Hindu Philosophy

Hindu philosophy refers to a group of dar?anas (philosophies, world views, teachings)[1] that emerged in ancient India. The mainstream ancient Indian philosophy includes six systems (?a?dar?ana) - Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta.[2] These are also called the Astika (orthodox) philosophical traditions and are those that accept the Vedas as authoritative, important source of knowledge.[3][note 1][note 2] Ancient and medieval India was also the source of philosophies that share philosophical concepts but rejected the Vedas, and these have been called n?stika (heterodox or non-orthodox) Indian philosophies.[2][3] N?stika Indian philosophies include Buddhism, Jainism, C?rv?ka, ?j?vika, and others.[6]

Scholars have debated the relationship and differences within ?stika philosophies and with n?stika philosophies, starting with the writings of Indologists and Orientalists of the 18th and 19th centuries, which were themselves derived from limited availability of Indian literature and medieval doxographies.[2] The various sibling traditions included in Hindu philosophies are diverse, and they are united by shared history and concepts, same textual resources, similar ontological and soteriological focus, and cosmology.[7][8] While Buddhism and Jainism are considered distinct philosophies and religions, some heterodox traditions such as C?rv?ka are often considered as distinct schools within Hindu philosophy.[9][10][11]

Hindu philosophy also includes several sub-schools of theistic philosophies that integrate ideas from two or more of the six orthodox philosophies, such as the realism of the Ny?ya, the naturalism of the Vai?e?ika, the dualism of the S??khya, the monism and knowledge of Self as essential to liberation of Advaita, the self-discipline of yoga and the asceticism and elements of theistic ideas.[12][13][14] Examples of such schools include P??upata ?aiva, ?aiva siddh?nta, Pratyabhijña, Rase?vara and Vai??ava.[12][13] Some sub-schools share Tantric ideas with those found in some Buddhist traditions.[15] The ideas of these sub-schools are found in the Puranas and ?gamas.[16][17][18]

Each school of Hindu philosophy has extensive epistemological literature called pram??a??stras,[19][20] as well as theories on metaphysics, axiology and other topics.[21]

Classifications

In the history of Hinduism, the six orthodox schools had emerged by sometime between the start of the Common Era and the Gupta Empire, or about the fourth century.[22] Some scholars have questioned whether the orthodox and heterodox schools classification is sufficient or accurate, given the diversity and evolution of views within each major school of Hindu philosophy, with some sub-schools combining heterodox and orthodox views.[23]

Since medieval times Indian philosophy has been categorized into ?stika and n?stika schools of thought.[24] The orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy have been called ?a?dar?ana ("six systems"). This schema was created between the 12th and 16th centuries by Vedantins.[25]:2-3 It was then adopted by the early Western Indologists, and pervades modern understandings of Hindu philosophy.[25]:4-5

?stika

There are six ?stika (orthodox) schools of thought.[note 3] Each is called a dar?ana, and each dar?ana accepts the Vedas as authoritative and the premise that ?tman (soul, eternal self) exists.[3][26] The ?stika schools are:

  1. Samkhya, an atheistic and strongly dualist theoretical exposition of consciousness and matter.
  2. Yoga, a school emphasising meditation, contemplation and liberation.
  3. Ny?ya or logic, which explores sources of knowledge. Ny?ya S?tras.
  4. Vai?e?ika, an empiricist school of atomism.
  5. M?m??s?, an anti-ascetic and anti-mysticist school of orthopraxy.
  6. Ved?nta, the last segment of knowledge in the Vedas, or jñ?nak???a. Ved?nta came to be the dominant current of Hinduism in the post-medieval period.

N?stika

Schools that do not accept the authority of the Vedas are n?stika philosophies, of which four n?stika (heterodox) schools are prominent:[6]

  1. C?rv?ka, a materialism school that accepted the existence of free will.[27][28]
  2. ?j?vika, a materialism school that denied the existence of free will.[29][30]
  3. Buddhism, a philosophy that denies existence of ?tman (soul, self)[31] and is based on the teachings and enlightenment of Gautama Buddha.
  4. Jainism, a philosophy that accepts the existence of the ?tman (soul, self), and is based on the teachings and enlightenment of twenty-four teachers known as tirthankaras, with Rishabha as the first and Mahavira as the twenty-fourth.[32]

Other schools

Besides the major orthodox and non-orthodox schools, there have existed syncretic sub-schools that have combined ideas and introduced new ones of their own. The medieval scholar Madhva Acharya (CE 1238-1317) includes the following, along with Buddhism[33] and Jainism,[34] as sub-schools of Hindu philosophy:

