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QuickRef: related to Hindu scriptures

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This is a thread giving some briefs for ready reference, in relation to Hindu scriptures.

Classifications of the ShaD-darshana texts
(Ref: Philosophy of the Vedanta by Priya Nath Sen)

The six systems of Hindu philosophy can be classified in may ways.

01. Astika and nAstika. Etymologically, a system would be named Astika--realistic, if it recognizes the existence of soul after death; otherwise it could be called nAstika--nihilistic.

• In this sense, the chArvAka system of BRhaspati alone can be unhesitatingly declared as nAstika.


02. The two words Astika and nAstika are often used to signify theistic and atheistic, so we would prefer to adopt the words seshvara--having a god, and nirIshvara--godless.

• From this standpoint, the sAMkhya system of Kapila, the (pUrva) mImAMsA system of Jaimini, and the bauddha systems, not to speak of chArvAka, may be classified as nirIshvara--atheistic;

• while the vedAnta (uttara mImAMsA) system of VyAsa, yoga or pAtanjala, nyAya of Gautama and the vaisheShika of kaNAda may be classified as seshvara--theistic.

• It is, however, doubtful that the sAMkhya and (pUrva) mImAMsA systems are strictly nirIshvara or not.


03. With reference to the question of how far they recognize the authority of the vedas, the six systems can be classified as vaidika and avaidika.

• On this principle, the chArvaka, bauddha and arhata systems are avaidika,

• all the six systems are treated as vaidika, but they make remarkably different uses of the Vedic texts.

• The vedAnta and pUrva mImAMsA maintain that:
‣ revelation contains an independent source of knowledge;

‣ in dealing with transcendental spiritual questions, you should use your reasoning only for the purpose of elucidating the import of the Scriptural texts,

‣ although you may subsequently employ your reasoning independently to corroborate and verify the truths inculcated in them.

• The nyAya and vaisheShika systems
‣ recognize the authority of the Vedas in theory,
‣ but do not seem to make much use of them in enunciating and supporting their doctrines.

• The exact position of the sAMkhya system of Kapila is difficult to understand.
‣ True that he rests his doctrine upon the authority of the Vedic texts,
‣ and recognizes revelation as a separate source of knowledge;

‣ but he does not agree with the mImAMsakas when they say that the Vedas are eternal,
‣ nor can he maintain that they contain the words of God because,
‣ his position that the existence of God is incapable of being proved clearly debars him from adopting the apauruShea view of the Vedas.

‣ And yet, curiosly, he does not attribute the real authorship of the Vedic texts to the individual RShis; they are merely the vehicles through which eternal truths have manifested themselves, the channels through which they have emerged.

‣ If this be so, what is the guarantee that the Vedas are free from error? They prove themselves by the manifestation of their intrinsic powers--answers Kapila:

निजसत्यभिव्यक्तेः स्वतः प्रामाण्यम् ।

nijasatyabhivyakteH svataH prAmANyam |

• This answer, however, is not fully satisfactory: for, if the authority of the Vedas rests upon the intrinsic strength of their tenets, how is this strength to be verified, or the truth tested?

‣ To say that this is to be done by reference to some other criterion is to admit that the probative value of the Vedas is subsidiary, if not superfluous.

‣ Thus, it would only be proper to say that the sAMkhya system does not employ itself in interpreting and reconciling the texts of the Vedas to the same extent as the Vedanta does.

• On the whole we conclude that among the vaidika Systems the vedAnta and pUrva mImAMsA are primarily interpretative, while ihe others are primarily argumentative.


