"Veil of Māyā, The"

Schopenhauer's System and Early Indian Thought

By Douglas L. Berger

Subjects: Philosophy
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781586842437, 343 pages, May 2004

Explores the interpretive problems, complexities, and legacies of Schopenhauer’s encounter with ancient India.


Schopenhauer, perhaps more than any other Western philosopher, has been associated with Asian, and specifically Indian philosophy. The problem in the last 150 years of commentarial literature has been assessing what his relationship to Indian thought was. Both European and Indian scholars have vacillated over the years from great confidence that Schopenhauer's system was inspired by and even representative of classical Indian thought to a concurrence that Schopenhauer's knowledge of pre-systematic Hinduism and Buddhism was superficial and his invoking of their ideas was meant to reflect ideas and cultural presuppositions that were his own.

"The Veil of Maya" explores the interpretive problems, complexities, and legacies of Schopenhauer's encounter with ancient India. It sets out to determine exactly to what degree the formation of Schopenhauer's system was influenced by his knowledge of Indian philosophy, exposes his Eurocentric prejudices and reactions to India, as well as details how his understanding of the concept of "maya" profoundly affected his theories of knowledge, metaphysics and ethics. This study will challenge us to rethink both the dangers and the possibilities of cross-cultural philosophical reflection.