About the book
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 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 primarily historical character, this Project, both in its conceptualization and execution, has been shaped by 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.In this volume devoted to the Puranas, History and Itihasas, scholars have contributed articles on central ideas of ancient texts and also on Historiography or method of writing history. D.P. Chattopadhyaya in his work entitled Ways of Understanding the Human Past has shown that there cannot be one method of historical enquiry and writing. One of the editors of this volume, N.S.S. Raman, has in his Introduction and in other articles, attempted to show that in the Indian historical and cultural tradition, pluralist methodology is not only avoidable but is necessary. Contributors have tried to highlight those topics that come under the five characteristics as stated by the Puranas, namely the creation of the universe, the various eras of human history, histories of the dynasties of the various kings and events that have occurred during their reigns, and of the gods and sages, The two major itihasas in Indian literature, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, have also been studies intensely in this volume.A section is devoted exclusively to historiography of ancient Indian history. The section includes various religious histories like those of Saivism and Buddhism, and sources of historical writings other than archaeology and epigraphy, like biographies and travel diaries.
About the author
D.P. CHATTOPADHYAYA, M.A., LL.B., Ph.D. (University of Calcutta and London School of Economics), D. Litt. (Honoris Causa), studied and researched law, philosophy and history and taught at various universities in India, Asia, Europe and USA from 1954 to 1994. Founder-Chairman of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research (1981-1990) and President-cum-Chairman of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (1984-1991), Chattopadhyaya is currently the Project Director of the multidisciplinary ninety-six volume Project of History of Indian Science, Philosophy and Culture (PHISPC) and Chairman of the Centre for Studies in Civilizations (CSC). Among his 37 publications, he has authored 19 and edited and co-edited 18. These are Individuals and Societies (1967); Individuals and Worlds (1976); Sri Aurobindo and Karl Marx (1988); Anthropology and Historiography of Science (1990); Induction, Probability and Skepticism (1991); Sociology, Ideology and Utopia (1997); Societies, Cultures and Ideologies (2000); Interdisciplinary Studies in Science, Society, Value and Civilizational Dialogue (2002); Philosophy of Science, Phenomenology and Other Essays (2003); Philosophical Consciousness and Scientific Knowledge: Conceptual Linkages and Civilizational Background (2004); Self, Society and Science: Theoretical and Historical Perspectives (2004); Religion, Philosophy and Science (2006); Aesthetic Theories and Forms in Indian Tradition (2008) and Love, Life and Death (2010). He has also held high public offices, namely, Union Cabinet Minister and State Governor. He is a Life Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and a Member of the International Institute of Philosophy, Paris. He was awarded Padma Bhushan in 1998 and Padma Vibhushan in 2009 by the Government of India.
VIDYA NIVAS MISHRA (Late) was a distinguished scholar in Hindi and Sanskrit and was Professor of Linguistics and Director of the Central Institute of Hindi at Agra. He later became Vice-Chancellor of three Universities in U.P., Sampurnanand Sanskrit University and Mahatma Gandhi Kashi Vidyapith in Varanasi and the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya University of Gorakhpur. He was also for some time Editor of the well-known literary and cultural weekly magazine, Dharmayug in Mumbai. At the time of his sudden death in a car accident, he was a nominated Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha). He was a recipient of both the Padmashri and Padma Bhushan awards conferred by the Government of India.
N.S.S. RAMAN (Late), who took over the unfinished work of this volume after Professor Vidya Niwas Mishra's death, was Retired Professor and Head of the Department of Philosophy and Ex-Dean, Faculty of Arts, Banaras Hindu University. Blind till the age of six he recovered his eye-sight partially after surgery. He had a brilliant academic career marked by many prizes, scholarships and fellowships. He was educated in India, U.K. and Germany. He was fluent in 10 languages, including Sanskrit, Pali, German and French. He was Visiting Professor of Philosophy at the University of Mainz in Germany, the Buddhist University at Bangkok and at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla. Author of a number of books and papers in reputed national and international journals, he was responsible for editing the PHISPC volumes on Hinduism (2013).