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Schools of Indian Philosophy


After the state and the Varna divided social order were firmly established, ancient thinkers believed that an individual should strive for four goals. These are economic resources (Artha), social order regulation (dharma), sensual pleasures (Kama), and salvation (moksha).

  • Arthashastra-Kautilya(Artha)

  • Dharmashastras(laws)

  • Kamasutra(pleasure)

  • Darshana(salvation)

In India, a philosophy developed as an investigation into the enigmas of life and existence.

Indian Philosophy is a term that refers to numerous philosophical traditions that began in the Indian subcontinent.

Throughout the years, India's intellectual quest for truth has resulted in the development of six distinct philosophical systems. Vaishesika, Nyaya, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva Mimansa, and Vedanta or Uttara Mimansa are some of them.

According to legend, these six systems of thought were developed by the sages Konada, Gotama, Kapila, Patanjali, Jaimini, and Vyasa. These philosophies continue to shape the country's scholastic discourse.

The six philosophical systems evolved over several generations, with contributions from several thinkers. Today, we discover an underlying concord in their conceptions of truth, despite their seeming dissimilarity.

Orthodox Schools of Philosophy


According to the early Sankhya philosophy, the presence of divine agency is not essential to the creation of the world. The world owes its creation and evolution More in accordance with nature or Prakriti than with god. This was a logical and scientific position to take. Around the fourth century AD, in addition to Prakriti, the Sankhya theory included Purusha or spirit as an element, and both were credited with the creation of the world. Nature and spiritual elements, according to this perspective, joined together to create the world.

Thus, the Sankhya school of philosophy was initially materialistic. It tended to be spiritualistic during the time.

A person can attain salvation through the acquisition of real knowledge. The knowledge can be attained through perception (pratyaksha), inference(Anumana) and hearing (shabada).


A person can reach salvation, according to the yoga school, by meditation and physical application. Control of pleasure, perceptions and physiological organs is key to the system's practice. To gain salvation, physical training in various postures called Asana and breathing techniques called pranayama are suggested. It is believed that by employing these techniques, the mind is diverted from mundane concerns and achieves concentration. These exercises are significant because they demonstrate not only some advancement of the old understanding of physiology and anatomy but also a drive to escape from all worldly difficulties.


A system of reasoning was used to establish the school of analysis. To add, it is possible to gain salvation through learning. Inference, listening, and analogy can all be used to determine a proposition or statement's voracity. The stress is laid on use of logic influenced Indian scholars who took to systematic thinking and reasoning.


It emphasises the consideration of material components or dravya. They establish a distinction between particularity and aggregate. When earth, water, fire, air, and ether are united, new objects are created. The Vaisheshika school advanced the theory of the atom.

It marked the beginning of physics in India, the scientific use diluted with the belief in God.


Mimansa is a Sanskrit term that literally translates as "the art of reasoning and interpretation." However, the reasoning was employed to justify numerous Vedic rituals, and salvation was made conditional on their fulfilment. The Vedas, according to this school, contain eternal truth. The primary goal of this ideology was to get heaven and salvation. It strongly advised performing Vedic sacrifices, which necessitated the services of a priest and legitimised the social divisions between the Varna's. The Brahman desired to maintain their ceremonial authority and the Brahmanic social hierarchy through the propagation of the mimansa.


Vedanta is a Sanskrit term that refers to the end of the Vedas. The Brahmaputra of Badrayana, compiled in the second century BC, serves as the text's fundamental text. Later on, it was the subject of two important comments, one by Shankara and another by Ramanuja. Shankara regards Brahma as being without attributes, whereas Ramanuja's Brahma is endowed with attributes. Shankara views knowledge as the primary method of salvation, but Ramanuja views devotion as the primary way of salvation. Vedanta philosophy placed a high premium on Upanishad. According to it, Brahma is reality and all else is a mere illusion. At a the self is identical to Brahma. Thus, if a person gains awareness of himself, he gains knowledge of Brahma and thus attains salvation. Both Brahma and Atma are eternal and indestructible.

The Vedanta philosophy came to be associated with the karma idea. It signifies that the current individual is responsible for the repercussions of deeds taken in a former life. It means that people suffer not because of societal factors, but because of factors that are neither new nor controllable.

Unorthodox Schools of Indian Philosophy

Schools that do not accept the authority of Vedas are by definition unorthodox (nastika) systems. The following schools belong to heterodox schools of Indian Philosophy.

Brihaspati (Charvaka)

Brihaspati is a materialistic, sceptic, and atheistic school of thought. There is no other world, according to Charvaka. As a result, death is the final destination for humanity, and pleasure is the ultimate goal in life.

It's also known as Lokayata Philosophy, or "mass philosophy." It denies divine and supernatural, makes man the centre of all activities.


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