dsc00644As a practicing Yogi I think we should know about all the philosophies of life so here I am writing this article about it.

The Sanskrit word “Darshana” means philosophy or perspective of  and originates from “drsh” meaning “to view“. For Darshana we need two things one is “drsh” which is “to see” and the other is “drishta”which is “the seer”. Hence, darshana indicates “the process of looking at life and realizing the truth”. It does not mean seeing with the physical eyes nor does it mean to see through other senses in the outside world. It means to see something beyond your senses and beyond your mind. These perspective of life teaches us to examine life and the body-mind connection with the aim of realizing one’s true nature. It is a higher  perception ” to see the invisible” or to see with spiritual insight. Spiritual in Sanskrit is “अध्‍यात्‍म” which means Adhi- first and Atma – Soul, it means firstly to know about your own soul.

These are the different philosophies of life. These philosophies help us explore the world on macro and microscopic level. They help us understand the origin of Universe and form the guiding principles for us to lead long, healthy and happy lives, while performing dharma (Duty), Artha (Money), Kama (Objects) and Moksha (Liberation).

There are main 6 – Shad philosophies of life called “Shad Darshana”.These are the Ashthik philosphies i.e they believe in Vedas. There are 3 Nasthik philosophies as well (which will be discussed latter) and they are equally important. So in total there are 9 Indian Philosophies of life we would be seeing the first 6 ashthik philosophies.

1.     Samkhya Darshana: Expounded by Acharya Kapila Mahamuni

Acharya Kapila has described 24 principles in the formation of Universe. These are Avyakta (Unmanifested form), Mahat (Cosmic intelligence), Ahankar (Ego), 5 Tanmatras (Objects of perception), 5 Jnanedriyas (5 senses), 5 Karmendriyas (5 motor faculties) and 5 Mahabhutas (5 great elements). This darshana has introduced the concept of Prakruti and Purusha as avyakta. It explains how universe is developed from this unmanifested form.

2.     Nyaya Darshana: Expounded by Acharya Gautama.

Nyaya means knowledge. This darshana believes in obtaining knowledge by proofs (Pramanas) & critical logic. It describes the 4 sources of knowledge as Pratyaksha (Direct Perception), Anumana (Inference), Upaman (Analogy) and Shabda (Words by an Authority).

3.    Vaisheshika Darshana: Expounded by Acharya Kanada

Vaisheshikas have described the atomic theory of creation (Paramanuvada). This darshana describes the causative substances (Padartha) of the Universe. These are Ether, Air, Fire, Water, Earth, Soul (Atma), Mind (Mana), Time (Kaal) and Direction (Dig). They have also described 6 categories of substance, including Substance (Dravya), quality (Guna), Action (Karma), Similar (Samanaya), Dissimilar (Vishesh), and Samvaya (Unbreakable relation).

4.    Mimamsa: Expounded by Acharya Jaimini

Mimasa is performing inquiry to reach the truth. Purva Mimasa is based on Vedas; Uttar Mimasa is based on Upanishadas. This darshana has emphasized on spiritual rites, discipline and religious rituals. It has said that performing or following dharma (Duty) leads to the path of liberation.

5.    Vedanta: Expounded by Acharya Badarayana.

Veda means knowledge, Anta means End. Vedanta is detailed in the Upanishadas. Vedanta is based the on principles of knowledge and realization of the Self. There are 3 main branches of Vedanta:

  • Advaita Vedanta- Described by Shankaracharya is the philosophy of non-dualism.
  • Vishishadvaita Vedanta- Described by Ramanujacharya is the philosophy of qualified non-dualism.
  • Dvaita Vedanta- Described by Madhavacharya is the philosophy of dualism.

6. Yoga: Expounded by Acharya Patanjali

Yoga derived from Sanskrit root word “Yuj” means Unite. It is the union of individual self to the Universal self. Acharya Patanjali has described the 8 limbs of yoga. He has described the path of self-discipline to attain liberation i.e. Moksha.

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