The Sarva-darsana-siddhanta-san-graha, also known as Sarva-siddhanta-sangraha, ascribed to the great Advaita teacher Shankaracharya, is a versified epitome of the basic tenets of the major schools of Indian Philosophy-both theistic and atheistic. The work faithfully presents the conclusions of all the schools, each in a separate chapter in lucid and as for as possible non-technical language. It avoids all the controversies among different schools. It is a very useful work for the students of any branch of Indian philosophy, because without the basic knowledge of all the branches, it is difficult to comprehend and particular school. Its ascription to Shankaracharya may be doubted, but it is, nevertheless, an early medieval work. The compendium was critically edited, for the first time, in 1908, on the basis of five South Indian manuscripts by Professor M. Rangacarya of the Presidency College, Madras, with a faithful translation and a glossary of philosophical terms. The learned translator has tried, in the introduction, to prove that the ascription to Shankaracharya may not be wrong. His arguments deserve serious attention.
Such an important work remained out of print for a long time and hence almost unknown to the present generation of scholars. It is now being reprinted with a hope that it will be welcomed by the researchers in Indian philosophy.
Indian subcontinent is the only place in world where ancients have devoted their talent in concentrated effort to seek the real purpose of life for Fulfillment and bliss. Vedas are said to be the most ancient and authoritative texts which codify Dharma or the law of existence. The Vedic literature comprises of works described as Veda, Upaveda, Itishas, Purana, Smriti, Darsana, Sastra, Nigama and Agama. Darsanas are the works presenting Vedic philosophy from different angles. Darsana, Siddhanta or Philosophy is the science of thinking consideration (Vicarasastram) that aims establishing truth on the basis of different propositions.
Indian Philosophy is primarily categorized into two aspects: 1. Dharma or Karma-mimansa, and, 2. Tavva-mimansa or Muksha-darsana. Karma-mimansa is the interpretation of certain states of existence of man for well-being, also called Dharma. As for Tattva-mimansa, it discusses about the truths of fundamental nature of things for Self-realization. There are only six metaphysical systems in Indian Philosophy (Saddarsana) -
1. Nyaya Darsana, 2. Vaisesika Darsana, 3. Samkhya Darsana, 4. Yoga Darsana, 5. Mimamsa Darsana, and 6. Vedanta Darsana. These systems of Philosophy are apart from the three heterodox schools of materialism, Jainism and Buddhism.
The present work titled the Sarvadarsana Siddhanta Sangraha, also known as Sarva-siddhanta Sangraha ascribed to great Advaita teacher Sankaracarya, is a versified epitome of the basic tenets of the major schools of Indian Philosophy-both theistic and atheistic. The work is a compilation of eleven Siddhantas gathered from different manuscripts as has been admitted by the learned editor. The Siddhantas or systems of Arhatas or Jainas, 3. The Systems of the Bauddhas containing those of Madhyamikas, Yogacaras, Sautrantikas, and Vaibhasikas, 4. The Systems of the Vaisesikas, 5. The Systems of the Naiyayikas, 6. The Theory of Prabhakara, 7. The System of Kumarila Bhattacharya, 8. The System of the Samkhyas, 9. The System of Patanjali, 10. The System of Vedavyasa, and 11. The Vedanta System.
Adi Sankaracarya appeared on the horizon of Hindu society when there was general decaence of the age, and Hinduism had been almost smothered. The society too was in a disgruntled state and there was a total chaos in the field of thinkers on account of various sects trying to establish their existence. It, therefore, appears from the above Siddhantas that they were written so that the controversies should be avoided among various schools of thought. These systems provide basic knowledge about the different schools and these will certainly help students understand the conclusions of these schools.
The work was duly edited and translated into English by a learned Professor M. Rangacarya with a comprehensive Introduction and a Glossary. It is my great privilege that the publisher has offered me an occasion to write a Foreword to this important work. I hope both general and research students will find it very helpful.
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