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Unmasking AIT
<!--emo&:cool--><img src='style_emoticons/<#EMO_DIR#>/specool.gif' border='0' style='vertical-align:middle' alt='specool.gif' /><!--endemo--> Muller’s theory not true
BBC admits Aryan Invasion was a myth
By Arabinda Ghose

Ever since the German philosopher Max Muller had propounded the theory that the Aryans were not indigenous Indians and had actually come from outside, probably Central Asia, the whole world believed in it. Even eminent Indian historians had religiously given credence to this theory and Muller’s assertion that the Vedas were composed sometime during 1500 BCE or later. more >
source: Organiser
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->The following new paper has appeared, synthesizing all recent
publications on this subject--

Title: <b>Genetics and the Aryan Debate</b>
Author: Michel Danino
Publication: _Puratattva_ , Bulletin of the Indian Archaeolgical
Society, New Delhi, No.36, 2005-06,

Excerpt from 'Conclusion' section of the paper:
[QUOTE BEGINS] It is, of course, still possible to find genetic
studies trying to interpret differences between North and South
Indians or higher and lower castes within the invasionist framework,
but that is simply because they take it for granted in the first
place. None of the nine major studies quoted above lends any support
to it, and none proposes to define a demarcation line between tribe
and caste. The overall picture emerging from these studies is,
first, an unequivocal rejection of a 3500-BP arrival of
a 'Caucasoid' or Central Asian gene pool. Just as the imaginary
Aryan invasion / migration left no trace in Indian literature, in
the archaeological and the anthropological record, it is invisible
at the genetic level. The agreement between these different fields
is remarkable by any standard, and offers hope for a grand synthesis
in the near future, which will also integrate agriculture and
linguistics. [....] Genetics is a fast-evolving discipline, and the
studies quoted above are certainly not the last word; but they have
laid the basis for a wholly different perspective of Indian
populations, and it is most unlikely that we will have to abandon it
to return to the crude racial nineteenth-century fallacies of Aryan
invaders and Dravidian autochthons. Neither have any reality in
genetic terms, just as they have no reality in archaeological or
cultural terms. In this sense, genetics is joining other disciplines
in helping to clean the cobwebs of colonial historiography. If some
have a vested interest in patching together the said cobwebs so they
may keep cluttering our history textbooks, they are only delaying
the inevitable. [END QUOTE]
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->I am pleased to announce the publication of a paper whose Abstract
is given below. Older issues of the Journal may be accessed online
at http://www.jisha.org
My paper should also appear eventually at the same website of the

Volume 2 (No. 1) Summer 2005

<b>Title: What is the Aryan Migration Theory?</b>
Author: Vishal Agarwal

Abstract: The Aryan Invasion Theory in its classical form has now
been abandoned by most Indologists due to contradictory evidence
from archaeology and Vedic literature. In lieu, the Aryan Migration
Theory is often invoked, according to which Indo-Aryan speakers
migrated from Central Asia into northern parts of the Indian
subcontinent peacefully, and perhaps after the demise of the Mature
Harappan Culture. Proponents of this new theory marshall an array of
archaeological, genetic, linguistic and literary evidence to explain
the arrival of Indo-Aryan languages into northern India with
immigrating Aryans. The present article looks at this evidence
critically, and adduces latest data from genetics and archaeology to
argue that the Aryan Migration Theory remains a non-proven and a
very weak hypothesis to explain the arrival of Indo-Aryan languages
into India. Therefore, we must re-examine this data with an open
mind to test alternate hypothesis such as the arrival of these
languages before the Mature Harappan period.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->
Some great material at Archaeology online


<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Stephen P Cohen of The Brooking Institution has in the past stated that India is a civilizational state and would not be subordinate to others.

In the euphoria following President Bush's visit to India, The Times of India on its front-page carried the headline "Ind-Us Civilization." The reference -- if a bit over the top -- to the Indus civilization is revealing.

It alluded to an ancient bond. Today, English connects India and America and the UK -- the language of the call centers, outsourcing enterprises and the academia.

And yesterday, Sanskrit and its derivatives connected the Indo-Europeans. Language and culture being deeply related, much can be said about the consanguinity between the civilizations of India and the West.

Does India even belong in Asia?

Some decades ago, when I first went to America, a girl from Communist China abruptly told me at a students' meeting that I was not from Asia. I felt greatly insulted.

She may have been right after all.
I was thinking of Olender's paper and origins of Pauline Christianity and the AIT and have come to a new conclusion.

The AIT completes the work started by Paul. Paul was the one that broke the social link to Judaism by allowing non Jews to become Christians and rejecting circumcision. However he was unable to take the Hebrew origins out of the Bible. The Greek and Latin versions were explained as trying to make the message reach Europe but the real reason is to take the Bible out of Hebrew. The AIT with its core idea of Sanskrit as the link language for IE languages enables this transformation. Till now I was thinking all these German scholars of AIT were trying to get a glorified ancestors to refute the Brits calling them descendents of Huns and other tribes, but now I see it as the greater project of gettig the Bible out of the Hebrew language in order to make it more universal.

Thus European scholars AIT seeks to break the language link of Hebrew.

But how to reconcile the fact that most AIT scholars are now Jewish? And that the AIT has stagnated now and is going nowhere.

Maybe the real reason is to ensure to goes no where.

Finally you have hit upon the politics in Europe between the Jews and the christians.

AIT is a brilliant plan which both sides need to control the history of christianity in europe .

India is just a collateral damage to be used for their politics
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Hitler's Bible--Monumental History of Mankind

by Jim Walker
originated: 08 May 2001
additions: 03 June 2006

This article presents the actual note page from which Hitler uses the Bible as the monumental history of mankind for which we can give thanks to Werner Maser for bringing it first to publication in his book, "Hitler's Letters and Notes."

Hitler wrote these private notes while in his 30s and they predate his political career. <b>Although Hitler wrote his first political antisemitic letter to Adolf Gemlich on September 16, 1919, these notes show the Biblical influence on the young Hitler in regards to his views on race laws at around the same time. Hitler's 1919 letter without his notes to provide context has led many scholars to incorrectly conclude that Hitler's antisemitism started from a purely secular mind-set. The Biblical references, especially in regards to the race laws mentioned in these notes, clearly shows that Hitler had a religious reason for his Jewish hatred and his views on race laws which later turned into the Nuremberg laws</b>.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Interestingly, <b>Hitler's introduction immediately starts with the Bible and then follows with The Aryan, His Works (presumably the Aryan works), The Jew, and His Work (presumably the Jew's work).</b>

Then comes the 1st item of his outline, The Bible-- Monumental History of Mankind, with the "Children of God and Men", "Basic Race law," "First people's history (based on) the race law" and "Eternal course of History," all under the subset of The Bible-- Monumental History of Mankind. This bears importance because it shows Hitler here connecting his racial thoughts directly with the Bible which he apparently thought of as not only the actual history of mankind but a Monumental one at that. He sees humans as two types, "Children of God and Men." There's no question that Hitler thought of Aryans as separate and superior to Jews, as he so often expressed. The obvious interpretation here means that The Aryans represented the children of God (the Builders) and the Jews as the children of Men (destroyers).
Deccan Chronicle 26 jan., 2006
<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->Man walked tall in South

Hyderabad, Jan. 25: The prehistoric Dravidian land was a habitat of Homo erectus, considered to be an extinct species of the genus Homo from which modern man emerged. According to the first-ever digital historical atlas of South India, a comparison with African sites shows that the hunter-gatherers who dominated South India in the early Stone Age belonged to the Homo erectus species. As the name makes it evident, Homo erectus was the first species in the Homo genus to walk upright.

South India had a low population at that time and only two localities of lower Palaeolithic culture are known — Upper Krishna valley in Karnataka and Attirampakkam valley about 50 km northwest of Chennai.  The hunters living in these areas used large-sized stone tools such as hand axes and choppers, says the atlas. Frederic Borne, head of Geomatic Laboratory in Pondicherry, said that the aim of the historical atlas was to give objective data on the cultural, social, economic and political aspects of South India, from prehistoric times to 1600 AD.

