Six Indian Schools of Philosophy (Shad Darshan)

Six Indian Schools of Philosophy (Shad Darshan)
The "Shad Darshan" refers to the six classical schools of Indian philosophy, each offering distinct perspectives on metaphysics, epistemology, ethics, and spirituality. These schools are significant for UPSC aspirants due to their impact on Indian thought and their relevance to various aspects of governance, society, and culture. Here are comprehensive notes on each of the Shad Darshan:

1. Nyaya Darshan:
- Founder: Sage Gautama
- Key Tenets:
  - Primarily concerned with logic, reasoning, and epistemology.
  - Believes in the existence of sixteen categories (padarthas) to understand the nature of reality.
  - Advocates for valid inference (anumana) as a means of gaining knowledge.
  - Addresses concepts like perception (pratyaksha), inference (anumana), analogy (upamana), and testimony (sabda) as valid sources of knowledge.
- Contribution:
  - Systematized logical reasoning and analysis, influencing fields like law, science, and philosophy.

2. Vaisheshika Darshan:
- Founder: Sage Kanada
- Key Tenets:
  - Focuses on metaphysics and atomic theory.
  - Propounds seven padarthas: dravya (substance), guna (quality), karma (activity), samanya (generality), vishesha (particularity), samavaya (inherence), and abhava (non-existence).
  - Emphasizes the existence of atoms (paramanu) and their combinations as the fundamental constituents of the universe.
  - Concerned with the nature of reality and the principles governing it.
- Contribution:
  - Laid the groundwork for atomic theory and metaphysics, influencing scientific and philosophical thought.

3. Sankhya Darshan:
- Founder: Sage Kapila
- Key Tenets:
  - Dualistic philosophy dealing with metaphysics, cosmology, and psychology.
  - Postulates the existence of two eternal realities: purusha (consciousness) and prakriti (matter/nature).
  - Identifies the evolutes of prakriti as the cause of the universe's manifestation.
  - Focuses on self-realization and liberation (moksha) through discrimination between purusha and prakriti.
- Contribution:
  - Influential in understanding the dualities of existence and the quest for spiritual liberation.

4. Yoga Darshan:
- Founder: Sage Patanjali
- Key Tenets:
  - Systematizes the practice of yoga (union) for spiritual development and self-realization.
  - Comprises eight limbs (ashtanga): yama (restraints), niyama (observances), asana (posture), pranayama (breath control), pratyahara (withdrawal of senses), dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation), and samadhi (absorption).
  - Aims at controlling the fluctuations of the mind (chitta vritti) to achieve spiritual transcendence.
- Contribution:
  - Popularized yoga as a means for mental, physical, and spiritual well-being, impacting various aspects of life.

5. Mimamsa Darshan:
- Founder: Sage Jaimini
- Key Tenets:
  - Concerned with the interpretation of the Vedas and ritualistic practices (karma kanda).
  - Emphasizes the authority of the Vedas and their injunctions (vidhi) and prohibitions (nishedha).
  - Advocates for the performance of Vedic rituals (yajnas) to achieve desired results.
- Contribution:
  - Established principles for Vedic interpretation, shaping religious rituals and hermeneutics.

6. Vedanta Darshan:
- Founder: Sage Vyasa or Badarayana
- Key Tenets:
  - Interpretation and philosophical system based on the Upanishads.
  - Propounds Advaita (non-dualism), Vishishtadvaita (qualified non-dualism), and Dvaita (dualism) schools.
  - Explores the nature of reality (Brahman), individual self (Atman), and their relationship.
  - Emphasizes self-realization, devotion (bhakti), and knowledge (jnana) for liberation.
- Contribution:
  - Profoundly influenced Indian spirituality, metaphysics, and the concept of liberation (moksha).

Understanding these classical schools of Indian philosophy provides a comprehensive view of the diverse perspectives that have shaped Indian thought and continue to influence various aspects of society, culture, and governance.

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