04. There is yet another classification, which is probably more philosophical than the others above, is the one adopted by MAdhvAchArya in his sarva-darshana-saMgraha, MadhusUdana sarasvati in his commentary on mahimna stotram and BrahmAnanda yati in his advaita-brahma-siddhi.

asadvAda or asat-kAraNa-vAda--the theory that everything that seems to exist has come out of nothing, so that you need not assume the existence of an original non-phenomenal cause to explain the appearance of phenomena. This view is supposed to have been adopted by the Buddhistic School.

asat-kArya-vAda or Arambha-vAda--the theory that a previously non-existent effect arises out of a previously existent cause, or, in other words, that the action of causes gives rise to something that did not exist, and moulds it in the shape of an effect. This view is ascribed to the NaiyAyikas, the VaisheShikas and the MImaMsakas.

pariNAma-vAda--the theory of evolutionary transformation. According to this theory the effect is only a modification of its cause, and exists in a potential state (avyaktAvastha) even before its evolution. The activity of the cause only serves to bring about its manifestation. This is the theory of the SAMkhyas and the PAtanjalas, and is also known as satkArya-vada--strictly so called.

vivartavAda--the theory of evolution without substantial mutation.

‣ According to this theory, the ultimate Cause which is without a second gives rise, through its own power of mAyA, to the appearance of the phenomenal Universe; but the appearance of manifoldness which conceals the unity of the cause is only phenomenal, and therefore in one sense unreal; it does not involve any alteration of the substance of the cause.

‣ The world, as an effect, may thus be said to have an eternal reality, as its essence is non-different from the immutable cause, so that this view also is regarded as a form of sat-kArya-vada.

‣ From another standpoint it may be said that according to this theory the world as it appears has no reality apart from its cause, and is therefore devoid of ultimate independent reality. This is the doctrine maintained by Shankara and his school.

Thanks to Sahasranama at HDF for this value-addition to the OP:
Hindu Dharma Forums - View Single Post - QuickRef: related to Hindu scriptures

pramANas or sources of true knowledge

The pramANas or the sources of true knowledge as recognised by the several Philosophical Systems of India, are found summarised in a verse which runs as follows:

प्रत्यक्षमेकं चार्वाकाः कणादसुगतौ पुनः
अनुमानञ्च तच्चापि सांख्या: शब्दञ्च ते उभे ।
न्यायैकदर्शिनोऽप्येवम् उपमानञ्च केवलम्
अर्थपत्ताग्रा सहैतामि चत्वार्य्याहुः प्रभाकराः ।
अभावषष्ठान्येतानि भट्टा वेदान्तिनस्तथा
सम्भवैतिह्ययुक्तानित्विति पौराणिका जगुः ।

pratyakShamekaM chArvAkAH kaNAdasugatau punaH
anumAna~jcha tachchApi sAMkhyA: shabda~jcha te ubhe |
nyAyaikadarshino&pyevam upamAna~jcha kevalam
arthapattAgrA sahaitAmi chatvAryyAhuH prabhAkarAH |
abhAvaShaShThAnyetAni bhaTTA vedAntinastathA
sambhavaitihyayuktAnitviti paurANikA jaguH |

‣ The ChArvAkas acknowledge only one source of knowledge viz. pratyakSham--perception;

KaNAda and Sugata (Buddha) recognise anumAnam--inference in addition;

SAmkhyas add AptavAkya--trustworthy affirmation to the two mentioned above;

‣ the NyAyayikas do the same and also add upamAnam--comparison;

‣ the followers of PrabhAkarA recognise the above four along with necessary arthApatti--presumption as the fifth;

‣ the followers of BhaTTa and the Vedantists add anupalabdhi--non-preception as the sixth;

‣ and the PaurANikas further add saMbhava--implication, and aitihya--tradition.


Here is a brief about how these pramANas are implemented in the various systems of philosophy.

01. chArvAka admits only pratyakSham--direct perception, and repudiates all inferences.

• Thus, unless the fire is directly seen, the presence of smoke cannot be inferred as the presence of fire.

• If any inferences sometimes give correct results, those instances should be regarded as cases of accidental coincidence.


02. bauddha philosophers, refuting the only pratyakSha doctrine of chArvAka as absurd and self-destructive, proceeded to explain and justify the basis of all legitimate inferences.

