INDIAN SCHOOLS OF THOUGHT
The Indian schools of philosophy may be classified
broadly into two Asthika (orthodox) and Nastika
The first group believed in the Vedas and the second
school rejected the Vedas.
The first one’s are called the Asthika systems which
have the schools of Mimansa, Vedanta, Sankhya, Yoga,
Nyaya and Vaisesika.
The latter schools are Charvaka, Buddha and Jaina.
INDIAN SCHOOLS OF
The Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and Epics
are the sources to know the ancient Indian
philosophy and education.
Veda is derived from the root of Sanskrit
Vid means to know God, soul, nature &
VEDAS BELIEVE IN -
There are three entities in this universe – God,
Soul and Matter.
Ultimate aim of life is to obtain salvation (moksha)
in union with god
The concept of one God and one world
SIX SYSTEMS OF PHILOSOPHY -
I. Nyaya system deals with knowledge. It is the science
of sciences. According to it knowledge can be acquired
through 4 methods:
1. Pratyaksha (Intuition)
2. Anumana (Inference)
3. Upma (comparison)
4. Shabda (verbal testimony)
II. Shankhya system of philosophy by Rishi Kapil deals
III. Vaisheshika system of philosophy by Rishi Kanad
deals with theory of atom.
SIX SYSTEMS OF PHILOSOPHY –
IV. Yoga system of philosophy by Rishi Patanjali is
related with self control through yoga.
V. Purva-Mimansa system by Rishi Jamini deals
with scheme of right living through appropriate
VI. Uttar-Mimansa or Vedanta system of
philosophy by Rishi Vatsayana elucidates the
concept of supreme being.
The word “Sāṅkhya” is derived from the Sanskrit
noun sankhyā (number) based on the verbal root
khyā (make known, name) with the proverb
sam(together). “Sāṅkhya” thus denotes the system
of enumeration or taking account.
Sam – number, balanced, equal, harmonious
Khya- knowledge, understanding, wisdom
It is propounded by Maharshi Kapila
It is also known as Kapila Tantra or Kapila
The book Sankhya Kaarika written by Ishvara
Krishna, is presently the most popular primer
for the study of Sankhya.
Samkhya means the knowledge or number.
Samkhya is one of the earliest philosophical
school of thought in India.
The Samkhyapravacana Sutra and the
Tattvasamasa were actually composed by him.
According to a modern scholar Surendranath
Dasgupta, the doctrine of the earliest school of
samkhya is found in an ancient Indian medical
treatise, Charaka Samhita.
Another early extant text of this school is
Samkhya Karika of Isvarakrsna. (3rd century)
According to the Samkhya school, all
knowledge is possible through three Pramanas
( means of valid knowledge).
1. Pratyaksa- direct sense perception
2. Anumana- logical inference
3. Sabda orAptavacana- verbal testimony
Samkhya system classified all objects into one of
the two categories-
Samkhya maintains an intermingled duality
between the two
All physical events are considered to be
manifestations of the evolution of Prakriti, or
primal nature (from which all physical bodies are
Samkhya provides an alternate viewpoint,
intimately related to substance dualism , by
drawing a metaphysical line between
consciousness and matter — where matter
includes both body and mind.
The end of this bondage is moksha.
Puruhsa is the transcendental self and pure consciousness.
It is absolute, independent, free, imperceptible and
unknowable, above any experience and beyond the words
It remains pure, “nonattributive consciousness”.
Puruṣa is neither produced nor does it produce. It is held
that unlike Advaita Vedanta and like Purva- Mimamsa,
Samkhya believes in plurality of the Puruṣas.
Prakriti is the first cause of the manifest material
universe — of everything except the Puruṣa.
Prakriti accounts for whatever is physical, both
mind and matter-cum-energy or force. Since it is
the first principle (tattva) of the universe, it is
called the Pradhāna, but, as it is the unconscious
and unintelligent principle, it is also called
It is composed of three essential characteristics
(trigunas). These are:
1. Sattva- poise, fineness, lightness, illumination, and
2. Rajas- dynamism, activity, excitation, and pain;
3. Tamas - – inertia, coarseness, heaviness, obstruction,
List of 25 Tattvas
I. The eight Prakrtis (primary and productive element)
1.The Prakriti as avayakta (the non- differentiated or
2.The buddhi (intellect) of eight kinds.
3.The ahamkara (the subject) of 3 kinds (vaikarika, taijasa,
4-8. The five tanmatras (essences) of sound, touch, colour,
savour and odour.
