Daya Krishna’s Therapy for Myths of Indian Philosophy


Daya Krishna’s creative criticism of the prevalent traditionalist interpretation of classical Indian philosophy is analytically stated and evaluated. His objections to classifying Indian philosophies into orthodox and heterodox systems, applying to a group of differing philosophies the common labels of vedānta or vedāntic, making these terms multi-referential, inappropriately titling some books as Nyāyasūtra, Sānkhayarikārika, etc., though they discuss a miscellany of themes, etc., are also discussed and assessed. His calling of these terms and some others of their like, or the practice of using them, mythical is examined. It is shown that they may not be accurate but their use has not become disutile. In their prevailing usage, seemingly misleading characters have become sterile and therefore they have ceased to be misleading and continue functioning as convenient classificatory terms. Enjoying his calling of the concept of puruṣārtha and the theory of puruṣārtha too mythical, it has been shown that the concept is not because it means any object of anyone’s and there are many such objects; the theory is not because it is historically an important component of classical Indian value theory. I have also shown that as presented by traditionalist writers, it is not a logical elegant theory, but a fairly workable one can be carved out of the classical theory by linking together some elements of it in newer ways with the logical cement obtainable from modern value theorizing. Something similar has been done with Daya Krishna (DK)’s analysis of the traditionalist claim that Indian philosophy is spiritualist. DK links it with Indian culture through the concept of mokṣa. I have shown that it is the result of linking philosophy too tightly with religion, of course, through the doorway of the concept of mokṣa, by pointing out that mokṣa is a religious, and not an ethical, value.

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  1. Krishna, D. (1996a). Indian Philosophy—A Counter Perspective. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

  2. Krishna, D. (1996b). Indian Philosophy—A Counter Perspective, Chapters 6 & 7. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

  3. Krishna, D. (1996c). Indian Philosophy—A Counter Perspective (p. 35). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

  4. Krishna, D. (1996d). Indian Philosophy—A Counter Perspective (p. 189). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

  5. Prasad, R. (2008). A Conceptual-Analytic Study of Classical Indian Philosophy of Morals, Chapters 6–14. New Delhi: CSC.

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Correspondence to Rajendra Prasad.

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Prasad, R. Daya Krishna’s Therapy for Myths of Indian Philosophy. J. Indian Counc. Philos. Res. 32, 359–372 (2015).

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  • Artha
  • Arthanā
  • Dharma
  • Kāma
  • Mokṣa
  • Myth