Saturday, September 13, 2008

More on the Six Systems of Philsophy etc

Ancient Indian Philosophical Systems are classified into nine categories .

Six are called the orthodox systems ( mentioned earlier ),also called "Astika " or systems that believe .( belief here refers to the Vedas ( at least formally ) , Dharma , Karma and reincarnation , not necessarily to a personal God ) .

The remaining three are called heterodox , also Nastika ( non believer) systems . ( primarily because they reject even the formal or nominal authority of the Veda ) .

These three are the Boudha , Jaina and Charvaka Philosophies .

The Boudha ( of Buddhism ) and Jaina ( of Jainism ) are considered Nastika not because of their agnostic or atheist approach ( which also exists even in the orthodox systems) but because they reject the formal authority of the Veda , even though they accept Dharma , Karma and reincarnation .

TheCharvakas include all pure atheist and materialist groups who deny the Veda , as well as Karma Dharma rebirth etc .

Darsana , the word for philosophy in Sanskrit literally means "to see "( the truth )
The philsophies evolved for over 1000 years from 1000 BC before being sorted and classifed from the first to the fifth centuries .

Indian Philosophy is primarily concerned with religious beliefs and liberation or freedom , but in theory it is still possible for a orthodox Hindu to be a technical atheist . But such atheism is different from the anti religious stand of the west , he may for instance accept the doctrine of rebirth but may reject the theory that a personal god created the world at a point in time out of nothing .

Most ancient Hindu thinkers despite their diverse views accept some basic suppositions such as Karma , rebirth, dharma , liberation and the unity of spirit underlying the apparent diversity.
They also accept the idea of periodic unfurling of universes and their disintegration . We are but mere specks on the planet earth, which is but a mere speck in the vast infinite universe . A human lifetime is but a mere ripple in the ocean of cosmic time . During recurring cosmic cycles
civilasations rise and fall , species appear and become extinct , great nation states rise and pass, religions develop prosper and fade , periods of barbarism alternate with peace and culture .

This broad all encompassing view enables the indian philosopher to take a detached view of existence , and to realise the insignificance and transitory nature of all things and beings , he then ceases to cling to the fleeting and strives for the ultimate freedom and reality of knowledge , for even though mans body is limited in time and space, his soul or spirit is believed to be eternal .

Atheists , Agnostics and Hindus

According to many scholars one can be an atheist and still a Hindu .

Most scholars agree that one can be agnostic and still a Hindu or a follower of the Sanathana Dharma .

Some say that belief in Dharma , Karma and reincarnation is more important in defining a hindu than belief in a personal God .

As a result , out of the six systems of Hindu Philosophy , only the last ie Vedanta is really concerned about the relationship between God and us .

Mimamsa is more about ritual and its obligatory performance for your good , family, society , and the world in that order .

Nyaya , Vaiseshika , Samkhya , Yoga etc are largely not concerned with God , but are more to do with the philosophy of life .

For those to whom bhakti and god do not appeal , hinduism still has a lot of useful stuff to offer .