Developments in Philosophy: RS Sharma Notes
Indian philosophy has a long and diverse history, dating back thousands of years. It encompasses a wide range of philosophical schools and perspectives that explore fundamental questions about the nature of reality, the self, knowledge, ethics, and the ultimate purpose of life. Here are some key developments in Indian philosophy:
1. Vedic and Upanishadic Philosophy: The early philosophical ideas in India emerged from the Vedic texts and the Upanishads. The Vedic period saw ritualistic practices and hymns to various deities, while the Upanishads delved into deeper metaphysical and spiritual inquiries. Concepts like Brahman (ultimate reality), Atman (individual self), and the doctrine of karma and rebirth were developed during this period.
2. Schools of Indian Philosophy: Over time, different schools of philosophy emerged in India, each offering distinct perspectives and approaches to philosophical inquiry. The six orthodox (astika) schools are Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta. The non-orthodox (nastika) schools include Buddhism, Jainism, and Charvaka.
3. Nyaya and Vaisheshika: Nyaya and Vaisheshika are schools of Indian philosophy focused on logic, epistemology, and metaphysics. Nyaya is known for its system of logical analysis and argumentation, while Vaisheshika explores the nature of reality through its atomic theory and categorization of substances.
4. Samkhya and Yoga: Samkhya is one of the oldest schools of Indian philosophy and deals with metaphysics, cosmology, and the nature of consciousness. Yoga, closely related to Samkhya, emphasizes the path of spiritual practice and meditation to attain self-realization and liberation.
5. Mimamsa and Vedanta: Mimamsa is a school of philosophy focused on ritual and scriptural interpretation. It provides a comprehensive analysis of Vedic rituals and their significance. Vedanta, on the other hand, is based on the Upanishads and emphasizes the non-dual nature of reality (Advaita Vedanta) or the personal aspect of the divine (Dvaita Vedanta).
6. Buddhist Philosophy: Buddhism, founded by Siddhartha Gautama (the Buddha), emerged as a distinct philosophical tradition in the 5th century BCE. It focuses on the Four Noble Truths, the Eightfold Path, and the idea of anatta (non-self). Different Buddhist schools, such as Theravada, Mahayana, and Vajrayana, developed over time.
7. Jain Philosophy: Jainism, founded by Mahavira, is another important philosophical tradition in India. It emphasizes non-violence (ahimsa), non-possessiveness (aparigraha), and the pursuit of spiritual liberation (moksha) through self-discipline and right conduct.
8. Advaita Vedanta: Advaita Vedanta, founded by Adi Shankaracharya in the 8th century CE, is a prominent school of philosophy that advocates the non-dual nature of reality. It posits that Brahman, the ultimate reality, is the only true existence, and the world of diversity is an illusion (maya).
These developments in Indian philosophy have contributed to a rich and profound exploration of existential questions and ethical principles. They continue to be relevant and influential in contemporary philosophical discourse and have shaped the cultural and intellectual landscape of India and beyond.