By Dr. Korada Subrahmanyam

Darśanam is an instrument that is useful to know the Tattvam (Truth / noumenon). The great sages of ancient India strived during the course of time, to investigate into things that are beyond perception. It is a fact that the roots of all the Darśanas are in Veda (Upaniṣats included). Each Darśana (System of Indian Philosophy) advocates a path, that is claimed to be perfect, to achieve the goal. Sometimes a single sentence is interpreted differently by different Dārśanikas (systemists). Chiefly the Darśanas can be put under two headings – Āstikadarśanas (those which accept the authority of Veda) and Nāstikadarśanas (those which do not accept the authority of Veda). The stratification of Indian society over the ages became complicated due to many Darśanas, each of which could influence a substantial group of people.

The gamut of Darśanas can be put under two headings:

i. Āstikadarśanas: The Darśanas which accept the authority of Veda fall under this category. Sāṃkhya, Yoga, Nyāya, Vaiśeṣika, Pūrvamīmāṃsā and Uttaramīmāṃsā (Vedānta) – are Āstikadarśanas and are called Ṣaḍdarśanas.

ii. Nāstikadarśanas: The Darśanas which do not accept the authority of Veda are considered as Nāstikadarśanas. Cārvaka, Sautrāntika, Vaibhāṣika, Yogācāra, Mādhyamika and Ārhata (Jaina) – are called Nāstikadarśanas. The middle four of the above six fall under Bauddhadarśanam.

The author of the popular treatise on Darśanas, viz. Sarvadarśanasaṃgraha, Sāyaṇamādhavācārya (or Mādhavācārya) discusses sixteen Darśanas in the following order –

1. Cārvākadarśanam
Cārvākas (atheists) do not believe either in the authority of Veda or in the existence of God. Out of the five elements they accept only four, viz. earth, fire, water and air. Out of the four major Pramāṇas (Means of knowledge), viz. Pratyakṣa (Perception), Anumāna (Inference), Upamāna (Simile) and Śabda (Statement), Cārvākas accept Pratyakṣa only. They also argue that Vedas, Yāgas and other rites are created by selfish people and have no use, whatsoever. Enjoyment of life is the ultimate goal – declare Cārvākas.

2. Bauddhadarśanam
Bauddhas (followers of this system) do not believe in the authority of Veda nor do they support Yāga etc. Unlike Cārvākas they accept two Means of Knowledge, viz. Pratyakṣa and Anumāna (Perception and Inference). Bauddhas are popular as Kṣaṇikavādins (who argue that everything in the universe is momentary). Jāti (class) or Sāmānyam is refuted altogether. There are four sects among Bauddhas.

i. The Mādhyamikas or Śūnyavādins believe in nihilism, i.e. things in the universe are non-existent.

ii. The Yogācāra holds that everything is Vijñāna, i.e. in the form of cognition.

The above two sects fall under Mahāyāna School whereas the following two belong to Hīnayāna School.

iii. The Sautrāntika advocates a different theory – both the intellectual / imaginary and outside / real things do exist. But the cognition related to outside things is subject to Anumāna (inference).

iv. The Vaibhāṣikas hold that the outside things are a subject of Pratyakṣa (Perception).

Ālayavijñāna, Pravṛttivijñāna, Pañcaskandhas and Āryasatyas are the other issues that require attention.

3. Ārhatadarśanam
Ārhatas propose Ratnatrayam (three gems), i.e. Samyagdarśanam (interest in the teachings of Arhata), Samyagjñānam (to know the real form etc. of “things”) and Samyakcāritram (completely renouncing connections with sin). These three combinedly, and not separately cause Mokṣa. In Ārhata’s doctrine there will be two things – Jīva or Cit (cognition personified) and Ajīva or Acit (thing without consciousness). Viveka (wisdom) is simply to know Cit and Acit. Jainas advocate a Nyāya (norm) called Saptabhaṅginyāya (a maxim in which both existence and non-existence do exist and such a state is divided into seven). This is also called Syādvāda (an argument in which an “undecided state” is indicated).

