Philosophy of Charaka-samhita

by Asokan. G | 2008 | 88,742 words

Ayurveda, represented by Charaka and Sushruta, stands first among the sciences of Indian intellectual tradition. The Charaka-samhita, ascribed to the great celebrity Charaka, has got three strata. (1) The first stratum is the original work composed by Agnivesha, the foremost of the six disciples of Punarvasu Atreya. He accomplished the work by coll...

Comprehensiveness of philosophical consciousness

All this has been stated to show the methodological inadequacy of sciences. The limitation is that science knows reality by one method that is, by observation and experiment, neglecting the method of critical reflection. Critical reflection means understanding in depth to the level of knowledge of reality, seeing the truth, enlightenment and the like. In the Indian context, such knowledge can be called pāramārthikajñāna or tattvajñāna.[1] This is what philosophy or any Indian Darśanas aim at. “Philosophical consciousness is all comprehensive and concrete. Moreover, it is rational”.[2] Philosophy is a quest of knowledge. It concentrates on the ultimate or intrinsic process of substances so as to arrive at the most general nature of the universe as a whole. “Philosophy is something like science and something like religion, but it belongs to neither. It is, like science a critical enquiry, an impartial enquiry, an enquiry that follows the rigor of logic. It is unlike science, because its attempt is to scale the highest heights to the study of ultimate substance and its significance and value”.[3] “Unlike science, philosophy is satisfied with mere intellectual incorrigibility, even when verification in experience is provided for in regard to its conclusions”.[4] Conceptual understanding as well as manipulation, conceptual mapping and remapping are resorted to by philosophers. They make use of their own mind as the laboratory to carry out the researches and experiments with concepts.[5] “Philosophical knowledge is self-validated in the sense that it develops its own method of enquiry and criteria of justification. Philosophical explanations are meant only for clarifying the meaning and coherence of the philosophical truth rather than testing them in the world because of the fact that philosophical knowledge, unlike scientific knowledge, is not accountable from our experience of the world”.[6]

“The distinguishing features of the methods of philosophy are those of: (1) impartial and critical of beliefs (religious or otherwise), propositions and conclusions (scientific or otherwise) and speculations on all the fundamentals of enquiry (2) application of logical rigor in relating to the fundamental process of the world and the underlying assumptions of thought and knowledge in an attempt to arrive at the most indubitable universal and essential conclusions, which even though not verifiable, may be yet rationally incorrigible”.[7]

The philosophical illumination or wisdom thus achieved should be distinguished from the knowledge in the form of information that we imbibe from different scientific pursuits.

The task of philosophical reasoning is to decipher the essential structures underlying the phenomena. Here one thing is to be remembered as some thing important. That is, reason is not partial to the transcendental; it is equally responsible to the empirical also, for there cannot be any empirical without a corresponding trans-empirical. In essence philosophy is the enquiry of the meaning and significance of human existence, temporal, and supra-temporal. Philosophy can argue for the compatibility of both the phenomenal and the transcendental.

Footnotes and references:


F RIP, p. 48.


Sibajiban Bhattacharyya, “Some Considerations on Philosophical Consciousness and Scientific Knowledge: Conceptual Linkages and Civilizational Background”, HSPCIC, Vol. XI, Part—I, p. 3.


Kireet Joshi, “Philosophical Consciousness and Scientific Knowledge: Problems of their Interrelationships”, Ibid., p. 87.




FRIP pp. 48 - 49.


R.C. Pradhan, “Structure of Philosophical Knowledge: In Defence of the Metaphysics of First Principles”, HSPCIC, Vol. XI, Part—1, p. 275.


Kireet Joshi, “Philosophical Consciousness and Scientific Knowledge: Problems of Their Interrelationships”, Ibid., p. 87.

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