Problems of Oriental Philosophy


Zumrud Guluzade
Doctor of Philosophy

Now a number of scientific works considers pantheism as the phenomenon extremely, or mainly, characteristic for the history of the western philosophy and does not agree that the given outlook, i.e. philosophy of unity, known in the history of culture of Islamic region under the name "vahdat al-vujud" is the basis or the component of philosophy, including also eastern peripatetism, ideological currents of the region of Islamic culture. During the polemic the identity of philosophy "vahdat al-vujud" with theology and theosophy of "true", "devout" Islam is accentuated and its, ostensibly, intrinsic difference from western pantheism is emphasized.
A natural conclusion thus is that while western pantheism in the scientific literature is interpreted as a part of the history of philosophy, east pantheism is taken out of limits of the history of philosophy and, at the best, is brought under the name of "the Islamic mysticism".
The researchers opposing recognition of the doctrine about unity the real or the all-unity "vahdat al-vujud" as pantheism in cultural space of the Islamic East, in particular, also modern Azerbaijani scientists, as a Mile, operate with the following arguments: 
1. The thinkers - pantheists of the Islamic East recognizing the doctrine "vahdat al-vujud", do not deny Allah and even, moreover, count all the real, except for Allah, nonexistence;
2. The doctrine "vahdat al-vujud" differs in essence from western pantheism and, in first of all, pantheism of Spinoza; 
3. Pantheists of the Islamic East did not oppose the Koran and Islamic religion as a whole; accusations put forward during centuries against them, numerous prosecutions and executions of them are caused by ignorance and "short-sightedness" of the illiterate Islamic clergy.
In connection with the first reason it would be desirable to inform the above-mentioned researchers, that during all his¬tory neither in the West, nor in the East any pantheist has ever denied God. Pantheists of all epoch, geographical and religious regions in all real asserted the presence of God and the presence of all real in God ("Pan - Theos" / "All - God").


Further, in most cases western and eastern pantheists, recognizing God the Creator, His creations named nonexistence, they used the concept "nonexistence" not in literal meaning, but allegorically, for otherwise the thinker calling creations of God nonexistence would deny all religions recognizing God, as the Creator world creations. Meanwhile, pantheists have never denied Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and also other religions recognizing God, as the Creator of all creations. They aspired to comprehend God and esoteric sense of the divine religions. It is quite another matter, the interpretation of the named religions by the pantheists differed from the orthodox interpretation of figures of the official religion. For this reason pantheists, both in the East, and in the West during centuries were accused of godlessness, were exposed to prosecutions, tortures and executions.
Carrying out of the synchronous comparative typological analysis of pantheistic doctrines of the East and the West, irrespective of a geographical area, shows presence of essentially similar or completely conterminous features in these doctrines that confirms universality of pantheism as a phenomenon of the global spiritual culture. The said gives reason for the result of the structural and typological comparison of pantheistic views of the western philosophers - Allmerica Bensky, David Divant (XIII century), M. Ekhart (XII-XIV centuries), Henry Suzo (XIV century), Marceline Fichino (XV century), Jordan Bruno, Bernardino Telesio, J. Cardario, (XVI century), T. Campanella (XVI-XVII centuries) and many others with the heritage of contemporary to them thinkers pantheists of the Islamic East.
Concerning the 2nd point of the objections - to basic inadequacy of the doctrine of Spinoza and eastern pantheists, equally of western and eastern philosophical thinking, let us note, that the given position, probably, results also from the fact that in the Soviet scientific literature Spinoza was often submitted as an atheist and a materialist whom he had actually never been. From the point of view of the scientific character and, in particular, according to the method of historicism, for revealing similar and distinctive features of eastern and western pantheism, a comparison of pantheistic Spinoza's heritages with pantheistic doctrines of his eastern contemporaries would be expedient. However, taking into account special interest in scientific research to the stated problem, probably, would be more correct to address not to interpretation of the heritage of Spinoza by the given researchers, and it is direct to consideration of product of the thinker "Ethics" that will remind the researchers insisting on radical difference of views of Spinoza from sights of east representatives of the doctrine "vah-dat al-vujud", about basic similarity of these doctrines.
