Vada, meaning debates, dialogues, discussions, was the quintessential of Indian spirit, enabling and promoting the growth of different philosophical and knowledge systems of India. It percolated deep into our mindset and enriched the moral, ethical, religious and sociocultural edifice of anything that was essentially Indian in nature. As continuation of Anvikshiki from the bc era, vada helped thrive Indian traditional knowledge systems. It subsists on diversity and its tradition envisages pluralism.
Most of our Sanskrit works, covering a wide gamut of knowledge systems, are structured in the techniques of debate. This reality applies not only to the philosophical writings, but to Indian medical systems (Ayurveda), Arthashastra of Kautilya and Kamasutra of Vatsyayana as well. Even great epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata are no exceptions.
Vada culture involved verbal duals, attacks and even violence of speech, and all major religious systems — old or modern — were parties to it. This book also elucidates how vata was vital and critical for the growth of our socio-political fabrics. It shows how some of the major conflicts in philosophical systems were centred around karma, jnana, choice between violence and non-violence, pravritti and nivritti. It also presents the manifestations of vada on a vast canvas during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Modern spiritual and religious gurus like Ramana Maharshi, J. Krishnamurti and Vinoba Bhave were men of dialogues. Our scholars have applied the varied techniques of vada against the philosophical and scientific systems of the West to prove them correct.
This collector’s issue should enthrall a wide audience of philosophers, scholars and believers in Indian knowledge systems.