CSE Mains Philosophy Syllabus                                                    

Link to Download pdf - CĀRVĀKA
Link to Download PDF - Nyaya School of Indian Philosophy
Link to Download PDF - Vaisesika School
  1. Schools rejecting Vedic authority (Heterodox or Nastika) Carvaka, Buddhism, Jainism 
  2. Schools not rejecting Vedic authority (Othodox or Astika)
 Schools directly based on Vedic texts :
  • Mimamsa (It emphasizes ritualistic aspect of the  Vedas)
  • Vedanta (It emphasizes speculative aspect of the Vedas)
 Schools based on independent grounds  
  • Sankhya, Yoga, Nyaya, Vaisesika
The meaning and scope of Indian Philosophy
Indian philosophy denotes the philosophical speculations of Indian thinkers, ancient or modern, Hindus or non-Hindus. As far as philosophy is concerned in India it is not to be associated with only Hindu religion and if you do so then it should be on the basis of geographical description, i.e., people who lived in India but not a follower of some religious faith known as Hinduism, the supposition would be wrong and misleading. 
Indian philosophy, is marked, in this respect, by a striking breadth of outlook which only testifies to its unflinching devotion to the search for truth. Though there were many different schools and their views differed sometimes very widely from each other. Let us begin our study of these schools one by one.
The Vedas and the Upanisads
 The Vedas
The Vedas are the oldest extant literary monument of the Aryan mind. The origin of Indian Philosophy may be easily traced in the Vedas. Indian Philosophy, as an autonomous system, has developed practically unaffected by external influences.
  • Meaning of philosophy in etymological sense is ‘love of wisdom’ or ‘love of learning’.
  • "See the self’ ( ātmā vā are dras̩ t̩avyah̩ ) : It is the key note of all schools of Indian Philosophy.
  • All Indian Philosophy schools focus on annihilation of three kinds of pains namely−
  1. Ādhyātmika: physical and mental sufferings produced by natural and intra-organic causes.
  2. Ādhibhautika: physical and mental sufferings produced by natural and extr-organic causes.
  3. Ādhidaivika: physical and mental sufferings produced by super natural and extra-organic causes.
Realization of supreme happiness is the end.
Shravana: hearing and truth
Manana: intellectual conviction after critical analysis
Nidhidhyāsana: practical realization
(these are the means to achieve salvation from the above mentioned pain)
  • ‘Veda’ (knowledge) stands for mantras and the Brāhman̩ as (mantra-brāhman̩ ay or vedanamadheyam).
  • Mantra means a hymn addressed to same god or goddess.
  • Samhitā: collection of mantras. It is said that there are four samhitas and these are compiled to fulfil the needs of four main priests−
        I.            R̩ k means a verse, it is for Hotā.
      II.            Sāma means song, it is for Udgātā.
    III.            Yajuh means prose message, it is for Adhvaryu.
    IV.            Atharva for the Brahmā
ü  Sometimes the vedas are referred to only as ‘Trayī’, omitting the atharva.
ü  Samhita-bhaga or mantra portion of veda is the hymnology addressed to the various gods and
ü  Rk samhta is regarded as the oldest and the most important.
ü  Rsis of the vedas are not the authors, but only the ‘seers’ of the mantras. (rsayo mantra drastarah).
ü  The concluding portions of the aranyakas are called the Upanishads.
ü  Mantras and Brahmanas are called karma kaanda.
ü  Karma-kaanda: the portion dealing with the sacrificial actions.
ü  Aranyakas and the Upanishads are called the jñāna-kān̩ d̩ a. It deals with the knowledge.
ü  Aranyakas represents a transition from Karma-kaanda to jñāna-kān̩ d̩ a.
ü  Upanishads are also known as’ vedānta’ or the ‘end of the vedas.’ Because they are the concluding portions of the vedas and they are the essence, the cream, the height of the vedic philosophy.
ü  We can notice a transition from the naturalistic and anthropomorphic polytheism through transcendent monotheism to immanent monism in the pre-upanishadic philosophy..
ü  The real essence of God is one.
ü  The same real is worshipped as Uktha in Rk, Agni in the Yajuh, Mahavrata in Sama