The above sub-schools introduced their own ideas while adopting concepts from orthodox schools of Hindu philosophy such as realism of the Ny?ya, naturalism of Vai?e?ika, monism and knowledge of Self (Atman) as essential to liberation of Advaita, self-discipline of Yoga, asceticism and elements of theistic ideas.[12] Some sub-schools share Tantric ideas with those found in some Buddhist traditions.[15]

Characteristics

School Samkhya Yoga Ny?ya Vai?e?ika M?m??s? Advaita[N 1] Vishishtadvaita[N 1] Dvaita[N 1] Achintya Bheda Abheda Pashupata Shaiva Siddhanta Kashmir Shaivism Rase?vara P??ini Dar?ana
Classification rationalism,[43][44]dualism, atheism dualism, spiritual practice realism,[45]logic, analytic philosophy naturalism,[46]atomism exegesis, philology, ritualism monism, non-dualism qualified monism, panentheism dualism, theology simultaneous monism and dualism theism, spiritual practice Monotheism theistic monism, idealism alchemy linguistics, philosophy of language
Philosophers Kapila, I?varak???a, V?caspati Mi?ra, Gu?aratna more.. Patañjali, Yajnavalkya, Vyasa[N 2] Aksapada Gautama, V?tsy?yana, Udayana, Jayanta Bhatta more.. Kanada, Pra?astap?da, ?ridhara's Ny?yakandal? more.. Jaimini, Kum?rila Bha??a, Prabh?kara more.. Gaudapada, Adi Shankara, Madhusudana Saraswati, Vidyaranya more.. Yamunacharya, Ramanuja more.. Madhvacharya, Jayatirtha, Vyasatirtha, Raghavendra Swami Chaitanya Mahaprabhu, Six Goswamis of Vrindavana, Visvanatha Chakravarti, Krishnadasa Kaviraja, Baladeva Vidyabhushana, Rupa Goswami, more.. Haradattacharya, Lakulish Tirumular, Meikandadevar, Appayya Dikshita, Sadyojyoti, Aghorasiva Vasugupta, Abhinavagupta, Jayaratha Govinda Bhagavat, Sarvajña R?me?vara P??ini, Bhart?hari, K?ty?yana
Texts Samkhyapravachana Sutra, Samkhyakarika, S??khya tattvakaumud? more.. Yoga Sutras, Yoga Yajnavalkya, Samkhya pravacana bhasya Ny?ya S?tras, Ny?ya Bh??ya, Ny?ya V?rttika more.. Vai?e?ika S?tra, Pad?rtha dharma sa?graha, Da?apad?rtha ??stra more.. Purva Mimamsa Sutras, Mimamsasutra bh?shyam more.. Brahma Sutras, Prasthanatrayi, Avadhuta Gita, Ashtavakra Gita, Pañcada?? more.. Siddhitrayam, Sri Bhasya, Vedartha Sangraha AnuVyakhana, Brahma Sutra Bahshya, Sarva Sh?str?rtha Sangraha, Tattva prakashika, Nyaya Sudha, Nyayamruta, Tarka Tandava, DwaitaDyumani Bhagavata Purana, Bhagavad Gita, Sat Sandarbhas, Govinda Bhashya, Chaitanya Charitamrita, Ga?ak?rik?, Pañch?rtha bh?shyadipik?, R??ikara bh?shya Sivagamas, Tirumurais, Meikanda Sastras Shiva Sutras of Vasugupta, Tantraloka Ras?r?ava, Rasah?idaya, Rase?vara siddh?nta V?kyapad?ya, Mahabhashya, V?rttikak?ra
Concepts Originated Purusha, Prak?ti, Gu?a, Satk?ryav?da Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dh?ra??, Dhyana, Samadhi Pratyak?a, Anum?na, Upam?na, Anyathakyati vada, Ni??reyasa more.. Pad?rtha, Dravya, S?m?nya, Vi?e?a, Samav?ya, Param??u Apauru?ey?tva, Arth?patti, Anuapalabdhi, Satahpr?m??ya v?da Jivanmukta, Mah?v?kyas, S?dhana Chatu??aya, three orders of reality, Vivartavada Hita, Antarvy?pi, Bahuvy?pi more.. Prapacha, Mukti-yogyas, Nitya-samsarins, Tamo-yogyas Sambandha, Abhidheya, Prayojana (Relationship, Process, Ultimate Goal) Pashupati, eight pentads Charya, Mantram?rga, Rodha ?akti Citi, Mala, Upaya, Anuttara, Aham, Svatantrya P?rada, three modes of mercury Spho?a, Ashtadhyayi
  1. ^ a b c Advaita, Vishishtadvaita and Dvaita have evolved from an older Vedanta school and all of them accept Upanishads and Brahma Sutras as standard texts.
  2. ^ Vyasa wrote a commentary on the Yoga Sutras called Samkhyapravacanabhasya.(Radhankrishnan, Indian Philosophy, London, George Allen & Unwin Ltd., 1971 edition, Volume II, p. 344.)

