October 01, 2007

Socrates considered it was man’s duty to perform rituals as ancient tradition ordained

In spite of his exalted ethical ideas and critical spirit, Socrates sacrifices and prayed to the gods, participated in their festivals and scrupulously kept his vows. Even in his last moments he wanted to make a libation to a god from the draught of poison and drank it after praying to the gods, and just before dying remembered his vow of a cock to Asclepius and asked his friend to fulfill it. Socrates appears to have believed in the existence of gods, but certainly he considered it was man’s duty to perform rituals as ancient tradition ordained whether or not gods existed.

Socrates also believed in a God that directs and commands men, whom men have to serve. The example of Socrates shows that philosophic profundity, moral courage and critical ability are not contradictory to belief in gods and involvement in rituals…

While Kant’s categorical imperative is as exacting as the Dharma of Mimamsa, his principle that one must so act that the maxim of the act becomes by one’s will a universal law and that each individual must determine his own ends for himself according to his own idea of duty, make it a very different type of ethics.
The Realm of Between, K. Satchidananda Murty, IIAS, 1973 (P. 107)
Among philosophers in India today, Professor K. Satchidananda Murty is in a class in himself. He is a heterodox thinker as well as a critical traditionalist. Few specialists in Advaita Vedanta have been so critical of it as he has been in his Revelation and Reason in Advaita Vedanta (1959). And few have presented such an admiring exposition of it as he has done in his Advaitic Notion (1985).

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