The Upanishads
The name Upanishads is derieved from the root ‘sad’ which means :
(i)                  to sit down,
(ii)                to destroy,
(iii)               to loosen.
Ø  ‘Upa’ means near by and ‘ni’ means devotedly.
Ø  Thus the word means sitting down of disciple near his teacher in a devoted manner to receive instructions about highest reality which loosen all doubts and destroys all ignorance of the disciple.
Ø  There are all in total 108 Upanishads.
Ø  But ten or eleven Upanishads are regarded as important on which shankaracharya has commented. These are isha, Kena, Katha, Prashna, Mundakya, Mandukya, Taittiriya, aitareya, Chhandogya and Brhadaranyaka.
Ø  Fundamental doctrine: monistic idealism or idealistic monism.
Ø   The Upanishads develop the monistic ideas scattered in the samhitas.
Ø  Mundaka tells us ‘two kinds of knowledge must be known’: the higher and the lower, former is that which the Rk, Sama, Atharva, the ceremonial grammer and the latter is that by which the immortal Brahman is known.
Ø  Surya signifies intelligence, agni signifies will, soma signifies, feeling, ashvamedha signifies meditation.
Ø  Svarajya- true spiritual autonomy.
Ø  ātman: the word atman meant life-breadth. Shankracharya says: which pervades all; which is the subject and which knows, experiences and illuminates the objects and which remains immortal.
v  Materialism: founder- Brahaspati
v  Carvaka- chief disciple of Brhaspati and founder of Carvaka school of Indian philosophy.
v  Carvaka is a common name given to a materialist who believes in ‘eat, drink and be merry’, or person who is ‘sweet tongued’.
v  Another synonym of carvaka is Lokayata− c commoner and therefore by implication, a man of low and unrefined taste.
v   Nastika-shiromani: an arch-heretic is another name for a materialist.
v  Lokayat is the only shastra; perception is the only authority.
v  Elements- earth, water, fire, and air are the only elements.
v  Enjoyments- the only end of human existence; mind is only a product of matter.
v  Death- liberation, there is no other world. Death is liberation for Carvaka.
v  Soul- it is nothing but a conscious body.
v  Epistemology- study of knowledge.
v  Valid knowledge: Perception is the only source of valid knowledge.
v  Inference is mere leap in the dark.
v  Deductive inference: it is vitiated by the fallacy of petitio principii. And it is merely an argument in a circle since the conclusion is already contained in the major premise.
v  Inductive inference: it undertakes to prove the validity of the major premise of deductive inference.
Carvaka in short: 
·         Ethics- a good action is one which leads to a bad action in one which brings about more pain than pleasure−Hedonism (pleasure is the highest goal).
·         Carvaka rejects last two of the four purusarthas i.e., dharma and moksa.
·         Enjoyment is the ultimate end. 
 Link to Download PDF -     Indian School of Philosophy

Mimamsa School of Indian Philosophy

Mimamsa literally means ‘revered thought’ and was originally applied to the interpretation of the Vedic rituals which commanded highest reverence.

·         Mimamsa and Vedanta are also called allied systems. Both are based on try to interpret Vedas.

·         Earlier portion of Vedas i.e., the Mantra and the Bhrahman portion is called Karmakānda- it deals with the action, rituals and the sacrifices. The later portion of Vedas i.e., Upanishads is called Jñānakānda deals with the knowledge of reality.

·         Mimamsa deals with earlier portion of the Vedas and is also called Purva-Mimamsa and also Karma-Mimamsa. (it is also known as Dharma-mimamsa)

·          Vedanta deals with later portion of the Vedas and is therefore called Uttar-Mimāmsa and Jñāna-Mimāmsa. (it is also known as Brahma-mimamsa).

