ANCIENT INDIAN PHILOSOPHICAL SCHOOLS
Indian Philosophical Schools
FOCUS OF INDIAN PHILOSOPHY
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
SCHOOLS OF INDIAN PHILOSOPHY
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
GOALS OF LIFE
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
THE VARIOUS SCHOOLS OF INDIAN PHILOSOPHY
School of Philosophy SAMKHYA
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
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
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
Founder AKSHAPADA GAUATAMA
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
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
Founders BADARAYANA and VYASA
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