II. The sixteen vikaras (modification).
9-13. The five buddhindriyas (perceptive organ)
14-18. The five karmendriyas (active organs)
19. Manas (central organ or mind)
20-24. The mahabhutas (material elements)
III. 25. The purusa (spirit or self).
IV. The traigunya (traid of forces).
V. The sancara (evolution)
VI. The pratisancara (dissolution)
VII. The adhyatma referring to the thirteen instruments,
i.e. To buddhi, ahamkara, manas and the ten indriyas.
VIII. The adhibhuta.
IX. The aadhidaivata.
X. The five adhibuddhis (apprehensions), five acts of
buddhi or the indriyas.
XI. The five karmayonis (sources of activity)
XII. The five vayus, winds or vital spirits.
XIII. The five karmatmans, kinds of ahamkara.
XIV. Avidya (nescience), fivefold, with sixty-two
XV. Asakti (weakness), twenty- eightfold (nine atustis
and eight asiddhis)
XVI. Tusti (contentment), ninefold
XVII. Siddhi (perfection), eightfold
XVIII. Mulikarthas (cardinal facts), eight
XIX. Anugrahasarga (benevolent creation)
XX. Bhutasarga (creation of material elements),
XXI. Bandha (bondage), threefold.
XXII. Moksa (freedom), threefold.
XXIII. Pramana (authorities), threefold
XXIV. Duhkha (pain), threefold
Prakriti—the primordial cause of the material world.
From Prakriti evolve all the other elements except
These 25 principles or elements—Purusha, Prakriti,
and the 23 elements of nature that evolve from
Prakriti—encompass the knower, the known, and the
process of knowing.
LIBERATION OR MOKSHA-
According to Samkhya the Purusha is eternal, pure
consciousness. Due to ignorance it itself with the physical
body and its constituents- Manas, Ahamkara and Mahat,
which are products of Prakriti.
Other forms of Sankhya teaches that Moksha is attained by
ones own development of the higher faculties of
discrimination achieved by meditation and other yogic
practices as prescribed through the Hindu Vedas.
There is bondage as long as a buddhi does not
discrimination between purusa and prakriti.(all
psycho- physical processes)
Buddhi must realized the absoulte distinction between
pure consciousness (purusa) and the phenomenal
Samkhya, soul are individual subtle material bodies
associated with purusas that are reborn. Once the
buddhi discriminates its purusa from prakriti, the body
continues for a while due to past karma.
Discriminatory knowledge which makes liberation
possible is obtained through right knowledge,
reflection and discipline.
Knowledge is one of the eight primary predisposition
(bhava) of the will (buddhi)-
1. Virtue (dharma)
2. Non-virtue (adharma)
3. Knowledge (jnana)
4. Igorance (ajnana)
5. Dispassion (virage )
6. Passion (raga)
7. Power (aisvarya)
8. Impotence (anaisvarya)
THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE-
Samkhya accepts 3 pramanas-
3. Verbal testimony
Perception is thought to take place through images or
ideas of objects.
During perception the intellect or will, upon
stimulation by an object through the sense organs,
undergoes modification. Thus the intellect assumes
the form of the object it stimulates.
Therefore, objects are not directly perceived, but only
representations of them.
Samkhya assumes the reality of the external object.
Samkhya largely accept the Nyaya account of
However, its used a variety of inference known as
samanyatodrsta (analogical reasoning) in its account
SAMKHYA’S MODEL OF REALITY –
Samkhya is a dualistic philosophy, meaning that
there is a clear distinction between matter and
consciousness—changing and unchanging.
There is also a clear distinction between right and
wrong, birth and death, and bondage and liberation.
Until Samkhya, all this was muddy.
Because Samkhya is clear, concrete, and specific, it is
the foundation for practical systems of health and
wellbeing, mainly Yoga and Ayurveda.
Before Samkhya, there was a tendency toward non-
dual thinking, which says that everything is just one
pure consciousness and that all we experience in the
material world, including our own mind, body, pain,
and pleasure, is an illusion.
The Goal of Samkhya Philosophy—
Freedom from Pain and Suffering
A) The problem of removing pain and suffering
If the pain in our body or mind is so deep that we can’t get rid of
it, then we want to get rid of our body or mind. However, we
don’t know how to remove our body and mind and be just pure
consciousness, because body, mind, and consciousness are all
Therefore, do not impose the thought on yourself that you are just
pure consciousness and that pain and pleasure are an illusion.
Life means integration of all these things—some desirable and
Samkhya acknowledges our actual experience of pain—
anger, fear, physical pain, pain of loss, and other pain—
and gives us a framework for removing it. This is the goal
of Samkhya. Yoga and Ayurveda are based on this.