• The existence of a causal relation between two phenomena is affirmed by perception in succession of the pancha-kAraNa: 1. non-perception of the effect at the outset, 2. perception of the cause, 3. subsequent perception of the effect, 4. perception of the disappearance of the effect, and 5. perception of the disappearance of the cause.


03. While nyAya regards AptavAkya--trustworthy affirmation, as a separate source of true knowledge, vaisheShika regards it as a kind of anumAna--inference.

• Where shabda--words, incorporate the results of the experience of the speaker, their probative value is at best indirect and derivative, for the actual sources of knowledge on the last resort are observation and inference.

‣ The important question, therefore, is can shabda--revelation, be regarded in any case as an independent source of knowledge, that is, can it establish the truth of propositions which cannot be directly substantiated by any form of laukika--secular, proof?

• Now, revelation references two kinds of topics: siddha--that which is accomplished, and sAdhya--that which is possible and yet to be accomplished.

vaidkia philosophers maintain that for what is sAdhya, the laukika sources of knowledge, that is, observation and inference must necessarily be imperfect, for the rightness or wrongness of an action is not one of its sensible characters that can be directly perceived.

‣ if the ethical character of an action has to be inferred from its result, even then the shortcoming of observation and inference is apparent, because of the short span of human life, which enables a person to measure only approximately, the effect of an action, which might fall in the illimitable region beyond human life.

‣ This shortcoming has to be mended by reference to the Vedas which contain injunctions and prohibitions indicating what actions to be performed and how they should be performed.

pUrva mImAMsA goes one step further and maintains that these injunctions and prohibitions form the only proper subject matter of the Vedas.

• Realities may be of two kinds: empirical and transcendental. It is not the purport of the Vedas to inculcate empirical knowledge; any statements about empirical facts therein are only for the purpose of illustration, so it cannot be regarded as incompatible with the infallibility of the Vedas on their own proper subject matter.

• The Vedantists contend that transcendental realities from their nature are beyond the reaches of laukika sources of knowledge.

‣ The nature of Brahman, His relation to the world and individual souls, these are matters which outreach the resources of observation and inference, which being human and physical in nature, are restricted to the empirical sphere.

‣ The Vedantists, therefore, maintain that with regard to these, revelation furnishes the primary source of knowledge, and if anyone disputes its authority he is cast adirft upon a sea of speculations which must ultimately end in agnosticism.

‣ The intuitions and inferences about transcendental questions may very well be discussed, however, under the guidance of the Vedas, using human reasoning in their wake, avoiding all arbitrary and haphazard procedure.

‣ Reasoning will then be found to be consonant with and corroborative of the truths disclosed by revelation.

In this view, shabda--revelation, may well be regarded as a distinct and independent source of knowledge.


04. The NaiyAyikas consider upamAna--comparison, to be an additional source of knowledge. So far as the process of finding similarities leads to a correct conclusion, it may be regarded as a class of anumAna--inference, and the recognized similarity may well be considered as the linga--characteristic mark, of the objects of a specific class, and thus validates the inference.


05. arthapatti is regarded by some as an additional source of knowledge.

‣ It is a sort of indirect process in which a certain conclusion is reached by showing that had it been otherwise it would have been incompatible with certain known

‣ Thus, to take the staple example, from the fact that a person continues stout although he does not take any food in daytime you may infer that he takes food during night, for were it otherwise, his continued stoutness would be inexplicable.


06. The Vedantists add arthApatti--non-perception/non-recognition, as a separate class of pramANa.

anupalabdhi--nonperception of a thing at a certain place or time proves the nonexistence of that thing at that place or time, provided there is no hindrance to its being perceived, if it be present.

‣ To this it is objected that the absence of an object is as much perceived as its presence, so that what proves the absence is not nonperception but perception.

‣ But it is replied that pure absence cannot be perceived, for it is nothing positive and is thus incapable of coming into contact with the senses; the absence of an object is therefore not perceived, but inferred from nonperception.