·          Karma-jñāna-samuchchaya-vaāda: the sutras beginning from Jaimini and ending with the last sutra of Badarayana, form one compact Shastra. It is the combination of action and knowledge. Advocated by pre-Shankarite teachers of Vedanta of whom Mandana Mishra seems to be the last one.

·          Kumarila Bhatta is regarded as the link between Purva-mimamsa and Uttar-mimamsa. Ramanuja and Bhaskara believe that the Purva and Uttar-mimamsa together form one science and the study of the former is necessary before undertaking the study of the latter.

·          Jaimini is the founder of Uttar-Mimamsa. And Mimamsa-sutra of Jaimini is the earliest work of this system which begins with an enquiry into the nature of the Dharma.

·          Shabarasvamin has written his great commentary on Mimamsa-sutra, and his commentary has been explained by Prabhakara and Kumarila Bhatta.

·          Prabhakara’s commentary Brhati has been commented upon by Shālikanāth who has also written another treatise called Prakarana-pañchikā.


Kumarila’s work is divided into three parts:

1.      Shlokavartika: commented upon by Partasarthi Mishra who has also written his Shastrdipika.

2.      Tantravartika

3.      Tupitaka

(Tradition makes Prabhakara a pupil of Kumarila who nicknamed him as ‘Guru’ on account of his great intellectual powers. But some scholars like Dr. Ganganatha Jha believe that Prabhakara school is older and seems to be nearer the spirit of the original Mimamsa.)[1]

Nature of valid knowledge

·         Prabhakara; he defines valid knowledge as apprehension (anubhuti). All apprehension is direct and immediate and valid per se. ‘all cognitions as cognitions are valid; their invalidity is due to their disagreement with the real nature of their objects.’

·          Kumarila: defines valid knowledge as apprehension of an object which is produced by causes free from defects and which is not contradicted by subsequent knowledge.

·          Parthsarthi : defines it as apprehension of an object which has not been already apprehended, which truly represents the object, and which is free from contradiction. A valid cognition must therefore fulfill four conditions:

(i)                 Karandoshrahita: it must not arise from defective causes.

(ii)                Baādhakjñānarahita: it must be self-consistent and should not be set aside by subsequent knowledge.

(iii)             Agrhitagrahi: it must apprehend an object which has not already been apprehended. Novelty is an essential feature of knowledge.

(iv)             Yathartha: it must truly represent the object.

o   The Mimamsaka follows the theory of Svatahparmanyavada- self validity or intrinsic validity of knowledge.

o    Prabhakara nad Kumarila both uphold the intrinsic validity of knowledge. Prabhakara says, ‘all cognitions as cognitions are valid; their invalidity is due to their disagreement with the real nature of their objects.’ Kumarila says, ‘the validity of knowledge consists in its apprehending an object; it is set aside by such discripancies as its disagreement with the real nature of the object.’

o   Mimasaka advocates the validity of knowledge in two respects; its origin (utpatti), ascertainment (jñapti).

o   Prabhakar’s theory of knowledge: triputipratayaksavada. He regards knowledge as self luminious (svaprakasha). It manifests itself and needs nothing for its manifestation. It is not eternal. Every knowledge according to him has triple manifestation− the cognition of the self as the knower (ahamvitti), the cognition of the object as the known (visayavitti), and the self-conscious cognition (svasamvitti).

o   Kumarila’s theory of knowledge: jñātavāda. He differs from Prabhakara and does not regard knowledge as self-luminious. Knowledge is not perceptible. It cannot be known directly and immediately. It is essentially an act (kriya) or a process ( vyapara).

Perception and inference:

·         Jaimini admits three pramanas−perception, inference and testimony. Prabhakara adds two more−comparison and implication. Kumarila further adds non-apprehension.

