Astik-Nastik School of Indian philosophy

Astik-Nastik School of Indian philosophy

Question-Astik-Nastik school of Indian philosophy.Discuss

- The Vedas are considered of highest importance in the Indian philosophy, roots of which can be traced back to vedas. The Vedic tradition is divided into two sections- jnana kanda and karma kanda.

- The latter has been developed by the Brahmana scriptures while the former by Aranyakas and the Upanishads. Indian philosophy is multi dimensional and multi-versional. It is religious and secular, theistic and atheistic, materialistic and idealistic, pro and anti vedic or Astik and Nastik.

- The Indian philosophical system has been divided into two classes ie Astik and Nastik. The word Astik literally means theist or a believer in God while the word Nastik means an atheist or one who does not believe in God.

- However, in Indian philosophy these words represent concept of believer and non believer respectively in the testimony of the Vedas. Astik here does not mean one who believes in rebirth since even the Nastik systems of Jaina and Buddha believe in rebirth.

The Astik Class:

- As mentioned, astik system of Indian philosophy believes in the testimony of Vedas. This class includes six systems of Indian philosophy which are collectively known as Sad Darshan. These are Mimamsa, Vedanta, Samkhya, Yoga, Nyaya and Vaiseshika.

- A significant fact is that of these systems, Mimamsa does not believe in God. However, the astik system is not confined to only these; according to Madhavcharya, even grammar and medicine belong to this class. Most often though the six mentioned above are generally considered.

- Mimamsa focusses on the ritualistic aspect of the Vedas and Vedanta on the knowledge aspect. Since they are directly based upon the Vedas, both these types are sometimes called Mimamsa. To make a distinction, Vedanta is known as Purva Mimamsa or Jnana Mimamsa and the other as Uttara Mimamsa or Karma Mimamsa.

The Nastik Class:

- The charvakas, jainas and buddha systems fall under Nastik class of the Indian philosophical system. They do not believe in the testimony of the Vedas. As a matter of fact, they owe their origin in the response against Vedic traditions.

- According to Jainism, nastikavada is a system of beliefs that are nastika in nature ie who is ignorant of the meaning of the religious texts or those who deny the existence of the soul.

- The Buddhist philosophers too have condemned faith in the Vedas. But neither Jains nor Buddhists have abused the Vedas nor shown disrespect as Charvaka has done. As a matter of fact, despite their association with the Nastik class, they are closer to the Astik systems as compared with Charvaka.
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