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Lesson-XII ...


A further reduction of e~oistic t!;<ndencies is represented in Fig. 3 when the distinction and difference between the individual and the cosmos diminishes to the miftimum. The individual gets more attuned to the totality and feels himself a part of the entire universe. A philosopher,


who has imbibed and assjmilated the higher values of lj~, reduces his ego to the minimum

and thereby lives in perfect attunement with the world around. When one has evolved to such a state, one recognizes that the microcosm is not at all ~e with the macrocosm.

The last stage of evolution is the total annihilation of the ego when the microcosm merges with the macrocosm (fig.4). An individual, who has cast away the last tra~@8 ef IDS ego and realised the supreme Self within, experiences the perfect oneness between hjm~e.l..f...illillthe co~ Thereafter, the [illicrocosm and the macrocosm are recognized only as the ot.

Consciousness or Brahman expressing different@ This idea is represented in Fig. 5, where \

the Atman or Brahman, the Reality, is indicated as the center around which the microcosm

and the macrocosm (represented by the two triangles) revolve.

In this figure, the three sides of one triangle represent the three planes of Consciousness


viz., Vishwa (Waker), Taijasa (Dreamer) and Pragna (Deep-sleeper). Th~sides of tfu:

second triangle represent Virat (Cosmic-Waker), Hiranyagarhha (Cosmic-Dreamer) and


Eswara (Cosmic Deep-Sleeper). The two triangles mer~e into each other since they are

concentric i.e with a common center This explains figuratively that the six planes of Consciousness are supported by and are founded upon the one substratum viz. the Pure Consciousness or Brahman.

The CUlmination of human evolution is to reach this central point so as to realize the infinite homogeneous, non-dual Reality (Brahman) in and through the pluralistic manifestations of the individual and the cosmos.

* This figure has been one of the Tantric-Symbols accepted in India-the significance of it is lost to-day even to the erudite pundits.


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The Hindu philosophy falls under six main schools of thought. Philosophy is termed in Sanskrit as 'Darshana', which means Vision of Truth'. Hence, the six schools of philosophy are called 'Elbad Darshanas', ('Shad' means six). Though six systems of philosophy are accepted by all, there are two different classifications of the schools accepted separately by the orthodox and the heterodox thinkers. The orthodox believe that the declarations of only those philosophers, who amplify Vedic enunciations alone, are to be accepted as Hindu philosophy, whereas the others accept all the original views by the Indian thinkers dealing with the Unknown Reality, as philosophy.

An attempt is made below to provide a bird's eye view of the entire concept of the Hindu philosophy covering both the orthodox and the heterodox classifications.

These schools of philosophy are included here for your information and reference. We only wish to make these words and phrases-which form part of the Hindu philosophyfamiliar to you so that you are not kept in the dark w~en this topic in mentioned or discussed by others. Please note that this chapter entitled 'Six Schools of Philosophy' need not be mastered, as we expect you to. do with respect to all other portions, and no questions will be posed from this portion. You may, however, go through the chapter carefully and obtain a general idea of it all.

Another reason for including this chapter is to give a clear and concise picture of these philosophies for the satisfaction of some students who are particularly interested in the study of such data.


We have, thus, to-day altogether six main schools of thought in the Hindu philosophy.

Each argues differently and arrives at seemingly independent conclusions, but after careful study and contemplation, an intelligent student understands that all of them indicate the same Truth.

The chart below gives the different philosophies. All knowledge possibilities fall under two categories viz., (a) secular knowledge and (b) spiritual knowledge. Secular knowledge pertains to the terrestrial world of things and beings. Spiritual knowledge deals with subjective realization of the Transcendental Reality that lies beyond the limitations of the phenomenal world. The theme of all these philosophies is an enquiry into the spiritual knowledge.

Spirituallmowledge is divided into two main groups viz., the Theistic and the Athestic.

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This division is merely technical. It is not meant to be understood as faith or absence of faith

in the Supreme Truth or a Prophet.


In this context, the Theists are those who accept the Vedas and believe in an eternal nondual RealiiX. On the contrary, the Atheists neither be1i;ve in a Iranscendental Truth bey011d the body and the world, nor have they any faith in the Vedic declarations and the scriptural Truths. In short, they believe only in the knowledge gained through direct perception. Since the Transcendental Truth cannot be seen or experienced by them, they refuse to accept the Vedic declarations or believe in diviner possibilities in man.

The Atheistic school of philosophy is classified under two categories viz., Atheistic atheism and ~ vtJ",s w ot;~ In4\.. ~ C/.1l1tV~h.~

. i) Atheistic theism. .:: ~ bp~ f,..,.+L. ¥ V' oItI { ~ 81.,;) til" r Jq I MJ

Atheistic atheists are those who, being complete atheists, do not believe either in the Vedas or ill the Supreme Truth. This school is championed by some philosophers, the most important among them being Charvaka. Atheistic theists, however, accept a..supteme Twth ~ond the bQ~ and the objects of the world, though they refute the Vedas. The Buddhists and the Jains fall under this category of Atheistic theists.

