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Shad Darshan

Six ancient Indian Philosophies


Philosophy in Indian Context is referred to as which means vision or insight into reality. There are two Branches of Indian Philosophy The or the orthodox branch and or unorthodox branch. Orthodox philosophies are so-called as they accept Veda`s authority. The unorthodox branch of philosophies like Buddhism, Jainism, Charvaka, etc does not accept the authority of Vedas.


The Shad Darshan

Philosophy                                        Originator

  • Purva Mimansa                                        Sage Jamini

  • Vedanta or Uttar Mimansa            Sage Badrayana or Ved Vyasa

  • Nyaya                                                              Sage Gautama

  • Vaisheshika                                                 Sage Kanada

  • Sankhya                                                         Sage Kapila

  • Yoga                                                                  Sage Patanjali


Hinduism identifies six Pramāṇas as reliable means to accurate knowledge and to truths:  Pratyaksha (perception), Anumana (inference), Upamana (comparison and analogy),  Arthapatti (postulation, the derivation from circumstances), Anupalabdhi (non-perception, negative/cognitive proof) and Shabda (word, the testimony of past or present reliable experts). Let's discuss these philosophies in brief.


Purva Mimansa


The word Mimansa means to investigate thoroughly. This is a philosophy for rationally justifying the performance of rituals. Its the principle of Apoorva maintains and assures the fruits of rituals performed. The highest goal of man is to attain heaven, a state that transcends the earthly life. This school considers Vedas as the highest authority and even relegates God to a position of non-importance. This is called Poorva Mimansa as it deals with earlier parts of Vedas. the main goal of Mimansa's philosophy is to insist on a life of rituals as justified by Vedas. these rituals are capable of leading man to the highest goal.


Uttar Mimansa or Vedanta


Vedantic Philosophy does not have a specific founder as such, different teachers developed different schools of thought. Three main schools being Advaita, Visishtadvaita, and Dvaita.

Adi Shankaracharya is the propagator of the Advaita system, Ramanujacharya is the architect of the Visishtadvaita system while Madhavacharya is head of Dvaita system of Vedanta philosophy. It is important to note that all 3 teachers accepted the authority of Vedas but their interpretations of Brahma Sutra were different.




Nyaya Darshan is concerned with rules of logic. Nyāya literally means "rules", "method" or "judgment". This school's most significant contributions to Indian philosophy was the systematic development of the theory of logic, methodology, and its treatises on epistemology. Nyaya school's epistemology accepts four Pramanas as reliable means of gaining knowledge – Pratyakṣa (perception), Anumāṇa (inference), Upamāṇa (comparison and analogy) and Śabda (word, the testimony of past or present reliable experts). It holds that human suffering results from mistakes/defects produced by activity under wrong knowledge.  Moksha is gained through the right knowledge. This premise led Nyaya to concern itself with epistemology, which is the reliable means to gain correct knowledge and to remove wrong notions. False knowledge is not merely ignorance for the Naiyyayikas, it includes delusion. Correct knowledge is discovering and overcoming delusions and understanding the true nature of soul, self, and reality. Naiyyayika scholars approached philosophy as a form of direct realism, stating that anything that really exists is in principle humanly knowable. To them, correct knowledge and understanding is different from simple, reflexive cognition; it requires Anuvyavasaya (cross-examination of cognition, reflective cognition of what one thinks one knows)




The Vaiseshika philosophy follows the Nyaya system very closely, the two are often considered as twin philosophies. This system recognizes the 7 Padarthas or categories which are substance, quality, action, generality, particularity, the relation of inherence and nonexistence. Vaiseshika system is known for its atomic theory of evolution and its handling of particulars. Vaiseshika goal of life is to become free from Karma by renouncing worldly desires and attain liberation by true knowledge.




Sankhya means the right knowledge or numbers or categories. There are 25 categories or principals in Sankhya. Sankhya is considered uncompromising dualism, atheistic realism, and spiritual pluralism. Its two metaphysical principals are Purusha and Prakriti. Purusha is the principle of pure consciousness and Prakriti is the principle of the matter. Both are eternal and independent of each other. The whole universe is born out of primordial matter or Prakriti. Sankhya believes in the creation of the universe as a result of the union of Purusha and Prakriti. Prakriti is comprised of three Gunas - Sattva, Rajas & Tamas. Since Prakriti is the material cause of all beings, everything is made up of Prakriti, hence everything is governed by these 3 Gunas. Sankhya accepts only 3 Pramanas as valid means of acquiring knowledge. These are Pratyaksha ( direct perception ), Anumana ( inference ) & Shabda ( verbal testimony ). Sankhya propounds Kaivalya or Liberation from the cycle of birth and death and rebirth as the goal of human life. This liberation results in the freedom of man from all miseries and sufferings of human life. pain or suffering comes from three sources 1. Adhyatmic (from own body and mind) 2. Adhibhautic ( from the world ) 3. Adhidaivik (from the supernatural world). Right knowledge which distinguishes our real self (Purusha) from our unreal self (Prakriti) is the remedy for all our sufferings and pains.  What Sankhya Philosophy propounds Yoga practices realize. Yoga is considered a practical Sankhya.


Yoga Darshan


Yoga Darshana as represented by Yoga Sutras was given by maharishi Patanjali. Yoga Sutras is considered the basic text of Yoga. These Sutras elaborate an Ashtanga system of 8 limbs. Yoga Sutras are divided into 4 chapters or Padas as Follows

  • Samadhi Pada      51 Sutras

  • Sadhana Pada      55 Sutras

  • Vibhuti Pada         55 Sutras

  • Kaivalya Pada       34 Sutras


For details of Patanjali Yoga Sutra and The Yoga Philosophy, please click the link below.​