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Guest Editor's Introduction

Indian Philosophical thinking is centered to freedom from problems and the basic problem is identified as ignorance. Ignorance gives birth to all limitations, conflicts, sorrow and suffering. The purpose of philosophical thinking is therapeutic that is, to show ways for getting rid of ignorance to move to the knowledge, mortality to move to the immortality, darkness to the light, mundane to the spiritual, limitations to the infinite. This highest goal for some is freedom from the chains of life, realization of the true nature of one own spirit, discriminating knowledge and for some other a transcendental state beyond description. Different schools and thinkers approach to the highest goal by means of positive (pravṛtti mārga) and negative ways (nivṛtti mārga). The two ways are not conflicting because they approach the same pure knowledge in their own way based on their attitude towards ignorance. Two persons claiming highest knowledge of two disciplines may conflict about their superiority but the aspirants of ‘pure knowledge’ do not because the pure knowledge has no opposition, no conflict, and no contradiction with any. Pure knowledge does not differ with the different approaches to it. Some may take pure knowledge as substance, some as quality of consciousness, some as creativity of soul (kṛtya or karma) and still some other as extinction (śūnya). But they all agree that the state of purity is freedom from worldliness, that is, from ignorance with all its forms and modifications. This issue of the Journal of East-West Thought includes nine articles that representing five trends of Indian Philosophical Studies, can grossly be categorized into – Dharma-centric (article 1, 2, 3), value-centric (article 4, 5, 6), spirit-centric (article 7 & 9), meaning-centric (article 8) and cognition-centric (article 9) approaching ‘pure knowledge’ as its goal. Each of the articles in this volume is a complete statement analyzed well and discussed conclusively. A brief evaluation of the merits of the article as per the trend they represent is given below to draw the attention of the readers.

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