Monday, March 7, 2011

Introduction to Hinduism - 01.1.1 - Overview of Astika Schools

Astika (आस्तिक) and nAstika (नास्तिक) are technical terms in relation to Hindu philosophy indicating whether the philosophical schools accept the Vedas as the supreme authority or not, respectively.

The six Astika schools (also known as sad darshana) are:

The common theme of all the schools of Hindu Philosophy is the same - to understand the Ultimate Reality - the difference lies in the depth and level of interpretation of the Ultimate Reality. Each of these schools focus on a particular aspect of the whole and answers specific questions.

nyAya answers the question "What are the means by which I may gain knowledge about the Ultimate Reality?"
vaisheShika (वैशॆषिक) answers the question "What are the various things to be known about the Ultimate Reality?"
sAMkhya (सांख्य) is a metaphysical doctrine and tries to answer about the fundamental nature of Existence
yoga (योग) links this metaphysical doctrine to the Individual
mImAMsA (मीमांसा) answers the question "How do I systematically explore and comprehend the metaphysical doctrine?"
vedAnta (वेदान्त) answers the question, "What is the relationship between God, Matter and Man?"

We shall be taking up a detailed study of each of these philosophical schools in the subsequent posts.

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