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Relevance of Upanishad

Though the word " Darshan" means "seeing", in a technical sense, it indicates the systems of philosophy. Indian philosophical systems are called Darshan since they claim to have been based on "seeing "or "experiencing" the final truths. The broad grouping of these Darshan could be - Aastik Darshan and Naastik Darshan. Those who accept the authority of the Ved are Aastik and those who do not accept Ved are Naastik. The Aastik Darshan are six in number - Nyaaya, Vaisheshik, Saankhya, Yog, Meemaansaa and Vedaant. The Naastik Darshan are - Charavaak, Jain and Bauddha Darshan.

The Aastik Darshan (we are concerned with) represent the Pramaan or valid sources of knowledge and the Prameya or things to be known through them. Darshan generally deal with four topics - (1) Existence and nature of Brahman or Eeshwar or God, (2) Nature of Jeev or the individual soul, (3) Creation of Jagat or the world, and (4) Moksh or liberation and the disciplines that lead to it.

(1) The Nyaaya Darshan has laid the foundation for the science of Indian Logic. Hence it is called Nyaaya Vidyaa or Tark Shaastra (logic). Nyaaya Sootra of Gautam is the basic text of this system. This is supposed to be the first among the Darshan.

(2) Vaisheshik Darshan (after Kanaad or Ulook) is considered as an extension of Nyaaya Darshan as it recognizes seven "Padaarth" (what is denoted by words). These categories of realities are divided into two classes - Bhaav and Abhaav - positive and existent realities and those which denote negative facts (see Vaisheshik Sootra).

(3) The Saankhya Darshan (of Kapil Jee) accepts only three Pramaan or valid source of knowledge - Pratyaksh, Anumaan and Shabd.

(4) The Yog Darshan of Patanjali is heavily oriented towards Saadhanaa or spiritual practice. It accepts three fundamental realities - Eeshwar, Purush (individual souls) and Prakriti.

(5) Meemaansaa Darshan, also called Poorv Meemaansaa aims at giving a methodology of interpretation to understand Vaidik injunctions regarding rituals. This has developed an elaborate epistemology which has been accepted by the Vedaant Darshan also. Meemaansaa Darshan tries to reconcile the various Vaidik texts that seem to give different directions with regard to the same ritual system. The Vedaant Darshan on the other hand tries to make out a coherent philosophy of Brahm from the apparently conflicting statements in the Upanishad. This deals with the end portions of the Ved (that are Upanishad) and contain the essence of the same. The system is based on the three canonical works - Prasthaan Traya or Prasthaan Trayee (a collective name for Upanishad, Bhagvad Geetaa, and Vedaant Sotra).



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 07/31/12