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Lecture Notes: Five Philosophies of Eternity (Moses 1/23/2008)

Based on Heinrich Zimmer's Philosophies of India (Edited by Joseph Campbell)

NOTE: In what follows, Zimmer presents Jainism, Sankhya, and Yoga as pre-Aryan, indigenous; whereas Brahmanic, Vedantic developments are post-invasion. But compare Hermann Jacobi's introduction to Part One of the Jaina Sutras. "I am of the opinion that the Buddhists have improved on the Brahmanic system of the Yugas, while the Gainas [Jains] invented their Utsarpini and Avisarpini eras after the model of day and night of Brahma" (xxii). Jacobi gives historical precedence to Brahmanic sources, tracing the historical rise of Buddhism and Jainism to a pair of rival contemporaries, Buddha and Mahavira. Therefore, we return to the Zimmer presentation with acknowledgment that some features may be considered controversial. . . . (2010 Feb)

DRAVIDIAN ANTIQUITY (Indigenous, Pre-Aryan, or Post-Brahmanic?)

For a recent discussion of "The Peopling of India" see Gadgil,M., Joshi, N.V., Shambu Prasad,U.V., Manoharan,S. and Suresh Patil 1997. pp.100-129. In: The Indian Human Heritage, Eds. D. Balasubramanian and N. Appaji Rao. Universities Press, Hyderabad, India.

