The Six Darshanas
Traditionally, there are six Indian philosophies or metaphysical
systems, called darshanas or "Visions (of reality)". Each is based
on a particular seminal text, or sutra, compiled in the centuries immediately
before and after the time of Christ. In the spirit of Indian syncretism
these are considered complimentary rather than contradictory, but the critical
reader will notice obvious divergences and contradictions as regards their
conception of the soul and the Absolute reality. All however share
two axiomatic assumptions:
The doctrine of the endless cycle of rebirth, or reincarnation (which is
associated with a cosmology of endless cosmic cycles); and
The possibility of transcending phenomenal existence, of breaking free
of the "wheel of rebirth" (to give a Buddhist phrase) and so attaining
the state of eternal transcendent perfection (Moksha or Liberation).
These twin themes, which first appear in the Upanishads, are
also shared by the "heterodox" religions of Buddhism
The six darshanas are:
Of these, Vaisheshika, Nyaya, and Mimamsa no longer have any serious
impact on Indian thought; Samkhya has been assimilated by Vedanta, and
Yoga remains popular as a practical technique of bodily health and mental
Vaisheshika or "Atomism"
Nyaya or "Logicism"
Samkhya or the ennumeration
of the various cosmic principles (tattwas),
which are considered seperate from the true self or consciousness (purusha)
Yoga or techniques for mediatation
Mimamsa or ritualistic interpretation of the Vedas
Vedanta or metaphysical
Philosophy - good overall intro
Rise Of The Indian Schools Of Philosophy
The Appeal of Eastern Thought
Unless otherwise attributed or quoted, all text and original (drawn by me) images only are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.
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content by M.Alan Kazlev
page uploaded 1998, revised 9 November 1998