Upanishads vs. Western Philosophy

He who reads and understands the Upanishads says:
1. The Truth is Consciousness (Prajnanam Brahma). (ontology)
2. I am the Truth (Aham Brahmasmi). (ontology)
3. You, too, are the Truth (Tat Tvam Asi). (ontology)
4. There is nothing other than the Truth (Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma). So, it is a metaphysics of Nonduality, with only one true “substance”, namely, Consciousness. (metaphysics)
5. The world is just names and forms. (ontology and metaphysics)
6. The names and forms are mere appearances taken on by the Truth, and hence illusory and not real. (metaphysics)
7. So, in essence, the world is nothing but Pure Consciousness (Sarvam Khalvidam Brahma), much like a pot is mere name and form of clay, and yet at the same time the pot is nothing but clay. (metaphysics)
8. He who is operating under ignorance takes the world to be real, until he hears the Truth from a scripture or a self-realized person (Sravana), reflects upon it (Manana) and contemplates upon it (Nididhyasana) and comes to realize that he himself is the Truth. So, epistemologically speaking, we can “know’ the Truth because we already are the Truth and Truth knows itself and is self-revealing because such is the nature of Consciousness. (epistemology)
9. When it comes to ethics and morals, Upanishads mostly formulate them more at an individual level and less at the societal or interpersonal interaction level, in that, they talk of things like self-control, shunning of sense pleasures, equanimity, control of mind, etc., and that, too, not as ends in themselves but as means conducive to the realization of the Truth. (ethics)
10. Truth transcends the duality of opposites, and as such is beyond the realm of Logic, though some use of logic is made in trying to persuade one of certain truths. (logic)
He who reads and understands Western Philosophy says:
1. We do not yet know the Truth. (ontology)
2. We do not yet know what it means for something to be the Truth. (ontology)
3. We do not yet know if we as humans are capable of recognizing the Truth even if we encounter it. (epistemology)
4. We are not in agreement as to what the world is. (metaphysics)
5. We do not know if we as humans are capable of understanding the world as it is in itself. (epistemology).
6. Some, like Socrates and Plato, say the world is mere shadows cast by the Real Forms inhering in another world. Some, like Aristotle, say that is hogwash. (metaphysics)
7. Some, like St. Augustine and Thomas Aquinas, say God Is. Many, like Sartre etc., say God Is Not. Most, like the scholastics, say we and God are different. Only a rare one, like Spinoza, say Nature itself is God in motion. (metaphysics)
8. Ethics and morals can be derived either from utilitarian principles of Bentham and Mill (whatever maximizes happiness is the best thing to do), or from the deontological and categorical imperative formulation of Kant (do only that which you can will to be a universal law), which are in tension. Then there is the more neutral virtue ethics of Aristotle, which says we have to realize our potential. Alongside these are various other flavours to choose from, such as Epicureanism, Stoicism, and Existentialism. (ethics)
9. Logic is a field in development with many varieties of it, but there are certain grounds rules that cannot be violated, such as the law of non-contradiction, law of identity, etc. (logic)
10. Overall impression one gets is that some clarifications and insights have certainly been achieved by Western Philosophy, but given that it is sort of a free-for-all, no-holds-barred kind of approach and thinking that it entails, and given that each mind is constituted differently, and the enterprise is based purely on what thought, rationality, reasoning and logic reveals, the project of Western Philosophy will see less of so-called “progress’ and more of individualised flights of creative thinking on part of the philosophers unless they change radically what counts as “rational and reasonable” and “proof” to claim something as true. The case in point is how Western philosophers are going about trying to understand and study Consciousness given the famous phrase of David Chalmers, namely, “hard problem of consciousness”, which is again as some phenomenon out there and not necessarily co-terminus and coeval with one’s own being.

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