Vedic knowledge is root of Plato’s Western philosophy


By Prem Sabhlok

Via e-mail

It is interesting to note that the root of Greek philosopher Plato’s metaphysics can be traced to all-pervasive Indian Vedic knowledge.

Plato mentions in his Laws (174-f) and also in Utopia that in an ideal state the range of economic disparities should be within 1:16. If the range sof disparity increases marginally, the state is less ideal. However, if it increases considerably, the state is either a Democracy or an Oligarchy. The rulers in both tend to be tyrannical, corrupt, and hypocritical.

In his metaphysics, Plato says that the soul of virtuous people becomes lighter and goes toward heaven by moving upward after death and that of the non-virtuous, being heavier, it stays near the earth and is the cause of rebirth. On rebirth, people may be born in families professing different faiths, religions, as well as in the different regions of the earth. Plato thus becomes one of the few ancient philosophers, who gave a perfect philosophical theory on secularism and universal brotherhood.

In an ideal state, which he described as Republic, divine guidance is the maximum and in Tyranny it reaches its minimum and the  world dissolution comes when that divine guidance is totally withdrawn.

In his Republic and other books, he refers to an ideal state where a Philospher King  rules,  an education system extending till the age of 48 years, a number of classes in society, forms and ideas and the world as phenomenon, etc.

A  person, who knows the Vedic Metaphysics, would find all the above philosophi-cal/metaphysical concepts are Vedic. Socrates,  Plato’s preceptor, guide and friend, was awarded death penalty by the oligarchs of Greece for holding somewhat similar views on Soul, re-birth, etc.,  and corrupting the minds of young Greek children, including Plato at that time.

Clearly the then people of Greece held quite different views. If so, how Socrates and Plato and even Pythagorus  got different views akin to Vedic Metaphysics.

History of philosophy tells us that all these three metaphysicists spent some time with the Vedic Risis and Munnies of yore. Pythagoras came to meet them for learning Astronomy. Plato spent about one decade in their company. Their influence is found in the metaphysics and philosophy of Plato in all his books. His concept of Philosopher King was influenced by the Ideal Philosopher King Janaka supported by Risi Yajanvalkya, Risika Gargi and many others.

It is high time we revived the Vedas, which are followed more in the West than in India. In India, we utilize the Vedas as spiritual adhesive without knowing what the Vedas contain. The Western concept of self-rule, bottom-up democracy, healthy community life, less/least corruption, avoidance of rudderless socialism, no manipulation of voters lists,   public welfare services (no colonial administrative services), difference between soul and spirit,             genuine secularism, etc.,  are all Vedic expressions. Unfortu-nately the West links these concepts with Plato, Aristotle, St Aquinas, St Augustine and many later philosophers.

During my M.A (Political Science and Philosophy) during 1954-56 my ideal philosophers were Plato and St Aquinas, but at that time I had no knowledge of the Vedic Metaphysics. I was taught Indian philosophy by the most renowned Professor J.C.Anand as an optional subject, but hardly it included the Vedic Metaphysics. Six Schools of Indian Philosophy (Sad Darshana — six world visions) do not contain complete Vedic Metaphysics.

It is high time we modified the syllabus of M.A (Political Science) and Philosophy and Vedic Metaphysics and political philosophy is added                 as a major subject. In Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration (LBSNAA) Mussoorie, the Vedic Metaphysics must be taught as a compulsory subject to all IAS, IPS, IFS and Central Services probationers. These services will then become truly Indian Public Welfare Services.

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