Overview

Epistemology

Epistemology is called pram??a.[47] It has been a key, much debated field of study in Hinduism since ancient times. Pram??a is a Hindu theory of knowledge and discusses means by which human beings gain accurate knowledge.[47] The focus of pram??a is how correct knowledge can be acquired, how one knows, how one doesn't, and to what extent knowledge pertinent about someone or something can be acquired.[19]

Ancient and medieval Hindu texts identify six pram??as as correct means of accurate knowledge and truths: pratyak?a (perception), anum??a (inference), upam??a (comparison and analogy), arth?patti (postulation, derivation from circumstances), anupalabdi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof) and ?abda (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts)[48] Each of these are further categorized in terms of conditionality, completeness, confidence and possibility of error, by the different schools. The schools vary on how many of these six are valid paths of knowledge.[20] For example, the C?rv?ka n?stika philosophy holds that only one (perception) is an epistemically reliable means of knowledge,[49] the Samkhya school holds that three are (perception, inference and testimony),[49] while the M?m??s? and Advaita schools hold that all six are epistemically useful and reliable means to knowledge.[49][50]

S?mkhya

Samkhya is the oldest of the orthodox philosophical systems in Hinduism,[51] with origins in the 1st millennium BCE.[52] It is a rationalist school of Indian philosophy,[43] and had a strong influence on other schools of Indian philosophies.[53] S?mkhya is an enumerationist philosophy whose epistemology accepted three of six pram??as as the only reliable means of gaining knowledge. These were pratyak?a (perception), anum??a (inference) and sabda (?ptavacana, word/testimony of reliable sources).[54][49]

Samkhya school espouses dualism between consciousness and matter.[55] It regards the universe as consisting of two realities: Puru?a (consciousness) and prakriti (matter). Jiva (a living being) is that state in which puru?a is bonded to prakriti in some form.[56] This fusion, state the Samkhya scholars, led to the emergence of buddhi (awareness, intellect) and ahankara (individualized ego consciousness, "I-maker"). The universe is described by this school as one created by Purusa-Prakriti entities infused with various permutations and combinations of variously enumerated elements, senses, feelings, activity and mind.[56]

Samkhya philosophy includes a theory of gunas (qualities, innate tendencies, psyche).[57] Guna, it states, are of three types: Sattva being good, compassionate, illuminating, positive, and constructive; Rajas guna is one of activity, chaotic, passion, impulsive, potentially good or bad; and Tamas being the quality of darkness, ignorance, destructive, lethargic, negative. Everything, all life forms and human beings, state Samkhya scholars, have these three gunas, but in different proportions.[58] The interplay of these gunas defines the character of someone or something, of nature and determines the progress of life.[59][60] Samkhya theorises a pluralism of souls (Jeevatmas) who possess consciousness, but denies the existence of Ishvara (God).[61] Classical Samkhya is considered an atheist or non-theistic Hindu philosophy.[62][63][64]

The Samkhya karika, one of the key texts of this school of Hindu philosophy, opens by stating its goal to be "three[65] kinds of human suffering" and means to prevent them.[66] The text then presents a distillation of its theories on epistemology, metaphysics, axiology and soteriology. For example, it states,

From the triad of suffering, arises this inquiry into the means of preventing it.
That is useless - if you say so, I say: No, because suffering is not absolute and final. - Verse 1

The Gu?as (qualities) respectively consist in pleasure, pain and dullness, are adapted to manifestation, activity and restraint; mutually domineer, rest on each other, produce each other, consort together, and are reciprocally present. - Verse 12
Goodness is considered to be alleviating and enlightening; foulness, urgent and persisting; darkness, heavy and enveloping. Like a lamp, they cooperate for a purpose by union of contraries. - Verse 13

