A study of various Christian interactions with the six classical schools of Indian philosophy.
K. M. Banerjea's and Nehemiah Goreh's studies of Indian philosophy are first discussed. A. J. Appasamy's interaction with Ramanuja's thought, Ignatius Puthiadam's work on Madhvacharya, John Vattanky's study of Navyanyaya and Francis X. D'Sa's work on Mimamsa are also discussed in various chapters as are Dhvani, Yoga and pramanas.
First writtena an published as early as 1862, this work, originally titled Hindu Philosophical Systems : A Rational Refutation (1862), then A Rational Refutation of the Hindu Philosophical Systems (1897) and later, A Mirror of the Hindu Philosophical Systems (1911), is rated as scholarly as Krishna Mohun Banerjea's Dialogues on the Hindu Philosophy of 1861.
The approach of both these works to the Hindu philosophical systems is negative and thus not acceptable to Indian Christians. There have been many later works from Indian Christian scholars emphasising the possible contributions of one or other school of Indian philosophy to Christian thought. The merit of these two pioneering works is that they provide a Christian response to all the six systems of Hindu philosophy. For the later Indian Christian scholars to follow inclusivism or pluralism or pluralistic inclusivism in Theology of Religions, somebody had to start at the school of exclusivism- the two pioneers Goreh and Banerjea undertook this task. Nehemiah Goreh considered Nyaya and Vaisesika as the most reasonable of all schools because they acknowledge God. For him, great is the error of Sankhya and Mimamsa in denying the existence of God. Throughout Goreh's work, it is taken as a postulate that with the Vedantins, Brahman excepted, all is nihility. Advaita is interpreted here in terms of Post-Sankarite writings.
About the Author:
Dr. Kalarikkal Poulose Aleaz is Professor of Religions at Bishop's College, Kolkata. He is also a Professor at the North India Institute of Post Graduate Theological Studies (NIIPGTS) (Jointly sponsored by Serampore College and Bishop's College). He guides doctoral candidates of South Asia Theological Research Institute, Bangalore as well. His previous works include (ed.), Dialogue in India: Multi-Religious Perspective and Practice, Calcutta: Bishop's College, 1991: The role of Pramanas in Hindu Christian Epistemology, Calcutta: Punthi Pustak, 1991; Harmony of Religions. The Relevance of Swami Vivakananda, Calcutta: Punthi Pustak, 1993; The Gospel of Indian Culture, Calcutta: Punthi Pustak 1994; Sermons for a New Vision, Delhi: ISPCK, 1994; Jesus in Neo-Vedanta. A meeting of Hinduism and Christianity, Delhi: Kant Publications, 1995; Dimensions of Indian Religion, Study, Experience and Interaction, Calcutta: Punthi Pustak, 1995; The Relevance of Relation in Sankara's Advaita Vedanta, Delhi: Kant Publications, 1996; Christian thought Through Advaita Vedanta, Delhi: ISPCK, 1996; An Indian Jesus from Sankara's Thought, Calcutta: Punthi Pustak, 1997; theology of Religions Birmingham Papers and Other Essays, Calcutta: Moumita, 1998; (Comp. And Intro.), From Exclusivism to Inclusivism. The Theological Writing of Krishna Mohan Banerjee (1813-1885), Delhi: ISPCK, 1999; A Convergence of Advaita Vedanta and Eastern Christian thought, Delhi: ISPCK 2000; Religions in Christian Theology, Kolkata: Punthi Pustak, 2001; (Comp. And Intro.), a Christian Response to the Hindu Philosophical System by Nehemiah Nilakantha Sastri Goreh, Kolkata: Punthi Pustak, 2003 as well as The Quest for a Contextual Spirituality, Tiruvalla: CSS, 2004.
Nehemiah Nilkantha Sastri Goreh (1825-1895), a Maharashtrian Brahmin, a scholar in Sanskrit and Hindu thought, was born in Jhansi, brought up in Banaras, and came to accept Christian faith through his contact with a C.M.S. Missionary William Smith. He worked as lay missionary to educated Hindus first in Poona and then in Banaras and Cawnpore. It was in this period he wrote a Christian critique of the Hindu philosophical systems in Hindu in 1860, it was later translated to English and published in 1862. In 1870 he was ordained a priest of the Church of England, prior to which he spent some time in the Bishop's College, Calcutta both studying and teaching. He also brought out a number of booklet's controverting the Brahmo claims, while continuing his work among educated Hindus in many parts of India with the Society of St. John the Evangelist in Poona, as his base.