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Aristotle’s Biography

Aristotle's  Biography

The most synthetic thinker in the history of thought, tutor of king of kings Alexander the great,the master who gave science to mankind is Aristotle.

He was born in 384 B.C. in the town of stagira, in north east of Greece. Aristotle’s father was a wealthy man of his time as he was the physician and friend of Macedonian king and Alexanders grandfather Amyntas. Aristotle spend most of money to buy manuscripts and he turned his house into a library.Hence Plato called Aristotle’s house “the house of the reader”. In 367 B.C. Aristotle moved south to Athens and this movement of Aristotle towards Athens was just because of the Plato.There he joined the circle of Philosophers, Mathematicians and Politicians under Plato’s leadership. And established him self as an industrious student,a vigorous polemicist ans an independent thinker.

In 343 B.C. king of Macedonia and Alexanders father Philip called Aristotle to tutor his son and this was the moment when this great teacher met with his great student. When Aristotle met Alexander he was a wild youth of thirteen and passionate,epileptic,almost alcoholic. Aristotle taught him the art of living. In a letter to Aristotle,Alexander said,”Foe my part i had rather excel in the knowledge of what is good than in the extent of my power and dominion”.

After tutoring Alexander Aristotle returned to his native place Stagira. In 335 B.C. he went south again to Athens ,where he set up his own school at the Lyceum. And there he explored and taught the entire field of human knowledge logic, metaphysics, ethics,theology, politics, history, aesthetics, psychology, zoology, botany, anatomy astronomy, meteorology and ancient equivalents of physics and chemistry.

Aristotle's  biography
Aristotle teaching Alexander the great

Teaching Alexander the Great gave Aristotle many opportunities and an abundance of supplies. He established a library in the Lyceum which aided in the production of many of his hundreds of books. The fact that Aristotle was a pupil of Plato contributed to his former views of Platonism, but, following Plato’s death, Aristotle immersed himself in empirical studies and shifted from Platonism to empiricism. He believed all peoples’ concepts and all of their knowledge was ultimately based on perception. Aristotle’s views on natural sciences represent the groundwork underlying many of his works.

The data gathered by Aristotle and his assistants in the academy became the groundwork of progress of science.We can say it the text book of knowledge for thousand years and this was nothing less than a miracle. Some ancient authors credit him with hundreds of volumes some with thousands.But what remains is just a part of that great work but still it is a library in itself.This work of Aristotle and his assistants contains almost every field of study.But the philosophical work is the most famous which contains ethics,politics and metaphysics.This great work contains many great errors too.

Unlike his tutor Plato, Aristotle given us many scientific words instead of philosophic words few of them are energy,end ,principle,form,maxim,faculty,mean,category,actuality,motive.

In his meta physics Aristotle says-every thing in the world is moved by an inner urge to become something greater than it is.Everything is both the form or reality which has grown out of something which was its matter or raw material,and it may in turn be the matter out of which still higher forms will grow.So the the man is the form of which the child was the matter,the child is the form and its embryo the matter ,the embryo the form ,the ovum the matter,and so back till we reach in a vague way the conception of matter with out form at all.But such a formless matter would be nothing,for every thing has a form.

Matter in its widest sense is the possibility of form,form is the actuality,the finished reality of matter.Matter obstructs,form constructs.Form is not merely the shape but the shaping force.,an inner necessity and impulse which moulds mere material to a specific figure and purpose,it is the realization of a potential capacity of matter ,it is the sum of powers residing in anything to do,to be ,or to become.Nature is the conquest of matter by form,the constant progression and victory of life.

Like the metaphysics Aristotle had wrote in many other fields like biology,ethics etc. and every work of Aristotle is a triumph and by referring these works by Aristotle and his assistants the science started growing.However every part of the earth had his own philosophers of whom individual works are also useful in development of science but most of the works of those other great men are lost hence they are not highlighted as other philosophers.

In 323 B.C. Alexander died and Athens went wild with joy the Macedonian party was over thrown and Athenian independence was proclaimed.Aristotle felt him self unsafe in Athens and he left Athens saying that he would not give Athens a chance to sin a second time against philosophy.Few months after leaving Athens in 322 B.C. our lonely philosopher died.But his legacy is still with us.

His ethics, though always influential, gained renewed interest with the modern advent of virtue ethics. All aspects of Aristotle’s philosophy continue to be the object of active academic study today. Though Aristotle wrote many elegant treatises and dialogues – Cicero described his literary style as “a river of gold”– it is thought that only around a third of his original output has survived.

More than 2300 years after his death, Aristotle remains one of the most influential people who ever lived. He contributed to almost every field of human knowledge then in existence, and he was the founder of many new fields.

The Italian poet Dante says of Aristotle in the first circles of hell,

I saw the Master there of those who know,
Amid the philosophic family,
By all admired, and by all reverenced;
There Plato too I saw, and Socrates,
Who stood beside him closer than the rest.

Aristotle's Biography
Plato and Aristotle
A short Biography of Gautama Buddha

A short Biography of Gautama Buddha

A short Biography of Gautama Buddha
Gautama buddha

Short biography of Gautama Buddha

Gautama Buddha (also known as Siddhārtha Gautama, Shakyamuni,or the Buddha) was a monk on whose teachings Buddhism was founded. Buddha was born in Lumbini, Nepal, grew up in Kapilavastu, Nepal and died at Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh, India. He is believed to have lived and taught mostly in eastern India between the sixth and fourth centuries BCE.

