For anyone interested in an epoch of almost unrivaled intellectual activity and debate in India, the sixth-century Madhyamakahrdayakārikā along with its auto-commentary, the Tarkajvālā, is an indispensable resource. This partly doxographical treatise, composed by the Madhyamaka philosopher Bhāviveka, is the earliest and most substantial work to present and critically examine Śrāvaka, Yogācāra, Sāmkhya, Vaiśesika, Vedānta, and Mīmāmsā in great detail. Bhāviveka’s text is of unique value in its attempt to identify a Madhyamaka approach to other schools of philosophy as well as in furnishing us with valuable information regarding early Indic systematic philosophy, including what appear to be extracts from original sources that are otherwise unavailable. Most probably it served as a Madhyamaka debate manual for those engaged in discussion with representatives of opposing philosophical schools. Bhāviveka’s treatment of Sāmkhya and Vedānta is of particular importance because of the scarcity of sources pertaining to the early formation and development of these systems of philosophy.
The present book includes a critical edition and English translation of the Sāmkhya and Vedānta chapters of the Madhyamakahrdayakārikā and Tarkajvālā along with a historical introduction.