‣ It seems that this is really a case of anumAna in which the absence of the cause is inferred from the absence of the effect.


07. The paurANikas recognize two other sources of knowledge: sambhava--implication, and aitihya--tradition.

• The first hardly deserves to be called a source of new knowledge; as to the second, its authority, where it is valid, is found on ultimate analysis to rest on correct observation and inference.

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Hindu philosophical systems: a glimpse

Set out in the bArhaspatya-sUtras, authored by BRhaspati, the chArvaka system is also known as lokAyata--materialism, and nAstika--atheism.

• Texts of the bArhaspatya-sUtras have been lost, but DakShiNaranjan shAstri (1928) and BhaTTAchArya (2003) published some fragments of them, mostly from the quotes found in other texts.

‣ SAyaNAchArya's sarva-darshan-saMgraha gives a detailed account of chArvAka, but doesn't quote the texts directly.

‣ JayarAshi BhaTTa's tattvopaplavasiMha (tattva-upa-plava-siMha) is often cited as the only extant authentic chArvAka text. A transliterated copy of this text can be downloaded at: Jayarasi: Tattvopaplavasimha

Since pratyakSham--perception, is the only source of knowledge admissible in chArvAka, its philosophy comprises these points:

• the body endowed with consciousness, constitutes the self.

• there is no soul apart from and independently of the body, since it cannot be perceived.

• The elements earth, water, fire (heat) and air combine in certain ways to give rise to the bodies, and from this combination springs consciousness, like the intoxicating property of the liquor arises from the fermentation of cetain substances.

• Consciousness being thus a product of structural formation, it is extinguished along with the dissolution of the body.

• Therefore, there is no life after death. Hopes of rewards and threats of punishments after death are inventions of deceitful priestcraft.

• Therefore, what we should take into account in life are only its pleasures and pains. In Ethics, therefore, chArvAkas are Hedonists of the coursest type.

‣ Enjoy life as best as you can, while you are alive;

‣ the means you adopt to enjoy life are not important, since the frail body itself is reduced to ashes when it dies.

‣ what does it matter, if the worldly pleasures involve pain? Why give up the seen pleasures for pain, for unproven, unseen pleasures? So, take the world as it is and make the most of it. Is the corn thrown away because it comes with its husk?

• All things happen by nature, and come from nature (not from any deity or Supreme Being).

• Religion was invented and made up by man; it has no divine authority.

Some chArvaka quotes
(from sarva-darshana-saMgraha tr.E.B.Cowell, etc.)

Springing forth from these elements itself
solid knowledge is destroyed
when they are destroyed--
after death no intelligence remains.

Fire is hot, water cold,
refreshingly cool is the breeze of morning;
By whom came this variety?
They were born of their own nature.

That the pleasure arising to man
from contact with sensible objects,
is to be relinquished because accompanied by pain—
such is the reasoning of fools.
The kernels of the paddy, rich with finest white grains,
What man, seeking his own true interest,
would fling them away
because of a covering of husk and dust?
While life remains, let a man live happily,
let him feed on butter though he runs in debt;
When once the body becomes ashes,
how can it ever return again?

Carvaka - Hindu Dharma Forums
Hindu philosophical systems: a glimpse

• subdivided into four schools: mAdhyamika, yogAchAra, sautrAntika, vaibhAShika. All these schools base their doctrines on Buddha's teachings, but with differing particulars.

The points about which the four schools agree are:

anumAna--inference, is a source of knowledge. The existence of a causal relation between two phenomena can be affirmed in five steps collectively denoted as pancha-kAraNau:

1. non-perception of the effect at the outset;
2. perception of the cause;
3. subsequent perception of the effect;
4. perception of the disappearance of the effect; and
5. perception of the disappearance of the cause.

On these grounds, one may identify an object and ascribe all the essential attributes known to characterise an object of that class.

• This world is full of miseries. Extinguishing them was the aim of Buddha's meditations.