There are two sects among Jainas – Śvetāmbara (who don a white dress) and Digambara (who go naked).


4. Viśiṣṭādvaitadarśanam
The Saptabhaṅginyāya of Jainas is refuted by Rāmānujācārya (Brahmasūtram 2.2.31). The system advocated by Rāmānujācārya of South India holds that there are three things (Padārthāḥ) – Cit or Jīva (individual), Acit (universe) and Īśvara (Viṣṇu). The same are referred to by the terms Bhoktā, Bhogya and Niyāmaka respectively. Rāmānuja also rules that all the Śabdas in the universe denote Paramātman only. Followers of this system interpret the word “Brahman” as applicable to Vāsudeva / Viṣṇu. Bhakti (devotion) is a kind of Jñānam (cognition) in which the purpose, i.e. Parameśvara (Viṣṇu) and detachment are embedded and is considered as the only device to reach Puruṣottama (Viṣṇu). Pratyakṣa, Anumāna and Śabda are the Pramāṇas acceptable to Viśiṣṭādvaitins. They follow Pāñcarātrāgama.

5. Dvaitadarśanam
Ānandatīrtha (Madhvācārya) differed with Rāmānujācārya in certain aspects and floated a theory called Dvaitadarśanam. The Tattvam is of two types – Svatantra (independent) and Paratantra (dependent). Svatantra is none other than Viṣṇu, who is beyond any blemish and a bank of virtues. The Dvaita system advocates Bheda (difference) between Jīva (individual) and Parameśvara (Viṣṇu). Jīva has to serve (sevā) Viṣṇu (only).

Sevā is of three types –

i. Aṅkanam – Marking of Sudarśanam (the disc of Viṣṇu) in the right hand and Śaṅkham (conch of Viṣṇu) in the left hand.

ii. Nāmakaraṇam – Naming the children with the names of Viṣṇu. So while calling them, one would pronounce the names of Viṣṇu.

iii. Bhajanam (Worship) – It is of ten types and is to be performed through Vāk (speech), Kāya (body) and Manas (mind). All the ten kinds of Bhajanam has to be submitted to Nārāyaṇa (Viṣṇu).

According to Dvaita, there are five kinds of Bheda (differences) – between Jīva (individual) and Īśvara (Viṣṇu); between Jaḍa (a thing without consciousness) and Īśvara; between Jīva and Jīva; between Jīva and Jaḍa; and between Jaḍa and Jaḍa.

Dvaitins hold that the Tātparyam (purport) of all Vedas, Purāṇas etc. is in the great personality called Viṣṇu.

Madhvācārya comments that the popular sentence from Chāndogyopaniṣat, i.e. tat tvam asi (you are Brahman), either means “you are like Paramātmā” or it is actually atat tvam asi “you are not Brahman”). Madhvācārya is considered as an incarnation of Vāyu (Air).

The next four of the following Darśanas have Śaivamatam in common.

6. Nakulīśapāśupatadarśanam
Madhvācārya’s Dvaitam is considered as Vaiṣṇavamatam (the doctrine of those who worship Viṣṇu only as God). Some devotees of Maheśvara (Śiva) felt that the individuals who got Mukti (Mokṣa) should still remain as Dāsas (servants) and Paratantra (dependent) and as such the Vaiṣṇavamatam is full of Duḥkha (misery). They proposed a theory called Pāśupatadarśanam (the doctrine of Śiva) which consists of five entities –

i. Kāryam: The universe that is dependent is called Kāryam.
ii. Kāraṇam: Parameśvara (Īśvara), who is independent is called Kāraṇam.
iii. Yogaḥ: Japa (recitation), Dhyāna (meditation) etc. are called Yoga.
iv. Vidhi: Bathing with holy powder etc. is Vidhi.
v. Duḥkhānta: The Aiśvarya (wealth) and Īśvaratva that are available after the Duḥkhas (miseries) have lapsed and the same is called Duḥkhānta (end of misery).