  • (1) Jainism
    • Mahavira Orientation by Pravin K Shah
    • Jainism emerges into documentary view with Vardhamana Mahavira (d. 526 bce), whose teachings comprise the Akaranga Sutra; but Jain tradition claims him as the last of the 24 Tirthankaras or "Crossing Makers" (Zimmer 182).
    • The 23rd Tirthankara was Lord Parsva, whose epic of multiple reincarnation is summarized in the Kalpa Sutra and by Zimmer (181-204).
    • (BTW: 12.4 lunar cycles [months] per year, one Tirthankara story for each waxing and waning?)
    • Sacred Scriptures of Jainism at the Hindu Web Site (see also Hermann Jacobi's 1886 Introduction compare top five precepts of Buddhism, Jainism, and Brahmanism):
    • Cosmic Human: "According to the Jaina cosmology, the universe is a living organism, made animate *:throughout by life-monads [Jivas] which circulate through its limbs and spheres; and this organism *:will never die" (Zimmer 227).
    • We Jivas also never die. “The manner in which [we] circulate . . . is disclosed to the inner eye of *:the enlightened Jaina saint and seer” (Zimmer 228).
    • The philosophical anthropology of the Jainas appears to present a Jiva with the following *:dimensions (Zimmer 228):
      • i.sense
      • ii.action [speech, grasping, locomotion, evacuation, reproduction]
      • iii.consciousness [thought, intuition, ego, etc.]
      • breath: “there are five pranas”
      • v.periods of life [infancy?, pupil, householder, withdrawal, wanderer].
    • Zimmer (252) emphasizes the public nature of Jaina teaching (and what is more public than a system *:that can be counted on one hand!); therefore, I wonder if the five dimensions of the human jiva *:should each be completed five ways, as is clear with three of the five dimensions above.
    • The five-colored Jaina flag (wikipedia) represents five levels of spiritual development
    • "for the life-monad is a subtle crystal, which, in its pristine state, untinged by karmic matter, *:is stainless, devoid of color, and perfectly transparent; the flow entering the clear body darkens *:it, infecting it with color (lesya) corresponding to the moral character of the committed act" *:(Zimmer 249)
      • (KARMA: see the HinduWebSite for Jayaram V's intro to karma in Jainism and the Bhagavadgita. Compare the contrast below between Jainism and Sankhya on "purity." Also see a collection of links on Karma and Buddhism at
    • “The Five Great Vows” of a Jain Monk (Hindu Web Site, Shah):
    [or how to keep your crystal clean]
      • Ahimsa: Nonviolence (Zimmer: all life monads are fellow creatures)
      • Satya: Truth
      • Achaurya: Not Stealing
      • Brahmacharya: Celibacy
      • Aparigraha: Nonattachment
    • "Now this is what one should know, either by one's own knowledge or through the instruction of the *:highest (i.e. a Tirthakara), or having heard it from others: that he descended in an eastern *:direction, or in any other direction (particularised above). Similarly,some know that their soul is *:born again and again, that it arrives in this or that direction, whatever direction that may be. *:(4) He believes in soul, believes in the World believes in rewards, believes in action *:(acknowledged to be our own doing in such judgments as these): 'I did it;' 'I shall cause another *:to do it;' 'I shall allow another to do it.' In the world, these are all the causes of sin, which *:must be comprehended and renounced. (5) A man that does not comprehend and renounce the causes of *:sin, descends in a cardinal or intermediate direction, wanders to all cardinal or intermediate *:directions, is born again and again in manifold births, experiences all painful feelings. (Akaranga *:Sutra, Hindu Web Site)
    • Karma (rewards, actions, soul, born again)
    • Bondage / Release
    • From a Jain community in Delhi, online at
      • Fundamental Features of Jainism. Indestructibility And Liberty of matter, by upadhyaya Munishri *:Kamakumar Nandi
      • Jain philosophy has not looked upon God as the creator, supporter and devastator of the universe. *:It helps open the universe as the group of the endless, infinite, independent and fundamental *:objects and according to nature, moment or change goes on taking place. The system of the creation *:of the universe, planning and management, occurs on account of its own nature. This cycle of *:change is devoid of the beginning and the end. There is juncture of uncountable and contradictory *:forces, and that is why change takes place in these objects at every movement. The universe is well *:arranged and well controlled in itself by means of its mutual cause and action. Science has also *:supported this principle later on. There is a strong proof of this fact in order to support this *:viewpoint, in the Indian culture and relativity has been emphasized.
      • Equalitarianism is the basis of social set-up and beginning of the uplift of all what is known as *:socialism and communalism in political language came to be known as Aparigrah (Non-possession) . . *:.
  • (2) Sankya and Yoga
    • “Sankhya is said to have been founded by a semi-mythical holy man, Kapila” whom we meet briefly in *:the Mahabharata (Zimmer 281-282). “Judging from his influence in the period of Mahavira and the *:Buddha, he must have lived before the sixth century [bce]. . . . The important Sankhya-karika of *:Isvarakrsna was composed in the middle of the fifth century AD, while the Sankhya-sutras, the work *:ascribed traditionally to the hand of Kapila himself cannot be dated earlier than 1380-1450 AD” *:(Zimmer 282).
    • From the Sankhya Aphorisms of Kapila, edited by Fitzedward Hall (London: Trubner & Co., 1885) *:placed online in Jan. 2003 by Christopher M. Weimer (, we find about 50 *:introductory aphorisms discounting causes of pain, for example:
      • Aph. 52: Nor moreover [does the bondage of the soul arise from the merit or demerit of works *:arising] from works; because these belong not thereto.
      • Aph. 53: If the case were otherwise [than as I say], then it [the bondage of the soul might extend *:unduly, even to the emancipated].
    • So then what is the cause of pain or bondage?
      • Aph. 56: Bondage arises from the error [of not discriminating between Nature and soul]. The *:removal of it is to be effected by the necessary means, just like darkness.
      • Aph. 57: Since the non-discrimination of other things [from soul] results from the *:non-discrimination of Nature [from soul], the cessation of this will take place, on the cessation *:of that [from which it results].
    • Or as Zimmer says: “According to the Sankhya (and the view of Yoga is the same) the life-monad *:(called purusa, “man”, atman, “self”, or pums, “man”) is the living entity concealed behind and *:within all the metamorphoses of our life in bondage” (Zimmer 285).
    • “Man's problem is, simply, that his permanent, ever present actual freedom is not realized because *:of the turbulent, ignorant, distracted condition of his mind” (Zimmer 286).
    • “Here, obviously, we have begun to step away from the Jaina doctrine, with its theory of an actual *:contamination of the life-monad (jiva) by the karmic matter (a-jiva)” (Zimmer 286).
    • Q: Is the “soul” or “spirit” actually affected by Nature (Jainism) or do we only “let” things get *:to us by the ignorance of non-discrimination? (Sankya / Yoga)


Did light skinned Aryans conquer (and displace) Dravidian “first peoples” of Indus?

Afrocentrists claim Kushite (ksh: krsna?) roots for Dravidians; Caucasian roots for Aryans

Zimmer discerns different philosophies; yet, he also finds that the earliest (Aryan) Sanskrit literature of the Upanishads and Vedas already presents an amalgamation of cultural heritage between Aryans and Dravidians

  • (3) Brahmanism see Hinduism index at sacred-texts or go to page on Ancient Hinduism here at Infinite Loom
    • “the Brahmanical search proceeded along two ways of the macrocosmic [Brahman; forms; cosmic food] *:and microcosmic [Atman; names; inner self] quests” -- only to conclude: neti neti, neither nor.
    • “The One God is hidden within all beings. He is the all-pervading, all-filling Inner Self *:(antar-atman) of all beings; the overseer of of all activities [both the inward and the outward, *:both the voluntary and the involuntary]; the inhabitant (adhivasa) of all beings. He is the witness *:[ever watching uninvolved in what is going on], the guardian (cetar), complete and alone (kevala), *:beyond the gunas” (Svetasvatara Upanishad; quoted in Zimmer 367).