The Charvakas believe that there is no higher gQil.l to be achieved in life and man has only to find maxjmum enjoyment in sensual indulgence unrestricted by ethical or moral scruples. They believe that man merely exists as he is-he comes from nowhere when he is born and goes to nowhere when he is dead. His only function and duty are to indJllge in the sense objects of the world as much as he desires and there is nothing beyond the sensual world for him to aspire for and achieve. At death when the body is buried, everything ends.

The Buddhists are Atheistic theists, but their atheistic leanings are different from those of the Charvakas. Their atheism sprang from Buddha's revolt against the excessive Vedicritualism practiced during his age. Ritualism had reached a state of absurdity and the people following it has grown to be barbarous and immoral. Buddha denied the authority for such practices and, in doing so, he had to denounce the Vedic text books themselves. Also, the Eternal, that they believe in, is declared by one group of Buddhists (Asat-vadins) as 'nonexistent' and by another group (Kshanika-vigyana-vadins) as a series of ever-changing flickerings of consciousness in the mind.

Th~ins, the followers of.Mahal'ir, belong to the Atheistic theistic school. They are considered atheistic because of their non-acceptance of the Vedas. Their theistic leanings are attributed to their belief in the eternal Truth which js pelJllilnent perfect and all-blissful.

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The Theistic school of philosophy is also classified under two categories viz., i) Theistic atheism and :::'Id«r ~""t. ttcf)V'V( ~-r1 liiJkltlf4"')

ii) Theistic theism. -=

The Theistic atheists are those who accept the Ved~c..declarations but ~o not believe in the. one eternal Truth indicated by the Upanishads as the Brahman. They do not believe that the Truth can be realized by study, reflection and meditation upon the Upanishadic declarations. These philosophers belong to three main scl:1o.ols viz., the Tarka-philosophy, the Sankhyaphilosophy and the Purva-Mi;;i"amsa-philosophy. The Theistic theists are those who not only

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accept the Vedas but also believe in Brahman, the non-dual eternal Truth. These philosophers belong to the school known as Uttara-Mlmamsa-philosophy.

Tarka-Shastra is one of the schools of Theistic atheism indicating the points of view reached by Kanada and Gautama. The philosophies of Kanada and Gautama are called Vaisheshika and Nyaya respectively. These two philosophies are two parallel streams of thoughts, though wandering away here and there due to certain differences of opinion.

The Sankhyan philosophy is most rational, analytical and scientific in its treatment. It has the highest appeal fot the modem intellectuals. The Sankhyans fall under two groups, sustained by two great exponents-Kapila and Patanjali. Kapila's philosophy, called the NirEshwara-Sankhya, does not take into consideration the concept of a Creator or Eshwara. Patanjali introduces the concept of Creator (Eshwara) in his doctrine called Sa-EshwaraSankhya.

The third school of philosophy that falls under the Theistic atheism is the Purva Mimamsa.

'Purva' means 'earlier' and 'Mimamsa' means the 'sequence of logical thinking'. The. bulle of the declarations of the Vedas is found in two distinct portions viz., Karma Kanda and Gnana Kanda. Karma Kanda is the earlier portion which is seemingly dualistic whereas the Gnana Kanda constitutes the later portion which is positively non-dualistic i.e. It proclaims the absolute oneness or non-dualism of the Truth. The earlier Vedic thought and

the logic of the conclusions therein had been complied together by Jaimini. The philosophy of Jaimini, discussed in the Jaimini Sutras, expounds the essence of the Purva-Mimamsa. .1.· ...

According to this philosophy, man has to follow faithfully the ritualistic portion of the Vedas. If he does so, he will gain infmite merits. In order to enjoy the fruits of such merits, individual souls will get a chance to live for a fixed period of time in a realm of consciousness where he could experience subtler and more intense sensuous enjoyments. This temporary, periodical resort in the heavens in conceived by the followers of PurvaMimamsa as the goal of existence.

Pure Theistic theism is preached in the Brahma Sustras by Badarayana, who has been identified as Vyasa, the compiler of the Bhagavad Geeta. The philosophy, enunciated in the Brahma Sutras, is a quintessence of the points of view preached in the Upanishads and it is know as Uttara-Mimamsa. This school had fallen into obscurity until Shankaracharya revived it and gave it prominence as the Advaita (non-dualistic) Vedanta.

Thus, there are two' different classifications of the schools of the Hindu philosophy recognized by the orthodox and the heterodox thinkers. The orthodox classification of the schools is : (i) Vaiseshika (ii) Nyaya (iii) Nir-Eshwara-Sankhya (iv) Sa-Eshwara-Sankya (v) Purva-Mimamsa (vi) Uttara-Mimamsa (Vedanta). Theother classification, which gives an equal status to the Atheistic schools also, is : (i) Charvaka (ii) Bouddha (iii) Jaina (iv) Tarka (v) Sankhya (vi) Veda (Purva-Mimainfa and Uttara-Mimamsa) .


