Page:A history of Sanskrit literature (1900), Macdonell, Arthur Anthony.djvu/408

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

The latter view was doubtless a concession to the Vedāntic conception of Brahma, in which the individual soul is merged on attaining salvation.

The importance of these systems lies not in their metaphysical speculations, which occupy but a subordinate position, but in their high development of moral principles, which are almost entirely neglected in the orthodox systems of Indian philosophy. The fate of the two religions has been strangely different. Jainism has survived as an insignificant sect in India alone; Buddhism has long since vanished from the land of its birth, but has become a world religion counting more adherents than any other faith.

The Sānkhya philosophy, with the addition of a peculiar form of mental asceticism as the most effective means of acquiring saving knowledge, appears to have assumed definite shape in a manual at an earlier period than any of the other orthodox systems. This is the Yoga philosophy founded by Patanjali and expounded in the Yoga Sūtras. The priority of this text-book is rendered highly probable by the fact that it is the only philosophical Sūtra work which contains no polemics against the others. There seems, moreover, to be no sufficient ground to doubt the correctness of the native tradition identifying the founder of the Yoga system with the grammarian Patanjali. The Yoga Sūtras therefore probably date from the second century B.C. This work also goes by the name of Sānkhya-pravachana, the same as that given to the later Sānkhya Sūtras, a sufficiently clear proof of its close connection with Kapila's philosophy. In the Mahābhārata the two systems are actually spoken of as one and the same.

In order to make his system more acceptable, Patan-