Brief Introduction of Shat-darshana

(this section is not a personal view, i’ll rewrite this, source)

Shat-Darshana are the six traditional philosophies in India: Samkhya, Nyaya, Yoga, Vaisheshika, Mimamsa and Vedanta.


thought represents a dualistic system in which the two distinct and formative principles of purusha (spirit) and prakriti (matter) dominate.

Purusha is the conscious principle which constitutes the multiple individual selves that inhabits and animates the bodies of every living thing. Being pure consciousness in and of itself, it is eternal, incorruptible, self-illuminated and self-illuminating, unalterable, uncaused and all-pervasive by nature. The individual conscious self transcends the limitations of the body, mind, senses and intellect. Its present connection with the force known as prakriti is one of temporary entrapment.

Prakriti is the very antithesis of spirit, being by nature limited, changable, enervating and corrupting. Prakriti, calm, equipoised and unitary in its quiescent state, devolves from this state of equilibrium to a reality of multiplicity and diversity as a result of contact with purusha. The goal of life, according to the Samkhya School, is for purusha to regain his state of freedom beyond the bondage of prakriti’s influence.

First systematized by the sage Kapila, Samkhya is possibly the most ancient of these six schools.


founded by Gautama and is the Indian tradition of logic and epistemology.

Generally speaking, the objective of the Nyaya School is to create a “concrete method of discriminating valid knowledge from invalid” As well as truth from falsehood using the tools of logic and discursive reasoning. Nyaya employs a very systematic regime of logic involving 16 different divisions of philosophical concerns, goals and means. These divisions are known as the padarthas.

As with the other five schools of classical Hinduism, the chosen means of acquiring truth that we find in the Nyaya system are not considered ends in and of themselves, but are merely tools for achieving the final goal of all Hindu philosophical systems: liberation from the grips of samsara, the present realm of repeated births and deaths.


to reunite the presently alienated soul with the Absolute.

In [1:2] of his sutras, Patanjali defines Yoga as citta-vritti nirodhah, or “The restriction of the modifications of the mind”. In addition to the acquisition of knowledge that is stressed in other schools of Hindu philosophy, the classical Yoga system of Patanjali stresses eight limbs (ashtanga), or techniques, that lead their practitioners towards perfection.


itself is a reference to the attributiveness which is the main concern of this school. It is, generally speaking, an attempt to categorize the various components of reality into a coherent system. The goal of Vaisheshika is “…real knowledge, produced by special excellence of dharma, of the characteristic features of the categories of substance (dravya), quality (guna), class concept (samanya), particularity (vishesha), and inherence (samavaya).”  Over time, the Vaisheshika became very closely aligned with Nyaya.


philosophy seeks to establish a methodology through which the teachings of the Vedas – the revealed scriptures of ancient India – can be understood. The specific focus of this exegetical school is the karma-kanda section of the Vedic literature, or the pre-Upanisadic literature, comprised of the Samhitas (four Vedas), Brahmanas and Aranyakas. Karma-kanda is essentially a technology of cosmo-geographic ascension which focuses on the exactingly intricate science of Vedic sacrifice as a means of both material prosperity, as well as spiritual progress. This school is also known as the Purva (earlier) Mimamsa in order to differentiate it from the Uttara (later) Mimamsa.


is predicated upon the teachings of three works, known collectively as the Prasthanatraya, these are:

a)      the terse philosophical aphorisms attributed to Badarayana Vyasa known as the Brahma-sutras

b)      the famous philosophical dialogue between Krishna and his disciple Arjuna, known as the Bhagavad Gita and

c)       the collection of philosophical scriptures known as the ancient Upanisads. For the most part, the history of Vedanta consists of a commentarial tradition centered on these works, the Brahma-sutras being the main work.

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