The thinker's work "Ethics" occupying a special place in Spinoza's philosophical heritage and repeatedly translated into various languages of the world, including into Russian, was republished in Minsk / in Moscow in 2001. The fragments submitted in the article are borrowed from the specified edition.
"Ethics" consists of five chapters: "About God", "About the nature and the origin of soul", "About the origin and the nature of affects", "About human slavery or force of affects", "About power of reason, or human freedom".
In the work the question is self-knowledge of the person, his spiritual perfection due to which he is in position to get rid of negative affects (desires) and to achieve freedom by means of the reference to intelligence.
We read in the chapter "About God": "I mean by God absolutely infinite being, i.e. substance consisting of infinite attributes out of which everyone expresses personal and infinite essence" God. (ibid, p. 3).
Concerning the problems of God and the creation Spinoza writes:"... it is evident that things are created by God with the greatest perfection for they were a necessary result of his perfect nature", (ibid, p. 40).
"God is the reason of all things constant (immanent), instead of passing", (ibid, p. 27).
"God is the reason of things which are in Him", (ibid, p. 27).
"... God is a substance, which is necessarily existing, i.e. ... a the substance, to which nature existence belongs ..." (ibid, p. 27).
"Existence of God and His essence - are one and the same thing", (ibid, p. 28).
In the given chapter Spinoza writes about eternity of God and his attributes, (ibid, p. 27-28), that He is the reason not only of the essence, but also of the existence of things (ibid, p. 32), all things are determined by God (ibid, p. 38).
"In the nature of things there is nothing casual, but all is determined by the necessity of the divine nature to existence and action in the known way" (ibid, p. 35).
" nature one should understand what exists inside itself and is represented by means of itself, or those attributes of a substance which express eternal and infinite essence, i.e. God ..." (ibid, p. 36).
"The working reason, whether it will be final or infinite, as well as will, desire, love and so forth should concern to the created nature (natura naturata), instead of to creating (natura naturans)" (ibid, p. 37).
"Things could not have been made by God in any other manner and in any other order in what they are made" (ibid, p. 39).
Among divine attributes Spinoza, as is known, gave a special meaning to extent and to thinking.
"Extent is the attribute of God" (ibid, p. 56).
"Thinking is the attribute of God. God is «i thing conceiving" (ibid, p. 55).
In the second and the subsequent parts of "Cthics" Spinoza defines such a concept peculiar to eastern and western pantheism as love, allowing to comprehend God, soul and to achieve spiritual perfection. He narrates about the contents and variety of opportunities of human and divine reason about the role of reason in thinking process of soul, about reflection in a certain way of the divine essence in all real (ibid, p. 53, etc.).
By Spinoza's doctrine "the Human soul is a part of infinite reason of God" (ibid, p. 66).
All ideas as they concern to God, are true, (ibid, p. 92).
"God is shown through essence of the human soul ... the human soul perceives a thing (all real - Z.K.) only partly" (A/m work, p. 66).
"The human soul has no full knowledge about surrounding" (ibid, p. 88-89).
Emphasizing spiritual perfection of the person, Spinoza marked that the person is not capable to restrain his fatal desires, in this case he becomes a slave to them that is why his purpose and freedom are connected to rescue from oppression of affects. (See p. 209).
"The supreme blessing of soul is knowledge of God, and the supreme virtue of soul is to learn God ".
"Love to God is the supreme blessing what we can only desire under the instruction of reason" (ibid, p. 314).
As against Sufism and other doctrines of the Islamic East, Spinoza interprets essence of divine love in the following way: "... God loves nobody and has hatred to anybody. For God does not test any affect, either pleasure, or grief..." (ibid, p. 313).
At the same time, he marks, that "this love to God should engross soul most"
(ibid, p. 312).
By Spinoza's doctrine the person cannot aspire to that God loved him too: "who loves God cannot aspire to that God loved him too" (ibid, p. 314).
Giving reason to the given position Spinoza writes: "If the person aspired to this he would wish also that God whom he loves was not God and, hence, would wish to mourn, - that is absurd " (ibid, p. 314).
The stated testifies to the certain difference of Spinoza's perceptions about the place of love in mutual relations of the person with God from perceptions of many pantheists of the West and the East living in different centuries.
The numerous above-given fragments from "Ethics" are caused by an aspiration to enable supporters and opponents of the recognition of western - eastern pantheism to judge validity of their positions.
