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Indian philosophy ("Sanskrit: दर्शन or darśana) comprises both "ancient and modern philosophical traditions of the "Indian subcontinent. The principal historical schools of Indian philosophical thought are classified as either orthodox or heterodox – "āstika or nāstika – depending on one of three alternate criteria: whether it believes the "Vedas are a valid source of knowledge; whether the school believes in the premises of "Brahman and "Atman; and whether the school believes in afterlife and "Devas.[1][2][3]

There are six major schools of orthodox "Hindu philosophy—"Nyaya, "Vaisheshika, "Samkhya, "Yoga, "Mīmāṃsā and "Vedanta, and five major heterodox schools—"Jain, "Buddhist, "Ajivika, "Ajñana, and "Cārvāka. However, there are other methods of classification; "Vidyaranya for instance identifies sixteen schools of Indian philosophy by including those that belong to the "Śaiva and "Raseśvara traditions.[4][5]

The main schools of Indian philosophy were formalised chiefly between 1000 BCE to the early centuries of the "Common Era. According to philosopher "Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, the earliest of these, which date back to the composition of the "Upanishads in the "later Vedic period (1000–500 BCE), constitute "the earliest philosophical compositions of the world."[6] Competition and integration between the various schools was intense during their formative years, especially between 800 BCE and 200 CE. Some schools like "Jainism, "Buddhism, "Yoga, Śaiva and "Advaita Vedanta survived, but others, like "Ajñana, "Charvaka and "Ājīvika did not.

Ancient and medieval era texts of Indian philosophies include extensive discussions on "Ontology ("metaphysics, "Brahman-"Atman, "Sunyata-"Anatta), reliable means of knowledge ("epistemology, "Pramanas), value system ("axiology) and other topics.[7][8][9]

Contents

Common themes[edit]

Indian philosophies share many concepts such as "dharma, "karma, "samsara, "reincarnation, "dukkha, "renunciation, "meditation, with almost all of them focussing on the ultimate goal of liberation of the individual through diverse range of spiritual practices ("moksha, "nirvana).[10] They differ in their assumptions about the nature of existence as well as the specifics of the path to the ultimate liberation, resulting in numerous schools that disagreed with each other. Their ancient doctrines span the diverse range of philosophies found in other ancient cultures.[11]

Orthodox schools[edit]

Many "Hindu intellectual traditions were classified during the medieval period of Brahmanic-Sanskritic scholasticism into a standard list of six orthodox ("Astika) schools ("darshanas), the "Six Philosophies" (ṣaḍ-darśana), all of which accept the testimony of the "Vedas.[12][13][14]

These are often coupled into three groups for both historical and conceptual reasons: Nyaya-Vaishesika, Samkhya-Yoga, and Mimamsa-Vedanta. The Vedanta school is further divided into six sub-schools: "Advaita ("monism/"nondualism), also includes the concept of "Ajativada, "Visishtadvaita (monism of the qualified whole), "Dvaita ("dualism), "Dvaitadvaita (dualism-nondualism), "Suddhadvaita, and "Achintya Bheda Abheda schools.

Besides these schools Mādhava Vidyāraṇya also includes the following of the aforementioned theistic philosophies based on the Agamas and Tantras:[4]

The systems mentioned here are not the only orthodox systems, they are the chief ones, and there are other orthodox schools. These systems, accept the authority of "Vedas and are regarded as orthodox ("astika) schools of Hindu philosophy; besides these, schools that do not accept the authority of the Vedas are heterodox (nastika) systems such as Buddhism, Jainism, Ajivika and Cārvāka.[26][27][28] This orthodox-heterodox terminology is a construct of Western languages, and lacks scholarly roots in Sanskrit. According to Andrew Nicholson, there have been various "heresiological translations of Āstika and Nāstika in 20th century literature on Indian philosophies, but quite many are unsophisticated and flawed.[3]

Heterodox (Śramaṇic schools)[edit]

Several "Śramaṇic movements have existed before the 6th century BCE, and these influenced both the "āstika and nāstika traditions of Indian philosophy.[30] The "Śramaṇa movement gave rise to diverse range of heterodox beliefs, ranging from accepting or denying the concept of soul, atomism, antinomian ethics, materialism, atheism, agnosticism, fatalism to free will, idealization of extreme asceticism to that of family life, strict "ahimsa (non-violence) and vegetarianism to permissibility of violence and meat-eating.[31] Notable philosophies that arose from "Śramaṇic movement were "Jainism, "early Buddhism, "Cārvāka, "Ajñana and "Ājīvika.[32]

Ajñana philosophy[edit]

Ajñana was one of the nāstika or "heterodox" schools of ancient Indian philosophy, and the ancient school of radical Indian skepticism. It was a Śramaṇa movement and a major rival of early Buddhism and Jainism. They have been recorded in Buddhist and Jain texts. They held that it was impossible to obtain knowledge of metaphysical nature or ascertain the truth value of philosophical propositions; and even if knowledge was possible, it was useless and disadvantageous for final salvation. They were sophists who specialised in refutation without propagating any positive doctrine of their own.

