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THE great body of Hindu Philosophy is based upon six sets of very concise Aphorisms. Without a commentary, the Aphorisms are scarcely intelligible; they being designed, not so much to communicate the doctrine of the particular school, as to aid, by the briefest possible suggestions, the memory of him to whom the doctrine shall have been already communicated. To this end they are admirably adapted; and, this being their end, the obscurity which must needs attach to them, in the eyes of the uninstructed, is not chargeable upon them as a fault.
For various reasons it is desirable that there should be an accurate translation of the Aphorisms, with so much of gloss as may be required to render them intelligible. A class of pandits in the Benares Sanskrit College having been induced to learn English, it is contemplated that a version of the Aphorisms, brought out in successive portions, shall be submitted to the criticism of these men, and, through them, of other learned Bráhmans, so that any errors in the version may have the best chance of being discovered and rectified. The employment of such a version as a class-book is designed to subserve, further, the attempt to determine accurately the aspect of the philosophical terminology of the East, as regards that of the West.
These pages, now submitted to the criticism of the pandits who read English, are to be regarded as proof-sheets awaiting correction. They invite discussion.
J. R. B.
5th January, 1852.