• To do this, it is necessary to go to the root of the evil. The ultimate source of all miseries is avidyA--ignorance, from where proceed all desires that send us after the ephemeral objects of the world, forgetting their true nature.

• To eradicate these desires, one should keep steadily before his mind the real nature of the world, in four kinds of meditations--bhAvanA: one should always keep in mind that

1. everything that is, is momentary,
2. this world is full of miseries,
3. no two things are exactly alike so that one thing cannot serve to define another,
4. everything is empty or devoid of real existence.

The last position is most rigorously maintained by the mAdhyamikas alone.

• When these meditations are properly pursued,

‣ the world ceases to produce its baneful influence upon the man, for, in one sense, there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so;

‣ all the desires are thenceforward pacified;

‣ and at last the human soul, free from avidyA which is the source of individual existence and its consequent miseries, merges itself into the formlessness (shUnyatA), from which it originally sprang. This is the nirvANa, the summum bonum of the Buddhistic Philosophy.

• On the whole, the Buddhists conclude that everything that is, is momentary, and that the appearance of continuity arises from the succession of a series of similar momentary objects linked together by a chain of causation.

The points about which the four schools disagree are:

• The mAdhyamikas are nihilists; they repudiate all forms of real existence, without, making any distinction between the external and the internal worlds.

• The yogAchAra School, while denying the existence of anything external to consciousness (vijnAna), maintain that ideas have temporary but real existence, and that they do, under certain circumstances, appear as if they were external things; this view therefore amounts to a sort of Subjective Idealism.

• The sautrAntikas are representationists, that is, inferential realists; they admit the existence of the external world, but maintain that it is not directly perceived but inferred from certain states of consciousness which could not otherwise have arisen.

• The vaibhAShikas are natural realists, to adopt Sir W.Hamilton's expression; they maintain that the external objects are directly perceived, and that their existence is substantiated thereby.

Hindu philosophical systems: a glimpse
sAMkhya darshanam of Kapila muni

• Two initial principles: prakRti and puruSha.
prakRti--Nature, is the initial cause of the evolution of the cosmic world.

puruShas--intelligent souls, coexist, unaffected by the mutations involved in this course of evolution.

‣ Conjunction of the two gives rise to the evolution of the cosmic world.

• The mutation and activity involved in the process of evolution are of prakRti alone; puruSha is chaitanya--immutable, inactive, pure intelligence.

• However, puruSha is an initial factor in the evolution, determining its genesis and progress, since prakRti by itself is unintelligent, so would not act at all.

• The action due to the relation of interdependence between prakRti and puruSha implies two things: purpose and activity.

‣ The purpose is that of the intelligent puruSha, but the activity belongs to prakRti alone.

‣ Such interdependence is likened that of a blind man carrying on his shoulders a lame man: one cannot see and the other cannot walk but by mutual assistance, the two together arrive at the destination.

• This interdependence in sAMkhya, however, does not admit the existence of a God as intelligently determining the course prakRti would take. In general, sAMkhya asserts that the existence of such a God is incapable of being proved.

• Was the founder of the sAMkhya system, Kapila muni, then an atheist? Some would think so, but then VijnAna bhikShu, the famous commentator of the sAMkhya sUtras maintains that he was not.

‣ He says what Kapila intended to maintain was that prakRti-puruSha-viveka--discrimination between nature and soul, would result in the realisation of the ultimate end of existence: the complete extinction of all sorts of unhappiness, irrespective of the existence of God.

‣ VijnAna bhikShu explains Kapila's position in the light of abhyupagama-vAda--a minor concession in favour of the opponent, which would not prejudice the main argument.

• To the question, how and why should prakRti blindly work out purposes which are not its own, the answer is only that it does, because its interrelation with puruSha is incapable of further explanation.


The doctrine of evolution in sAMkhya

prakRti comprises three guNas: sattva, rajas, tamas.

