Chapter 12: Session 12
The myth is beautiful. Camus has introduced it again. He was a very religious person. In fact, he was the real existentialist, not Jean-Paul Sartre, but he was not a slogan-monger so he never came to the front. He remained silent, wrote silently, died silently. Many people in the world do not know that he is no more. He was such a silent man - but what he has written, The Myth of Sisyphus, is very eloquent. The Myth of Sisyphus is one of the greatest works of art ever produced.
Ninth: I am reminded again and again, I don’t know why, that I have to include Bertrand Russell. I have loved him always, also knowing perfectly well that we are poles apart - in fact diametrically opposite to each other. Perhaps that’s the reason. Opposite poles attract each other. Do you see again tears in my eyes? They are for Bertrand Russell - Bertie as he was known to his friends. His is the ninth book, The History of Western Philosophy.
Nobody had previously done such a work as far as Western philosophy is concerned. Only a philosopher could do it. Historians have tried, and there are many histories of philosophy, but none of the historians was a philosopher. This is the first time a philosopher of the category of Bertrand Russell has also written a history - The History of Western Philosophy. And he is so sincere that he does not call it The History of Philosophy, because he knows perfectly well that he knows nothing of Eastern philosophy. He simply, humbly states what he knows, also stating that it is not the whole history of philosophy but only the Western part, from Aristotle to Bertrand Russell.
I don’t love philosophy, but Russell’s book is not only a history but a work of art. It is so systematic, so aesthetic, such a beautiful creation, perhaps because basically Russell was a mathematician.
India still needs a Bertrand Russell to write of Indian philosophy and its history. There are many histories, but they are written by historians, not philosophers, and obviously a historian is only a historian; he cannot understand the profundity and the inner rhythm of the moving thought. Radhakrishna has written a History of Indian Philosophy, perhaps hoping it will become something like Bertrand Russell’s book, but it is a theft. The book was not written by Radhakrishna, it was the thesis of a poor student of whom he, Radhakrishna, was the examiner, and he stole the whole thesis. There was a case against him in the court, but the student was so poor that he could not fight the case. He was given enough money by Radhakrishna to be hushed up.
Now, such people cannot do justice to Indian philosophy. A Bertrand Russell is needed by India, by China.particularly these two countries. The West is fortunate to have a revolutionary thinker like Bertrand Russell, who could and did write the most beautiful narrative describing the whole progression of Western thought from Aristotle to himself.
Tenth. The tenth book that I am going to talk about now is again not a so-called religious book. It is religious only if you meditate over it.if you don’t read it, but meditate over it. It is as yet untranslated being still in the original Hindi, The Songs of Dayabai.