Siddhartha Gautama was the son of Śuddhodana, “an elected chief of the Shakya clan”, whose capital was Kapilavastu. His mother, Queen Maha Maya (Māyādevī) was a Koliyan princess. Buddha’s mother died at his birth, a few days or seven days later. The infant was given the name Siddhartha (Pāli: Siddhattha), meaning “he who achieves his aim”. His family name was Gautama. In accordance with ancient Indian customs many learned Brahmins were invited to the palace for the naming ceremony of newly born prince. Among them there were eight distinguished Brahmins. After examining the characteristics of the child, seven of these highly learned Brahmins indicated two alternative possibilities, and said he would either become a universal monarch or a Buddha (“awakened one”). But the youngest Brahmin, Kaundinya, who excelled others in wisdom, declared that the prince would become a Buddha.

Siddhartha was brought up by his mother’s younger sister, Maha Pajapati. At the age of sixteen Gautama Buddha got married with his cousin of the same age named Yaśodharā. Princess Yaśodharā gave birth to a son, named Rahula.

At the age of 29, he left his palace to see the outside world. Despite his fathers efforts to hide from him, all the negativeness of life such as aging, sickness, suffering, and death, Siddhartha saw an old man,a diseased man, a decaying corpse, and an ascetic. After coming in contact with these harsh realities of life, Buddha felt that material wealth was not life’s ultimate goal. These sights depressed him, and he decided to overcome aging, sickness, suffering and death by living the life of an ascetic.

Departure of Prince  Siddhartha  Biography of Gautama Buddha
Departure of Prince Siddhartha

To begin his journey in search of truth and eternal peace, Prince Siddhartha left his Palace, accompanied by his charioteer Channa and riding his horse Kanthaka. The ascetic Siddhartha, the former prince who once lived in lap of luxury, now became a penniless wanderer. He initially went to Rajagaha and began his ascetic life by begging for alms in the street. After he left Rajgaha, he studied and practiced under some learned aesthetics of that time, but none of these teachings satisfied Siddhartha, and he felt that his quest of the highest truth was not achieved.

Hearing about Siddhartha’s renunciation, Kaundinya, the young Brahmin who predicted his future, and four sons of other Brahmin also renounced the world and joined him. They lived a strict ascetic life and practicing self- mortification. For almost six long year’s ascetic Gautama made a superhuman struggle practicing all forms of intense austerities. His body was almost reduced to a skeleton. Despite these all hard work he didn’t found what he was looking for. Nevertheless, his energy was indomitable.

Siddhartha began to reconsider his path. Then he thought about cultivating breathing exercise. Siddhartha realized that meditative dhyana was the right path to awakening, and the extreme asceticism didn’t work. Siddhartha realized that enlightenment could not be gained with an exhausted body. Physical fitness was essential for spiritual progress. He started taking food and nourished his body.

Kaundinya and four other companions thinking that Siddhartha had abandoned his search and become undisciplined left him alone. Siddhartha was not discouraged by this incident but there separation helped him. Alone in deep solitude great men realize deep truths.

Siddhartha Gautama sat under a pipal tree (the famous Bodhi tree)—in Bodh Gaya, Bihar, India, and he vowed never to arise until he had found the truth. Siddhartha attained enlightenment under this tree.

After a stupendous struggle of six years, in his 35th year the aesthetic Siddhartha, without the guidance of any supernatural agency, and with the help of his own intuitive knowledge, wisdom, hard work and persistence became a Buddha or the awakened one. He became a Buddha by his own effort and was not a Buddha by birth.

Gautama Buddha provided answers to questions like ‘What is the nature of human life?’ and ‘Why does man have to undergo suffering?’ in the form of four noble truths.

Noble Truths: At the root of all human affairs, there are the following four noble truths.
1.Dukkha(Suffering):Human life is full of suffering.

2.Trisha(Desire):The cause of suffering is desire or craving.

3.Dukkha -nirodh:It is possible to end suffering.

4.Pratipad:The way to end of suffering.

The way shown by Gautama Buddha to end suffering is known as astang marg or the eight fold path.The eight principles are

1.Right view

2.Right thought/concept

3.Right speech

4.Right action

5.Right livelihood

6.Right effort

7.Right memory

8.Right concentration

Panchasheel:These are the rules of conduct that are to be followed along with eight-fold path.

1.Ahimsa(Non-violence):No living thing should be hurt.

2.Satya(Truth):One should not tell lies.

3.Asteya:One should not steal.

4.Indriya Samyam:One should win control over bodily desires.

5.One should not take intoxicants.

Formation of the Sangha: Gautama Buddha organized his followers in the Sangha in order to propagate his doctrine to masses. Followers who entered the Sangha have to follow strict rules and were called Bhikkhus. People from all casts and women were allowed to join the Sangha. Buddha used Pali language to propagate his teachings.
Gautam Buddha’s message, “Bahujan-hitay, Bahujan -sukhaya”: For the welfare and happiness of all” made a deep impact on the world.

At the age of 80, the Buddha announced that he would soon reach Parinirvana, or the final deathless state, and abandon his earthly body.

“Behold, O monks,I exhort you. All component things are subject to change . Strive with diligence.”

These were the last words of Gautama Buddha.

Buddha quotes on Happiness

Buddha quote on Life’s Journey

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