Volume 6, 1998
Radhakrishnan’s Thought and Existentialism
I attempt to show the similarities between the viewpoints of Radhakrishnan and the existentialist thinkers. The philosophy of Radhakrishnan is an attempt to reinterpret and reconstruct the Advaita Vedanta of Sankara in the light of scientific knowledge and techniques of modern time. Existentialism is an attitude and outlook that emphasizes human existence. For Radhakrishnan, the human is essentially subject, not object. The existentialists assert that the human is not an object to be known, but a subject. Both Radhakrishnan and the existentialists emphasize the immense potential and present day condition of humanity. Radhakrishnan acknowledges the reality of suffering and misery of worldly existence. The existentialists maintain that there are antinomies, contradictions and distress at the root of existence. Radhakrishnan is concerned with liberation as a state of freedom. Freedom is the central concept around which the existential enquiry revolves. Though Radhakrishnan has certain affinities with existentialism, he regards it as a stage in the human's pilgrimage through life.