There is a general cause, which is diffuse. It operates by means of the three qualities, by mixture, by modification; for different objects are diversified by influence of the several qualities respectively. - Verse 16
Since the assemblage of perceivable objects is for use (by man); Since the converse of that which has the three qualities with other properties must exist (in man); Since there must be superintendence (within man); Since there must be some entity that enjoys (within man); Since there is a tendency to abstraction (in man), therefore soul is. - Verse 17

-- Samkhya karika, [66][67]

The soteriology in Samkhya aims at the realization of Puru?a as distinct from Prakriti; this knowledge of the Self is held to end transmigration and lead to absolute freedom (kaivalya).[68]

Yoga

In Indian philosophy, Yoga is, among other things, the name of one of the six ?stika philosophical schools.[69] The Yoga philosophical system aligns closely with the dualist premises of the Samkhya school.[70][71] The Yoga school accepts Samkhya psychology and metaphysics, but is considered theistic because it accepts the concept of personal god (Ishvara), unlike Samkhya.[72][73][74] The epistemology of the Yoga school, like the S?mkhya school, relies on three of six pr?ma?as as the means of gaining reliable knowledge:[49]pratyak?a (perception), anum??a (inference) and ?abda (?ptavacana, word/testimony of reliable sources).[50][49]

The universe is conceptualized as a duality in Yoga school: puru?a (consciousness) and prak?ti (matter); however, the Yoga school discusses this concept more generically as "seer, experiencer" and "seen, experienced" than the Samkhya school.[75]

A key text of the Yoga school is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Patanjali may have been, as Max Müller explains, "the author or representative of the Yoga-philosophy without being necessarily the author of the Sutras."[76] Hindu philosophy recognizes many types of Yoga, such as r?ja yoga, jñ?na yoga,[77]karma yoga, bhakti yoga, tantra yoga, mantra yoga, laya yoga, and hatha yoga.[78]

The Yoga school builds on the Samkhya school theory that jñ?na (knowledge) is a sufficient means to moksha. It suggests that systematic techniques/practice (personal experimentation) combined with Samkhya's approach to knowledge is the path to moksha.[70] Yoga shares several central ideas with Advaita Vedanta, with the difference that Yoga is a form of experimental mysticism while Advaita Vedanta is a form of monistic personalism.[79][80][81] Like Advaita Vedanta, the Yoga school of Hindu philosophy holds that liberation/freedom in this life is achievable, and that this occurs when an individual fully understands and realizes the equivalence of Atman (soul, self) and Brahman.[82][83]

Vai?e?ika

The Vai?e?ika philosophy is a naturalist school.[46] It is a form of atomism in natural philosophy.[84] It postulates that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to param??u (atoms), and that one's experiences are derived from the interplay of substance (a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements), quality, activity, commonness, particularity and inherence.[85] Knowledge and liberation are achievable by complete understanding of the world of experience, according to Vai?e?ika school.[85] The Vai?e?ika dar?ana is credited to Ka??da Ka?yapa from the second half of the first millennium BCE.[85][86] The foundational text, the Vai?e?ika S?tra, opens as follows:

Dharma is that from which results the accomplishment of Exaltation and of the Supreme Good. The authoritativeness of the Veda arises from its being an exposition of dharma. The Supreme Good results from knowledge, produced from a particular dharma, of the essence of the Predicables, Substance, Attribute, Action, Genus, Species and Combination, by means of their resemblances and differences.

-- Vai?e?ika S?tra 1.1.1-1.1.4, [87]

The Vai?e?ika school is related to the Ny?ya school but features differences in its epistemology, metaphysics and ontology.[88] The epistemology of the Vai?e?ika school, like Buddhism, accepted only two means to knowledge as reliable - perception and inference.[50][89] The Vai?e?ika school and Buddhism both consider their respective scriptures as indisputable and valid means to knowledge, the difference being that the scriptures held to be a valid and reliable source by Vai?e?ikas were the Vedas.[50][90]

Vai?e?ika metaphysical premises are founded on a form of atomism, that reality is composed of four substances (earth, water, air, and fire). Each of these four are of two types:[84] atomic (param??u) and composite. An atom is, according to Vai?e?ika scholars, that which is indestructible (anitya), indivisible, and has a special kind of dimension, called "small" (a?u). A composite, in this philosophy, is defined to be anything which is divisible into atoms. Whatever human beings perceive is composite, while atoms are invisible.[84] The Vai?e?ikas stated that size, form, truths and everything that human beings experience as a whole is a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements, their gu?a (quality), karma (activity), s?m?nya (commonness), vi?e?a (particularity) and amav?ya (inherence, inseparable connectedness of everything).[85][91]

