Dialectics is the implicit method of Upanishadic literature. It is also used as a critique for yielding a superior unitive understanding in works like the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga-Vasistha. In the West, dialectical methodology originated around the fifth century BCE, and has been used in varying ways by classical thinkers, later Christian theologians, and modern philosophers like Kant, Fichte, Hegel, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels. The writings of Nataraja Guru provide an integrated vision of the Eastern and Western traditions of dialectics. As such, he offers an unitive understanding of philosophy by way of a more comprehensive methodology of dialectics.
In the book, Nataraja Guru explains the basics of dialectical methodology, and applies it towards a superior understanding of the relation between man and woman, between proto-language and meta language (bearing reference to Indian iconography), and between romance and tragedy as found in literature. He also applies dialectics in order to study social problems, but in a way that varies from Hegel, Marx and Engels. He further reveals the significance of the value system found in small, primitive communities, and upholds the eternal values of coexistence, unity and collective security. In particular, this volume provides a window for examining Nataraja Guru’s overall position as a philosopher and his unitive teachings in general. In this regard it will be valuable for philosophers and scholars as well as the general reader.
Nataraja Guru (1895-1973) — Dr P. Natarajan M,A., L.T., D.Lit. (Paris), M.R.S.T. was the disciple and spiritual successor of Narayana Guru (1854-1928). He is the author of a dozen books consisting of original works and commentaries of Narayana Guru, the Bhagavad Gita and the Saundaryalahari of Sañkara. He founded the Narayana Gurukula, a guru-disciple foundation to pursue the Absolutist approach which he pleads for in these books. His scheme of correlation between science and mysticism amounts to an epochal advance in philosophy.
This book was originally published under the title Dialectical Methodology. The central theme of this book is dialectics. The several shades of Yoga that are possible between man and woman come under the purview of “Man-Woman Dialectics”. The great writers of all time have written their absorbing poems, epics, dramas, novella, short stories and psychological treatises based on this subject.
Freud saya, sex is the hub on which all human interests revolve. We find an identical verse given by Narayana Guru, in the Atmopadesa Satakam ( One Hundered Verses of Self-Instruction) Verse 70:
This book of Nataraja Guru is a long –awaited one. The Narayana Gurukula Is Republishing it. Hope this will be a welcome addition to the ever-increasing Guru-literature.
It is generally believed that dialectical methodology originated in the West in the fifth century BCE with Zeno of Elea. What Zeno used as an argument with paradoxes for philosophical purposes thereafter degenerated in the hands of the Sophists. Although Protagoras was a Sophist, it is believed (his works are no longer available) that he gave a precise methodological validity to dialectics. Socrates used dialectics as an art of discussion. However, according to Aristotle, the Socratic method was not dialectical. Led it epagogic, meaning inductive reasoning.
Dialectical methodology, lost in the hands of the Sophists,
was received and made thoroughly efficient by Plato in his Dialogues. He considered dialectics as a supreme philosophical method and even glorified it as “the coping stone, as it were, placed above the sciences” In Books VI and VII of the Republic, Plato even designated it as the right kind of education to be given to philosopher kings.
Aristotle considered dialectics as a logic of probability. He
evaluated it as a useful discipline for intellectual training, for discussions with others based on their own premises, and for examining the unprovable first principles of the sciences.
Among Christian theologians of scholastic times one who gave serious attention to dialectics was Peter Abelard. In his Dialectica ‘ a complete methodological treatment of the method of dialectics.
Of the modern philosophers, it was Kant who brought dialectics back to an honoured position as a philosophical methodology. In his Critique of Pure Reason he presented his theory of transcendental dialectics with four sets of theses and antitheses. However, he did not postulate synthesis to go along with thesis and antithesis. He used synthetical judgment a priori in the context of mathematical reasoning.
It was Fichte who introduced for the first time the famous dialectical triad of thesis, antithesis and synthesis. Although many people associate this triad with Hegelian dialectics, he did not actually use these terms. Yet all credit should be given to Hegel for showing the vast scope of dialectics when it is used to interpret history and to understand the socio-psychological phenomena of human behaviors.
Karl Marx borrowed from Fichte the dialectical interplay of thesis and antithesis resulting in synthesis, and used it as his main instrument to probe and study the socio-economic reality of contemporary history. He saw in dialectics, as did Hegel, a progressive spiralling that leads the history of human evolution from one synthesis to another synthesis. As his identity was with the proletarian cause, he did not appreciate the continued progress of the dialectical spiral beyond the withering of the State. His associate, Friedrich Engels, enlarged the scope of dialectics in The Dialectics of Nature.
When Nataraja Guru uses the term Dialectical Methodology, he has in mind a hoary tradition of the East, well known to Indian scholars as Yoga Mimamsa, as well as his understanding of the application of dialectics in the West. Dialectics is taken for granted as an implicit method in all the Upanishads. Mimamsa means “critical enquiry” and Yoga means “effecting synthesis.” Both the schools of Purva Mimamsa and Uttara Mimamsa have adopted critical enquiry as part of their discipline. Dialectics as a critique of unitive understanding is most effectively used in the Bhagavad Gita and the Yoga-Vasistha. In the philosophical writings of Nataraja Guru, we get an integrated vision of the East and the West, the past and the present. He has evolved an overall scheme of correlation in which the catuspada, the four-limbed scheme of the Absolute of the
Mandukya Upanishad, and the Cartesian coordinates are fused into a single frame of reference. Guru’s main contribution to philosophy is this unitive understanding and, for the presentation of it, he uses the comprehensive methodology of dialectics.
In the present book, the Guru not only elucidates the dialectical methodo1ogy as such, but also applies it to the relationship between man and woman, proto-language and meta-language (associated with Indian iconography), which comes under the section of “The Dialectics of the Gods,” and romance and tragedy in literature. ‘Nataraja Guru applies dialectics to the study of social problems as was previously done by Hegel, Marx and Engels. However, in his application of dialectics to social problems, he is at variance with philosophers. In that field he is more at ease with J.J. Rousseau and Henri Bergson.
All the sections in the present book were formerly published in Values magazine between May 1958 and October 1960, and we are very happy to republish the same now in the present book form. It is our cherished hope that we will be able to bring out all the written works of Nataraja Guru in the course of the next couple of years. We hope this book will benefit all those who want to have an insight into unitive understanding in general and particularly into the teachings of Nataraja Guru’s own master, Narayana Guru.
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