Jain philosophy[edit]

Jainism came into formal being after "Mahavira synthesised philosophies and promulgations of the ancient "Śramaṇic traditions, during the period around 550 BC, in the region that is present day "Bihar in northern "India.["citation needed]

Jainism, like Buddhism, is a "Śramaṇic religion and rejected the authority of the Vedas. However, like all Indian religions, it shares the core concepts such as karma, ethical living, rebirth, samsara and moksha. Jainism places strong emphasis on "asceticism and "ahimsa (non-violence) as a means of spiritual liberation, ideas that influenced other Indian traditions.[33]

Buddhist philosophy[edit]

Buddhist philosophy is a system of thought which started with the teachings of "Siddhartha Gautama, "the Buddha, or "awakened one". Buddhism is founded on elements of the "Śramaṇa movement, which flowered in the first half of the 1st millennium BCE, but its foundations contain novel ideas not found or accepted by other Sramana movements. Buddhism and Hinduism mutually influenced each other and shared many concepts, states Paul Williams, however it is now difficult to identify and describe these influences.[34] The influence of 3rd-century CE[35] Buddhist Tathagatagarbha Sutras on the "Advaita Vedanta Hindu scholar "Gaudapada – a major school of thought within Hinduism, is clear.[36] Buddhism rejected the Vedic concepts of "Brahman (ultimate reality) and "Atman (soul, self) at the foundation of Hindu philosophies.[37][38][39]

Buddhism shares many philosophical views with other Indian systems, such as belief in "karma – a cause-and-effect relationship, "samsara – ideas about cyclic afterlife and rebirth, "dharma – ideas about ethics, duties and values, "impermanence of all material things and of body, and possibility of spiritual liberation ("nirvana or "moksha).[40][41] A major departure from Hindu and Jain philosophy is the Buddhist rejection of an eternal soul ("atman) in favour of "anatta (non-Self).[42]

""
""
An aloof meditative life has been an ancient Indian tradition, and a source of the philosophical doctrines its schools developed. Above is the 3rd century BCE mendicant caves of the Ājīvikas (Barabar, near "Gaya, Bihar).[43]

Ājīvika philosophy[edit]

The philosophy of Ājīvika was founded by "Makkhali Gosala, it was a "Śramaṇa movement and a major rival of "early Buddhism and "Jainism.[44] Ājīvikas were organised renunciates who formed discrete monastic communities prone to an ascetic and simple lifestyle.[45]

Original scriptures of the Ājīvika school of philosophy may once have existed, but these are currently unavailable and probably lost. Their theories are extracted from mentions of Ajivikas in the secondary sources of ancient Indian literature, particularly those of Jainism and Buddhism which polemically criticized the Ajivikas.[46] The Ājīvika school is known for its Niyati doctrine of absolute determinism (fate), the premise that there is no free will, that everything that has happened, is happening and will happen is entirely preordained and a function of cosmic principles.[46][47] Ājīvika considered the "karma doctrine as a fallacy.[48] Ājīvikas were atheists[49] and rejected the authority of the "Vedas, but they believed that in every living being is an "ātman – a central premise of Hinduism and Jainism.[50][51]

Cārvāka philosophy[edit]

Cārvāka or Lokāyata was a philosophy of "scepticism and "materialism, founded in the "Mauryan period. They were extremely critical of other schools of philosophy of the time. Cārvāka deemed Vedas to be tainted by the three faults of untruth, self-contradiction, and tautology.[52] Likewise they faulted Buddhists and Jains, mocking the concept of "liberation, "reincarnation and accumulation of "merit or demerit through karma.[53] They believed that, the viewpoint of relinquishing pleasure to avoid pain was the "reasoning of fools".[52]

Comparison of Indian philosophies[edit]

The Indian traditions subscribed to diverse philosophies, significantly disagreeing with each other as well as orthodox Hinduism and its six schools of "Hindu philosophy. The differences ranged from a belief that every individual has a soul (self, atman) to asserting that there is no soul,[54] from axiological merit in a frugal ascetic life to that of a hedonistic life, from a belief in rebirth to asserting that there is no rebirth.[55]

