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The Six Schools of thought Dedicated to Indian Philosophy

  • Nyaya
  • Vaisheshika
  • Samkhya
  • Mimamsa or Purva Mimamsa
  • Vedanta or Uttara Mimamsa

Indian Schools of Philosophy

  1. Heterodox or Nastika
    • Carvaka
    • Jainism
    • Buddhism
  2. Orthodox or Astika
    • Vedas
    • Upanishads
    • Nyaya
    • Samkhya
    • Vaisheshika
    • Vedanta
    • Mimamsa

Padartha is a Sanskrit word derived from combination of two words. ‘Pada’ signifies foot or step or stride, ‘Artha’ is related to:-

  • An object or thing,
  • An object or purpose,
  • An object or motive or reason,
  • An object or thing,
  • A material object including a person or man.

Thus the word Padartha literally means ‘the object signified by a word’ or ‘the meaning of a word’. All the objects of knowledge fall in the category of padartha.

Number of Padartha

According to Vaiseshika school of thought, there are seven Padartha whereas, According to Vedant school of thought, there are seven 25 Padartha.

Kanada Described the Six Padartha:-

  • Substance,
  • Quality,
  • Action,
  • Genus,
  • Individuality,
  • Inherence.

Later on, the commentators added yet another (seventh), privation. Then Nyaya school of thought developed a list containing sixteen Padarthas.

  • Valid means of knowledge (pramana),
  • Objects of valid knowledge (prameya),
  • Doubt (samshaya),
  • Aim (prayojana),
  • Example (dristanta),
  • Conclusion (siddhanta),
  • Members of syllogism (avayava),
  • Hypothetical reasoning (tarka),
  • Settlement (nirnaya),
  • Discussion (vaada),
  • Wrangling (jalpa),
  • Cavilling (vitanda),
  • Fallacy (hetvabhasa),
  • Quibbling (chala),
  • Sophisticated refutation (jati),
  • Point of defeat (nigrahasthana).

Dravya is definitely an organized moiety. Dravya is defined as store house of guna (physical properties) and karma (pharmacological properties). As an instance, combination of atoms results in synthesis of molecules. Similarly, molecules dissociate into atoms. The process of combination and separation are included in karma. According to Ayurvedic philosophy, guna resides in the dravya as when two dravya combine together to form a new entity and after through study, it can be concluded that the new entity has distinct property.

Samanya refers to ‘general’. Samanya is defined as the basic cause of increase in number of all the things

Samanya has Two Types:

  • Para (Guna)
  • Apara (Lower)

Visesha refers to dissimilarity. The food-stuffs that we eat, if they have similarity to the human body constituents (directly or even by activity or quality); then the food-stuffs increase those body constituents. As an instance, the flesh or meat has direct similarity with the flesh of the body. Thus, it shall increase the Mansa Dhatu in the human body.

Samavaya refers to co-existence. Samavaya is defined as union that cannot be seperated and in which the parts of dravya are held together in proper configuration. Dravya has samavaya relationship with guna and karma.

Bhava (Existence) Padartha

Bhavas means Evident. They are Further Classified into Six Types

  1. Substance (Dravya),
  2. Quality (Guna),
  3. Activity (Karma),
  4. Genus (Samanya),
  5. Difference (Visesha)
  6. Intimate relation (Samavaya).

Nyaya-Vaisesika belief in Padartha

According to Nyaya-Vaisesika School of Thought, the Entire Universe is Nothing but Reduction of Seven Padarthas

  1. Bhava (existence or being)
    • Dravyya (Substance)
    • Guna (Physical property)
    • Karma (Pharmacological property)
    • Samanya (Universal)
    • Vishesha (Particular)
    • Samvaya (Inherence)
  2. Abhava (non-existence or non-being)


Abhava is totally different from the Dravyya (Substance), Guna (Physical property), Karma (Pharmacological property), Samanya (Universal), Vishesha (Particular) and Samvaya (Inherence). Abhava is different in the sense by its negative character.

Abhava or non-existence is not part of padarths, and still according to Vaisesika school of thought, it exists just like direction and space does.

Types of Abhava (Non-Existence or Non-Being)

Antecedent abhava or non-existence: Antecedent abhava is non-existence of a substance prior to its synthesis or creation. The absence has no start but definite end.

Non-existence of a substance after the destruction: In this type, there is something related to existence. This thing will cease to existence after the destruction is over.

Compelete or absolute non-existence: It includes a type of non-existence that has nor relation ship with the time factor and space or ether, is known as absolute non-existence.

Mutual non-existence: Mutual non-existence is marked by the absence of a substance in other. Mutual non-existence is always exclusive and the two substances are opposite to each other. Mutual non-existence is thus devoid of a start or an end.

Distinction Between Anyonyabhava and Sansargabhava

  • Sansargabhava is defined as the absence of relation between two substances. Anyonyabhava is defined as the absence of one thing in rare other objects.
  • Sansargabhava is basically deals with relation absence. On the other side, anyonyabhava deals with the identity absence.

The Bhatta Mimamsa, Dvaita schools, the Vaisheshika, and the Nyaya, the Bhatta Mimamsa and Dvaita schools of though hold Abhava (Non-Existence) as a distinct classs. The Nyaya school of thought considers abhava as reality and is connection with Mukti. In this relative word, abhava can come only when there was/is a bhava, previously. More or less, abhava is an occasion happening with time. Abhava represents unmanifested state from where the bhava is born or emerged. To conclude, abhava means negation or non-existence or absence or nothing.

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