• The guNas may be regarded as forces with different characteristics: sattva is for self-maintenance, rajas for activity, and hence opposition, and tamas for inanity.

sattva determines happiness, rajas pain and tamas ignorance.

• When the three guNas are in equilibrium, prakRti is in unevolved, primordial condition--avyaktavAsthA; when this equilibrium is broken, prakRti marches on in its course of evolution.

• The course of evolution as the totality of existence may be divided into four classes:
prakRti, the initial cause.
prakRti-vikRti, intermediate caused causes.
vikRti, lowest effects.
anubhaya, immutable puruSha--soul, who is neither a cause nor an effect.

• The intermediate causes are seven in number:
‣ the first step in the evolution of prakRti gives rise to mahAn
--the principle of understanding;

‣ from mahAn proceeds ahaMkAra--the principle of self-assertion;

‣ and from ahaMkAra, with a preponderance of tamas--ianity, proceeds pancha-tanmAtras--the five subtle forms of sensible matter in correspondence with the five senses of intuition.

• The vikRtis are sixteen: The eleven indriyas--organs/senses, comprising

‣ five jnAnendriyas--sensory organs: sparsha, svAd, dRShTa, gandha, shruti--tactile, taste, sight, smell, hearing,

‣ five karmendriyas--motor organs: sharIram, mukham, chakShus, nAsikA, karNaM--body, mouth, eye, nose, ear,

• and the pancha-mahAbhUtas--five great elements: pRthivI, Apas, tejas, vAyu, AkAsha--earth, water, fire, wind, sky

• The eleven indriyas proceed from ahaMkAra, with a preponderance of sattva, and the pancha-mahAbhUtas proceed from the pancha-tanmAtras.

• Altogether, there are 24, or 25 (if we include puruSha) tattvas--cardinal principles, in sAMkhya darshanam.

The doctrine of evolution in sAMkhya

• Life in this world is pervaded by miseries, so there is a preponderance of pain.

• Adopting secular remdies for individual cases can alleviate miseries to some extent, but they are only limitedly efficacious, for they cannot produce any permanent result, as they do not go to the root of the real disease.

• Complete extinction of all sorts of unhappiness is the niHshreyasaM--summum-bonum, of sAMkhya darshanam; the question is how to attain this end.

• The solution is to get to the ultimate root of all miseries:
aviveka--non-discrimination, of prakRti and puruSha,
‣ and consequent reflection of the mutations of buddhi--understanding, into the self
‣ which is in itself immutable, and therefore free from afflictions, are the ultimate causes of all our miseries.

• Coming into contact with objects of prakRti, buddhi undergoes transmutations;
‣ so long as the puruSha is forgetful of his own nature, he thinks the transmutations as his own, and is consequently affected thereby.

• To get rid of this evil, one has to ponder upon the nature of the self--puruSha as distinguished from prakRti with its effects and functions, and thus eliminate the erroneous identification.

• The wise man who has succeeded in doing this becomes inperturbable;
‣ the conceit of agency loses its hold upon him;
prakRti ceases to produce his frutition owing to the extinction of its auxiliary, avidyA--ignorance;
‣ and at last the moving force of present life works itself out, there is no rebirth, and no recurrence of the miseries which are abundant in this world.

• Thus freed from extrinsic bondage the purusha abides in his own nature;
‣ words cannot fitly describe this state, it transcends the narrow limits of thought.

‣ A pure intellect--chid, having no antithetic object, without mutation, without begin ning, without end, a something that is not invested with any definite form, and yet is not absolutely void; such is the thing that subsists, and subsists eternally.

• Finally, in sAMkhya darshanam, prakRti is only one, but the puruShas are many.

‣ otherwise, the salvation of one puruSha would entail total extinction of all bondage, and consequent dissolution of the universe, because when all puruShas are free, the purpose of the universe is at an end.

‣ but this is not what happens, for freedom can only be attained by acquisition of knowledge, in each individual case.

(Ref: Philosophy of the Vedanta by Priya Nath Sen)

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