Ancient Philosophies of India
Philosophy is a belief (or system of beliefs) that deal with the rational investigation of questions about existence and knowledge and ethics. There are six schools of philosophy developed in India with the beginning of the Christian era such as 1) Yoga, 2) Nyaya, 3) Mimamsa, 4) Vedanta, 5) Vaisheshikha and 6) Samkhya. The exact dates of formalizing the six systems are not known, as the studies were originally purely oral, since writing had not yet been created. However, estimates generally range from about 2,000-3,000 or more years ago. Some say the roots of these are as much as 5,000-10,000 years ago, or more.
Samkhya literally means count. The Samkhya philosophy states that:
1. The world is created by Nature or Prakriti
2. Around the fourth century AD, Purusha was added and the creation of the world was attributed both to Nature and the Purusha
3. As per the Samkhya School of philosophy, salvation can be attained by a person through the acquisition of real knowledge and his misery can come to an end.The real knowledge can be obtained through Anumana (inference), Shabda (hearing) and Pratyaksha (perception)
As per yoga school, a person can get salvation through physical application and meditation.
1. The yoga stresses on practice of control over pleasure. Bodily organs and senses are central to this system
2. This school recommends physical exercises in various postures known as asana and breathing exercise called pranayama
Nyaya is the school of analysis. It was developed as a system of logic
1. This school states that salvation can be achieved through the obtaining of knowledge
2. This school laid emphasis on logic and inference
1. The Vaisheshika School laid emphasis on the discussion of dravya or material elements. In fact, this school propounded the atom theory
2. As per this theory, material objects are constituted from atoms. It can be concluded that the Vaisheshika marked the start of physics in India
3. This school put faith in both salvation and heaven, because the scientific view was diluted by belief in spiritualism and belief in God
1. Mimansa’s literal meaning is the art of interpretation and reasoning
2. As per Mimamsa, the Vedas include the everlasting truth. The objective of Mimamsa is to acquire salvation and heaven
3. In order to obtain salvation, the Mimamsa School recommends the performance of Vedic sacrifices
4. The Brahmanas tried to preserve their ritual authority and maintain the social hierarchy through the propagation of the Mimamsa
Vedanta literally means the end of the Veda. The basic text of this philosophy was the Brahmasutra.
1. As per the Vedanta philosophy, Brahma is the reality and everything else is Maya (unreal)
2. Brahma is identical with the self or Atma
3. If someone obtains the knowledge of the self (Atma) he realizes the knowledge of Brahma and obtains salvation
4. Both Atma and Brahma are everlasting and can never be destroyed
5. The theory of karma is linked with the Vedanta philosophy
6. Vedanta also put belief in Punarjanma or rebirth
7. It suggests that people suffer due to causes which they neither has knowledge nor can control them.