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Essay on the Vaisesika and Bhagavad Gita Distinctions between Self and Body

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  1. Introduction
  2. The Vaisesika: Consciousness cannot belong to the sense-organs
  3. The qualities of the self
  4. The final card that the Buddhists have to play
  5. The multiplicity of selves
  6. Conclusion
  7. Bibliography

It is my opinion that the distinction between self and body, as set out in the Vaisesika and mentioned in the Vedanta (Sourcebook, 1957, pp121-138, 386-423) , is an extremely cogent theory which seems to be able to reply to most objections raised to it. In this essay I will attempt to show how this theory works and any problems that are raised regarding it. I will also show the similarities and differences between the theory of self and body in the Vaisesika and the Bhagavad-Gita, and show how the Vaisesika seems to have the upper hand in the area of dispute between the two (Chakrabarti, 1999, chs 2-10).

[...] The Bhagavad-Gita also uses analogies such as ?just as a person casts off worn-out garments and puts on others that are new, even so does the embodied soul cast off worn-out bodies and take on others that are new.? However, there is one major difference between the theories of the Vaisesika and the Bhagavad-Gita, and that is the idea of how many selves there are. The Vaisesika advocates the multiplicity of selves, whereas the Gita believes there is only one self that governs all bodies. [...]

[...] The only option left to them is to say that the self is unoriginated in the same way the Vaisesika would admit, namely that it is eternal and exists forever. However, this merely implies that unoriginated means something that is brought about by no cause. However, this does not preclude its existence. For example, many do not think the Big Bang did not occur simply because it had no cause. I believe that this objection, although a challenging one, does not show that the self does not exist. [...]

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