Ny?ya

The Ny?ya school is a realist ?stika philosophy.[92][93] The school's most significant contributions to Indian philosophy were its systematic development of the theory of logic, methodology, and its treatises on epistemology.[94][95] The foundational text of the Ny?ya school is the Ny?ya S?tras of the first millennium BCE. The text is credited to Aksapada Gautama and its composition is variously dated between the sixth and second centuries BCE.[96][86]

Ny?ya epistemology accepts four out of six pr?ma?as as reliable means of gaining knowledge - pratyak?a (perception), anum??a (inference), upam??a (comparison and analogy) and ?abda (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts).[49][97][48]

In its metaphysics, the Ny?ya school is closer to the Vai?e?ika school than the others.[92] It holds that human suffering results from mistakes/defects produced by activity under wrong knowledge (notions and ignorance).[98] Moksha (liberation), it states, is gained through right knowledge. This premise led Ny?ya to concern itself with epistemology, that is, the reliable means to gain correct knowledge and to remove wrong notions. False knowledge is not merely ignorance to Naiyayikas; it includes delusion. Correct knowledge is discovering and overcoming one's delusions, and understanding the true nature of the soul, self and reality.[99] The Ny?ya S?tras begin:

Perception, Inference, Comparison and Word - these are the means of right knowledge.
Perception is that knowledge which arises from the contact of a sense with its object and which is determinate, unnameable and non-erratic.
Inference is knowledge which is preceded by perception, and is of three kinds: a priori, a posteriori, and commonly seen.
Comparison is the knowledge of a thing through its similarity to another thing previously well known.
Word is the instructive assertion of a reliable person.
It [knowledge] is of two kinds: that which is seen, and that which is not seen.
Soul, body, senses, objects of senses, intellect, mind, activity, fault, transmigration, fruit, suffering and release - are the objects of right knowledge.

-- Ny?ya S?tras 1.1.3-1.1.9, [100]

M?m??s?

The M?m??s? school emphasized hermeneutics and exegesis.[101][102] It is a form of philosophical realism.[103] Key texts of the M?m??s? school are the Purva Mimamsa Sutras of Jaimini.[104][105] The classical M?m??s? school is sometimes referred to as p?rvam?m??s? or Karmam?m??s? in reference to the first part of the Vedas.[104]

The M?m??s? school has several sub-schools defined by epistemology. The Pr?bh?kara subschool of M?m??s? accepted five means to gaining knowledge as epistimetically reliable: pratyak?a (perception), anum??a (inference), upam??a (comparison and analogy), arth?patti (postulation, derivation from circumstances), and ?abda (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts).[97][48] The Kum?rila Bha??a sub-school of M?m??s? added a sixth way of knowing to its canon of reliable epistemology: anupalabdi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof).[49]

The metaphysics of the M?m??s? school consists of both atheistic and theistic doctrines, and the school showed little interest in systematic examination of the existence of God. Rather, it held that the soul is an eternal, omnipresent, inherently active spiritual essence, then focussed on the epistemology and metaphysics of dharma.[104][106][107] To them, dharma meant rituals and duties, not devas (gods), because devas existed only in name.[104] The M?m??s?kas held that the Vedas are "eternal authorless infallible", that Vedic vidhi (injunctions) and mantras in rituals are prescriptive karya (actions), and that the rituals are of primary importance and merit. They considered the Upanishads and other texts related to self-knowledge and spirituality to be of secondary importance, a philosophical view that the Vedanta school disagreed with.[101][104]

M?m??s? gave rise to the study of philology and the philosophy of language.[108] While their deep analysis of language and linguistics influenced other schools,[109] their views were not shared by others. M?m??s?kas considered the purpose and power of language was to clearly prescribe the proper, correct and right. In contrast, Vedantins extended the scope and value of language as a tool to also describe, develop and derive.[104] M?m??s?kas considered orderly, law-driven, procedural life as the central purpose and noblest necessity of dharma and society, and divine (theistic) sustenance means to that end. The Mimamsa school was influential and foundational to the Vedanta school, with the difference that M?m??s? developed and emphasized karmak???a (the portion of the ?ruti which relates to ceremonial acts and sacrificial rites, the early parts of the Vedas), while the Vedanta school developed and emphasized jñ?nak???a (the portion of the Vedas which relates to knowledge of monism, the latter parts of the Vedas).[101]

