Ancient Indian Philosophies

The development of philosophical and religious thought over a period of two millennial gave rise to what came to be called the six schools of Aastika/Naastika, or orthodox/heterodox, Indian philosophy. Indian philosophy is divided into six orthodox/heterodox (Sanskrit Aastika/Naastika) schools of thought, or darshanas, listed below. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_philosophy and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hindu_Philosophy).

Astika (आस्तिक, IAST:āstika; "orthodox") and Nastika (नास्तिक, nāstika; "heterodox") are technical terms in Hinduism used to classify philosophical schools and persons, according to whether they accept the authority of the Vedas as supreme revealed scriptures, or not.

By this definition, Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa and Vedanta are classified as astika schools and are often coupled into three groups for both historical and conceptual reasons as Nyaya-Vaishesika, Samkhya-Yoga, and Mimamsa-Vedanta; while Charvaka, Jainism and Buddhism are considered nastika schools.

  1. Charvaka (Naastik): (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C4%81rv%C4%81ka) Propounded by Uluka, based on materialistic atheism. Neither recognizes rebirth, nor the authority of the four Vedas. Its philosophy was based on what you see is reality, nothing else exists. What you see is true everything else is false. In my opinion, Uluka's ignorance shows.
  2. Buddism or Saakya (Naastik): (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhism) Propounded by Buddha nee. Saakyamuni based on Shanikavignana Vada. Recognized rebirth, but does not recognize the authority of the four Vedas. According to its skewed philosophy, knowledge is not permanent and keeps changing. What was true a second ago is not true now. Reading this, even yours truly is now forced to ask – If knowledge that was true a minute ago is false now, then what your Buddhist philosophy espoused became false the minute you said it!!!
  3. Jainism or Sramanas or Samanar (Naastik): (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jainism) Propounded by Mahavira based on Saptabangi Vada. Recognized rebirth, but does not recognize the authority of the four Vedas. This philosophy is based on a really skewed and confusing argument too. Apparently, a thing that you see in front of our eyes did not really exist either in the past, present or future. Whatever you believe to be true could be argued to be false, and whatever you believed to be false could be argued to be true. Very confusing if you ask me.
  4. Samkhya-Yoga schools (Aastik)
    1. Samkhya or Sankhya: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Samkhya) Propounded by Sage Kapila. Recognized rebirth and the authority of the four Vedas. Based on the school of enumeration. Recognized twenty four thatwas. Propounded that the universe is made of Purusha who was the center of consciousness, and Prakriti, the source of material existence. Knowledge according to this, consisted of direct perception, logical inference, and verbal testimony. However, does not accept Brahmam as the sole cause of all universe or as the inner source of all.
    2. Yoga: Propounded by Patanjali. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raja_Yoga) Recognized rebirth and the authority of the four Vedas. Based on the school of the meta-physics of enumeration or Samkhya. However, does not accept Brahmam as the sole cause of all universe or as the inner source of all.
  5. Nyasa-Vaisheshika schools (Aastik)
    1. Nyasa: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nyaya) Propounded by Akshapaada Goutama (not to be confused with Buddha). Recognized rebirth and the authority of the four Vedas. Based on the school of epistemology and logic. It bases its theologies on an analytic philosophy. Recognized four sources of knowledge, viz., perception, inference, comparison, and testimony. However, does not accept Brahmam as the sole cause of all universe or as the inner source of all.
    2. Vaisheshika: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vaisheshika) Propounded by Sage Kanada. Recognized rebirth and the authority of the four Vedas. Based on the Atomic School. Promoted argumentative techniques and means of cognition. Theorized that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to a finite number of atoms. Similar to the Nyasa school, but only accepts perception and inference as the sources of knowledge. However, does not accept Brahmam as the sole cause of all universe or as the inner source of all.
  6. Mimamsa-Vedanta schools (Aastik)
    1. Purva Mimamsa: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimamsa & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purva_Mimamsa) Recognized rebirth and the authority of the Vedas. Based on the tradition of Vedic exigencies. Only recognizes four Vedas, not the Upanishads or the Puranas.
    2. Uttara Mimamsa/Vedanta: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vedanta) Recognized rebirth and the authority of the four Vedas. Based on both the four Vedas, and the Updanishadic and Puranaic traditions.
      1. Advaita or Mayavadha (Non-Dualism), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Advaita_Vedanta) propounded by Adi Shankaracharya,
      2. Visishta-Advaita (Qualified Non-Dualism), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishishtadvaita) propounded by Ramanujacharya, and
      3. Dwaita (Dualism), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvaita) propounded by Madwacharya are all based on the Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta philosophies.
Subsequently, there have been various philosophies based on the Uttara Mimamsa or Vedanta philosophies like:
  1. Dwaita-Advaita (Dualism Non-Dualism), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dvait%C4%81dvaita) propounded by Nimbarka
  2. Shuddha-Advaita (Pure Non-Dualism), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shuddhadvaita) propounded by Vallabha that encouraged Bhakti as the only means of liberation.
  3. Achintya Bheda Abheda (Inconceivable Difference Non-Difference), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achintya_Bheda-Abheda) propounded by Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (Bengal, 1486-1534) whose followers are the ISKCON, etc.
  4. Purna-Advaita (Integral Non-Dualism), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Life_Divine#The_Life_Divine) propounded by Sri Aurobindo.
  5. Modern Vedanta propounded by Swami Vivekananda (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swami_Vivekananda) of the Sri. Ramakrishna order.