The above five are called Pañcatattvās (the five prerequisites required to attain the Tattvam or real knowledge). Paśu is a term that refers to the universe that is dependent. The term Pati refers to Īśvara who is independent. The former is also called Kāryam and the latter is Kāraṇam. The significance of Pāśupatadarśanam is that in other Śāstras, Duḥkhanivṛtti (end of misery) only is the result, whereas here there will be Pāramaiśvaryaprāpti (attaining the status of Parameśvara) also. Īśvara and Karma (nemesis) are the causes of Sukha (comfort) and Duḥkha (misery) of an individual. Īśvara does not require Karma but vice-versa is possible.

7. Śaivadarśanam
Īśvara without the requirement of Karma – this statement of Pāśupatas amounts to contending that Īśvara is filled with Vaiṣamya (hatred) and Nairghṛṇya (mercilessness). Therefore, Pāśupatadarśnam became unacceptable to some Māheśvaras (devotees of Śiva) and they floated another doctrine called Śaivadarśanam (the system of Śiva), wherein Parameśvara with the requirement of Karma is considered as the Kāraṇam (cause).

The founders of Śaivadarśanam accept three Padārthas (things) mainly –

i. Pati (Lord): The term means Śiva. Since the things in the universe have got specific form, it is inferred that there was Parameśvara before the emergence of the universe. His body is Śāktam (in the form of power).

ii. Paśu (Being): The all-pervading Jīvātmā (individual soul) is called Paśu and the same is immutable.

iii. Pāśa (Bond): There are four kinds of Pāśas, such as Karma, from which one has to come out.

8. Pratyabhijñādarśanam
Still some Māheśvaras (followers of Śaivamatam) differed with Śaivadarśanam as “Karma, which is without consciousness and subsequently without desire, causes the universe” is bad logic. Parameśvara’s desire (icchā) is the cause of the universe and as per the scriptures, he is independent. Although there is difference between Jīva (individual) and Jīva, and between two Jaḍapadārthas (things without consciousness), for Parameśvara there is no difference at all. The identity (Tādātmya) of Jīva with Parameśvara is known through self-experience, Inference and Śaivāgamas (systems on Śaivamatam). Therefore, argue these people, the theory of Pratyabhijñā, which advocates the Sākṣātkāra (perception before the eyes) in the form of “I am certainly Īśvara, not different”, has to be accepted. One can have Parasiddhi (attaining Mokṣa) and Aparasiddhi (reaching the divine abode) in due course through Pratyabhijñā and does not require Prāṇāyāma etc. which are tedious.

Five texts are prescribed, which constitute the Pratyabhijñāśāstram – Sūtram (rule), Vṛtti (meaning of the rule), Vivaraṇam (explanation), Laghuvimarśinī (brief analysis) and Bṛhadvimarśinī (elaborate analysis).

There is no any qualification to learn this system. One should go for Dāsyam (become a servant to whom Parameśvara provides everything desired) through Pratyabhijñā, i.e. Śivo’ham (I am Śiva). According to Pratyabhijñādarśanam, the existence of beings is dependent on Jīvanam (life) or Caitanyam (consciousness). Caitanyam is a blend of Jñānaśakti (capacity of cognition) and Kriyāśakti (capacity of action). Caitanya is also called Pramātā (one who measures). Śivasūtram says Ātmā is Caitanyam or Caitanyarūpam (in the form of Caitanya). The shining form is Jñānam (cognition). Building the universe is Kārya (action).

9. Raseśvaradarśanam
A faction of Māheśvaras, yet, while accepting identity of Parameśvara with Jīva, hold that “Jīvanmukti” (attaining Mokṣa while one is alive) is possible through making the Śarīra (body) stable with “Rasa” (mercury) which is also called “Pārada”, the one which helps one reach the other bank of Saṃsāra (cycle of birth and death), i.e. Mokṣa. The founders and propagators of Raseśvaradarśanam assert that the six Darśanas have shown the ways to Mokṣa but only after death and therefore people may not trust it as an easily available and perceptible thing. As such one should protect the body by Rasas and Rasāyana (tonics).