Ved?nta

The Ved?nta school built upon the teachings of the Upanishads and Brahma Sutras from the first millennium BCE[86][110] and is the most developed and best-known of the Hindu schools. The epistemology of the Vedantins included, depending on the sub-school, five or six methods as proper and reliable means of gaining any form of knowledge:[90]pratyak?a (perception), anum??a (inference), upam??a (comparison and analogy), arth?patti (postulation, derivation from circumstances), anupalabdi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof) and ?abda (word, testimony of past or present reliable experts).[50][49][48] All of these have been further categorized by each sub-school of Vedanta in terms of conditionality, completeness, confidence and possibility of error.[90]

The emergence of Vedanta school represented a period when a more knowledge-centered understanding began to emerge. These focussed on jnana (knowledge) driven aspects of the Vedic religion and the Upanishads. This included metaphysical concepts such as ?tman and Brahman, and an emphasis on meditation, self-discipline, self-knowledge and abstract spirituality, rather than ritualism. The Upanishads were variously interpreted by ancient- and medieval-era Vedanta scholars. Consequently, the Vedanta separated into many sub-schools, ranging from theistic dualism to non-theistic monism, each interpreting the texts in its own way and producing its own series of sub-commentaries.[111][112]

Advaita

Advaita literally means "not two, sole, unity". It is a sub-school of Vedanta, and asserts spiritual and universal non-dualism.[113][114] Its metaphysics is a form of absolute monism, that is all ultimate reality is interconnected oneness.[115][116] This is the oldest and most widely acknowledged Vedantic school. The foundational texts of this school are the Brahma Sutras and the early Upanishads from the 1st millennium BCE.[115] Its first great consolidator was the 8th century scholar Adi Shankara, who continued the line of thought of the Upanishadic teachers, and that of his teacher's teacher Gaudapada. He wrote extensive commentaries on the major Vedantic scriptures and is celebrated as one of the major Hindu philosophers from whose doctrines the main currents of modern Indian thought are derived.[117]

According to this school of Vedanta, all reality is Brahman, and there exists nothing whatsoever which is not Brahman.[118] Its metaphysics includes the concept of m?y? and ?tman. M?y? connotes "that which exists, but is constantly changing and thus is spiritually unreal".[119] The empirical reality is considered as always changing and therefore "transitory, incomplete, misleading and not what it appears to be".[120][121][122] The concept of ?tman is of soul, self within each person, each living being. Advaita Vedantins assert that ?tman is same as Brahman, and this Brahman is within each human being and all life, all living beings are spiritually interconnected, and there is oneness in all of existence.[123][124] They hold that dualities and misunderstanding of m?y? as the spiritual reality that matters is caused by ignorance, and are the cause of sorrow, suffering. J?vanmukti (liberation during life) can be achieved through Self-knowledge, the understanding that ?tman within is same as ?tman in another person and all of Brahman - the eternal, unchanging, entirety of cosmic principles and true reality.[125][124]

Vi?i???dvaita

Ramanuja (c. 1037-1137) was the foremost proponent of the philosophy of Vi?i???dvaita or qualified non-dualism. Vi?i???dvaita advocated the concept of a Supreme Being with essential qualities or attributes. Vi?i???dvaitins argued against the Advaitin conception of Brahman as an impersonal empty oneness. They saw Brahman as an eternal oneness, but also as the source of all creation, which was omnipresent and actively involved in existence. To them the sense of subject-object perception was illusory and a sign of ignorance. However, the individual's sense of self was not a complete illusion since it was derived from the universal beingness that is Brahman.[126] Ramanuja saw Vishnu as a personification of Brahman.

Dvaita

Dvaita refers to a theistic sub-school in Vedanta tradition of Hindu philosophy.[127][128] Also called as Tattvav?da and Bimbapratibimbav?da, the Dvaita sub-school was founded by the 13th-century scholar Madhvacharya.[127] The Dvaita Vedanta school believes that God (Vishnu, supreme soul) and the individual souls (j?v?tman) exist as independent realities, and these are distinct.[129][130]