As it seems to us, the quoted material confirms basic, intrinsic similarity, and in many cases identity of Spinoza's pantheistic views with the doctrine "vahdat al-vujud" which is a philosophical basis of many not orthodox ideological currents of the East, and also often dominates over the heritage of the largest representatives of the eastern peripatetism - Farabi, Ibn Sina and others.
Also the heritage of many representatives of medieval Azerbaijani philosophical poetry and professional philosophy, including Babakuhi Bakuvi, Eynalguluzat Miyanaji, Mahmud Shabustari, Fazlullah Naimi, Imadeddin Nasimi, Kasimi Anvar, Yusif Karabaghi, Zeynalabdin Shirvani and others can serve as a conformation to the said. The analysis of pantheism in the philosophical heritage of the above-mentioned thinkers has found reflection in scientific articles, monographs, candidate works and theses for a doctor's degree, "Sketches on the history of the Azerbaijani philosophy" (Baku, 1966), in I and and II volumes of multi-volume "History of the Azerbaijani philosophy" (Baku, 2002, 2008).
As to existing distinctions, they are explained by specific features of the thinkers representing these doctrines, and also by social and cultural features of the epoch when these doctrines were created.
The stated as it seems to us, can, and probably also should promote interest to the comparative analysis of pantheistic philosophy of representatives of different regions and the conclusion about universality of the given phenomenon in spiritual culture of the society. And only after revealing the general laws and concrete distinctions in the development of the given phenomenon one could speak about the universal character of pantheism in the system of the universal spiritual culture and its various displays.
It is known, universality of pantheism as the category of spiritual culture, has found reflection in the heritage of the thinkers representing various directions of the philosophical idea of the East and the West 19 through 20 centuries.
The reason of the fact that pantheism as the philosophical outlook reflecting problems of the universe, occupies a vast place in the global spiritual culture and the source of its viability is its difference from idealism and materialism, which opposes the spiritual to the material sharply, the recognition by it of unity and harmony of these beginnings, its on unbreakable from humanism human perfection and love, uniting by it during knowledge rational with irrational, human with divine.
The negative attitude to pantheism, non-recognition of its lofty divine-human essence, both in the past, and in the present is possible, if, on the one hand, are caused by political and ideological reasons, that, on the other - by insufficient acquaintance with the cultural heritage representing it.
For substantiation of my point of view I would like to address to the opinion of the most prominent researcher of Islamic mysticism Anne Marie Shimmel. In the work "The World of Islamic Mysticism" ("Ale-teya", "Enigma", M., 1999, P. 9) Shimmel writes: "To write about Sufism, or Islamic mysticism - is a problem almost impracticable. From the first step on this way the researcher sees an extensive mountain ridge, and the farther the traveler moves ahead, the more difficult the way to achieve the purpose seems to him... In any case only few selected persons will reach the most distant mountain where the prophetic bird Simurq lives, and appearing there, will understand that they have found only what they already had in them".
Displaying of the inadequate attitude to pantheism, underestimation of its importance in the history of culture, somehow leads to denying riches and colorfulness of global, regional and ethnic cultures in the history of philosophy, the literature or music.
In the light of the stated it is necessary to note ambiguity of the interpretation and the estimation of the display of pantheism in the doctrine "vahdat al-vujud" and its attitude to religion. Both thinkers and researchers of the Islamic world and representatives of the world of non-Islamic culture often considered "vahdat al-vujud" as an allowable interpretation of Islamic religion, or, as a heresy contradicting it.
Last years some Azerbaijani researchers are inclined to connect accusations of adherents "vahdat al-vujud", including Sufies in heresy as it has been already told above with activity of orthodox Islamic jurists, "shortsighted" and "ignorant mullah". For a substantiation of their position they aspire to prove, that representatives of the doctrine "vahdat al-vujud" were not pantheists for they did not oppose Allah, the Koran and Islam.
Let us once again note that neither in the East, nor in the West pantheists have ever denied God and the religions preaching monotheism. However they, as against the officially accepted interpretations -of religious doctrines interpreted by them from the position of esotericism, which did not correspond to the official interpretation, and in some cases even loosened its bases. For it their treatments were declared heresy, and - themselves subjected to persecutions. The reason of persecutions neither in the East, nor in the West was ignorance of the clergy. It consisted in discrepancy with the official religion and the state policy connected to it.