·         Both Prabhakara and Kumarila recognize two kinds of knowledge−immediate and mediate.

·         Perception is regarded as immediate knowledge by both and both admit two stages in perception−indeterminate and determinate.

·         Prabhakara defines perception as direct apprehension (saksat-pratitih-pratyaksam).

·         Kumarila defines it as direct knowledge produced by the proper contact of the sense-organs with the presented objects, which is free from defects.

·         Mimamsa account of inference is similar to that of Nyaya with few variations; Mimamsaka recognizes only three syllogism, either the first three or the last three, thus bringing Indian syllogism in conformity with the Aristotelian one.

Ø  Comparison: Knowledge of relation between a word and the object denoted by that word is derived by verbal authority. E.g., by the words of the person who tells that a wild cow is similar to a cow) and not by comparison. Comparison according to Mimamsa, apprehends the similarity of the remembered cow to the perceived wild cow.
Ø  Verbal Testimony: has got the greatest importance in Mimamsa. Testimony is Verbal authority. It is the knowledge of the meanings of words. (for detailed notes on verbal testimony see the previous post which was exclusively on sabda-epistemology of Mimamsa
Ø  Implication: Prabhakara and Kumarila admits arthapatti as an independent means of valid knowledge. It is the assumption of an unperceived fact in order to reconcile two apparently inconsistent perceived facts.
Ø  Negation: Kumarila admits non-apprehension (anuplabdhi) as the sixth independent pramana. Prabhakara rejects it.
Ø  Prabhakara’s theory of Error: Akhyati. Error is only partial truth. It is imperfect knowledge. All knowledge, as knowledge, as knowledge, is quite valid, though all knowledge is not necessarily perfect. Imperfect knowledge is commonly called ‘error’. ‘Error according to Prabhakara is one of omission only not of commission.’ It is only non-apprehension and not mis-apprehension. Hence this view is called akhyati or non-apprehension. It is also called vivekakhyati or bhedagraha or asamsargagraha.
Ø  Kumarila’s theory of error: Vipartkhyati. Error is due to a wrong synthesis of the presented and the represented objects. The represented object is confused with the presented one. This view is called misapprehension.
Ø  Mimamsa is pluralistic realistic. It believes in the reality of external world and of the individual souls.
Ø  Prabhakara admits seven categories−substance (dravya), quality (guna), action (karma), generality (samanya), inherence (paratantrata), force (Shakti) and similarity (sadrshya).
Out of these the first five our similar to the categories of the Vaishesika, though inherence here is called parantantrata instead of samavaya; and the last two, Shakti and sadrshya, are added; the Vaisesika category of particularity is equated with the quality of distinctness (prthaktva) and the category of negation is rejected.
Kumarila recognizes four categories: substance, quality, action, and generality, and the fifth category of negation which is of four kinds−prior, posterior, mutual and absolute. He rejects particularity and inherence.
Ø  Prabhakara and Kumarila both admit the plurality of the individual souls and regard the self as an eternal (nitya), omnipresent (sarvagata), ubiquitous (vibhu), infinite (vyapaka) substance (drvaya) which is the substratum (ashraya) of consciousness and which is a real knower (jnata), enjoyer (bhokta) and agent (karta).
Ø  Kumarila advocates the theory of cognizedness of object (jnatatavada). He believes that self-consciousness is a later and higher state of consciousness.
Ø  Dharma is the subject of enquiry in Mimamsa. Jaimini defines dharma as a command or injunction which impels men to action. It is the supreme duty, the ‘ought’, the ‘categorical imperative’. Dharma is revealed by Veda which deals with true spirituality.

[1] Chandradhar Sharma, A Critical Survey of Indian Philosophy, 2009, p. 213.

