilation of egoism (aham-Kara).


Now according to the systems which deny the individual self in one form or another, the very notion of obligation ceases to be significant finally, the contrast between the individual and society upon which that notion is based being entirely negated in it.


Referring to a person that has attained to such a super-individual outlook, the Taittiriya Upanisad says: ‘He is not troubled by thoughts like these: Have I not done the right? Have I done the wrong?’ In the other systems which admit the ultimacy of the individual self but teach the necessity for absolute self-suppression, the consciousness of obligation continues, but the disciple devotes himself to its fulfilment with no thought whatsoever of his rights. That is, though the contrast between the individual and society is felt, that between rights and duties disappears; and so far, the motive is lifted above that of common morality.


According to both the views, the essential duality of the moral world is transcended on account of the total renunciation of personal interest; in neither is it merely an adjustment, however difficult or delicate, of rights and duties between the individual and his social environment.


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