Govindabhagavatpādācārya explains that one should understand that money, body and enjoyment are short-lived and should try for Mokṣa. Mokṣa can be achieved through Jñānam and Jñānam from Abhyāsa and Abhyāsa is possible if the body is stable. How can the body which looks to be perishable become stable (Nitya)? – the body built of six ingredients such as skin, bones, blood etc. is no doubt, perishable. But the one born out of Rasa and Abhraka (mica), created by Śiva and Gaurī (Śiva’s wife) respectively, will be stable.

Raseśvarasiddhānta records that there were many Devatas (Gods), Daityas (demons), Munis (sages) and Mānavas (human beings) who had attained divine body from Rasa and achieved Jīvanmukti.

There are eighteen Saṃskāras (refinements / processes) of Rasa enumerated by Ācāryas that help one attain Siddhi (achievement). The Rasaśāstra (Science of Rasa) is not exclusively for Dhātuvāda (process whereby iron is turned into gold) but it is for attaining Mokṣa by injecting Rasa into the body. Rasa only is capable of making a body devoid of ageing and death. So by attaining Divyadeha (divine body) through Rasaśāstram and practicing Yoga, if one can perceive Paratattvam (Brahman) he would achieve Puruṣārtha (Mokṣa).

10. Aulūkyadarśanam
This is also called Vaiśeṣikadarśanam and Kāṇādadarśanam. Kaṇāda, who was a sage and popular as the inventor of Aṇusiddhānta (Atomic theory) authored the Sūtras of Vaiśeṣikadarśanam. The very purpose of any Āstikadarśanam is Mokṣa only. The Darśanam starts with the analysis of Dharma. It consists of ten Adhyāyas (chapters). Only two Pramāṇas (Means of knowledge), viz. Pratyakṣam (Perception) and Anumānam (Inference) are accepted by Kaṇāda. Śabdapramāṇam (Statement) is included in Anumānam. Vaiśeṣikam runs on three basic things – Uddeśa (naming), Lakṣaṇam (definition) and Parīkṣā (application of definition in an example). Only six Padārthas (things), viz. Dravya (thing), Guṇa (quality), Karma (activity), Sāmānya (class), Viśeṣa (essential difference) and Samavāya (eternal relation) were enumerated by Kaṇāda and the Darśanam used to be called Ṣaṭpadārthī (a system of six things). Abhāva (non-existence) was discussed by Kaṇāda at a later stage. As the time passed scholars added Abhāva to the earlier six Padārthas and made it Saptapadārthī (a system of seven things).

Dravya is of nine types – Pṛthivī (earth), Ap (water), Tejas (fire), Vāyu (air), Ākāśa (space), Kāla (time), Dik (direction), Ātmā (soul) and Manas (mind). Kaṇāda also enumerates twenty four Guṇas and five kinds of Karma. Sāmānyam is of two types – Parasāmānyam and Aparasāmānyam. Sattā (existence) which is associated with Dravya, Guṇa and Karma, is called Parasāmānyam. Dravyatva, Guṇatva etc., i.e. the inherent and eternal property, is called Aparasāmānyam. A property that causes difference between small and big etc. is called Viśeṣa. It is due to this Viśeṣa that the Darśana is called Vaiśeṣikadarśanam. Samavāya is relation and is of three types. Abhāva is non-existence and it is of four types. Vaiśeṣikas believe that the universe is built by union of Paramāṇus (minutest particle of atom), which have got action and property. Kaṇāda accepts the authority of Veda, which is authored by Īśvara (he suggests this).

According to Vaiśeṣikadarśanam one, who follows Yoga, would achieve Mokṣa.

11. Akṣapādadarśanam
This is popular as Nyāyadarśanam. In most of the concepts Nyāya follows Vaiśeṣika and consists of five Adhyāyas (chapters). Akṣapāda or Gautama, a sage, had authored Nyāyadarśanam and the very purpose is, like Vaiśeṣika, attaining Mokṣa through Tattvajñānam (knowledge of real truth).

