Summary of Hindu Philosophies
From the previous articles about Sanatana Dharma or Hinduism, it is evident that Hinduism is not a belief based culture, rather a quest based culture.
To summarize the objective and approaches to seek the truth:
Objective of Hinduism: The objective of Hinduism is Sat-Chit-Ananda or Truth – Experience – Bliss.
Seeking the Truth: Sanatana Dharma recognizes that there can be many approaches to discover the truth and hence had many schools of thoughts, which are summarized below:
The Astika School (philosophies that accept the authority of Vedas)
- Understand how the universe was created and you will be able to discover the truth of Existence. This was the Sankhya School of philosophy.
- Understand what gives life to a human being and go within to understand this inner world and you will discover the truth. This is the approach of Yoga.
- Understand the interaction between different entities and you will discover the truth by studying these interactions. This was the approach adopted by Nyaya.
- Breakdown the entire universe into the smallest components and you will be able to understand the truth behind the entire universe. This approach was adopted by the Vaisheshika school of thought.
- Why bother with new methods of discovering the truth. The Vedas have codified rituals to be followed to experience the truth. Simply follow the codified rituals and you will experience the truth. This is the approach of Purva Mimamsa or Karma Mimasa.
- Why bother with new methods of discovering the truth. The Vedas have expounded the theories of the universe and given the truth. Study these philosophies and you will understand the nature of truth. Vedanta takes this route.
The Nastika School (philosophies that accept the authority of Vedas)
- It is impossible to understand the truth. This is the approach of Ajnana
- There is no after life nor rebirth. Whatever exists, exists as a combination of atoms and substances and life is an interaction between these substances. Material pleasure is the only goal of life. This was the theory proposed by the Charvakas.
- Everything that happens, has happened and that will happen are pre-ordained. This was the theory propounded by Ajivakas.
- According to Jainism or Arhata philosophy, no single, specific statement can describe the nature of existence and the absolute truth. This knowledge (Kevala Jnana), it adds, is comprehended only by the Arihants. Other beings and their statements about absolute truth are incomplete, and at best a partial truth.
- The Buddha argued that there is no permanent self, no ‘essence of a person’ or ‘what makes me, me’. This means there is no part of a person which is unchanging and essential for continuity, it means that there is no individual “part of the person that accounts for the identity of that person over time”. This was the Boutha philosophy of Buddha.
Isn’t Sanatana Dharma or Hindusim, a logical and beautiful system of seeking the truth?