Indian philosophy is divided into six āstika (Sanskrit: "orthodox") schools of thought or darśanas "views"), which accept the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures. Three other nāstika ("heterodox") schools do not accept the Vedas as authoritative. The āstika
1. Nyaya or logics
2. Vaisheshika, an empiricist school of atomism
3. Sankhya, a theoretical exposition of mind and matter
4. Yoga, a school emphasizing meditation closely based on Samkhya
5. Mimamsa, an anti-ascetic and anti-mysticist school
6. Vedanta, the logical conclusion to Vedic ritualism, focusing on mysticism.
The nāstika schools which
do not accept the authority of Vedas are:
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. The absence of clear dates is also explained as coming from the fact that the practitioners were so focused on the timeless quality of higher truths that they simply didn't care to record dates.
In Hindu history, the distinction of the six orthodox schools was current in the Gupta period "golden age" of Hinduism. With the disappearance of Vaisheshika and Mimamsa, it was obsolete by the later Middle Ages, when the various sub-schools of Vedanta (Dvaita "dualism", Advaita Vedanta "non-dualism" and others) began to rise to prominence as the main divisions of religious philosophy. Nyaya survived into the 17th century as Navya Nyaya "Neo-Nyaya", while Samkhya gradually lost its status as an independent school, its tenets absorbed into Yoga and Vedanta
Founder :Gautama Focus:
Valid knowledge through Logical Reasoning
The philosophical system of Nyaya accepts four Pramanas or valid means of acquiring knowledge. They are Pratyaksha (perception), Anumama (inference), Upamana (comparison) and Shabda (verbal testimony). Nyaya, like many other systems of philosophy aims at the attainment of liberation. According to them the attainment of Moksha which they call ‘Apavarga’ is the highest goal of human life. All other systems of Indian philosophy draw on this process.
This school discusses seven major topics: substance, quality, action, generality, uniqueness, inherence and non-existence. This school is called Vaisesika because it considers, uniqueness, as an aspect of reality and studies it as a separate category. Under the topic of substance, it deals with the physics and chemistry of the body and the universe. The theory of atomic structure was established by this school. Its practical teaching emphasizes dharma, the code of conduct that leads man to worldly welfare and to the highest goal of life.
Founder :Kapila Focus: Explains nature Of Creation
Sankhya comes from samyag akhyate, which literally means that which explains the whole .It does not believe in the existence of god. Samkhya is a dualistic philosophy that believes in the coexistent and interdependent realities, conscious Purusha and unconscious Prakrti.
Purusha is ever pure, wise and free but it becomes a
subject of pain and pleasure when it identifies itself with Prakrti. Prakrti is the material cause of the universe and is composed of three gunas “ sattva, rajas and tamas that correspond to light, activity and inertia respectively. The state in which the gunas are in equilibrium is called Prakrti but when disturbed the state is called Vikrti. Disturbance of the equilibrium of Prakrti produces the material world, including the mind, which is supposed to be the finest form of material energy. Samkhya philosophy explains the dynamics of the body and nature of mind. It is the mother of mathematics as well as Ayurveda and is indeed the very basis of Eastern philosophy.
Focus:Practical methods for direct experience
Although Yoga philosophy was known even in the Vedic and pre-Vedic periods, it was not formally systematized until it was codified by Patanjali in about 200 BC. The Yoga Sutras contain 196 aphorisms, which are divided into four sections. Yoga studies all aspects of human personality and teaches one how to control the modifications of the mind through practice of meditation and detachment and surrender to higher
consciousness. It prescribes a holistic system of practice beginning with the yamas and niyamas (ethical and behavioral codes) and proceeding through the asanas (physical postures), pranayama (breathing exercises), pratyahara (control of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and culminating in samadhi. In this system the individual self is the seeker and pure consciousness is the ultimate reality that he finds within. Practicality is the main feature of this system.
Founder: Jaimini Focus: Rituals, Worship and Ethical conduct
It provides a comprehensive method for interpreting and understanding the underlying meaning of the Veda. Ithas a detailed philosophy related to ritual, worship and ethical conduct, which developed into the philosophy of karma.The Mimamsa Darshana believes firmly in the performance of rituals and supports the view that the body is perishable but the soul survives even after the death of the body and it reserves the right to enjoy the fruits of the rituals in heaven.
The school firmly believes in the preservation of the effect or the fruits of the rituals by a remarkable power Mimamsa strictly is of the opinion that whatever we do in our life are not dreams or illusion but are real.One of the most important observations made by the Purva Mimamsa system of philosophy is that there is no need for the existence of God to create the world. This is because of the fact that all the material needed for the formation and the creation of the world are available eternally. Hence Mimamsa does not speak about the existence of God. Performance of daily duties or the Nitya Karmas is the ultimate goal of man. This school is foremost in the analysis of sound and mantra.
Founder :Veda Vyasa
Focus: Contemplative self-inquiry
Vedanta was taught and practiced by the sages of the Vedas and Upanishads and was handed over through a long line of sages.Until the time of Sankara, Vedanta was mainly transmitted through oral tradition but sometime between the 6th and 8th centuries a.d. Sankara reorganized the system of this monistic school of thought. After him numerous teachers wrote commentaries on the Brahma Sutras, interpreting it in various
ways and thus establishing various schools within the single system of Vedanta.
The major schools of Vedanta are Advaita (nondualistic), Dvaita (dualistic), Dvaitadvaita (both dualistic and non dualistic), Visistadvaita (qualifies nondualism) and Visuddhadvaita (pure non-dualism).
Of these schools Sankara's Advaita,Madhvacharya's Dvaita and Ramanuja's Visistadvaita are the most important. The main teachings of Vedanta is that self-realization is the actual goal of life. Vedanta philosophy and practice provides contemplative methods of self-inquiry leading to the realization of one's true nature, that which is not subject to death, decay, or decomposition. A major key of these practices is contemplation on the Mahavakyas. The teachings of Vedanta are best captured in the books of the Upanishads.