Some words about the treatment of pantheism in the modern education process, in particular, its coverage in the history of the Azerbaijani culture, including also the history of philosophy of the Azerbaijani people.
Now one has to face numerous lacks having a place in curriculums, manuals and textbooks on philosophy, authorized by the Ministry of Education of the Azerbaijan Republic. These - are scientific mistakes, infringement of the logic sequence, the a parity of volume of the materials devoted to philosophy of the East, the West and, in par¬ticular, Azerbaijan; use of different estimated criteria at interpretation of similar questions in philosophy of different regions; unfairly negative, ideological attitude to the philosophical heritage of the Soviet period; blind copying of structures of existing curriculums and manuals; unreasoned imitation of estimated criteria and interpretations accepted in Russia and in the West.
The stated sounds in unison with the perception characteristic for western-centrism that the philosophy of the Islamic region developed only in a religious channel.
Let's note also the following, in the above-mentioned fragment from Y. Rustamov's book, main principles both of neo-Platonism, and of Sufism are treated not absolutely adequately. Under the doctrine of neo-Platonism, the Uniform stands at the head of hierarchy of being, he too is the Blessing taking place outside essence and being the origin of all the real. Not the reason, but ecstasy, divine inspiration and love are required for comprehension of the Uniform.
Characterizing neo-Platonism in his book Y. Rustamov marks: "In Plotin's opinion, the world process begins with incomprehensible, divine, prime uniform the beginnings - at first as world mind, then as soul of the world, further down to nonexistence, i.e. matter. The purpose a being - is ascension of human soul to the prime uniform - to God. Only on the supreme, ecstatic (excited) step of the ascension (after long exercises) the soul reunites with God" (ibid, p. 96).
The interpretation and the estimation by the author of typologically similar or even identical phenomena of philosophy of the East and the West in the above-stated forms proceeds from an inadequate perception about philosophical cultures of the West and the Islamic East. For it is known, thai just as the reason does not make a basis ol neo-Platonism, and the belief does not form principles of Sufism. The belief makes a basis of religion. In the basis of the Sufi doctrine of "vahdat al-vujud" there lays not the belief, but "maarifat" (gnosis), leading to "fana" (to disappearance of the individual "I" in God) and "baka" (eternity of the individual "I" in God - Uniform).
We face the inadequate perception about Sufism also in the section of the mentioned book "Sufism". Denying pantheism as the component inherent in Sufism and the doc-trine "vahdat al-vujud", Y.Rustamov writes:
"Representatives Sufism assert}, that with the help of personal spiritual - psychological practice a direct spiritual dialogue with Allah, at least the contemplating Him from outside, nnd then full spiritual merge with Him, are possible. Such dialogue is achieved only by way of divine contemplation through mystical love to Allah" (ibid, p. 111).
"Allah for Sufis - is a uniform substance which underlies the world (vahdat al-vujud), subjects, natural phenomena, the universe as a whole only particles of this uniform integral substance which for a while having separated from it, grieve on it, aspire to it and, at last, come back to it. Unity of the world, the person with Allah is possible only through love" (ibid, p. 112).
The above-mentioned fragments confirm that being (whether it be necessary, or possible) by Sufism possesses uniform basis bid, that he - Sufism recognizes openly connection and unity of the creator and creations rejected as by religion as heresy.
In his monograph addressed to a wide reader's audience, Y. Rustamov not giving any scientific arguments, presents the philosophical heritage of Azerbaijani Sufis Ayanhuzat Miyaneji, Babakuhi Bakuvi, Mahmud Shabustari, etc., within decades studied by the Azerbaijani researchers on the basis of primary sources, according to his concept generated by "transition period" about Sufism and "vahdat al-vujud" (See pp. 119 120). So, referring to my monograph "Hurufism and its representatives in Azerbaijan", issued in 1970 in Baku, Y. Rustamov on my behalf, but in completely other interpretation presents philosophy of Hurufism, in particular, pantheism of the given doctrine, (ibid, p. 121).
