The volumes of the project on the history of science, philosophy and culture in Indian civilization aim at discovering the main aspects of India's heritage and present them in an interrelated way. These volumes, in spite of their unitary look, recognize the difference between the areas of material civilization and those of ideational culture. The project is not being executed by a single group of thinkers and writers who are methodologically uniform or ideologically identical in their commitments. In fact contributions are made by different scholars with different ideological persuasions and methodological approaches. The project is marked by what may be called 'methodological pluralism. In spite of its primary historical character, this project, both in its conceptualization and execution, has been shaped by many scholars drawn from different disciplines. It is for the first time that an endeavour of such a unique and comprehensive character has been undertaken to study critically a major world civilization like India. The Vaisesikadarsana of Kanada is one of the oldest among the Indian systems of philosophy. But a comprehensive history of the subject has not yet been attempted presumably for want of published materials. There is a long gap between Kanada and Prasastapada. The Ancient and Modern Nyaya sub-schools regarded the Vaisesika as their samana-tantra. The Buddhists accepted them as their worthy rivals. The printed Vaisesika texts are but a fraction of their former rich literature. But important texts have recently been discovered as manuscripts. As the Vaisesikas had intimate relation with the Nyaya, Buddhist and Jain systems, the Vaisesika materials could be traced from them and other non-Vaisesika texts offering important informatioin on the Vaisesika history and exegesis. They were first presented in the form of articles and ultimately integrated in the present volume. It is true that considering the time span and the rich heritage of the Vaisesikas the attempt made here is very small. It is expected that more manuscripts of lost Vaisesika works and more references and quotations may be gathered from non-Vaisesika sources especially the Tibetan versions of the Buddhist logical works and commentaries of the Dignaga and Dharmakirti schools.
About the Author:
Anantalal Thakur (b. 1916), the doyen of Indian Philosophy, is an internationally known authority on Nyaya, Vaisesika, Buddhist and Jaina systems of philosophy as well as on manuscriptology. He was Professor of Sanskirt at Mithila Research Institute, Mithila, Prakrit Jain Institute, Vaisali, Kameshwar Singh Sanskrit University, Darbhanga, and Burdwan University. He was the Director of K.P. Jaiswal Research Institute, Patna and the Research Director both at The Asiatic Society and Sitaramdas Omkarnath Research Institute in Calcutta. He has thrown new light on different branches of Indological Studies and presented invaluable source material for the young researchers of today through his large number of books and research papers published during the last five decades. He is the recipient of Certificate of Honour for Sanskirt by the President of India (1991). The title of Mahamahopadhyaya was conferred on him by Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha (Deemed University) in 1996 in recognition of his life-time contribution to Sanskrit Studies. His major publications include: Jnanasrimitranibandhavali; Ratnakirtinibandavali; Nyayalankara of Abhayatilaka; Nyayacaturgranthika; Tatparyavivaranapanjika of Aniruddha; Srikanthatippanaka; Vaisesikavarttika of Bhattavadindra and Gangavamsanucarita. His recent study on the Scientific Knowledge in the Mahabharata is a landmark in the history of Indological studies.
D.P. Chattopadhyaya, M.A., LL.B., Ph.D. (Calcutta and Londoan School of Economics), D.Litt. (Hony.), was Professor of Philosophy (Jadavpur University). He researched, aught and lectured at many Universities and Research Institutes in Asia, Europe and the USA (1954-1994), was Chairman, Indian Council of Philosophical Research (1981-90); Chairman, Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (1984-91) and held public offices like Union Cabinet Ministership and State Governorship. He published 35 books of which 18 were authored and 17 edited. Among his notable publications are Individuals and Societies (1967), Individuals and Worlds (1976), Anthropology and Historiography of Science (1990), Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx (1988), Induction Probability and Skepticism (1991), Sociology, Ideology and Utopia (1997), Phenomenology, Philosophy of Science and Other Essays (2003), Self, Society and Science (2005), Religion, Philosophy and Science (2006). Currently Chattopadhyaya is the Director and the General Editor of 96-Volume interdisciplinary Project of History of India Science, Philosophy and Culture (PHISPC). He is a life Member of Russian Academy of Science (Moscow) and a Member of International Institute of Philosophy (Paris).