Examination of the noumenon of a thing with Pramāṇas (Means of knowledge) is called Nyāya. Veda, which is authored by Īśvara, is an authority just like Āyurveda – holds Akṣapāda. Naiyāyikas (followers of Nyāyadarśanam) accept four Pramāṇas – Pratyakṣam (Perception), Anumānam (Inference), Upamānam (Simile) and Śabda (Statement).

In Nyāyadarśanam, the stress is on Anumāna. It is of two types – Svārthānumāna and Parārthānumāna. The former is for self and the latter is for others. One notices smoke emanating from fire in a kitchen. He goes out and comes across smoke emanating from a hill at a faraway place. Following earlier experience he declares that there is fire on the hill. When he wants to make the inferential knowledge known to another person then he would employ a five-membered discourse (Mahāvākyam) and the same is called Nyāya. The five members are called sub-sentences with Ākāṅkṣā (mutual expectancy), Yogyatā (compatibility) and Āsatti (proximity). Pratijñā (statement), Hetu (reason), Udāharaṇa (example), Upanaya (bringing the example closer to present issue) and Nigamanam (repeating the Pratijñā) – these are the five Avayavas (members) of Parārthānumānam. Akṣapāda divides Kathā (disputation) into three –

i. Vāda: Vāda is the discussion in which the participant takes one side, supports with arguments and also refutes other’s arguments.

ii. Jalpa: Jalpa is the argument where the aim is to win over the other; both the sides may win and Nigrahasthāna (causes of defeat) etc. are also employed.

iii. Vitanḍa: It is a cavil, wherein one goes on refuting the other without a desire to conquer.

Twenty two Hetvābhāsas (that look like causes and are used to defeat others) are enumerated by Gautama. The meaning of a Śabda is defined as any one of Jāti (class), Ākṛti (form) and Vyakti (individual). Nyāyadarśanam openly accepts the authority of Veda and its author, Īśvara. Gautama rules that through the real knowledge of sixteen enumerated Padārthas (things) one would attain Mokṣa. Śabda is considered as Anitya (momentary) by Naiyāyikas. Pramāṇaśāstram is a synonym of Nyāya.

12. Jaiminidarśanam
This is also called Mīmāṃsādarśanam / Vākyaśāstram / Pūrvatantram / Pūrvamīmāṃsādarśanam etc. Veda can be divided into two parts following the purpose they serve – Mantrabrāhmaṇabhāga and Upaniṣadbhāga. The former advocates Dharma in the form of Yāga (rite) that results in Svarga (heaven). The latter advocates Jñānam that would help in attaining Mokṣa. The Darśana that deals with the analysis of the first part (pūrvabhāga) of Veda is called Pūrvamīmāṃsā.

Jaimini was the sage who authored the Sūtras of Pūrvamīmāṃsā in twelve Adhyāyas. There are one thousand Adhikaraṇas (a portion in which a specific aspect is discussed and the conclusion is offered). The Nyāyas (norms), arrived at the end of Adhikaraṇas, are useful in deciding the meaning of different sentences and thus this Darśanam is useful in all kinds of literature. Jaimini defines a Vākyam (sentence) and Mahāvākyam (discourse) and this is useful for both Vedic and secular sentences. Jaiminidarśanam is also called Karmamīmāṃsā as it discusses the Karmas (rites) such as Yāga. Ātmā is accepted by Mīmāṃsakas but they do not believe in Pralaya (end of the universe). According to Mīmāṃsā Śabda is Nitya (immutable) and so also Veda, i.e. it has got neither a beginning nor an end.

Jaimini holds that Veda is Apauruṣeya, i.e. not authored by human beings and therefore, is flawless. So far as the Pramāṇas are concerned, Pratyakṣa (Perception), Anumāna (Inference), Upamāna (Simile) and Śabda (Statement) are generally accepted by all Mīmāṃsakas. While Prabhākara added Arthāpatti (Implication), Kumārila added Anupalabdhi (Non-availability) also to the four Pramāṇas. Mīmāṃsakas hold that Veda is a Pramāṇa (Means of knowledge) on its own, i.e. does not require Pratyakṣa etc.