“Mumbai, Jan 21 (2008): 30 Hindu pilgrims killed as their bus fall from mountain near Nasik last night. 34 were also injured, many of them seriously. The bus was carrying pilgrims from the Vani Devi temple in Nashik to the state capital when it plunged into a gorge at Ganesh Ghat near Saptashringad, about 25 km from Nashik” (

Saptashringa Garh [search Google Earth for Saptashrungi Devi] where Goddess Bhagawati dwells is half asimportant as any of the earlier mentioned places of Goddesses in Maharashtra.Saptashringa means the mountain having seven peaks. It is around 55 kms awayfrom Nashik.

Saptashringi Goddess is known as Khandesh's Goddess. Devotees from Chalisgaon, Jalgaon, Malegaonand Dhulia visit this temple frequently. The idol of the Goddess is set at a height, so that she can be seenfrom a distance too. She has 9 pairs of arms, holding different weapons. Her sparkling eyes, slightlyinflated nostrils wearing Nath (an ornament to be worn in the nose) and 18 hands look very attractive. Every full moon day [Jan. 22, 2008] and during Navaratri the temple is crowded with devotees. The Goddess is offeredcoconuts and sarees. The Goddess is also called as Mahishasur Mardini. A story in this connection isthat Demon Mahishasur was creating problem for Markendaya Rishi. Markendaya had made a HolyFire to eliminate him. The Goddess emerged with 9 pairs of arms holding different weapons from theoly Fire and eliminated the Demon. Hence Mahishasur Mardini, meaning the one who slayed Mahishasur. (

Podcast: Shiva and Markendeya Rishi. Shiva rescues Markendeya, story of Mrytunjaya mantra, Vishnu becomes Markendeya's son in law. Chanting of Mrytunjaya mantra and Ayush Suktam. Channel: Vedic Mythology, Music, and Mantras (Duration: 22:07, Size: 20.35 MB) (Accessed Jan. 21, 2008).

(Markendeya Purana is placed among Brahmanic Purana):

  • Returning to Brahmanism
    • PURANA: another class of literature, neither Upanishad, Veda, nor Gita? 18 Purana divided into *:three Gunas
      • Guna of Satwa (Goodness) Vishnu preserves Goodness
      • Guna of Raja (Passion) Brahma overcomes Passion
      • Guna of Tamas (Ignorance) Siva destroys Ignorance
    • GUNAS
      • "matter (prakrti) is characterized by three qualities (gunas) of inertia (tamas), activity *:(rajas), and tension or harmony (sattva). These are not merely qualities, but the very substance *:of the matter of the universe . . . as a rope of three twisted strands" (Zimmer 230; a footnote by *:editor Joseph Campbell)
      • As three qualities of self:
      • "In the Bhagavad Gita [a portion of the Mahabarata] this idea [of the gunas] is taken over but *:completely assimilated into the Vedic Brahmanical conception of the one and only Self. 'Whatever *:states there may be of the the qualities of clarity (sattvika), passion and violence (rajasa), and *:darkness-inertia (tamasa), know verily that these proceed from Me; yet I am not in them--they are *:in Me' [the voice of Lord Krsna speaking to Arjuna]" (Zimmer 391-392; see also
      • "The inhabitant of the perishable body--the indestructible life-monad (purusa), which according to *:the Sankhya doctrine was to be regarded as the core and life-seed of each living *:individual--according to the composite system of the Bhagavad Gita, is but a particle of the one *:supreme Divine Being, with which it is in essence identical" (Zimmer 393).
  • (4) Buddhism
    • Implored by Brahma to teach enlightenment:
    • "All were enwrapped in the womb of sleep, dreaming a dream known as the waking life of created *:beings. Brahma implored that the truly Awake should open his path to all" (Zimmer 466).
    • For classic texts, begin with the Pali Text Society (
  • (5) Tantra
    • Dancing with the dancing goddess

Source: Zimmer, Heinrich. Ed. Joseph Campbell. Philosophies of India. Bollingen Series XXVI. (Princeton, 1969).