It uses a combination of maps, illustrations and texts and GIS techniques to do this.
Using maps, the atlas gives vivid information on the path believed to have been taken by Lord Ram when he crossed the Vindhyas to free Sita from the clutches of Ravana.
The atlas also gives lot of information on prehistoric populations of South India.

From 3000 to 1000 BC, rapid changes took place in the life of the hunters settled in these areas.  “For the first time storage vessels were made using clay,” says the atlas. “Also first experiments were made to cultivate grains on a small scale. Cattle and sheep were domesticated.”

South Indian neolithic man gave his dead kin proper burials within urns or pits. He also had aesthetic sense as is evident from rock-art found near Gulbarga district. 
Ancient South Indians were also adept in making gold, silver, copper, and bronze jewels. “Beads made of carnelian were ubiquitous prestige objects found among the grave goods,” says the atlas. The earliest historical period, so to say, was between 300 and 200 BC, when Tamizhakam (comprising present Tamil Nadu and Kerala states) emerged and writing in the proper sense started appearing in the area.

During 300 BC, Deccan was part of the Mauryan kingdom whose political centre was in Pataliputra in north India, and from the middle of the first century BC to second century AD it was ruled by the Satavahana dynasty.  The atlas says that South Indians adopted the ‘varna system’ from their northern cousins during this time.


world in 2000bc
The Crux of World History by Francisco Gil-White
Is there a way to make this thread a sticky so its on top? A lot of important info is getting here.
from viren's link:

<!--QuoteBegin-->QUOTE<!--QuoteEBegin-->We’ve seen in the previous chapter that the ancient Persians (or
Iranians) produced a leftist, world-saving, politico-religious
movement: Zoroastrianism. And we’ve seen how many
dramatic similarities there are between Zoroastrianism and
Judaism. Since, as I will show later, it was the ancient Persians
who sponsored Judaism as an even more radical egalitarian and
ethical mass-liberation movement, the point of understanding
where the Persians came from is to get a sense for the ultimate
provenance of Jewish ideas.

The evidence supports the view that the ancient Iranians
were a development of ancient Indian culture, emerging into
their own as a result of population movements out of the Indian
subcontinent, where civilization began.<!--QuoteEnd--><!--QuoteEEnd-->

the alacrity with which the author has integrated the frawley, elst, and rajaram paradigms into his "jewish history" agenda is v astonishing, although he is correct on almost all of his assessments.

however, the account given above of zoroastrianism as a "leftist" movement is very similar to how the westerners have viewed buddha as an egalitarian, positivist, (iconoclast, and essentializing) "philosopher" (see Buddhism vis-a-vis Hinduism1 for a refutation of this view by ram swarup). the problem is that zoroastrianism and buddhism did not produce the same type of semitic error when migrating to east asia; that is, the semitic error resulted only from zoroastrian and buddhist interaction in the near east (or in spartan authoritarian greece, later subsumed under rome, as the author would have it)
India and Europe

Read the section on Hegal.


Exclusion of India Philosophy by Europeans

Heidegger and Indian Philosophy


Inspired by Heidegger's ontological questioning of Western tradition, Wilhelm Halbfass attempts to retrieve comparable ontological dimensions of Indian thought, which have been neglected by other scholars. He sees “no good rsason to adopt Heidegger's own exclusion of his ideas from the interpretation of non-Western traditions" (On Being and What There Is, SUNY Press, 1992, p. 25). If for Heidegger, the being-question is present in a latent or repressed way in Descartes, Kant, Nietzsche and the early Husserl, although they do not formally discuss being qua being, why should it not be equally present in Indian thought?

Using Heideggerian phenomenology to apprehend what is afoot in Indian tradition in a discreet, suggestive and nondogmatic way, Halbfass shows a sophisticated awareness of the problematic aspects of Heidegger's enterprise. The "history of being" which Heidegger distilled out of a selective focus on the ontological implications of past philosophical debates tends, though powerfully illuminating, to a determinism or fatalism which is implausible and paralyzing. Halbfass calls this construction into question by insisting that being is a universal concern, not a distinctively Western one, and that "being is one of the central and pervasive themes of Indian thought' (OB, p. 21).

If my comments here take the form of doubts and misgivings – most of which have surely occurred to Halbfass himself - , the reason is not only my hesitancy to make positive statements about Indian philosophy, of which I know so little, but also a sense that, given the promise of Halbfass's approach for the mutual clarification of Indian and Western thought, such misgivings need to be aired as fully as possible lest the process be short-circuited by hasty identifications. This merely dubitative posture may not save me from mistakes, but I am happy to think that Professor Halbfass's corrections will provide the surest of safety-nets.

My principal misgiving concerns Halbfass's scepticism about the Heideggerian question of being, a scepticism which facilitates his claim that ontology is a universal enterprise, but at the same time risks robbing this enterprise of any major philosophical interest. Certainly, Heidegger's view of Western thought needs to be demystified to some extent. In part, his construal of the meaning of being is a modern, idiosyncratic reflection, and this may relativize his claim to retrieve the buried truth of the entire philosophical tradition. The word "being" itself may be incapable of sustaining the edifices of systematic metaphysics or even a unitary reflection on the meaning of being pursued in phenomenological style.

Heidegger's attempt to gather things together in the Ereignis may be incompatible with the intrinsic pluralism of language, and the Ereignis may reflect a Greco-Germanic sense of being which is but one historical possibility among others, even within Western culture. His effort to step back from Western philosophical tradition to uncover its fundamental bearings, by a phenomenological bringing into view of matters that this tradition occludes, may suffer from a narrow purism in its focus on the being-question. Perhaps the Heideggerian path of questioning has no future unless opened out fully to historical pluralism and relativity. Just as one may take over Hegel's dialectical negativity without adopting his system, so one may best do justice to the Heideggerian path of thinking by giving it such a pluralist inflection. Just as orthodox Hegelians have been an almost insignificant strand in the Wirkungsgeschichte of Hegel in comparison with heretics such as Marx or Kierkegaard, so the future impact of Heidegger may have little to do with orthodox Heideggerians, perhaps already an anachronistic species.

The being-question may not be as monolithic or as absolutely centralas Heidegger supposes. Yet if one sees his concern with it as misguided, and surrenders to 'growing doubts concerning the meaning and relevance of the topic itself' (OB, p. vii), the evident richness of Heidegger's thought is left untapped. If the language of being turns out to be an inadequate vehicle for this richness, then a better one needs to be constructed. Despite my doubts about particular features of Heidegger's construction of the "history of Being," I consider that the basic thrust of his thought - the step back from rationalism to the phenomenality ofbeing - opens the most fundamental perspective now available for the assessment of Western philosophy. As sunlight falling on old stone carvings brings out their forms with a startling warmth of presence, so Heidegger's reading lights up the most intimate concern of Western philosophy. His analysis of metaphysics as onto-theology applies squarely to the definition of that science in Aristotle, Aquinas, and Suarez, but it also sheds light on the ontological depth of German idealism, as the Erkenntnistheorie of Heidegger's academic elders had failed to do (see GA 42:156-163). The Western philosophers _respond_ to Heidegger's reading as the pages of Beethoven or Chopin do to the fingers of a great if sometimes eccentric pianist, and his reading of the history of philosophy will retain its authority until those who query it come up with a more illuminating story. However, - and this is my second misgiving about Halbfass's enterprise - it seems that Indian philosophy does not respond comparably to Heideggerian readings; the question of being has no thrilling resonance for it; its harmonies are not fully awakened by the Western touch.

(a) The Question of Being

The title “On Being and What There Is” sounds as Greek as Greek can be. Is it appropriate for a work on Indian ontology? The legitimacy of this transference becomes doubtful if we recall how rare and strange the question of being is, even in Greece:
“The problem of being - in the sense of the question ‘What is being?’ - is the least natural of all problems, one which common sense never poses, one which neither pre-Aristotelian philosophy nor the immediately posterior tradition posed as such, one which is never sensed or glimpsed in non-Western traditions” (P. Aubenque, Le problème de l’être chez Aristote, PUF, 1991, pp. 13-14). It may be excessive to say that the question of being is not even glimpsed in non-Western traditions. Yet unless it is brought into sustained, explicit focus, it is a question that tends to evaporate. Indian reflection on the logic of being-words seems not to have attained this focus, not being firmly anchored in Parmenidean wonder at the fact that beings _are_.