B). The state free from pain and suffering
When you are free from pain and suffering, Samkhya calls
this kaivalya, from the word kevala, meaning you have
nothing other than your Self.
There is no desire to achieve anything or to avoid losing
You are fully established and content in your Self—pure
Your body and mind are no longer a burden.
Relationships are no longer a source of pain.
You are not bothered by loss and gain, honour and insult,
youth and old age.
MAIN FEATURES OF SAMKHYA PHILOSOPHY -
There are three types of pain and suffering. Real freedom is
attaining freedom from these.
Five things help to prevent and overcome physical pain and
suffering: proper diet, proper exercise, balanced conduct /
behavior, going to bed on time, and waking up on time.
If some illness has already occurred, seek help from doctors
and medicines, along with lifestyle changes.
Ayurveda is an important tool here.
Psychological / emotional
This type of suffering needs help from both outside
and inside—body and mind.
From inside, changing your attitude toward yourself—
trusting and believing in yourself—creates
psychological support. This, combined with external
measures to alleviate physical suffering, helps to
overcome sorrow and grief.
The first four limbs of Yoga address mental /
To overcome spiritual pain and suffering, dive deep into
yourself and know your pure being. Work toward removing all
non-essentials—all that which is not the Self.
The way to do this is covered by the last four limbs of Yoga—
the meditative aspects—which are the purest form of Yoga and
are all internal. These are pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and
• According to Sankhya, pain and suffering are due to
non-discrimination between purusha and prakriti.
• Also, when the function of productivity is assigned to
prakriti, God became superfluous. Thus Sankhya
philosophy does not subscribe to the existence of a
• The supreme good is the realization of the perfection
of purush and all ethical activity leads to this end.
• Thus, Sankhya recommends a virtuous life.
Samkhya as the Philosophy of Education
Aims of Education –
Samkhya states the ultimate aim as attaining the
perfection of Purusha through discrimination, leading
to its salvation.
Thus, the aim of education should be to create
discerning individual capable of attaining the
perfection that exists within them, as Swami
Vivekananda also put it.
The curriculum will involve the study of all
disciplines, with stress on the natural sciences, senses
to understand prakriti is to discriminate between
Purusha and Prakriti and the arts, so as to develop an
appreciation and understanding of the work of
Physical science and yoga will also form part of the
curriculum since samkhya believes only a healthy and
focussed individual can attain salvation.
Experiential learning with maximum involvement of
Activity based learning include projects, practical
work, etc enabling the development of observation
and logical reasoning.
Samkhya recommends a high degree of discipline.
One can deduce that it should be self- imposed
Role of Teacher –
The teacher is to be a facilitator of the development of
the innate potentiality of the child.
Place of Student –
Since, Samkhya believe in the multiplicity of Purusha,
it follows that education must be individualised and
Muller M. The Six System of Indian Philosophy, p 150-192
Sethi C and Rani P , Education, Arihant Publication India Ltd
MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS
1. Sankhya philosophy was propounded by-
2. The Sankhya system is a type of-
A) Physical materialism
B) Spiritual materialism
C) Scientific materialism
D) Biological materialism
3. In Sankhya how many types of Gunas (qualities,
innate tendencies) –
4. Which one is not the epistomology of Sankhya
A) Pratyakṣa (direct sense perception)
B) Puruṣa (pure consciousness)
C) Anumāna (inference)
D)Śabda (verbal testimony)
5. “Sankhya differs from other schools mainly in its
attribution of “reality” to dual entities”, these dual
A) Padartha Shuddhi and Paka Shuddhi
B) Prasad and Patra Shuddhi
C)Purusha and Prakriti
D) None of these
6. Sankhya is based on which Indian school of
C) Cārvāka philosophy
D) None of the above
7. How many principles in Sankhya philosophy-
8.Which of the ancient indian medical treatise explains
about samkhya philosophy?
D)None of these
9.According to Samkhaya philosophy, free from pain and
suffering is known as -
D)None of these
10.What are the aims of education of Samkhya
C)Attaining perfection of Purusa
D)None of these
11.What are the role of teacher according to Samkhya
C)only imparting knowledge
D)None of these
12.Which type of education is important under Samkhya
D)None of these
13.What are the methods of learning through Samkhya
A)Activity based learning
D)None of these
14.Which subject gives the importants under Samkhya
D)None of these
15.How many pramanas accepted by the Samkhya
16.Sattva is the one of the Guna of Prakriti,so what is the
meaning of Sattva?
D)None of these
17.Which one is not included in the non-vedic
18.Which one must realised the absolute distinction
between Purusha and Prakriti?
19.What are the models of reality of Samkhya
D)None of these
20.How many vikaras or evolutions of Samkhya