Dvaita Vedanta is a dualistic interpretation of the Vedas, espouses dualism by theorizing the existence of two separate realities.[127] The first and the only independent reality, states the Dvaita school, is that of Vishnu or Brahman.[127] Vishnu is the supreme Self, in a manner similar to monotheistic God in other major religions.[131] The distinguishing factor of Dvaita philosophy, as opposed to monistic Advaita Vedanta, is that God takes on a personal role and is seen as a real eternal entity that governs and controls the universe.[132] Like Vishishtadvaita Vedanta subschool, Dvaita philosophy also embraced Vaishnavism, with the metaphysical concept of Brahman in the Vedas identified with Vishnu and the one and only Supreme Being.[133][134] However, unlike Vishishtadvaita which envisions ultimate qualified nondualism, the dualism of Dvaita was permanent.[130][129]

Salvation, in Dvaita, is achievable only through the grace of God Vishnu.[127][135][136]

Dvait?dvaita (Bhedabheda)

Dvait?dvaita was proposed by Nimbarka, a 13th-century Vaishnava Philosopher from the Andhra region. According to this philosophy there are three categories of existence: Brahman, soul, and matter. Soul and matter are different from Brahman in that they have attributes and capacities different from Brahman. Brahman exists independently, while soul and matter are dependent. Thus soul and matter have an existence that is separate yet dependent. Further, Brahman is a controller, the soul is the enjoyer, and matter the thing enjoyed. Also, the highest object of worship is Krishna and his consort Radha, attended by thousands of gopis; of the Vrindavan; and devotion consists in self-surrender.

?uddh?dvaita

?uddh?dvaita is the "purely non-dual" philosophy propounded by Vallabha Acharya (1479-1531). The founding philosopher was also the guru of the Vallabh? samprad?ya ("tradition of Vallabh") or Pu??im?rga, a Vaishnava tradition focused on the worship of Krishna. Vallabhacharya enunciates that Brahman has created the world without connection with any external agency such as M?y? (which itself is His power) and manifests Himself through the world.[137] That is why Shuddhadvaita is known as 'Unmodified transformation' or 'Avik?ta Pari??mav?da'. Brahman or Ishvara desired to become many, and he became the multitude of individual souls and the world. The Jagat or Maya is not false or illusionary, the physical material world is. Vallabha recognises Brahman as the whole and the individual as a 'part' (but devoid of bliss) like sparks and fire.[138]

Acintya Bheda Abheda

Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486-1534), stated that the soul or energy of God is both distinct and non-distinct from God, whom he identified as Krishna, Govinda, and that this, although unthinkable, may be experienced through a process of loving devotion (bhakti). He followed the Dvaita concept of Madhvacharya.[139] This philosophy of "inconceivable oneness and difference".

C?rv?ka

The C?rv?ka school is one of the n?stika or "heterodox" philosophies .[140][10][141] It rejects supernaturalism, emphasizes materialism and philosophical skepticism, holding empiricism, perception and conditional inference as the proper source of knowledge[142][143] C?rv?ka is an atheistic school of thought.[144] It holds that there is neither afterlife nor rebirth, all existence is mere combination of atoms and substances, feelings and mind are an epiphenomenon, and free will exists.[27][28]

B?haspati is sometimes referred to as the founder of C?rv?ka (also called Lokayata) philosophy. Much of the primary literature of Carvaka, the Barhaspatya sutras (ca. 600 BCE), however, are missing or lost.[144][145] Its theories and development has been compiled from historic secondary literature such as those found in the shastras, sutras and the Indian epic poetry as well as from the texts of Buddhism and from Jain literature.[144][146][147]

One of the widely studied principles of C?rv?ka philosophy was its rejection of inference as a means to establish valid, universal knowledge, and metaphysical truths.[148] In other words, the C?rv?ka epistemology states that whenever one infers a truth from a set of observations or truths, one must acknowledge doubt; inferred knowledge is conditional.[149]

Shaivism

Early history of Shaivism is difficult to determine.[150] However, the ?vet??vatara Upanishad (400 - 200 BCE)[151] is considered to be the earliest textual exposition of a systematic philosophy of Shaivism.[152] Shaivism is represented by various philosophical schools, including non-dualist (abheda), dualist (bheda), and non-dualist-with-dualist (bhed?bheda) perspectives. Vidyaranya in his works mentions three major schools of Shaiva thought--Pashupata Shaivism, Shaiva Siddhanta and Pratyabhijña (Kashmir Shaivism).[153]