[2006: To counter the misinterpretation that I am claiming in colonialist style that Indians are incapable of thinking of being, let me quote Arvind Mandair’s recent essay, “The Politics of Nonduality: Reassessing the Work of Transcendence in Modern Sikh Theology”. JAAR 74, 2006, pp. 646-73. He argues that confidence in the universality of metaphysics has led to the imposition of Western notions of ethical monotheism on Sikh tradition, leading to an “eclipse of nonduality”. Heidegger is cited as an anti-colonial resource: “far from being a term that can be applied without prejudice to all cultures, metaphysics is rooted in a specific religio-cultural tradition whose contours reveal themselves through the combination and continuity of the Greek (_onto_), Christian-scholastic (-_theo_) and secular-humanist (-_logical_) traditions” (649). I would stress, however, that the onto-theo-logical constitution of metaphysics is there in essence in Aristotle, against the tendency of French Catholic philosophers to date it to Duns Scotus or later, which would undercut the use of Heidegger for a critical interrogation of patristic and scholastic ontotheology.]

For Heidegger, this wonder is the founding event of Western thought: "Esti gar einai – ‘For there is being’ – in this saying lies hidden the initial mystery for all thinking" (GA 9:334). As early as 1922 he found here "the historical paradigm for the immediacy of the encounter with Being":

“Whatever is encountered _is_. Dasein is the basic trait of its look [eidos]. The overriding experience here, which has a way of obtruding upon what a being is, is _that_ it is. It is in this sense that any being in its look of be-ing is simply one. Parmenides' thesis is the expression of an original encounter with being itself. The force, simplicity, directness, and so the underivability of this encounter of an entity for itself and from itself correspond to the latent difficulty of illuminating and exposing such a Being”. (T. Kisiel, The Genesis of Heidegger’s “Being and Time”, University of California Press, 1993, 245-6)

Aristotle, unlike Parmenides, is a thinker of form, but as Heidegger shows in Vom Wesen und Begriff der Physis (GA 9:239-301) form is not mere stuff or shape, but the concentrated actuality of being. Dismissing Antiphon's conception of nature as underlying matter (e.g. wood as the nature of the bed), Aristotle defined physis as "the shape or form of things which have in themselves the source of their motion” (Physics 193b). Only when physis is grasped in terms of form is it "adequately grasped as ousia, as a species of coming to presence" (GA 9:274). Aristotelian form (morphe, eidos) is not a mere attribute but a mode of being. Form and matter are in a relation of actuality and potency, and each of these terms is defined ontologically. When being is interpreted phenomenologically as coming to presence, form or entelecheia is grasped as the event of the coming to presence of an entity. Form as an ontological idea (in Plato) answers the question, “How does the entity qua entity look? As what does the entity itself show itself, when I contemplate it not in view of a given quality but only as an entity?” (GA 22:252). To grasp forms in a merely logical, objectifying way is to be blind to what is nearest to hand: “Corresponding to the colour-blind there are also people who are blind to physis. And when we consider that physis is qualified as a mode of ousia (beingness), then the physis-blind are but a variety of the blind to being” (GA 9:264). Banal conceptions of stuff and shape, matter and form, are the “Allerweltstrasse" of Western thinking (GA 9:214); Heidegger presents these as a decline from originary Greek insight, but they may well belong to the ordinary stock of notions latent in the grammar of Indo-European languages. The question "ti to on?" (Metaphysics 1028b) - "what is a being qua being in its being?" - invites two sorts of reply. The first reply, a rational, speculative one, analyses the characteristics of being as such, and founds being in its ultimate cause, the supreme being. This reply constitutes onto-theo-logy, the distinguishing structure of Western metaphysics, fully explicit in Descartes and Leibniz (GA 40:88). What is wrong with onto-theo-logy is that, as onto-logy, it flattens out the phenomenological apprehension of the being of beings, eventually reducing it to an abstract and colourless ens commune. Concomitantly, as theo-logy, in grounding being in a supreme first cause it subjects being to the principle of sufficient reason; beings are now explained, in a rationalistic way, and are not allowed to flourish "without why" like the rose of Angelus Silesius (see Der Satz vom Grund, GA 14). Just as Voltaire's Pangloss, caught up in the Lisbon earthquake, has only one question: “What could be the sufficient reason of this phenomenon?”, so one might imagine a caricatural ontotheologist examining a rose: "Aha! A being! And its ground? Why, being as such, being in general, ens commune (onto-logy). But is this sufficient? Must we not pose a supreme being which is the source of its being and the unifying ground of beings-as-a-whole? And this we call God (theo-logy)." in this construction is lost not only the fragrance of the rose, but the phenomenality of being and the authentic otherness of God [as revealed in Scripture].

Heidegger overcomes onto-theology by his retrieval of the Aristotelian question as a hermeneutical and phenomenological interrogation of the coming to presence of beings. He himself interrogates the experience of being (our everyday understanding of isness; our search for authentic existence; our wonder at the fact that there are beings rather than nothing) and the language of being (the everyday uses of "is"; the languages of philosophical and poetic tradition) in order to discover the meaning of being or the truth of being, which he ultimately names the Ereignis - the "event' which grants the being of beings, which enables "the worlding of world" and "the thinging of things." This is not a metaphysical foundation but the phenomenological essence of the givenness of beings. The vocabulary of being is inadequate, a culture-bound Western product, to what is emerging here, so that Heidegger has to develop his own style of quasi-metaphorical saying.

The basic step in ontology is to distinguish "being" from "beings" so as to clarify their relationship. Halbfass accepts Quine's question "what is there?' as "the fundamental ontological question" (70), thus reducing ontology to a merely ontic "inventory of what exists' (49). Such an inventory will, to be sure, carry an implicit ontological commitment (a notion of what being is). But if this commitment is not thematized, or if its thematization is seen as impossible, then we do not have ontology in Aristotle's or Heidegger's sense. Crude thematizations – e.g. "what exist are just physical things" - lack a sense of the question of being. Even loftier thematizations - e.g., 'all that exists is Brahman"- may not have glimpsed the question of being. The issue may have been decided in an ontic contest between different descriptions of what there is, rather than in an ontological clarification of what it means to be. Even if, with Nietzsche, one dismisses inquiry into being as a mist, it does seem to be a distinctively Western mist.

Analytical philosophers may deplore Heidegger's "use and misuse of'systematically misleading expressions'” (Halbfass, 11), yet have they produced critical studies of Heidegger's language and thought-patterns that could measure the strength and limits of his revival of the being-question? That would require some basic sympathy with his concern for the authentic phenomenality of beings.
Full-blooded positivists dismiss the entire ontological tradition as based on systematically misleading expressions. They could be answered by a logical clarification which retrieves and justifies the discourse on being or, in Heideggerian style, by a study of the phenomenological content of being-language. It can happen that a philosophical classic reveals weaknesses when approached in the logical way, while retaining its power in the phenomenological perspective. Thus Parmenides confuses different senses of the word "is," and the logical reading shows him at best as forming the notion of a pure existence without qualities, which replaces Thales's water or Heraclitus's fire in the role of ultimate explanatory principle. The phenomenological approach on the other hand retrieves coherence and depth in his thought by reading him as a thinker of the event or phenomenon of being.

Heidegger is aware that the term "being" is a tricky one. He envisages its multivocity as a weave or skein, a Geflecht, translating the Aristotelian "to on legetai pollachos" (Met. 1003a. 1028a) in phenomenological terms as "The coming to manifestation of being is manifold" (Was ist das – die Philosphie?, 1956, p. 46). His own use of the vocabulary of being acquires its coherence from its rigorously phenomenological character. The precise bearing of his explorations can be measured only in terms of the matter with which they are concerned - not the logic or conceptuality of "being" but the concrete modes of the presence or givenness of beings in their being. However, it is misleading to say that the later Heidegger withdrew "into poetry, myth, and capricious etymologies" and "does not even attempt that kind of historical and systematic clarification that we find in Heidegger's earlier statements" (Halbfass, 10). The critiques of Leibniz and Hegel in the mid-fifties show that he kept up his quest for a clear overview of the history of the being-question.