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~LlJ )






BUDDHISM (Buddha) (B)

JAINISM (Mahavir) (C)









I (5)




(Gautama) SANKHY A


(2) (3)

SA-ESHWARA SANKHYA (Patanjali) (4)


The shad-Darsanas or the Six Schools of philosophy are considered by some as 1,2,3,4,5 and 6, and by others as constituted by (A), (B), (C), (X), (Y) and (Za+Zb).


Vedanta stands out as the most significant and native philosophy of India. It answers, at once, the demands of metaphysics and requirements of a sound religion. Vedanta is a clear and comprehensive summary of the perennial philosophy; hence its enduring value is meant for all mankind. However, the system of Vedanta derives its doctrines from the Prasthana Traya which comprises the three great text books;' namely the Upanishads, the Bhagavad

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Geeta and the Brahma Sutras .

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The quintessence of the Vedantic philosophy is contained in the four great aphoristic declarations of the supreme Truth and they are called the Great Commandments

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(Mahavakyas). This Mahavakyas, Conunandments, are found one each in each one of the four Vedas. They are:

1. Pragnanam Brahma Consciousness is Brahman.

2. Tat Twam Asi That Thou Art.

3. Ayam Atma Brahma This Self is Brahman.

4. Aham Brahma Asmi.. .1 am Brahman.

CD The first Mahavakya, Commandment, viz., Pragnanam Brahma appears in the Aitareya

"") Upanishad in the Rig Veda. It declares that the Consciousness (Atman), which pulsates in an

(1I.tt_1.l( ">' .f.r.t individual and gives sentiency to the matter layers, is the same as the supreme Reality behind

(1M.' uOW) rIIM :;:I'I,t,~he entire Universe-(Brahman). In short, the one and the same Consciousness acts as the Common substratum for both the microcosm and the macrocosm. For example, electricity "rtA~ :: r¥.~ functioning in a small bulb is the same as that which functions in all the electric bulbs, t;rJ gadgets, machines and other contrivances in the entire world.

"'1f1~ Electricity is like the Consciousness, one homogeneous power though its manifestations

alii':." II, ~ may be different and varied.

qO'.A"'~ ~ fnJ.l This statement-divine is an objective definition of the highest Truth. It merely declares, /vrt#J' "Consciousness in each bosom is the Brahman, the total Consciousness." This definition is a general indication to all seekers that if anyone of them should experience the Consciousness within him, he will at once be experiencing the infinite Brahman (total Consciousness).

The second Mahavakya (great declaration) viz., Tat Twam Asi is found in the

Chhandogya Upanishad in the Sarna Veda. It declares, "That infinite all-pervading Truth is the Consciousness in you-That Thou Art". 'That' refers to the supreme Brahman, the allpervading Reality. 'Thou' is the Consciousness or the pure Self which is the subjective core of one's personality lying beyond the five layers of matter. This aphorism, therefo;e,

~ -:. tlMJl rlW''''''' ~.WJ....t

. .,/1

~.fl,.Atk and the same metal.

/At/VIa. IHaJ.v/fJfilc"I .. The above commandment (Mahavakya) viz, 'That Thou Art' is a statement of advice to

~I ' the seeker who seeks the spiritual knowledge. It is called Upadesha Vakya in as much as it

If ""'l·~'"' •

contains words of instruction addressed to a seeker that the S!lpre~ Re\llj~ (Brahman)is the

Self within him. The first aphorism contains a general definition of Truth while here is a ~rsonal advice to the student, that the supreme Truth is nothing but his own Self.

The third Mahavakya (great statement) viz., Ayam Atma Brahma is in the Mandukya Upanishad in the Atharvana Veda, 'Ayam' literally means 'this'. 'Ayam' signifies the selfeffulgent Consciousness within. Another word for 'Ayam Atma' in the Veda is Pratyagatman, which means the 'inner Self, the 'Indwelling Conscious Principle'. This Consciousness lies deep within oneself, within all the five material layers. From the physical body up to the vasanas (causal body) are mere external coverings. This Atman, the subjective Core of one's personality around which one's activities revolve, is the very same Brahman, which is the enlivening essence behind the visible universe in its entirety. In short, the Brahman (supreme Reality) and the Atman (self-luminous Principle in an individual) are identical.

-nis.uAf ::: +~I( tAtw..."1 5"'t£}.r {.-..(_

~.,:v P(M-h~


IJr ... ~~Jl-~

pronounces the oneness of the infinite Brahman and the Atman (Self) within oneself. For example, the total gold available in the world and the gold in any particular ornament is one

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