The beginnings of Indian Philosophy take us very far back to about the middle of the second millennium before christ. The speculative activity begun so early was continued till a century or two ago so that the history that is narrated in the following pages covers a period of over thirty centuries. During this long period Indian thought development practically unaffacted by outside influence and the extent as well as importance of its achievements will be evident when it is mentioned that it has evolved several systems of philosophy besides creating a great national religion.
This work is based upon the lectures which Prof. Hiriyanna delivered for many years at the Mysore University. Thought primarily intended for students, it is hoped that the book may also be of ouse to others who are interested in the Indian solutions of familiar philosophical problems. Its foremost aim has been to give a connected and, so far as possible within the limits of a single volume. After an introductory chapter summarizing its distinctive features, Indian thought is considered in detail in three Parts dealing respectively with the Vedic period, the early post-Vedic period and the age of the systems; and the account given of the several doctrines in each Part generally includes a brief historical survey in addition to an exposition of its theory of knowledge, ontology and practical teaching. Of these, the problem of knowledge is as a rule treated in two sections, one devoted to its psychological and the other to its logical aspect. It was not possible to leave out Sanskrit terms from the text altogether; but they have been sparingly used and will present no difficulty if the book is read from the beginning and their explanations noted as they are given. To facilitate reference, the number of the page on which a technical expression or an unfamiliar idea is first mentioned is added within brackets whenever it is alluded to in a later portion of the book.