I was born on September 26, 1928, in Cuttack, India. My father started as a lawyer and later became a Judge in the State High Court in the same town. After graduating from the Ravenshaw Collegiate School, I studied for 2 years in the Ravenshaw College — both in Cuttack, but then moved to the Presidency College in Calcutta. It was in the Presidency College that I first studied philosophy — both Western and Indian. During my undergraduate years, which were also the years when the Indian freedom movement intensified just before the final independence of the country, the two philosophical concerns that were of paramount importance for me were: Gandhism vs. Marxism (Is nonviolence an effective means of social change?), and Śamkara vs. Sri Aurobindo (Are the world and finite individuals real or illusory from the metaphysical point of view?). Seeing Gandhi in Calcutta mediating between the Hindus and the Moslems, and attending his prayer meetings were a profound experience. I passed B.A. in 1947 (the year India became independent, and was divided), and went up to the Graduate School of the University of Calcutta. Amongst the teachers who influenced me, during those years, are: N. K. Brahman and Pt. Yogendra Nath Tarkavedantatirtha (who taught me, in exemplary manner, Śamkara’s commentaries), R. V. Das (with whom I studied Kant’s First Critique with Vaihinger’s commentary), and Kalidas Bhattacharya1 (who then and later taught us how to think for ourselves by engaging us in endless philosophical conversations).
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