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Are the Vedas based on science? Here are the six philosophy systems birthed from their wisdom.

In the last post, we discussed (in-depth) the background behind Vedic science. If you read that already (which I recommend you do!), then you learned that at a certain point in humankind’s history there was a golden period of intellectual expansion.


Everyone across the globe shared theories, discussed grand ideas, participated in unbiased research, and even studied science and mathematics. And the best part of it all was that it was easily accessible and readily available for the general public at that point, not just for the elite.


Image source: hinduismtoday.com


In this article, we are going to dive even deeper into “What is Vedic?” rabbithole by introducing the primary philosophical systems that were birthed from the Vedic wisdom around the time of this Golden Age.


For those of us who never had to take philosophy in college (or just didn't pay attention 🙋🏻‍♀️), let me give you a quick breakdown so you can understand its importance.


A philosophy is a precise and systematic study of life’s fundamental questions regarding topics like our existence, reason, knowledge, values, mind, language, and even natural law.


To perform its studies, a philosophy contains methods such as questioning, discussion, argument, presentation, comparison, and more. Beyond that, it will also test and critically reflect on its own hypotheses and procedures to see if it has faults or can be proven inaccurate.


In short- philosophies are lenses that allow us to see and meticulously dissect the world around us.


Okay, now what does philosophy have to do with the Vedas?


Picture this. It’s the Golden Age. Everyone is sharing their wisdom, their understandings, their ideas, their theories. The collective intellect of humankind is rapidly rising.


Then, between 2-10AD, all of this expansion was cultivated into the Saddarshana, or six great philosophies.


“Sad” is a Sanskrit term that is used to denote the number 6, while “Darshan” can be translated as philosophy, to view, or the act of seeing.


When it comes to Vedic philosophy, any person who follows or practices one of the six systems, also accepts the following ideas about the “Self:"


  • Humans are spiritual beings in an earthly body


  • We are reincarnated into different bodies because of karma


  • Disconnection from the source of creation is the root of suffering


  • Figuring out how to end suffering is the goal of philosophy itself


It is because of those underlying and universal truths that each of the six unique systems, with their own methods and hypotheses, can layer together in support of each other. No system contradicts the other- isn’t that amazing? This is why each of the varying Vedic texts, sciences, and even practices like Yoga and Ayurveda work seamlessly together… because at their roots, they all derived from the same soil.


The Saddarshana

So what are these Darshanas and what are they all about? They are:


  • Sankhya Darshana: nontheistic dualism


  • Nyaya Darshana: philosophy of logic and reasoning


  • Vaisheshika Darshana: atomic theory


  • Yoga Darshana: self-discipline for self-realization


  • Mimamsa Darshana: recognizing our purpose


  • Vedanta Darshana: their conclusion


Now I’ve said it before, I’m going to repeat it now, and I will probably say it again many more times in the series- Do not stress all the Sanskrit verbiage I am tossing out because I will break it all down with its literal and philosophical meanings as we progress.


As you may have noticed or will begin to notice, Vedic knowledge and philosophy spans across both physical and metaphysical truths. While the first three philosophies (Nyaya, Sankhya, and Vaisheshika) deal with creation and workings of the physical world from a scientific perspective, the last three (Yoga, Mimamsa, and Vedanta) define the universe from a spiritual viewpoint.


The first and oldest of the six systems, Sankhya Darshana, translates to “that which explains” or “realization of truth.” It directly enlightens its students with all the answers about our universal, earthly, and even spiritual existences with scientific rationale and analysis. Touching on topics such as creation, evolution, suffering, and death, Sankhya answers some of life’s seemingly unanswerable questions.


Nyaya Darshana, the study of elements and matter. Nyaya is a Sanskrit word that means “method,” “rules” or “judgment.” It is a system of philosophy that uses the idea of logic and debate to gain knowledge and determine the truth. By only accepting four parameters to attain true factual knowledge, Nyaya helps us to determine truth from lie, fact from fiction, right from wrong, etc.

Vaisheshika Darshana comes from the word “Vishesh,” which means “to distinguish,” or “distinguishing feature.” And just like its definition hints at, Vaisheshika is a system of distinguishes between the different parts of and objects within our entire universe. A philosophy behind the nature of reality, Vaisheshika lays out seven different categories of distinction, allowing us to not only question and double-check our acquired knowledge, but to also label and group it accordingly.


Yoga Darshana can be translated as “the which realizes,” or “connection,” “union,” or even “to yoke together.” This system concerns itself with self-discipline and self-realization, guiding its followers on the path toward spiritual enlightenment or nirvana. While a lot of the Yoga we see in our present day society claims to have similar intentions, it is important to find a teacher who not only has an understanding of true Yoga Darshana, but also a profound respect for its Vedic roots.


Mimamsa, which literally translates to “reflection,” “consideration,” “investigation,” or “profound thought,” acts as a guide to interpret the Vedas. It empowers its followers with the wisdom of raising consciousness by recognizing the reason we are here on earth, which is refers to as our life’s purpose or “Dharma.” Mimamsa goes further by outlining rules on how to properly interpret the Vedas to perform our Dharma with reason.


The final darshana, Vedanta Darshana, is translated as “that which concludes.” Beautifully enough, “-anta” translates to both “end” and “within,” smearing the line between the end of the Veda and the beginning of self-revelation. Vedanta takes all the previous darshanas and connects all the dots to create the final integrative and all-encompassing philosophy.


In this article, we gave a little run-through of the six philosophies, but our next few articles in this series will be breaking each of them down in more detail, so make sure you're subscribed to stay in the loop! or better yet- become a BBA VIP (it’s free!) and be notified of new articles, get access to hidden blog posts, and be the first to know about new offerings and specials!



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