P??upata Shaivism

P??upata Shaivism (P??upata, "of Pa?upati") is the oldest of the major Shaiva schools.[154] The philosophy of Pashupata sect was systematized by Lakulish in the 2nd century CE. Pa?u in Pa?upati refers to the effect (or created world), the word designates that which is dependent on something ulterior. Whereas, Pati means the cause (or principium), the word designates the Lord, who is the cause of the universe, the pati, or the ruler.[155] Pashupatas disapproved of Vaishnava theology, known for its doctrine servitude of souls to the Supreme Being, on the grounds that dependence upon anything could not be the means of cessation of pain and other desired ends. They recognised that those depending upon another and longing for independence will not be emancipated because they still depend upon something other than themselves. According to P??upatas, soul possesses the attributes of the Supreme Deity when it becomes liberated from the 'germ of every pain'.[156]

P??upatas divided the created world into the insentient and the sentient. The insentient was the unconscious and thus dependent on the sentient or conscious. The insentient was further divided into effects and causes. The effects were of ten kinds, the earth, four elements and their qualities, colour etc. The causes were of thirteen kinds, the five organs of cognition, the five organs of action, the three internal organs, intellect, the ego principle and the cognising principle. These insentient causes were held responsible for the illusive identification of Self with non-Self. Salvation in P??upata involved the union of the soul with God through the intellect.[157]

Shaiva Siddhanta

Considered normative Tantric Shaivism, Shaiva Siddhanta[158][159] provides the normative rites, cosmology and theological categories of Tantric Shaivism.[160] Being a dualistic philosophy, the goal of Shaiva Siddhanta is to become an ontologically distinct Shiva (through Shiva's grace).[161] This tradition later merged with the Tamil Saiva movement and expression of concepts of Shaiva Siddhanta can be seen in the bhakti poetry of the Nayanars.[162]

Kashmir Shaivism

Kashmir Shaivism arose during the eighth[163] or ninth century CE[164] in Kashmir and made significant strides, both philosophical and theological, until the end of the twelfth century CE.[165] It is categorised by various scholars as monistic[166]idealism (absolute idealism, theistic monism, realistic idealism,[167] transcendental physicalism or concrete monism[167]). It is a school of ?aivism consisting of Trika and its philosophical articulation Pratyabhijña.[168]

Even though, both Kashmir Shaivism and Advaita Vedanta are non-dual philosophies which give primacy to Universal Consciousness (Chit or Brahman),[169] in Kashmir Shavisim, as opposed to Advaita, all things are a manifestation of this Consciousness.[170] This implies that from the point of view of Kashmir Shavisim, the phenomenal world (?akti) is real, and it exists and has its being in Consciousness (Chit).[171] Whereas, Advaita holds that Brahman is inactive (ni?kriya) and the phenomenal world is an illusion (m?y?).[172] The objective of human life, according to Kashmir Shaivism, is to merge in Shiva or Universal Consciousness, or to realize one's already existing identity with Shiva, by means of wisdom, yoga and grace.[173]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ M Chadha (2015), in The Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, states that Vedas were knowledge source but interpreted differently by different schools of Hindu philosophy: "The sacred texts of the Hindus, the Vedas, are variously interpreted by the six traditional Hindu philosophical schools. Even within a single school, philosophers disagree on the import of Vedic statements. (...) Hindu intellectual traditions must be understood as standing for the collection of philosophical views that share a textual connection. There is no single, comprehensive philosophical doctrine shared by all intellectual traditions in Hinduism that distinguishes their view from other Indian religions such as Buddhism or Jainism on issues of epistemology, metaphysics, logic, ethics or cosmology. The Vedas are regarded as Apauruseya, but by the same token, they are not the Word of God either.[4]
  2. ^ Elisa Freschi (2012): The Vedas are not deontic authorities in absolute sense and may be disobeyed, but are recognized as an epistemic authority by an orthodox school of Hindu philosophy;[5] (Note: This differentiation between epistemic and deontic authority is true for all Indian religions)
  3. ^ For an overview of the six orthodox schools, with detail on the grouping of schools, see: Radhakrishnan and Moore, "Contents", and pp. 453-487.

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  163. ^ Kashmir Shaivism: The Secret Supreme, By Lakshman Jee
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Bibliography

Further reading

  • Radhakrishnan, Sarvepalli; and Moore, Charles A. A Source Book in Indian Philosophy. Princeton University Press; 1957. Princeton paperback 12th edition, 1989. ISBN 0-691-01958-4.
  • Rambachan, Anantanand. "The Advaita Worldview: God, World and Humanity." 2006.
  • Zilberman, David B., The Birth of Meaning in Hindu Thought. D. Reidel Publishing Company, Dordrecht, Holland, 1988. ISBN 90-277-2497-0. Chapter 1. "Hindu Systems of Thought as Epistemic Disciplines".



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