(b) A Distinctively Greek Question

The Greek question of being is foreign even to Western ears. It points to what is nearest at hand yet farthest from our reflective grasp. The question is doubly foreign to Indian ears. The Parmenidean wonder at being was not a foundational event in Indian thought, and so the subsequent Aristotelian question "What is being?" was never posed in the same sense, nor did India produce a metaphysics in the sense of a science of being qua being. There is a fit between the being-question and the history of Western metaphysics which makes its illumination central and foundational; the light it can shed on Indian thought may introduce distorting emphases. To ask what destiny of being lies behind Indian thought, as J. L. Mehta does, is to risk forcing it into shapes suggested by the Western story (while drawing on questionable reaches of Heidegger's thought).

Heidegger would probably agree that blindness to being is universal- and not only because of the Westernization of the earth through technology. Attention to being must then be equally universal. But it is only in the West that such attention has been thematized as a central concern, by a rare handful of powerful thinkers. The other traditions have different languages for awakening to the reality of the things themselves. As a distinctive thematization of a universally latent problematic - a thematization which in its concrete elaboration has of course many parochial, non-universal features - Western philosophy has an irreducible identity. Thus Heidegger writes, as early as 1939: “Philosophy is _Western_ philosophy; there is no other, for the essence of the West and Western history has been determined through what is called philosophy. Ignoring all academic notions and historical accounts of philosophy as a cultural phenomenon, we should understand it as: reflection on what there is as such as a whole; in short - though this too is indeterminate because polyvalent - _asking the question of being_. "Being" is the _ground-word_ of philosophy” ((GA 68:9). It could not be said that "being" is the Grundwort of any Indian philosophy. Some of Heidegger's strongest pronouncements on the specificity of metaphysics date from the mid-fifties: “The style of all Western/European philosophy - there is no other, neither a Chinese nor an Indian - is determined from the twofold, "beings-being." Its dealings with this twofold take their normative shape from the Platonic account of this twofold” (Was heisst Denken?, 1954, p. 136). The word "style" here suggests that there is a contingency to the development of philosophical and religious traditions comparable to that of artistic styles, so that what seems normative and natural within one culture may remain unthought of in another. The concept of being is a cultural construction just as much as is that of moksa or karman. Our present insight into cultural pluralism (as Dilthey understood) forces us to renounce the illusion that these great words are transparent namings of the real.

Metaphysics, for Heidegger, is not a system but "that knowing in which Western historical humanity preserves the truth of the relation to beings-as-a-whole and the truth about beings-as-a-whole" (GA 9: 241). Western philosophy is "einzigartig" and "eindeutig" (Was ist das – die Philosophie?, p. 14) because of the unusual question that guides it, the question of the being of beings: "Philosophy is underway to the being of the entity, that is, to the entity in regard to being" (ib., 25). This very simple, but also quite confusing question about beings in their being is one that occurred to the Greeks and that only they pursued in depth: “Just this, that the entity remains gathered in being, that in the manifesting of being the entity appears, this plunged the Greeks, and them first and only, in amazement” (ib., 22). It is in this sense that the question, "What is that?" is "an originally Greek question" (p.17), for it is pushed back to its ontological basis: 'What is this being qua being?"

If Heidegger had embarked on a dialogue with India, he might have been as unwilling to talk about being as he was when in dialogue with theology, or with Japan. This is perhaps less an "exclusion" (Halbfass, 25) than a sense that, however fruitful inquiry into the ontological aspect of Indian thought may be, we need to go beyond this if the Indian "great beginning" is to put us in question in light of its own foremost concerns. Even in the case of Western sources which use the Greek language of being correlations with Greek ontology can be treacherous. I am thinking of the Johannine vocabulary of Logos, einai, aletheia, pneuma and how entirely it would be falsified if one tried to bring it into direct connection with metaphysical or Heideggerian concerns. Via Philo of Alexandria, John inherited Platonic vocabulary, yet the remarkable thing is how he frees this vocabulary of any associations with the demiurge of the Timaeus or any other theme of philosophical ontology.

The claim that the question of being is uniquely Greek does not imply ignorance of the fact that there have been Indian debates about "being," with logical procedures similar to those of the West. "His assertion that the 'question of being' is the one and only question of philosophy seems as excessive as his stubborn insistence that not only ontology, but philosophy in general, is a uniquely Greek-European phenomenon" (Halbfass, 11). But in Heidegger's defence it should be noted that he is reducing Western philosophy to a local, historical tradition with a specific question, the question of being; there is no suggestion that India lacked logical analysis and speculative penetration. While Greek thought, at its most distinctive, bathes in the light of being, in other traditions it is not under the aegis of the being-question that logic, ethics, causally based cosmology, theories of truth and of beauty are developed, but in light of some other distinctive opening for thought, such as the question of spiritual liberation. Though much of Indian thought is oblivious of spiritual liberation just as much of Western thought is oblivious of the being-question, the topic of liberation exerted on some of India's greatest thinkers a magnetic attraction comparable to that which being has had at high points of Western philosophy. It is not on the question "what is being qua being?" that Indian philosophical radicality converges, and India has largely been spared the intellectual headaches this question has always caused.

Heidegger is the opposite of a Eurocentric imperialist, for his awareness of the historical contingency of Western ontology clears the path to a radical pluralism of what he calls the "great beginnings,” though to be sure there is a certain essentialism in the way he tries to cleanly differentiate these traditions (notably the Hellenic and Semitic traditions in the West). His discovery that Greek ontology is but a province of thought makes him a pluralistic thinker in principle, not a provincial one. To stress the commonalities between India and Europe to the point where these differentiations are flattened out is to regress from this dialogal openness. J. N. Mohanty, whose criticism of Heidegger's view of history resembles Halbfass's, seems to court this danger: “To hold that, since the specific question about the meaning of Being (raised by Heidegger) was not asked in the Indian tradition that tradition's concern with Being cannot yield ontology, would be misleading, for not all those who thought about metaphysics and ontology in the Western tradition asked the Heideggerian question about the meaning of Being… Metaphysical or ontological thinking is not Greek in origin: a certain variety of it is” (Reason and Tradition in Indian Thought, OUP, 1992, p. 152). But it is precisely the generic similarity between Indian and Greek philosophy that Heidegger wants to get beyond. The Greek "variety" is not one among others. It is a grasp of being (subjective and objective genitive) which did not come to pass in this insistent, determining way in other traditions, despite their random and tentative broodings on the sense of the word 'being.'

Mohanty (289) thinks that the importance of the subject-object distinction in Indian thought confutes Heidegger's view that it belongs to the Western destiny of being; but Heidegger sights Cartesian subjectivity and objectivity in terms of their ontological upshot within Western thought; he does not deny that analogous distinctions may have been made in other traditions, but there they do not play a role in the unfolding of the question of being. How little Mohanty appreciates the strength of Heidegger's reading of the Western metaphysical adventure can be gauged from his misunderstanding of the term "onto-theology”: “Heidegger continued to look upon the Kantian Transcendental unity of apperception, the Hegelian Geist, the Fichtean Ego as but secularized versions of deeply theological notions. Not surprisingly, Heidegger characterized Western metaphysics as onto-theological" (297).


(a) The Analysis of "Being" is not Central

The intense logico-linguistic discussion about the words “as/asti (corresponding to the Latin est, Greek esti, English is, etc.) and bhuu/bhavati (which has an intriguing etymological kinship with Greek phuo/phusis)"(Halbfass, 22) does not necessarily amount to focussing the question of being as a basic one, in the manner of metaphysics. Still less does it amount to attending to the phenomenon of being, as the Greeks did in their "wonder" at the enigma of being and as Heidegger attempts to do more explicitly by means of phenomenological hermeneutics or poetic thinking. (Poetic thinking could be seen as a more refined and rigorous version of phenomenological hermeneutics, in that it is less encumbered with metaphysical conceptuality and more attuned to the thing itself.) Even if the darsanas intensively discuss being and substance (bhâva,sattâ, astitva, dravya), this may be no more than a scholastic clarification of abstract concepts, of which "being" may be just one among others. The distinction between sattâ (being) and the second order concept of astitva - "is-ness," “irreducible identity, identifiability” (Halbfass, 144), which can apply even to non-existence - is a lucid clarification of ideas, but does it reflect an experience of being? Has the notion of being sufficient valency in Indian thought to be invoked as a solution to the problem of evil, as in the Augustinian teaching that evil is nothing substantial, but a mere defect of being? Never more than a pallid universal - whether conceived as an abstraction or as a primal stuff -,it cannot serve to name the concrete actuality of entities in their analogous diversity.

