1. BABYLONIA AND ASSYRIA:
Nature of Philosophy: Their philosophy is more religious in character for it is accompanied with their polytheistic belief. For them, every object or every force in nature possessed a spirit (Zi) which could be controlled by the magical exorcism of Shaman, a sorcerer priest. Some of these spirits has been elevated to the dignity of gods. That’s why, they had Anu (the sky), Mul – ge, or Enum (the earth) and Hea (the deep). Among these gods, El was considered as the supreme. But later on during the reign of Assurbanipal, this primitive symtem of theology began to develop into a system of Cosmology when they fostered this belief that the universe emerged from an eternal chaos of waters.
Belief on Man and Moral Ethics: Man has three (3) parts namely, the Khat (body), the Khu (spirit), which is the emanation from divine essence, and the soul which is sometimes represented as Ka, living in the mummy or statue of the deceased and sometimes also as Ba (disembodied soul), which ultimately returns to its home in the lower world. They believed in the immortality of the human soul and the day of resurrected wherein the soul, body and spirit shall be reunited again.
Nature of Philosophy: Before the time of the sages in China, there was a state religion which worshipped the spirits of various kinds and Thian (heaven) as the supreme Lord (Shang – ti). These spirits silently and simply yet inexorably carried out their work in the order of the world. The Chinese always inclined to look towards the past rather than towards the future. They have a high regard on the continuation of the family life which the individual actions were reflected back and made to ennoble a whole line of ancestors. They thought less on the personal immortality in the life after death.
But Chinese Philosophy was highlighted by the two great sages, Confucius and Lao-Tzu. The former told men what to do but discouraged the effort to think out the causes and reasons of things while the latter went to the opposite by advocating the practice of contemplation. He thought deeply about the world and its origin into a materialistic pantheism and about man’s duty of harmonizing himself with nature by imitating Tao.
Morality: both the two taught that conduct is to be guided by a knowledge of the unalterable discriminating, intelligent order of heaven and earth. However, they were distinct in their means to obtain the knowledge of the eternal order on which morality depends for Confucius encouraged the study of writings and institutions of antiquity, while Lao – Tzu advocated the speculative contemplation of Tao.
The Indian philosophy is contained in the Upanishads. This philosophy can be summarized into six points of doctrine:
ü The identity of all being in Brahman.
ü The existence of Maya (illusion), to which is referred everything which is not Brahman.
ü The excellence of the knowledge of all things in Brahman or Atman.
ü The immortality and transmigration of soul.
ü Mysticism and deliverance of bondage. In this, they recognized the existence of evil and suffering and so they are concerned with the problem of deliverance by means of knowledge.
But with the rise of Buddhism this problem was given a solution through the abolition of desire which is the cause of suffering
Belief on Man: man undergoes a series of purification through that transmigration until he is purified and is proclaimed to be in union with Brahman or Atman.
Their philosophy is again religious in character. Their religion was at first monotheists in tendency due to the influence of the Aryan invaders. But this monotheistic tendency gradually developed into dualism when they accepted two important divinities. Devas, recognized as evil deities and Ahuras, as deities friendly to man. This dualistic conception was furter developed by Zoroaster, a great religious reformer into two principles of good and evil in the universe. The good principle is called Ahura – Mazda (Ormuzd) while the evil principle is called Anra – Mainyu (Ahriman). The former is conceived as light and day, the latter as darkness and night. There is battle between these two opposing principles. But at the end of twelve thousand (12,000) years, the present cosmic period will come to an end and Ormuzd will finally triumph over Ahriman.
Belief on Man and Moral Duties: man’s duty is to worship Ormuzd by prayer, sacrifice and the oblation of Home (juice of sacred plant). It is also his duty to cultivate the soil and to promote the like and growth of Ormuzd’s creatures and to destroy the works of Ahriman.