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Etymological derivation of the word "Darshana". Classification and general introduction to schools of Indian Philosophy with an emphasis on: Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Sankhya and Yoga.


Darshana can roughly defined by auspicious sight. The word Darshana has several meanings:-

  • Darshana normally stands for viewing or seeing. Darshana is reserved normllay for viewinf any spiritual force or god or some respected and distinguished personality,
  • Darshana also stands for sight,
  • Darshana also stands for vision,
  • In the contet of the artcile, Darshana fits in the domain of philosophy. As Indian philosophy has strong relation to experience or seeing, it is known as Darshana. Darshana is a medium through which, the people establish likn with th ultimate truth.

Etymological Derivation of Darshana

The word 'Darshana' is derived from the Sanskrit root "Dris', whom mean is related to see the things or the objects, with the lyut pratyaya, which stands for the sense of instrument, added to Dris'. From etymological derivation, 'Darshana' means, that through the instrumentality of some medium, something which can be seen. The etymological meaning of philosophy is love toeards learning. Philosophy stands for a necessary and natural urge in humans to acquire knowledge about the the world in which they are living and performing the duties. It is not possible for human beings to survive without a philosophy.

Classification of Darshana

  • Nyaaya
  • Vaisheshik
  • Saankhya
  • Yog
  • Meemaansaa
  • Vedaant

All of these were composed approximately around 650-350 BC. The systems related to Indian Philosophy can be conventionally classified into two divisions.

  • Astika (orthodox)
  • Nastika (heterodox)


The credit for formulating Nyaaya school of Philosophy goes to Gautam approximalty, around 450 BC. Nyaaya gives great importance to logic. Nyaaya has founded the principle of inference, whcich is based on syllogism. Thus the main topic of Nyaaya school of Philosophy is logic. Nyaaya empahsises that a statement can be accepted only after it ahs passed the examination of reason. According to Nyaaya school of Philosophy, ignorance and error are the principal reasons of suffering and pain. To acheive the path of wisdom, one must adopt rational thinking and must accept the god as the ultimate power.


The credit for formulating Vaisheshik school of Philosophy goes to Kanaad around 460-370 BC. We can see similarity among ideas of Vaisheshik and Nyaaya. Kanaad is credited as the first person to propose the atom theory relsted to matter. According to Vaisheshik school of Philosophy, different substances have been created by god from atoms related to the matter. Vaisheshik school of Philosophy defines the religion as the one medium or path that can be adopted for prosperity of the world and to acquire salvation at spiritual level.


The credit for formulating Saankhya school of Philosophy goes to Kapil around c700-620 BC. Saankhya school of Philosophy is heterodox as it does not accept the exsistance of the god. Saankhya school of Philosophy stresses about two realities

  • Prakriti
  • Purush

Purush is considered to bepure consciousness minus activity. On the other side, Prakriti represents matter, having unlimited activity and energy but it is without consciousness. Neither Prakriti nor Purush are complete by themselves in creating the world minus human beings. In human beings, Aatma (Soul) represents Purush and the body represents the Prakriti. The main aim of Saankhya school of Philosophy is liberation from the body from bonds of the materialistic world.


The roots of Yoga can be traced back around 5000 years BC. The credit for formulating Yoga school of Philosophy goes to Patanjali around c 390-310 BC. While Saankhya school of Philosophy is considered to be theoretical, Yoga is considered to be practical. Saankhya and Yoga schools of Philosophy are two sides of the same coin. Patanjali divided yoga into distinct eight branches, that is the reason yoga is also refeered to as Ashtanga yoga. Ayurveda and Yoga are interrelated subjects. According to Yoga school of Philosophy, Yoga is nothing but suppressing of the modifications at the level of the mind.


The credit for formulating Meemaansaa school of Philosophy goes to Jaimini around c 350-BC. Meemaansaa school of Philosophy says that soul do not die like the body. It passes from body (dead) to another (born). The purpose of this migration is to get award for good deeds and punishement for wrong deeds done in previous birth. Soul of an individual body can acquire freedom by performance of duties and means of knowledge.


Vedaant is derived of two words Veda, which means knowledge and anta stands for end. , Thus the literal meaning of Vedaant refers to the end of Vedas. The credit for formulating Vedaant school of Philosophy goes to Baadaraayan around c 650-BC. Baadaraayan wrote his book Vedaant in aphorism form. It is very complicated and difficult to understand. Vedaant school of Philosophy claims that Vedaant is nothing but summary of teachings given by Upanishads.

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