The verbs for "to be" in Sanskrit are "commonly treated as verbs expressing a peculiar kind of process or action" (Halbfass, 22). So is the verb _sein_ in Heidegger. But the process or action in question is exclusively the presencing of beings in their being, and confusion with any other kind of process or action is scrupulously avoided; hence the diffrculty of Heidegger's language, which is at the service of a basic simplicity. Does the Indian discussion of "to be" bring into view the phenomenon of being in a comparable way? Such topics as occurrence, durable presence, genesis, change, manifestation, actuality/potentiality are ontic rather than ontological unless their specifically ontological import is isolated. Heidegger's exegeses of Aristotle go one step further, descrying the phenomenological core of the ontological statements. Similarly, the logic and semantics of nonbeing and-negation do not necessarily amount to a metaphysical question ("why are there beings rather than nothing?") or, still less, to a thoughtful grasp of the phenomenon of nothingness.

The "horizon concepts' or "mythical projections under which being itself is subsumed" (Halbfass, 23) suggest that the question of being never acquired autonomy and primacy in Indian thought. It could easily be treated lightly and subordinated to other concerns. When Erich Frauwallner finds parallels between the movement in India from myth, to home-made "scientific' explanations of natural phenomena, to the introduction of a doctrine of categories, and the Greek progress from myth, to Pre-Socratic "science," to Platonic-Aristotelian categoriology, these parallels throw into relief what is missing at every stage: the ontological interest which prevails in the greatest Greek thinkers. As cosmologists, logicians, category-analysts, the Indians are close to the Greeks; but the elusive question of being remains the distinctive trait of the latter. Moreover, the proto-scientific dimension of Indian thought never flourished, for lack of empirical observation; "in this domain Indian philosophy doesn't even come near the attainments of Greek philosophy" (Frauwallner, Geschichte der indischen Philosophie, II, 1956, p. 7). Could there be a connection between the non-emergence of the question of being and this lack of empirical curiosity about bodily substances? The Greek wonder at being inspired the interrogation of beings; the Indian readiness to treat the external as secondary or illusory leads to a volatilization of the being-question in favour of issues of spiritual release.

No doubt Sanskrit, just as much as Greek, lends itself to a speculative development and precise analysis of being-language. But isn’t there an extra twist in the Greek fascination with being that has no equivalent in the Indian world? Systems of thinking of different cultures may freely intermingle at their lower reaches - in logical or ethical discussion – but when one traces them back to their fundamental motives their difference appears. As the Seinsfrage loses its specifically Greek contours it can blend with a more general commonsense puzzling about the logic of "to be" found also in Indian tradition.

Greece is more worthy of question than India on the topic of being: “As Indo-European, Sanskrit also is in some measure ‘metaphysical,’ as distinct from the languages of the Far East, with the notions of Being embedded in it grammatically and conceptually. It is metaphysical in being representational, concept-generating, and in being productive of ontological speculation about Being as the ground of all that is… Since _this_ possibility of thinking has been fulfilled in its amplest and purest form in the Greek tradition, Heidegger is not interested in how Sanskrit speaks.” (J. L. Mehta. “Heidegger and Vedanta”, in G. Parkes, ed. Heidegger and Asian Thought, Honolulu, 1987, p. 27).

On other topics, however, India may be the privileged dialogue-partner. Sanskrit shares with Greek "a common stock of philosophical problems, insights, and confusions" (Halbfass, 129) in the discussion of universals. Such logical topics were perhaps only imperfectly integrated with the ontological question in the West, and ontological presuppositions may have been a barrier to the development of logic.

Again, Indian epistemological discussions were often in advance of the West, perhaps because they were not clogged by Western commitments to substantial being. In the West, it is only with Kant that epistemology and logic are foregrounded to supplant ontology in the manner of Udiyana's (11th century) definition of astitva as "being the object of affirmative awareness” or "ascertainability without reference to a counter-entity" (Halbfass, 156-157), or his definition of dravya as "what is not the locus of the utter absence of qualities" or “the substrate of three layers of inherence” (93). The Vaisesika thinkers know that “objectivity and cognizability as such cannot establish the distinction between being and nonbeing" (157), but this again sights the reality of being only in a logical perspective and offers no distinct positive conception of its nature.

In the treatment of perception, the rival claims of phenomenalism, representationalism and direct realism could be discussed all the more lucidly in that the ontology of substance was not hovering over them as a daunting enigma. Heidegger is a direct realist; he would say: "I see the tree in the garden, not the representation of the tree,” but with an ontological, Aristotelian twist, quite absent in India - "I apprehend the tree in its being, either letting it be in poetic, meditative thinking, or cramping its being in technological, calculative objectifications." Merely epistemological clarification of perception cannot fulfil the Western philosopher's thirst for being, to which Heidegger recalls the tradition, and which he retrieves beneath the epistemological burrowings of Descartes and Kant. A parallel argument that Indian epistemology is led by the tacit question of being would be less persuasive.

Again, many themes in the philosophy of mind as developed in the West seem to have been explored more radically in India, so that here one cannot afford to neglect "how Sanskrit speaks." Conversely, it would be hard to discuss Yogacara, for example, without drawing on the resources of a Hegelian or Husserlian phenomenology of consciousness. Yet the "selective affinities" (G. Larson and R. Bhattacharya, Classical Samkhaya, Delhi, 1987, p. 641) between parts of both traditions do not amount to identical problematics. In any case they do not concern Heidegger's question; he uses the term "consciousness" only for the modern medium of the apprehension of being, which, since Descartes, entails an occlusion of the authentic phenomenality of being. On the theme of consciousness, India may challenge Europe, whereas on the theme of being, it is Europe's force that challenges India.

Reference to India certainly introduces a broader horizon, bringing our own puzzling ontological legacy into a fuller perspective. But it may be instructive above all as showing how a great intellectual tradition can get on without the question of being. Analogously, what makes Buddhism instructive to Christianity is the way it gets on without the question of God. The "relativistic detachment" (Halbfass, 12) such comparison induces may weaken our commitment to the frameworks of our own tradition, but it is likely also to confirm that our tradition is local and idiosyncratic- that monotheism is characteristically Jewish and that ontology is characteristically Greek, even if one does find notions of God and of being in other traditions.

(b) Being as Stuff and as Abstraction

The Indian notion of being wavers between reification and conceptualism, both of which occlude at base the phenomenon of being. There is no higher understanding of being whereby a critique of these notions could be carried out, though they may be transcended towards an absolute beyond being. Some Samkhya statements look like universal ontological theses, e.g.: "There is no origination for what is not, nor destruction for what is" (Halbfass, 59). But these may amount to no more than a principle of conservation of the material universe. Thinkers who see _sat_, pure being, as “the universal substrate" (ib.) may likewise think of being only as a stuff; the Chandogya Upanisad's teaching that "In the beginning my dear, this world was just Being" (Halbfass, 26) glides swiftly into an evolutional unfolding, of which being is no more than the undifferentiated point of departure.

Prabhâkara (Mimamsa) rejected the general concept of existence on the ground that "we do not in fact perceive things as merely existing. The true sense of existence is merely the individuality of things (svaruupa-satâ; it is not a true class character" (A. B. Keith, The Karma-Mimamsa, Delhi, 1978, p. 58; see Halbfass, 156). The apperception of being qua being, in its transcendental, analogous character - which is neither an empirical datum nor an abstract concept - is again missed here.