Y. Rustamov's unilateral approach to the mentioned problems it is clearly traced also in the following fragment: "The majority of researchers of Sufism, both in the East, and in the West count that this doctrine has arisen on the ground of the Islam and has two sources - the Koran and sunnis (legends of the Prophet). Influence of external factors is small" (ibid, p. 111).
Unfortunately, the author for some reason does not at all mention that during centuries Sufism, its world outlook basis, both in Islamic, and in not Islamic world was treated also differently, that outstanding thinkers of the Islamic Middle Ages ibn Teymiya, ibn Haldun, and also hundreds other thinkers and scientists during centuries asserted repeatedly that Sufism, its doctrine about "vahdat al-vujud", are incompatible with Islam.
The reason of so rapt attention to Y. Rustamov's monograph is the sequence of attempts of the author, not proving scientifically proved arguments to transfer the history of philosophy of the Islamic East, includ¬ing also Azerbaijan, from the sphere of the history of philosophy in the plane of the history of religion and, thus to present the spiri¬tual culture of the region as deprived of dis¬tinctions and internal contradictions.
Despite presence of numerous contradictions and not joining in the sections making subjects of the above- textbooks and manuals, nevertheless, the reader receives from -them a perception about pantheism characteristic for "vahdat al-vujud".
From A. Shukjurov's textbook (§ 5, point "a"; § 8 point "b"), the reader receives data about pantheism in the outlook of the Azerbaijani Sufies Eynalkuzat Miyaneji, Mahmud Shabustari, Imamedin Nassimi, Yussif Garabaghi, etc.
Philosophy of the Azerbaijani thinkers is interpreted from similar positions by Z. Hajiyev in the 1-t, 3rd and 4th paragraphs of the fourth chapter of his textbook; the ANAS corresponding member, d. ph. Z.Mamedov in his manual for the higher schools, entitled "History of Philosophy of Azerbaijan" (Baku, 1934) and many other authors, of textbooks and manuals on philosophy recommended to students However from the introduction to Z.Mamedov's above-mentioned book the reader receives also the following data. The author writes: "...It is shown in the book that during the epoch of feudalism, when only religious philosophy (scholasticism and mysticism) was spread in the Christian world, in the Muslim countries there already existed eastern peripatetism, and also not religious doctrines created by the Azerbaijan philosophers - pantheism and ishrakism, enriched the history of the world philosophy".
From the presented fragment where mysticism of the West is wrongly opposed to pantheism the Azerbaijani philosophers, the reader, nevertheless, finds data on a wide spreading of pantheism in the history of the Azerbaijani philosophy.
The reader reads about the fact that the doctrine of "vahdat al-vujud" is a pantheistic doctrine, also in the textbook "Philosophy" by d. ph., prof. Veli Pashayev. In the section of the given textbook "Islamic Pantheism" it is written: "The Creator's ability to be shown in his creations transformed initial Islamic monotheism to the form of the mystical concept of "vahdat al-vujud" (in Arabic - unity of being) also became the basis of Sufism" (ibid, p. 99).
Records similar under the contents are submitted also in the chapter "At Tassadus" - philosophy of Sufism" of d. ph., prof. Hamid Imanov and d. ph., prof. Abdulla Assadovs book (Baku, 1998), and also in other publications, in particular, in reference books , from which the teaching and student's contingent of high schools of the Republic get knowledge.
There is a question: which from the above-mentioned info the reader can accept for trustworthiness and how examiners should estimate students' knowledge in a situation when the reader, as a rule, is not capable to estimate independently scientific objectivity, truth of the information offered to him.
The situation demands a repeated reference to the raised problem and a wide discussion of curriculums, textbooks and manuals on philosophy.
My understanding of the questions presented in this article has found reflection in the following books: "Hurufizm and Its Representatives in Azerbaijan"(Baku, 1970); "Kasimi Anvar's Outlook" (Baku, 1976); "Laws of the Development of Eastern Philosophy of 13-16 Centuries and the Problem the West - East" (Baku, 1983); "Theoretical Problems of the History of Culture of the East and Nizami Science" (Baku, 1987); "Problems of Fizuli Science" (Baku, 2006), and also the numerous articles published since 1965, in particular, in the article "Pantheism", published in the encyclopedia "Global studies". (Publishing House "Raduga", 2003).

Author : oriental | Date: 2-06-2012, 13:38 | Views: 0