The Six Schools or visions   Darsana of Hindu Philosophy

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The six traditional (astika) philosophical schools developed on the basis of the Vedas, Upanishads, etc. They also responded to the three unorthodox (nastika) movements of Carvaka, Jainism, and Buddhism.. The six orthodox viewpoints[1]. Nyaya: Logicism; the school of logic and syllogistic re

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The Six Schools or visions Darsana of Hindu Philosophy

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1. The Six Schools (or visions – Darsana) of Hindu Philosophy

2. The six traditional (astika) philosophical schools developed on the basis of the Vedas, Upanishads, etc. They also responded to the three unorthodox (nastika) movements of Carvaka, Jainism, and Buddhism.

3. The six orthodox viewpoints [1]. Nyaya: Logicism; the school of logic and syllogistic reasoning. [2]. Vaise?ika: Atomism; all objects consist of a finite number of atoms. [3]. Sa?khya: Dualism; the ennumeration of the various cosmic principles (tattwas), which are considered separate from the true self or consciousness (purusha). [4]. Yoga: Dualism; techniques for purification, meditation, and transcendence in relation to a personal god (Isvara). [5]. Mima?sa: Ritualism; techniques of interpreting and defending Vedas. [6]. Vedanta: can be Monistic or Dualistic, Panentheistic and personal theism; ultimate identity of worldly and divine.

4. Yoga has a long history and a variety of uses in Indian thought (as we have begun to see). It can mean "Yoking, Vehicle, Equipment, Discipline" As a philosophical school it is based on the Yoga Sutras of Patańjali (2d cent. BCE). It accepts Sa?khya metaphysics to explain the validity of yogic processes and the concept of an Isvara, a supreme personal God.

6. Yoga is defined as “cessation of the modifications of consciousness” and is achieved by an eight-stage discipline of self-control and meditation. It involves Practical methods for direct experience. Yoga systematically deals with all of the levels of one's being and involves systematic explorations of one’s inner states, so as to experientially go beyond all of them to the center of consciousness. Yoga is often called Sankhya-Yoga, as Yoga contains the practical methods to realize the truths of Sankhya philosophy in direct experience.

7. Sankhya was founded by Kapila (6th cent. BCE), admits two basic metaphysical principles, purusha (soul) and prakriti (materiality). Prakriti consists of three gunas or qualities: sattva (light or goodness), rajas (activity or passion), and tamas (darkness or inertia). When these constituents are in equilibrium, prakriti is static. However, disturbance of the equilibrium initiates a process of evolution that ultimately produces both the material world and individual faculties of action, thought, and sense.

8. The purusha appears to be bound to prakriti and its modifications and may become free only through the realization that it is distinct from prakriti. Early versions of Sankhya, now lost, may have been theistic, but the classical system does not include a personal God.

9. Sankhya philosophy offers a framework for all the levels of manifestation, from the subtlest to the grossest. Sankhya comes from samyag akhyate, which literally means that which explains the whole. Sankhya deals with prakriti (matter), purusha (consciousness), buddhi or mahat (intelligence), ahamkara (I-am-ness), three gunas (elements of stability, activity, and lightness), mind (manas), cognitive and active senses (indriyas), and the five subtle and gross elements (earth, water, fire, air, and space).

10. Vedanta literally means "end (or culmination) of the Vedas".  The three most important sources for Vedanta are the Upanishads (commentaries and reflections on the Vedas), the Brahma-Sutras of Badarayana (c.200 BCE–200 CE), and the Bhagavad Gita. The original philosophical text of the Vedanta, the Brahma Sutras of Badarayana, is purportedly a condensation and systematization of Upanishadic wisdom, and it is so concise and abbreviated as to be completely incomprehensible.  This ambiguity allowed a large number of schools and sub-schools to develop, each one based on commentaries on the Upanishads, Brahma sutras, Gita, and other authoritative texts.  Different interpretations of the fundamental texts of Vedanta have given rise to three main schools:

11. “Brahma Satyam Jagan Mithya Jivo Brahmaiva Na Parah.” “God alone is real, The world is unreal, The individual is none other than God” Sa?kara

12. Three Vedanta Schools Advaita Vedanta (monistic or nondual) of Gaudapada and Shankara (8-9th CE) The Qualified (or modified) Monism or Vishishtadvaita Vedanta (theistic monism) of Ramanuja (11-12th CE) Dvaita Vedanta (theistic dualism) of Mahdva (13th) Only the first is absolute or true monism, seeing reality as totally unitary and identifying all things with Brahman.  The second teaches a multiplicity or plurality within unity. Souls and matter are considered "the body" of Brahman but are not identical with his essence. The third teaches the idea of a Personal God (Bhagavan) totally separate from souls and cosmos.

13. Vedanta generally deals with four basic topics, but each school explains them differently Brahman (God or the Absolute) Jivatman (the individual self) Creation of the world Moksha (liberation), the final goal of human life.

14. Shankara's monistic philosophy: God, matter and souls have qualified reality but are ultimately unreal, and only the Absolute Brahman is real; is known as Advaita Vedanta (literally): "non-dual Vedic commentary").  It is often considered the the most orthodox of the orthodox Hindu philosophies. Ramanuja's theology, although little known in the West, had a very strong effect upon the development of Vaishnavite thought and popular devotionalism in India. Mahdva, through a succession of followers such as Vallabha and the 16th Century saint Chaitanya, influenced popular Vaishvanite culture, including A.C. Prabupada Bhaktivedanta, the founder of the Hare Krishna movement.

15. Vaisheshika School of Pluralistic Metaphysics, atomism or “individual Characteristics”, was founded by Kanada in the 3rd century BCE. It analyzed reality into six categories: substance, quality, activity, generality, particularity, and inherence. The universe is made up of nine kinds of substance: earth, water, light, air, ether, time, space, soul (or self), and mind. Like Jainism and early Buddhism, it maintained an infinite number of atom-like entities distinct from souls.

16. Nyaya, traditionally founded by Akshapada Gautama (6th cent. BCE), is a school of logic and epistemology that defined the rules of debate and canons of proof. Its views were accepted with modification by most of the other schools. Nyaya’s focus was the examination of the objects of knowledge and formulation of the criteria of valid knowledge.

17. It was the Nyaya who first developed the notion of the pramanas, the means by which human beings can gain true and accurate knowledge, and also codified the rules and procedures for applying them. The Nyaya recognized four such pramanas: perception (pratyaksha), inference (anumana), analogy (upamana), and authoritative testimony (shabda). The ideas about these four were accepted with modification by virtually all Indian philosophical schools.

18. Mima?sa or Purva Mima?sa ("Prior Interpretation“) school, founded by Jaimini (2d century BCE), set forth sophisticated principles for interpreting the Veda, which was regarded as entirely composed of injunctions to ritual action. Its epistemology and theory of meaning were constructed to show that the words of the Veda had eternal and intrinsic validity. The doctrine of the eternity of the Vedas was argued by this school and it mostly confined itself to promoting the sanctity and power of the Vedas. The school later was practically absorbed into Vedanta.

19. "In religion, India is the only millionaire. The One land that all men desire to see and having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for all the shows of all the rest of the globe combined". -- Mark Twain (1835-1910) What are the similarities and differences between Hindu and non-Hindu Indian philosophy? How are these similarities and differences taken up in western popular culture?

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