In Vaisesika, ontological thought was arrested by a fundamental option for ontological realism (Frauwallner, 119) and especially by the treatment of sattâ as a "reified universal" (Halbfass, 150). For Halbfass, the notion of inherence (samavâya) has ontological status as "the one pervasive structure of our universe that constitutes the condition of the possibility of concrete, qualified entities and of contingent existence" (148). A faint suspicion: do the refinements sighted here depend on a Kantian lens? Others view this notion of inherence as another reified abstraction. But if we see inherence as a pervasive ontological structure, comparable to Buddhist dependent origination or Vedantic mâyâ, we may still ask whether these structures which govern the emergence and relations of beings ever bring into focus their being qua being. A causal and logical ordering of things may trace their origins without interrogating their being, as happens in the sciences for example. The extra step which raises the question of being may be a step back or away from sensible logical or causal thinking. It is doubtful if Western discourse on being is a harmonious continuation of logical and causal investigation; it seems rather to introduce a troubling cloudiness; and even when being is finally tamed to logic and grounds it seems unhappy in its onto-theological abode, as if itching to break out again. In India the analysis of being never clouds over in this way. Buddhism and Vedanta also take a step into realms irreducible to logic or common sense, but led by other issues than the question of being. The energy of fundamental questioning is captured by these issues, and being as such is not what becomes problematic.

Again, defences of stable identity against Buddhist doctrines of universal momentariness and flux are not properly ontological. The concept of "practical efficiency" (arthakriyâ) as a criterion of being focusses on the problem of distinguishing reality from appearance (Halbfass, 152) rather than on the question of what being as such is. If the Buddhists used it to give a reductive account of being-language, this again is not ontology but a discrediting of ontology. On the Buddhist side, being had only conventional reality, and did not become a subject of contemplation for its own sake; on the other side, the defence of robust ontological realism against Buddhist subversion left little leisure for disinterested musing on the enigmatic character of being. Such musing remains a peculiarly Greek pastime and to pursue it today one has to think as a Greek rather than as an Indian.

Vyomasiva (c. 800-850 CE) expresses the Vaisesika ambition thus: "I shall enumerate everything in the world that has the character of being"(Halbfass, 69). Does this mean that an ontological understanding - "one comprehensive horizon of being" (70) - underlies the task of categorization? The idea of being (bhâva) at work here may be an unexamined one, just an everyday commmonsense notion of what is real. If one proceeds from it to the listing, never returning back to thematize the enigmatic aspects of the notion itself, one has not embarked on ontology in the sense of a questioning of being. The explicit discussion of bhâva in Vaisesika resorts to abstract universals immediately: "existence is a universal only" (suutra I.2.4; Halbfass, 140); "that genus which is not a species lying under any superior genus" (K. Potter, The Tradition of Nyâya-Vaisesika up to Gangesa, Delhi, 1977, p.140).”’Reality’ (sattâ) constitutes the ‘ultimate universal’ or ‘supreme generality.’ It is all-inclusive and pervades all substances, qualities, and motions" (Halbfass, 117).

"Being is one, because of the uniformity of its mark ‘is,’ and because of the absence of any mark of differentiation"; “Being is not a substance, because it possesses one substance. It is neither a motion nor a quality, because it exists in qualities and motions. Also because of the absence of genus and species in it, Being is known to be different from substance, quality, and motion. For the same reasons, substanceness, qualityhood, and motionhood are known to be different from substance, quality, and motion” (Potter, 213-14). Being here is a pure abstraction, comparable to substanceness or motionhood. Aristotle, in contrast, rejects the interpretation of being as supreme genus (Halbfass. 2, 140); only in doing so can he keep open the question of being in its multivocity, and glimpse the irreducibility of being as the _transcendens schlechthin_ (GA 2:51; 9:336-7), in its qualitative difference from entities (the ontological difference). Phenomenologically, existence is not a universal, a predicate universally applied, but in each case the distinctive act or event of existing - energeia. Here Vaisesika finds nothing worthy of thought. The readiness to identify bhâva as the supreme genus cuts off the question of being at its roots. In the West, when being is thought of in this abstract way it represents a forgetfulness of the question; in India it represents a failure of the question to emerge. We have at best an undetermined sense that "as the supreme universal it is also something over and above, and different from, the particular and perishable entities in which it occurs" and "imperishable and permanent" (Halbfass, 140)

© Shared Themes
1. Form. There is a wonder at form in Indian thought. But again it is not clear that this carried the charge of a wonder at being. Is there any Indian notion of form that plays the specifically ontological role that eidos has in Plato and Aristotle? Even the "form itself is emptiness" of the Heart Sutra grasps phenomena in their phenomenality, not specifically in their being. A phenomenology of the empirical world in view of emptiness is quite a different matter from one in view of being. Though one might find in Plotinus, Spinoza, Berkeley, Bradley, or Bergson some rough analogies to Madhyamaka and Advaita notions that the objective world with its differentiations has a merely conventional reality, or that all empirical objects are merely superimpositions on the pure undifferentiated ultimate reality, nonetheles such ideas are still, after two centuries of Western exposure to Vedânta, experienced as foreign and unsettling. The Western concern with being and form seems to have worked against a radicalization of the question of appearance and reality. This concern was reinforced by the Christian metaphysics of creation which stressed the distinct existence of finite created substance, and by the doctrine of Chalcedon (451 CE) which, by insisting on the integrity of Christ's human nature, formed a bulwark against emanationist or absorptionist accounts of the relation of human and divine (see H. U. von Balthasar, Kosmische Liturgie, Einsiedeln, 1988, pp. 35-41; he refers sweepingly to “asiatische Aufloesung”, p. 122). To Western thinkers, Indian reflection on maayaa and emptiness initially seems but an inchoate groping toward their own mastery of logical determinations. But if these Indian worlds of thought could be tucked neatly away in the folds of Hegel's Logic, they would not be worth our study. Their cultural and historical roots make them more than mere intellectual contructions. As living paths of thought they elude our mastery and summon us to open dialogue.

2. Causality. In Indian thought a fascination with causality has given rise to theories at least as subtle as those of the West. However, this causal reasoning was not applied to being qua being, but only to entities - cosmic or psychological - in their arising and passing away. Cause, in India, is not the Aristotelian aition, namely “that which is responsible for the fact that a being is _that_ which it is”(GA 9:246). We do not find in India "Parmenides's persistence. in holding fast to the purity and simplicity of the experience contained in the single Greek word _Esti_ (‘it is’), by the sharp repulsion of the obtrusive tendency to address being in terms of _doxa_, as coming to be and passing away" (Kisiel, 246). Descending from the Eleatic acropolis one may indeed retrieve the world of coming to be and passing away as a worthy theme of specifically ontological thought; but this was not the Indian experience.

In the West, causal arguments for the existence of God quickly become ontological. The arguments from motion or design can be reduced to the argument that finite or participated being requires to be grounded in Being itself. The arguments of Udayana in the Nyâkakusumânjali sometimes have a familiar feel to Western readers, for instance the temporal argument against self-causation: “Nor can things be self-caused, since a thing cannot both originate at a certain time and yet exist prior to that time, and the causal relation involves temporal succession” (Potter, 559); compare Aquinas: “nihil est causa semetipsius; esset enim prius seipso, quod est impossibile" (Contra Gentiles I 18). Yet as he develops his causal reasoning, it is striking how rarely he alights on the ontological notions that would immediately suggest themselves to the Western mind. "Causation just means regular connection between something prior to the effect and the appearance of that effect” (ib., 560). There is a touch of Humean refinement to this, but no sense of the production of an effect as an ontological (rather than merely ontic) event - no glimpse of the cause as bringing the effect from potency to act in virtue of its own actuality. This might give Udayana a modern cast, prompting comparison of his arguments with Western discussions of causality since Leibniz. Most of his arguments are epistemological: "we need the hypothesis of God to justify the initial acceptance of the Vedas by reasonable men” (Potter, 574). Epistemological acuity seems to crowd out talk of being. Again, when Udayana plays with the notions of "latent causality, potentiality, and manifestation" (Halbfass, 58) in his dialectical refutation of the sheer actualism of the Buddhist doctrine of momentariness, it does not appear that these acquire any properly ontological consistency for him.

