Anumana in Indian Philosophy

by Sangita Chakravarty | 2016 | 48,195 words

This page relates ‘A Note on Vedic schools’ of the study on the concept of Anumana (inference) in the Vedic schools of Indian Philosophy. Anumana usually represents the most authentic means of valid knowledge. This paper discusses the traditional philosophical systems such as Nyaya, Vaisheshika, Samkhya, Yoga, Mimamsa and Vedanta.

(B). A Note on Vedic schools

The systems of Indian philosophy have been divided into two broad divisions, viz., āstika or Vedic (orthodox) and nāstika or non-Vedic (heterodox). Generally, the word āstika[1] means one who believes in the existence of God—the theist. On the other hand, the word nāstika[2] means one who does not believe in the existence of God—the atheist. In Indian philosophy, these two terms are used in different senses. Here, āstika means one who believes in the authority of the Vedas and nāstika means one who does not believe in the authority of the Vedas. In this present discussion, we shall be confined to only the Vedic or āstika schools of Indian philosophy. The term āstika means orthodox schools of thought. Of the systems of thought or darśanas , six schools became more famous.

These are–

  1. Gautama’s Nyāya,
  2. Kaṇāda’s Vaiśeṣika,
  3. Kapila’s Sāṃkhya,
  4. Patañjali’s Yoga,
  5. Jaimini’s Pūrva Mīmāṃsā and
  6. Bādarāyana’s Uttara Mīmāṃsā or Vedānta.

These six systems are collectively known as ṣaḍdarśana.

There are two types of philosophical systems in the āstika class itself—

  1. those which are directly based on the Vedas and
  2. those which are not directly based on the Vedas but have an independent basis.

The former includes Mīmāṃsā and Vedānta and the later includes Sāṃkhya, Yoga, Nyāya and Vaiśeṣika . These schools of Indian philosophy accept the validity of the authority of the Vedas and try to show the harmony of their own thought with that of the Vedas. The āstika or nāstika character of a system does not depend on its positive or negative conclusions regarding the nature of a supreme or ultimate spirit, but on the acceptance or non-acceptance of the authority of the Vedas.[3]

The six orthodox or Vedic schools of Indian philosophy are joined into three couples:

  1. Nyāya-Vaiśeṣika;
  2. Sāṃkhya-Yoga; and
  3. Mīmāṃsā-Vedānta.

Now, to suit our proposed subject of investigation we shall deal particularly with these six systems which are known as ṣaḍdarśana.

Footnotes and references:


veda prāmāṇyavādī āstikaḥ. Śabdakalpadruma, p. 96
śrutiprāmāṇyaavirodhīnastārkikaviśeṣā āstikaḥ. Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha, p. 47


vedāprāmāṇyavādī nāstikaḥ. Śabdakalpadruma, p. 519
śrutiprāmāṇya virodhīnastārkikaviśeṣā nāstikaḥ. Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha, p. 48


prāmāṇyabuddhir vedesu nāstiko vedanindakaḥ. Mahābhārata, Xll. 270. 67

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