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The Essence of Ancient Indian Philosophy

Scholarly works in medicine, languages, philosophy, astronomy, and mathematics in India were always a huge part of its culture, even the whole world was focussed on the advent of Western Philosophy in Greece. Indians divide Indian philosophy into two main categories: astika and nastika. The astika systems somewhat acknowledge the Vedas. Yoga,  Vaisheshika, Mimamsa, Vedanta, Sankhya, and Nyaya are among them. Nastika systems disapproved Vedic philosophy. They are Lokayata, Buddhism, and Jainism. Eventually, each system established sutras: poetic representations of its principles, as well as speedy refutations of frequent challenges and succinct criticisms of the other systems. 

All of these systems, with the possible exception of the Lokayata pragmatists, agreed on karma and rebirth. The concept of "karma" relates to the idea that both good and bad deeds have consequences for people, which are referred to as "the fruits of karma." The person must be reincarnated, or die and be reborn, in order to taste the fruits of karma if they cannot be enjoyed in this life. The samsara belief, according to which modern humans have been reborn endlessly, was also accepted by the majority of Indian philosophical systems. These systems sought for moksha, which is the release from the perpetual process of birth and rebirth and, consequently, the release from all anguish. All Indian philosophical schools, with the exception of Buddhism and Lokayata, accepted the idea of an eternal soul, or atman. The path to moksha in the plurality of systems involved some sort of cleansing of the soul. 

Many ethical principles were also shared by the Indian systems. In general, desires and impulses were to be restrained, and injury to any form of life was to be avoided.

From its epistemology, Lokayata derived its mistrust towards religion, karma, and resurrection. According to Lokayata, perception is the only credible source of knowledge because eyewitness and deduction are both dubious sources. Only the physical world, which is composed of the four elements air, fire, water, and earth, was observable. Cognition and minds were consequences of matter as well. Since they couldn't be seen, spirits, deities, and the afterlife couldn't be started to exist. Religious rites were pointless, and the scriptures didn't offer any special perspective. Although ahimsa (non-violence) was emphasized in all Indian philosophies, the Jains placed a greater value on this doctrine. The most extreme Jaina may therefore wear a mask to prevent breathing in gnats—to prevent harming one. Gandhi's focus on non-violence and the vegetarianism advocated by many Hindu schools were both taken from the Jains. Sankhya appears to be the most traditional of the astika (Vedic) philosophies. It was a dualist philosophy based on the idea that purusha and prakriti are two essentially distinct categories of being. The tangible universe was created by prakriti, but purusha had no cause. The spirit remained the same, but it witnessed and relished in the constantly evolving prakriti elements. The philosophy most closely associated with the Vedas was Mimamsa. The philosophy's goal was to establish a framework of interpretation that could reconcile and make sense of all the elaborate rituals that were added to the Vedas over the course of the many centuries that went into its preparation, as well as to offer a philosophical explanation of these practices.


Q1. Who is known as the first Indian Philosopher?

The author of Mahabharata, Vyasa is known to be India’s first philosopher who introduced a new school of philosophical thought called the Pippalada School of thought.

Q2. Who is India’s Father of Philosophical Thought?

The great Vedic sage, Kapila is known to be the Father of Philosophy in India.