ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel


Updated on October 2, 2010


Indian Philosophical Schools


In ancient India, philosophy was known by different names. Around 900 BC philosophy was known as BRAHMODYA that is speculative discussion of BRAHMAN, the holy power and ultimate reality.  Between 800 to 600 BC it was known as ATMAVIDYA that is knowledge of the self. Around the same time philosophy had other synonyms like PARAAVIDYA, which means supreme transcendental knowledge and BRAHMAVIDYA which means knowledge of BRAHMAN. Brahman incidentally is the Absolute Reality or universal substrate (not to be confused with the Creator god Brahmā). Itis considered eternal, omnipotent,omniscient, omnipresent, and cannot be described in human language.

 The above synonyms of philosophy where on the basis of the focus of study. Studies centered around questions like what is ‘self’. What is ‘BRAHMAN’? What is bliss? But irrespective of this.  Philosophy is called ‘DARSHANA’ which means a view or vision of the truth, and was considered the supreme knowledge. This is reflected in the Sanskrit saying “Adhyatma-vidya vidyanaam’ meaning Philosophy is knowledge par excellence.

Indian philosophy is the world’s oldest philosophical tradition, and  has witnessed the longest and most continuous development


There are six schools of philosophies which accept the authority of Vedic scriptures. They are

MIMASA and VEDANTA which are wholly Vedic.

SAMKHYA, YOGA, VAISESIKA and NYAYA have their seeds in the Vedas

All these  six schools are classified as ASTIKA and come under the ORTHODOX category

Jainism and Buddhism however does note accept the authority of Vedas and are therefore called NASTIKA and belong to the HETERODOX school


Indian philosophy is not merely an enquiry into the nature of truth, but a path that will  release man  from the snare of time, space ,  relationships and  cycles of birth and death. This is called MOKSHA or release.

The goals of life are

ARTHA – material gain

KAMA - pleasure

DHARMA – Virtue and morality

MOKSHA – freedom and  spiritual enlightenment

Indian philosophy is closely intertwined with religion and ethics and each school of philosophy is a paradigm of thought called SASTRA

These are explained in the form of aphorisms and are called SUTRAS. This is in order to facilitate memorization and easy comprehension

Being very pithy statements they have been interpreted differently over time by various philosophers



School of Philosophy      SAMKHYA

Founder   KAPILA


SAMKHYA (Enumeration) philosophy highlighted the dualism of matter (PRAKRITI) and soul (PURUSHA). It was basically an atheistic school of thought, because it did not hypothesize the existence of God. It is the oldest of the six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy


School of Philosophy   YOGA

Founder    PATANJALI


YOGA (application) believes that knowledge of the ultimate reality can only be achieved by perfect control over the body. Patanjali's Yoga Sutras,is the main source  where he describes Raja Yoga


School of Philosophy      VAISESIKA

Founder      KANADA


VAISESIKA (particular characteristics) emphasized the distinct nature of  matter and soul. They believed that universe was created from atoms and that there were separate universes of matter and soul.


School of Philosophy      NYAYA



NYAYA (Analysis) was based on logic. established in the Nyaya Sutra by Gautama. They believed that only valid knowledge could release a person from the cycle of suffering. So by using logic they attempted to weed out invalid knowledge from valid knowledge


School of Philosophy    MIMASA

Founder    JAIMINI


MIMASA (Enquiry) tried to assert the authority of the Vedas which its protagonists felt was neglected due to the rise of post-Vedic heterodox schools. It is also known as PURVA MIMASA and emphasized the importance of rituals contained in the MANTRAS


School of Philosophy    VEDANTA



VEDANTA (end of Vedas) .It is also known as UTTARA MIMASA though it accepted the authority of Vedas believed in the existence of the absolute soul in all things. It propagated the view that the goal of life was the union of the individual with the absolute soul which was known as BRAHMAN




ancient india
ancient india
nyaya sutra
nyaya sutra
vaisesika school of philsophy
vaisesika school of philsophy


Submit a Comment

  • profile image

    r basu 

    5 years ago

    Sir ,u may include bhuddism,jainism ,it will be very nice !

  • ram_m profile imageAUTHOR


    7 years ago from India

    Thank you Pavi, I'm also happy to know that you have written articles on similar topics.Such articles are needed to understand our heritage.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Enjoyed your article very much. I also like the map and pictures very much. I see that you have written several articles on these topics I will go through all of them one by one. I already saw your interesting article on Carvaca's philosophies.

    I also wrote some days back an article on similar topics

  • profile image


    8 years ago from Mumbai India and often in USA

    Hi! Ram

    Enjoyed your article very much. I also like the map and pictures very much. I see that you have written several articles on these topics I will go through all of them one by one. I already saw your interesting article on Carvaca's philosophies.

    I also wrote some days back an article on similar topics


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)