1 points | Post submitted by suyash95 26 days ago | 2 comments
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the word ‘nihilism’ can be applied to many realms of thought, such as politics, philosophy, ethics, morality, etc.
While there are a variety of views on nihilism of other kinds, I believe the question is asking in regards to metaphysical nihilism, i.e. the rejection of an ultimate existence or reality.
In Indian philosophy, this metaphysical nihilism is called “shUnyatAvAda” (शून्यतावादः).
There were several Indian schools of philosophy that propounded the validity of nihilism. For example, several Buddhist schools have an extreme interpretation of the concept of “anAtta” (i.e. Sanskrit “anAtma”), which Buddha himself may have meant to be closer to the Upanishad concept of loss of ahankAra.
However, as the question mentions Hinduism, the answer is that Hinduism unequivocally rejects the idea of metaphysical nihilism.
Classical analysis sees this through the tripuTi (triad) of observer (subject), observed (object) and observation. As seen in Vedanta, the absolute and ultimate state is that of the universal observer. Any knowledge requires an observer substratum. Rejection of
Perhaps Adi Shankara, the foremost teacher of Advaita, explains this best when he made this seminal statement in his Brahmasutra Bhashya (commentary on Brahmasutra):
“य एव हि निराकर्ता तस्य आत्मत्वात्”
“The innermost reality is the very observer who denies the existence of everything”
This is true because the denier cannot deny his/her own existence. This applies so easily even in everyday life without us realizing it. Every occurrence and activity starts from acknowledging our own existence first. Then with our existence as the foundation, the world comes into existence.
Now, there is value in this innermost ultimate reality because it is something that is constant, ever-existent, and unchanging. It is the substratum of all experience — both affirming and negating. This is because all knowledge is gained through observation by an observer. When we say gravity exists, it is an observation by an observer. When we say nothing exists, that is still an observation by an observer. There needs to be a constant observer even to experience “nothingness”. This is the pure absolute ultimate reality that takes the form of consciousness without a subject/object bifurcation. This is the ultimate innermost truth of everybody and everything.
How does Hinduism address or acknowledge nihilism?
There are two aspects to nihilism.
The first point is addressed in Indian philosophy — the world comprises of name (nāma) and form (rūpa) and ALL names and forms are impermanent (anitya), unsubstantial (asāra) and momentary (kṣaṇika) and therefore “unreal” i.e. māyā.
The second point is rebuffed since what sustains and maintains the world is DHARMA. Dharma is both the natural qualities and proclivities of things in the world and also the moral and ethical way in which we transact with the environment, creatures and other humans.
Dharma is what differentiates humans from animals.
The Charvakas who were the Hindu materialists rejected all notions of karma, Dharma and reincarnation and lived for total self-indulgence in the moment.
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