Posted: Jul 20, 2011 11:05 am
by Shiv
cavarka9 wrote:

I disagree, I think andy has done it perfectly well to quote someone who wouldnt be called crazy for saying that and would be listened to. Amartya sen is a brilliant person, although too much of a leftist and too politically correct for my taste.

Well, what does he intend to say through that statement? That is what I contest.

andyx1205 wrote:Just to plug something in, Amartya Sen believes that his agnosticism is compatible with Hinduism:

In some ways people had got used to the idea that India was spiritual and religion-oriented. That gave a leg up to the religious interpretation of India, despite the fact that Sanskrit had a larger atheistic literature than what exists in any other classical language. Madhava Acharya, the remarkable 14th century philosopher, wrote this rather great book called Sarvadarshansamgraha, which discussed all the religious schools of thought within the Hindu structure. The first chapter is "Atheism" – a very strong presentation of the argument in favor of atheism and materialism.

1. It is a given fact that there are not just a few Sanskrit texts in existence today that can be categorized as atheistic. This is in spite of the large number of texts destroyed by invaders and idiots. Those that were saved were passed down *religiously*, through lineages that thrived under and were protected by what we call today as *Hinduism*

2. Sarva-darshana-samgraha is a compendium, a review of all Hindu systems/schools of thought that were prevalent during the period of its author Saint Vidyaranya or Madhava Acharya. This text is a milestone because, though Vidyaranya belonged to Adi Shankara's lineage of Advaita, he very thoroughly details the principles of each school as though he is a student of that very school he is defending. Later he also takes on the role of an opponent and asks penetrating questions that expose flaws in each of those philosophies.

In his book, he orders the system according to an ascending order of integrity, based on how long and strong their philosophies withstand questioning and how soon they run out of answers. That Amartya Sen's "first chapter is "Atheism" – a very strong presentation of the argument in favor of atheism and materialism." actually means it is the weakest of the lot, which is why it is first. It is followed by Buddhism and Jainism. But what the Arguing Indian fails to mention is each system is refuted(philosophically) as the text proceeds.

Check out this wiki page to know more about the text. An old translation in English is available on Project Gutenberg for those interested.

3. There is a curious paradox here: if there were so many Atheistic philosophies with 100s of supporting texts, why were people still religious in India? Heck, even the teachers and authors of these atheistic philosophies went to temples and worshiped idols. The same Vidyaranya even composed Mahishasura-mardini Stotram - Hymns to the Warrior Goddess, who slayed the demon Mahishasura, which is so popular today. Why did these so called "atheistic" teachers go to great lengths to uphold religious traditions, worship, rituals etc?

I do respect the fact that Amartya Sen is entitled to his views and interpretations, especially when he is defending India from a western platform. But please dont tell me to accept them without questioning.