In addition to all this there were a lot of other religions like the Pasupatha (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pashupata_Shaivism) that was divided into Kapaalas, Kaalamuktas, Pasupathas, and Saivas, Kashmir Shaivism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kashmir_Shaivism), Shaiva Siddanta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaiva_Siddhanta), Sidda Siddanta (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaivism), Lingayatism (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lingayatism), and Ganaapatya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ganapatya)

Time Periods

Having the same or rather intertwined origins, all of these philosophies have a common underlying theme of Dharma, and similarly attempt to explain the attainment of emancipation. They have been formalized and promulgated chiefly between 1,000 BC (2101 Kali) to a few centuries A.D, with residual commentaries and reformations continuing up to as late as the 20th century by Aurobindo and ISKCON among others, who provided stylized interpretations. The characteristic of these schools is that they may belong to one "masthead" and disagree with each other, or be in agreement while professing allegiance to different banners. An example of the latter is the non-Vedic Jain and the Vedic Samkhya schools, both of which have similar ideas on pluralism; an example of the former would be the Dvaita and the Advaita schools, both of whom are Vedic. However, every school has subtle differences. Competition between the various schools was intense during their formative years, especially between 800 BC (2301 Kali) to 200 AD (3301 Kali). Some like the Jain, Buddhist, Shaiva and Advaita schools survived, while others like Samkhya and Ajivika did not.
  • pre-1500 BC (pre-1601 Kali) - the Vedas and Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, the Manusmrithi
  • pre-500 BC (pre-2601 Kali) - the Jain, the Buddha
  • pre-300 BC (pre-2801 Kali) - the rise of the orthodox darshanas
  • 200 AD (3301 Kali) - Naagaarjuna and the rise of Mahaayaana Buddhism
  • 600 AD (3701 Kali) - Shankaraachaarya and the rise of Vedaanta
  • post-900 AD (post-4001 Kali) - rise of other Vedaantic schools - Visishta-Advaita (Srimad Bhagavad Ramanujacharya), Dwaita (Madwacharya) etc.
Contribution of Sri Bhagavad Ramanujacharya

Sri Bhagavad Ramanujacharya (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ramanuja) - (1017 AD to 1137 AD or 4118 Kali to 4238 Kali) – wrote many major works including the Gita Bashyam, Sri Bashyam, Vedanta Sangraha, Vedanta Sara, Vedanta Deepa, Gadyatrayam, and Nitya Grantamin.

Srimad Bhagavad Ramanujacharya Vigraha

Sri Bashyam – The Magnum-Philosophical-Opus Out of all the works of Sri Bhagavad Ramanujacharya, his magnum-philosophical-opus, if we have to call it that, is his treatise on The Unity in Diversity principle called Visishta-Advaita. His Sri Bashyam unequivocally established the supremacy of Visishta-Advaita (Qualified Non-Dualism), (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishishtadvaita) over other philosophical thought at that time which included Buddhism, Jainism, Charvaka, Advaita, Nyasa, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Purva-Mimamsa, Pasupatha, and Ganapatya philosophies. It was the primary reason for the decline of these other religions/philosophies in India, although some of them have caught on in other countries like Tibet, China, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Thailand, etc. Unfortunately for these other countries, there was no-one to take the Visishta-Advaita philosophy to these other lands.

Everyone should read The Sri Bashyam at least once in their lifetime to understand and appreciate the clear and logical arguments that Sri Bhagavad Ramanujacharya puts forth in support of this Qualified Non-Dualism philosophy called Visishta-Advaitam.

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