The gamut of sentences in Veda would have their purport in Karma, i.e. Yāga etc. Jaimini rules that Jāti (class) is Padārtha (meaning of a Śabda) and Vyakti (individual) comes as secondary. Also Vidhi is important and others are secondary.

13. Pāṇinidarśanam
This is also called Vyākaraṇam, Padaśāstram, Śabdānuśāsanam and Śabdaśāstram. Earlier to Pāṇini there were different works for the analysis of Śabdas – Prātiśākhyā for Vaidikaśabdas (Śabdas in Veda) and Vyākaraṇam for Laukikaśabdas (Śabdas in secular literature). It was Pāṇini who put both in a nutshell – Aṣṭādhyāyī (a book of eight chapters) and as a result Pāṇini’s Aṣṭādhyāyī only is fit to be called Vedāṅgavyākaraṇam.

While dealing with the concept of Śabda, Patañjali, in his Mahābhāṣyam, discusses the philosophical meaning of Sphoṭa (the Śabda that is immutable) and this paved the way of Pāṇinīyam to enter the ranks of Darśanas. By realizing Śabdabrahma (Brahman that is in the form of Śabda) one would get at Parabrahman. Following Patañjali, Bhartṛhari, the author of the great commentary on Mahābhāṣyam called Vākyapadīyam, established Sphoṭavāda (the theory of Sphoṭa) in unequivocal terms. When a speaker pronounces a sentence with ten Varṇas (phonemes) each Varṇa perishes as soon as it is uttered. So by the time the tenth letter is pronounced, all the earlier nine Varṇas are gone. In other words, since all the Varṇas of the sentence are not available simultaneously it is simply impossible to get the meaning of the sentence. Nevertheless, the speaker claims he got the sentence. How this became possible? The answer is Nityaśabda (the immutable Śabda) without any parts and is in fact Brahman only, but in the form of Śabda.

So Pāṇinīyam, finally blended with Vedānta and as such it is a Darśanam, which would show a path of Mokṣa. According to Pāṇinidarśanam, the Prakṛti, Pratyaya, Pada (root, suffix, word) etc. are artificially generated to compile the Vedāṅgam called Vyākaraṇam. But the truth is that Śabda is Nitya (immutable) and its actual form is Brahman only.

Pāṇinīyas accept both Jāti (class) and Dravyam (individual) for the analysis that would culminate in Brahmajñānam (knowledge of Brahman itself), rather they claim it is a direct path to Mokṣa.

14. Sāṃkhyadarśanam
Sāṃkhya means Jñānam (spiritual knowledge). On the other hand, the number of twenty five of the accepted Tattvas (basic things) is important for the followers of this Darśanam. So it is called Sāṃkhyadarśanam. Sage Kapila was the author of Sāṃkhyasūtras. Presently most of the people depend upon the Kārikas (verses) of Īśvarakṛṣṇa, which closely follow the Sūtras of Kapila.

Prakṛti is of eight types –

i. Pradhānam: There is one basic thing called Pradhānam or Mūlaprakṛti and it is a conglomeration of three Guṇas (properties), viz. Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Sattva causes Sukham (comfort), Rajas causes Duḥkham (misery) and Tamas causes Moha (ignorance).

ii. Mahat: Also called Buddhi (intellect), this is born out of Pradhānam and has got the three Guṇas. Sattvaguṇa dominates.

iii. Ahaṃkāra: Just like Mahat, Ahaṃkāra (individuality) is of three types – Sāttvika, Rājasa and Tāmasa. Ahaṃkāra is born out of Mahat.

iv – viii. Tanmātras: Tanmātras are the minutest particles by which the Pañcabhūtas (five elements) are formed. Śabdatanmātra (particles of Śabda), Sparśatanmātra (particles of touch), Rūpatanmātra (particles of form), Rasatanmātra (particles of taste) and Gandhatanmātra (particles of smell). The above five Tanmātras cause the formation of Pañcamahābhūtas, viz. Ākāśa (sky), Vāyu (air), Tejas (fire), Jala (water) and Pṛthivī (earth), respectively.