                         Link to Download PDFMimamsa School of Indian Philosophy
                                                                  Mimamsa School of Indian Philosophy


Ø  Nyāya school of Indian Philosophy was founded by Gotama who is also known as Aks̩apāda.
 Ø  Nyāya is also known as:
 1.      Pramāns̩astra: science of logic and epistemology.
 2.      Hetuvidya: Science of causation
 3.      Vādavidya: Science of debate
 4.      anvīks̩kī: Science of critical study
 5.      tarksastra: Science of reasoning

 Ø  Nyāya-sutra is the main text written by Gotama, on which Vatsayan wrote a commentary which is called Nyāya-bhāsya.

Ø  Uddyotakara wrote his Vartika on Nyāya-bhāsya, Vāchaspati wrote commentary on Vartika which is called tatparya-tika.
 Ø  Nyāya is a school of atomistic pluralism and logical realism. It is allied to vaisesika syatem (samanantara). Vaisesika develops Ontology and Metaphysics, Nyaya develops Logic and epistemology.
 Ø  Both agree in viewing the earthly life as full of suffering, as bondage of the soul.
 Ø  According to Nyāya there are two kinds of knowledge:
 (i) valid (pramā): it is right apprehension of an object, i.e., yatharthānubhāva (presentation of an object as it is).
 (ii) invalid (apramā).
 Ø  Nyāya maintains the ‘theory of correspondence’- paratah̩ prāmānya.
 Ø  There are four means of valid knowledge (presentative cognition) according to Nyāya:
 1.      Perception- pratakshya
 2.      Inference- anumana
 3.      Comparison-upmana
 4.      Testimony- sruti
 Ø  Invalid knowledge includes:
  1.      Smrti- memory
  2.      Samasya-doubt
  3.      Viparyaya- error (misapprehension)
  4.      Tarka- hypothetical reasoning

Ø  Valid knowledge corresponds to its object (yathartha and avisavadi) and leads to successful activity (pravrttisamarthya).

 Ø  Invalid knowledge does not correspond to its object (ayathārtha and visamvādi) and leads to disappointment and failure (pravrttisamvada).

 Ø  Nyaya theory of knowledge is Realistic and Pragmatic.

 Ø  Perception is ‘non-erronous cognition’ according to Gotama.

 There are two stages in perception:
 1.      Nirvikalpa (indeterminate)
 2.      Savikalpa (determinate)
 Ø  Perception is ‘unassociated with a name’ (avyapadeshya) which means ‘indeterminate’, and it is ‘well-defined’ (vyayavāsyatmaka) means determinate.
 Ø  ‘Percepts without concepts are blind and concepts without percepts are empty.
 Ø  Perception is of two kinds:
 1.      Laukika (ordinary): it is perception of the usual type and is of two kinds, i.e., manas (internal) and external (bāhya).
  2.      Ālaukika (extra-ordinary): it is the perception in an unusual way.
 It is of three types:                                                          
   i.      Samanyalaksana: perception of universals. Eg. Cowness in cow.                                                    ii.      Jnanalaksana: perception through association. The theory of illusion (anyathakhyati) is based on this type of perception.                                                      
  iii.      Yogaja: immediate perception by yogins through meditatios.

 Ø  Yogaja of Nyaya is like Kevaljnana of Jainism, Bodhi of Buddhist, kaivalya of Sankhya-yoga and aproksanubhuti of Vedantins.
 Ø  Inference (anumana): It is knowledge (mana0 which arises after (anu). It is mediate and indirect. It arises through a ‘mark’ the middle term (linga or hetu). The middle term is connected invariably with the major term (sadhya).
 Ø  Invariable concomitance: Vyapti or avinabhavaniyama, it is the nerve of inference.
 Ø  Paksadharmatā: the presence of the middle term (hetu) in the minor term.
 Ø  Vyapti: invariable association of middle term with the major term (sadhya)
 Ø  Paramarsa: Inference is knowledge arising through paramarsa. The knowledge of paksadharmata qualified by vyapti.
 Ø  Major term is sadhya, minor term is paksa and linga and middle term is hetu.
 Ø  Indian logic does not separate deduction from induction.