Earlier, Vyomasiva had defined the production of objects as "connection with their own causes and reality" rather than merely "(coming into) existence after prior nonexistence" (ib., 193); this had some ontological bite. Udayana regresses to the view that "'Being an effect' is simply the state of being of something that did not exist before” (ib.). His disregard of the earlier stress on sattâdsambandha, "connection with reality," may reflect a major ontological reorientation as Halbfass suggests. But sattâdsambandha, as originally used by Prasastapâda (6thcentury), 'does not answer or even address the question what being, reality, or existence is." It has the merely logical, classificatory sense of "having reality as a predicate" (ib., 170, 174). It seems that discussion of causality never made the breakthrough to a radically ontological treatment.

3. Act and potency. Halbfass claims that the debate between Sankhya satkâryavâda and Vaisesika asatkâryavâda - between "actualization of the nonactual" and "production of new actualities out of preexisting underlying actualities" (186) - is not merely about causation but is "a genuinely ontological debate," albeit marked by "a certain refusal to address each other's basic premises concerning the nature of being and the different meanings in which the words _sat_ and _asat_ are used" (58). The "being" from which things originate in Samkhya is a kind of being that Vaisesika does not recognize at all, characterized by "potency, potentiality, latency, indefiniteness, and subtleness” (185). There is a contrast in ontology here, but if the two darsanas did not join battle on this topic, then the specifically ontological question was eluded.

Even if the Vaisesika sattâ could be seen, in the light of the Samkhya pradhâna, as "a mere storehouse of potentialities or as potentiality par excellence" (177), the potentiality in question is not purely ontological _dunamis_ but the concrete evolutional substrate, the "indefinite, nonmanifest, nonactualized ground" of the cosmos” (185). Criticizing the language of modern Samkhya scholars who talk of effects as "specifications of the inherent generativity of primordial materiality"(Larson/Bhattacharya, 68), Halbfass says such language does not address the fundamental ontological issue" (59); but it may be an Aristotelian lens that enables him to sharpen the ontological focus. If the Samkhya sources did not in fact get beyond a material image of evolutionary transformation, we must not read back into them Aristotelian conceptions of dunamis, entelecheia and final causality. These notions can be applied to Samkhya from outside, but they have a transcendental generality that the Samkhya notions lack. Since they capture aspects of being qua being, they apply to any being whatsoever, from God to the abstractions of mathematics or logic. True, a general concept of potency, applicable to everything, is found in Vaisesika; but its ontological foundation is not securely grasped. To stress Udayana's concern with "potentiality" (58, 65) is to underline the fact that he does not reflect on potentiality as a state of being. To conceive of the potential and the actual in a general commonsense way, or merely as abstract logical categories, is not to attain the Aristotelian insight into potential being and actual being.

In Yoga, "Transition from potentiality (sakti) to actuality (abhivyakti) in the mental sphere means change from an unconscious, 'unnoticed' (aparidrsta) state to a conscious, 'noticed' (paridrsta) one" (60-1): here there is no reference to being. "Present phenomena are manifest, that is, actual; past and future phenomena are subtle, that is, potential… The concepts of actuality and potentiality are thus used in an attempt to clarify the nature of time" (61). Again, the contrast between subtle and manifest is not the equivalent of the Aristotelian focus on being in potency and in act. It seems misleading to see here an insight into "the enigmatic relationship between being and time" (62). Nor do Bhartrhari's questions - "How does the verb be (bhuu), how does the noun _reality_ (sattâ) refer to time?... How can ‘being' itself in its verbal sense, as an act or process, be there?" (207) - rise from the logico-ontic to the ontological level. Again, Bhartrhari's thesis that time (conceived as a substance) activates "those powers and potentialities (sakti) that constitute the condition of the possibility of all actual, particularized existence," or that "reality itself (sattâ), the highest universal, is unleashed and manifested in those lower universals (jâti) which are the eternal prototypes and potentialities of all particulars" (205-6), is a speculative construction that does not entail a phenomenological meditation on the interplay of being and time.

4. Time. The closest one comes to such a phenomenology in India is in the Buddhist tendency to "an increasingly radical and explicit fusion of being and time or temporality" (221). But even here Nâgârjuna uses the mutual dependence of past, present and future to prove that none of them has real existence; this demonstration of emptiness shows little puzzling over the phenomenon of time for its own sake. For Advaita,"time appears as fundamentally incompatible with reality in the true sense" (22I), whereas Western thought, even in Neo-Platonism, has dwelt attentively on the being, or half-being, of time. The Greek way of posing the question "What is time?" or any other "What is" question is honed by a focus on essence or being. Indian definition, in contrast “has no relation with what we would call the essence of a thing… Because I read the universal in the concrete, at the very level of the concrete, I am dispensed from thinking that universal, from conceptualizing it, from defining its essence”(M. Biardeau, Journal Asiatique 257, 1957, pp. 373,375). Indian analysis was not answerable to a strict, authoritative regime of essence (as even Christian theology has been); its starting points and its goals were of varied religious or speculative kinds, each determining a style of analysis only rarely coincident with the "scientific" and "philosophical' attitudes central in the West. Heidegger is the heir of Aristotle (and Augustine) whose aporetic interrogation of the most salient phenomenological features of time set the agenda for Western thought on the subject. Rather than dissolve time in true Being he focusses more sharply the phenomenon of being by bringing into view the inevitable temporality of its play of presence and absence.

© Categories. Halbfass's account of the Vaisesika categories
confirms the impression that categories in Indian thought do not carry the same ontological intention as in Aristotle. Aristotle's categories are rooted in a full apprehension of substances in their being; there are few of them and they lend themselves to empirical, phenomenological exposition and interrogation (as in the _Physics_); Vaisesika categories are abstract and multiply, to fill out a system, more by logical distinction than by reference to phenomenological aspects of observed entities; if they map out "what there is," they do so with little attention to the being of what there is. Udayana's attempt to derive and justify the Vaisesika categories (79) stresses the primacy of substance (dravya) in a commonsense way, but does not attempt to order them in terms of being. Heidegger was aware of the categorical genius of the Sanskrit language: “A _kategoria_ is a word in which a thing is "indicted" as what it is' This prephilosophical meaning of _kategoria_ is far removed from that which the casual and superficial foreign word _category_ still retains in our language. The Aristotelian usage just cited corresponds much rather to the spirit of the Greek language which, as tacitly philosophical and metaphysical, distinguishes Greek, along with Sanskrit and cultivated German, above all other languages” (Nietzsche IV, San Francisco, 1982, p. 37, modified). But the “special affinity between ontology and categoriality” (Halbfass, 139) does not mean that a developed system of categories necessarily implies a profound ontology; indeed the question of being can throw one's categories into confusion, whereas dexterity in handling categories can go hand in hand with forgetfulness of being.

'Kanâda's six categories do not include "isness"; neither do Aristotle's ten, but _ousia_ is related to _einai_, whereas dravya (substance) is not related to _sat_ or astitva. To be sure, among the six, substance, quality, and activity are singled out as connected to being (sattâ). In the list of ten we find sakti and asakti, potentiality and nonpotentiality. There is confusion as to whether the universal, sattâ, applies to all positive categories or to the first three only. In any case since the three following categories (universal, particularity, inherence) inhere in the first three, and snce quality and activity inhere in substance as their substrate, there is a strong identification of substance with being, as in Aristotle. So in this sense "explicit conceptualization of being" does indeed "emerge out of the enumeration and classification of what there is" (Halbfass, 139). But does it emerge as just a formal abstraction? Is it an especially thought-provoking concept, a source of wonder - or is it merely an occasion for logical clarifications? "Is the Vaisesika ontology an epiphenomenon of its categoriology? Is there an understanding of being which is prior to, and the condition of, its project of categorial analysis and enumeration?"(ib.). “A sense of 'being' that implies, above all, enumerability and identifiability" (220) is a very undeveloped notion of the meaning of being - and one that is "internally inconsistent, theoretically unfeasible" and "soteriologically irrelevant or counterproductive" (70). Even if other Indian thinkers formulated such negative evaluationsof the ontological upshot of enumerability, they did not necessarily do so from an ontological concern of the sort that we are likely to import into the Indian framework. Neither the positive nor the negative implications of Vaisesika ontology bring it into the neighbourhood of the highest Western thematization of being.