Comparison of ancient Indian philosophies
Ājīvika Early Buddhism Cārvāka Jainism Orthodox schools of Hinduism
(Non-Śramaṇic)
"Karma Denies[48][56] Affirms[55] Denies[55] Affirms[55] Affirms
"Samsara, Rebirth Affirms Affirms[57] Denies[58] Affirms[55] Some school affirm, some not[59]
"Ascetic life Affirms Affirms Affirms[55] Affirms Affirms as "Sannyasa[60]
Rituals, "Bhakti Affirms Affirms, optional[61]
(Pali: Bhatti)
Denies Affirms, optional[62] Theistic school: Affirms, optional[63]
Others: Deny[64][65]
"Ahimsa and Vegetarianism Affirms Affirms,
Unclear on meat as food[66]
Strongest proponent
of non-violence;
Vegetarianism to avoid
violence against animals[67]
Affirms as highest virtue,
but "Just War affirmed
Vegetarianism encouraged, but
choice left to the Hindu[68][69]
"Free will Denies[47] Affirms[70] Affirms Affirms Affirms[71]
"Maya Affirms[72] Affirms
(prapañca)[73]
Denies Affirms Affirms[74][75]
"Atman (Soul, Self) Affirms Denies[54] Denies[76] Affirms[77]:119 Affirms[78]
Creator God Denies Denies Denies Denies Theistic schools: Affirm[79]
Others: Deny[80][81]
"Epistemology
("Pramana)
Pratyakṣa,
Anumāṇa,
Śabda
Pratyakṣa,
Anumāṇa[82][83]
Pratyakṣa[84] Pratyakṣa,
Anumāṇa,
Śabda[82]
Various, Vaisheshika (two) to Vedanta (six):[82][85]
Pratyakṣa (perception),
Anumāṇa (inference),
Upamāṇa (comparison and analogy),
Arthāpatti (postulation, derivation),
Anupalabdi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof),
Śabda (Reliable testimony)
Epistemic authority Denies: Vedas Affirms: Buddha "text[86]
Denies: Vedas
Denies: Vedas Affirms: "Jain Agamas
Denies: Vedas
Affirm: "Vedas and "Upanishads,[note 1]
Affirm: other texts[86][88]
Salvation
("Soteriology)
Samsdrasuddhi[89] "Nirvana
(realize "Śūnyatā)[90]
"Siddha[91] Moksha, Nirvana, Kaivalya
Advaita, Yoga, others: "Jivanmukti[92]
Dvaita, theistic: "Videhamukti
"Metaphysics
(Ultimate Reality)
Śūnyatā[93][94] "Anekāntavāda[95] "Brahman[96][97]

Political philosophy[edit]

The "Arthashastra, attributed to the "Mauryan minister "Chanakya, is one of the early Indian texts devoted to "political philosophy. It is dated to 4th century BCE and discusses ideas of statecraft and economic policy.

The "political philosophy most closely associated with India is the one of "ahimsa (non-violence) and "Satyagraha, popularised by "Mahatma Gandhi during the "Indian struggle for independence. It was influenced by the Indian "Dharmic philosophy, particularly the "Buddha, "Bhagvata Gita, as well as secular writings of authors such as "Leo Tolstoy, "Henry David Thoreau and "John Ruskin.[98] In turn it influenced the later movements for independence and "civil rights, especially those led by "Martin Luther King, Jr. and to a lesser extent "Nelson Mandela.[99]

Influence[edit]

In appreciation of complexity of the Indian philosophy, "T S Eliot wrote that the great philosophers of India "make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys".[100][101] "Arthur Schopenhauer used Indian philosophy to improve upon "Kantian thought. In the preface to his book "The World As Will And Representation, Schopenhauer writes that one who "has also received and assimilated the sacred primitive Indian wisdom, then he is the best of all prepared to hear what I have to say to him"[102] The 19th century American philosophical movement "Transcendentalism was also influenced by Indian thought[103][104]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Elisa Freschi (2012): The Vedas are not deontic authorities and may be disobeyed, but still recognized as an epistemic authority by a Hindu;[87] (Note: This differentiation between epistemic and deontic authority is true for all Indian religions)

References[edit]

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  4. ^ a b Cowell and Gough, p. xii.
  5. ^ Nicholson, pp. 158-162.
  6. ^ p 22, The Principal Upanisads, Harper Collins, 1994
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    [b] Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, "ISBN "978-0791422175, page 64; "Central to Buddhist soteriology is the doctrine of not-self (Pali: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman, the opposed doctrine of ātman is central to Brahmanical thought). Put very briefly, this is the [Buddhist] doctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence.";
    [c] John C. Plott et al (2000), Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, "ISBN "978-8120801585, page 63, Quote: "The Buddhist schools reject any Ātman concept. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism";
    [d] Katie Javanaud (2013), Is The Buddhist 'No-Self' Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana?, Philosophy Now;
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    [d]Katie Javanaud (2013), Is The Buddhist ‘No-Self’ Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana?, Philosophy Now;
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