Ø  Inference is of two types:                              
   i.            Svartha anumana: for one self                          
  ii.            Parartha anumana: for others.
 Ø  Syllogism: Nyaya syllogism is deductive inductive and formal-material. There are five syllogism in Nyaya logic:                              
  i.            Pratijna: this hill has fire                          
  ii.           Hetu: because it has smoke                        
  iii.          Udaharana: whatever has smoke has fire.                        
  iv.           Upanaya: this hill has smoke which is invariably associated with fire.                          
  v.            Naigama: therefore this hill has fire
 Ø  Truth in Nyaya inference is from particular to particular through universal. Ø  Characteristics of hetu (middle term):                              
  i.            It must be present in the minor term                          
 ii.            Sapaksasattva            
iii.            Vipakasasattva                        
iv.             Abadhita                          
 v.             Aviruddha
 Ø  In Indian logic fallacy is hetvabhasa- It means middle term appears to be a reason but it is not a valid reason.
It is of five kinds:
                            i.            Asiddha or sadhyasama: it is divided into three parts:
 (a)    Ashrayasiddha
 (b)   Svarupasiddha
 (c)    Vyapyatvasiddha
                             ii.            Savyabhichara: it is also divided into three parts:
 (a)    Sadharana
 (b)   Asadharana
 (c)    Anupasamhari
                            iii.            Satpratipaksa
                            iv.            Badhita        
                             v.            Viruddha
 Ø  Gotama speaks of three kinds of inference:
                             i.            Purvavat: based on causation.    
                            ii.            Shesavat: based on causation
                           iii.            Samanyatodrsta: based on mere co-existence.
 Ø  Another classification of Inference divides inference into three parts:
                              i.            Kevalanvayi
                             ii.            Kevalavyatireki
                            iii.            Anvayavyatireki
 Ø  Verbal testimony is of two kids- vaidika and secular.
 There are a certain conditions for verbal testimony:
                               i.            Akansa (expectancy)
                              ii.            Yogyata (non-contradictory)
                              iii.           Sannidhi (continuity)
                              iv.            Tatparya (intention)
 Ø  Arthapatti or implication is reduced to inference in Nyaya philosophy. Abhava is reduced either to perception or inference.
 Ø  Comparison (upamiti): its means or source is called upamana. Comparison is the knowledge of the relation between a word and its denotation.
 Ø  Sabda: its means or source is also called sabda. Sabda as a source of valid knowledge is agam (the statement of a trustworthy person- aptavakya).
 Ø  Causation: a cause is defined as an unconditional and invariable antecedent of an effect and an effect as an unconditional and invariable consequent of a cause. The same cause produces the same effect and the same effect is produced by the same cause. There are a few essential characteristics of cause:
                               i.            Purvavrtti
                              ii.            Nityatapurvavrtti
                              iii.           Ananyathasiddha
 Ø  Nyaya definition of a cause is the same as that in western inductive logic. Hume defines a cause as an invariable antecedent.
 Ø  Nyaya believes in teleological creation like vaisesika.
 Ø  Material cause of this universe: earth, water, fire and air.
 Ø  Efficient cause is god.

Ø  Nyaya advocates  :
       i.    Atomism      
      ii.   Spiritualism    
      ii.   Theism                  
      iv.   Realism                    
       v.   Pluralism
 Ø  Creation is through combination of atoms and destruction is means dissolution of these combinations.
 Ø  Asatkaryavada: Nyaya view of causation because the different combinations of atoms are regarded as new creations, as real fresh bignning. This view implies that the effect does not preexist in the cause, it is a new begnning also known as arambhbhava.
 Ø  Soul; real knower, real enjoyer, real active agent, and an eternal substance.
 Ø  Nyaya accepts the metaphysics of vaisesika.


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