Even if Indian thought lends itself to Heideggerian exegesis in a way that biblical thought, for example, does not, what the exegesis yields is much less rich than in the case of Western sources and also much less illuminating as regards the internal dynamic of Indian thought. In Western thinking led by the question of being the categoriology is a fleshing out of the prior understanding of being (even in philosophers such as Hegel who have "forgotten" being as the Greeks saw it). The tendency to enumeration, so tiresome in Abhidharma, Samkhya and Vaisesika, never took hold among the Greeks, because their overriding philosophical interest was not the multiplicity of beings but their unity in being. Vaisesika enumeration aims to be an exhaustive catalogue of the many; some Vedantin critics insisted that "an understanding of Being cannot be gained through an enumeration and classification of different entities. True, absolute being transcends and precedes all distinctions, including the distinction between being and nonbeing" (Halbfass, 159). But do even the Vedantins linger in meditation on the _hen panta_ in terms of the being of beings? Does their quest for unity get beyond an ontic totalization? Having identified the principle of cosmic unity, do they go on to interrogate it, and to dwell on the enigmatic interplay of the one universal reality of being and the many distinct individual entities? Their monism is the obverse of Vaisesika enumeration, and equally suggests a forgetfulness of being: they “argue against the very possibility of defining entities, of establishing them in their individual identity, and of defining and establishing being itself in its distinction from nonbeing" (232). The failure to focus being as being is in both cases due to an overriding concern with spiritual liberation. Multiplicity, for the Abhidharma or Vaisesika, is of interest primarily as a map of the obstacles or aids to liberation, while the Vedantins' stress on unity also has a primarily soteriological purpose; whether controlled by categorization or totalized and dissolved in some form of monism the many ceases to obstruct liberation.

When Western metaphysics declines into representational thinking, used as a means of technological mastery of the earth, an expression of the will to power, this should not be equiparated with vaguely similar features in Indian thought:

“’Representational,’ ‘objectifying’ thought is fully present in the Vaisesika system of categories, in its enterprise of enumerating and classifying whatever there is, and above all, in its conceptualizations of being. To be sure, it is not a Cartesian attempt to establish man &s the master and owner of nature; but it is an attempt to put the world at our intellectual and conceptual disposal, to explain it once and for all through a process of comprehensive enumeration and classification. Being itself is either objectified and appears as an entity among entities or it accompanies the process of enumeration as its receding horizon or expanding shadow.” (Halbfass, 231)

Here a Heideggerian lens allows one to find a phenomenon of rationalistic decadence in Indian scholasticism, and at the same time this casts doubt on Heidegger's claim to explain such phenomena in the West exclusively in terms of the destiny of the thinking of being. But what also emerges is that the Indian phenomenon lacks the distinctive ontological import that it has in Western rationalism; it even appears to suffer a certain aimlessness in comparison with the intense determination of the Western rational project. The fixational character of Vaisesika categorizations, criticized by Sankara (Halbfass, 231), contrasts with the dynamic thrust of Western rationalism precisely in this: that the West is haunted by the quest for Being (however narrowly conceived) whereas Vaisesika is trapped in the enumeration of beings. In short, Vaisesika thinking is ontic, not ontological. Or if it has an ontological upshot, this is clarified by reference to the Greek tradition, just as the relevancy of Western philosophy to the attainment of moksa could be clarified only by reference to the Indian tradition.

(e) The Absence of the Question of Being in Nâgârjuna and Sankara

The Indian style of thought which effects a "simultaneous de-objectification of the objectified” may make Indian philosophy "a treasure house of direct promise to the Heideggerian quest" (Mehta 44). But to conflate it with the Heideggerian tension between calculative and meditative thinking is to slur over the basic difference between the thought of being and the nondual apprehension of Brahman or sunyatâ. Nâgârjuna and Sarikara, in their overcoming of the conventional in the name of a different kind of thinking or apperception which reaches highest truth, recall Heidegger's overcoming of metaphysical and technological reason in the name of the thinking of being. In both cases what is to be overcome is allowed validity in its proper sphere; though in both cases there is a certain ambivalence toward the realm of the conventional that is never quite resolved. But the ultimate truth aimed at in the Indian thinkers is of a loftier order than the contemplative apprehension of beings in their being, and they do not have any time to linger on the latter occupation. Advaita overshoots the thought of being to affirm instead "the nondual state of âtmanlbrahman that is prior to, and the condition of, all apparent dichotomies and alternatives, including those between being and nonbeing" (233), and the same may be said of the Madhyamaka affirmation of emptiness. The contemplative nonduality both cultivate cannot be equated with Heidegger's goal, the togetherness of being and thinking in the Ereignis.

Halbfass claims that in addition to the negative ontology - "beyond being and non-being" - Indian thought also apprehends the character of being in a positive way in a kind of "soteriontology." Sankara's concept of liberation and Nâgârjuna's emptiness have "an undeniably ontological dimension" (39). The t
Aryans and British India By Thomas R Trautmann

By Thomas R Trautmann
Published 1997
University of California
History / General History
259 pages
ISBN 0520205464

This book traces one of the origins of modern racism. Its analysis of the intellectual history of the 19th century and their innocent creation of a theory which gives the inspiration of modern racism is an excellent piece of scholarship. The profound knowldge of the author on Indology and Indo-European studies made his argument authorative. This book should be read by all history students, instead of only the students in South Asian studies.

"Aryan," a word that today evokes images of racial hatred and atrocity, was first used by Europeans to suggest bonds of kinship, as Thomas Trautmann shows in his far-reaching history of British Orientalism and the ethnology of India.

<span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>
When the historical relationship uniting Sanskrit with the languages of Europe was discovered, it seemed clear that Indians and Britons belonged to the same family. Thus the Indo-European or Aryan idea, based on the principle of linguistic kinship, dominated British ethnological inquiry.

<span style='font-size:21pt;line-height:100%'>
In the nineteenth century, however, an emergent biological "race science" attacked the authority of the Orientalists. The spectacle of a dark-skinned people who were evidently civilized challenged Victorian ideas, and race science responded to the enigma of India by redefining the Aryan concept in narrowly "white" racial terms. </span>

By the end of the nineteenth century, race science and Orientalism reached a deep and lasting consensus in regard to India, which Trautmann calls "the racial theory of Indian civilization," and which he undermines with his powerful analysis of colonial ethnology in India.

His work of reassessing British Orientalism and the Aryan idea will be of great interest to historians, anthropologists, and cultural critics.

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"Aryans and British India is a seminal work and will be read and reread by serious students of Indian history for many generations."--Stanley Wolpert, author of India
"This is a creative and venturesome rethinking of issues of race, language, and caste in the British colonial understanding of India."--Aram A. Yengoyan, University of California, Davis

<img src='http://content.cdlib.org/dynaxml/data/v2/ft8779p1v2/figures/ft8779p1v2_cover.jpg' border='0' alt='user posted image' />
Solomon Asch Center


Jon is presently a doctoral student in social psychology at Princeton University and holds a M.S. in industrial/organizational psychology from Kansas State University. Prior to beginning his doctoral work, Jon <b>taught at the United States Air Force (USAF) Academy in the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Leadership as a major in the USAF.</b> His research interests include psychological construction and attributions of legitimacy and illegitimacy about political and judicial institutions in the U.S. and south Asia (Sri Lanka and the Kashmir), retaliatory violence/counterforce, white separatism, <b>divergent Aryan identity narratives (present and historical) in the U.S. and south Asia (Indian Hindutva, Sinhalese Buddhism, and Euro-American Wotanism), and </b>cognitive hardiness as a stress resiliency resource.

[31] “THE OSLO WAR PROCESS: Norwegian diplomats are the ‘advance guard’ of the US-European empire. They helped destroy Yugoslavia. They set Israel on the path to destruction. Now they will finish destroying Sri Lanka. Next: India. And Spain.”; Historical and Investigative Research; 29 October 2005; by Francisco Gil-White

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