There are five Jñānendriyas (organs of sense), viz. Tvak (skin), Cakṣus (eye), Śrotra (ear), Jihvā (tongue) and Ghrāṇa (nose). There are five Karmendriyas (organs of action), viz. Vāk (speech), Pāda (foot), Pāṇi (hand), Pāyu (anus) and Upasthā (generative organ). Manas (mind) is also considered as an Indriya (organ of sense or action) of both types. Consequently there are eleven organs of sense and action (Indriyas).

The total of eight Prakṛtis, eleven Indriyas and five Bhūtas, i.e. twenty four are Tattvas. Puruṣa (Jīvātmā or individual soul) is the twenty fifth Tattvam. Mūlaprakṛti is the conglomeration of twenty four Tattvas. Puruṣa is independent and Nitya (immutable). By knowing the difference between Pradhāna and Puruṣa one would attain Kaivalyam (Mokṣa).

Sāṃkhyas accept three Pramāṇas – Pratyakṣa (Perception), Anumāna (Inference) and Śabda (Statement). So far as the Kāryakāraṇabhāva (relation of cause and effect)is concerned, Sāṃkhyas advocate Satkāryavāda, i.e. both Kārya and Kāraṇa are Sat (existing). Īśvara is not accepted by Kapilasāṃkhyam. Prakṛti and Puruṣa, like lame and blind persons, have got mutual expectancy that causes Sṛṣṭi (creation). After exposing self, Prakṛti retires. Then Puruṣa gets Kaivalyam.

15. Pātañjaladarśanam
This is also called Sāṃkhyapravacanam and Yogānuśāsanam. The original Śāsanam (system) was by Hiraṇyagarbha and the presently available work is by Patañjali. Īśvara is accepted by this system and, therefore, it is also called Seśvarasāṃkhyam. Patañjali’s Yogānuśāsanam consists of four Pādas (chapters) viz. Samādhipāda, Sādhanapāda, Vibhūtipāda and Kaivalyapāda.

Yoga means “arresting the mind’s behaviour”. Yogas (followers of Yoga) accept all the twenty five Tattvas, viz. the eight Prakṛtis, eleven Indriyas, five Mahābhūtas and Puruṣa. Rather another Tattvam (basic thing) called Īśvara is also accepted and as such there are twenty six Tattvas in Yoga.

It is called Aṣṭāṅgayoga –

i. Yama: Satyam (truth), Ahiṃsā (non-violence) etc.
ii. Niyama: Śauca (cleanliness), Santoṣa (happiness), Īśvarapraṇidhānam (devotion to Īśvara) etc.
iii. Āsanam: Keeping the body, firm and comfortable, in different specific positions.
iv. Prāṇāyāma: Arresting the air flow by holding the breath.
v. Pratyāhāra: Through Prāṇāyāma the sense organs stop their functions and imitate the form of Cittam (mind). This is called Pratyāhāra.
vi. Dhāraṇā: Concentrating the Cittam in a single place.
vii. Dhyānam: A continuous undisturbed flow of modification of the form of the thing being thought of in which nothing else would be there.
viii. Samādhi: The mental state in which nothing except the thing being thought of, will be there.

The last three, i.e. Dhāraṇa, Dhyāna and Samādhi are called Saṃyama, that are useful in concentration on only one thing. Just like Sāṃkhyas, Yogas also accept three Pramāṇas, viz. Pratyakṣa (Perception), Anumāna (Inference) and Śabda (Statement). Kaivalyam or Mokṣa through cleansing the mind is what is preached by Yoga.

A Yogī will have the capacity to read others’ mind, to perceive past, present and future, to understand the languages of birds and animals, to disappear at will etc. Abhyāsa (regular exercise) and Vairāgya (detachment) are the prerequisites of Kaivalya.

16. Śāṅkaradarśanam
The most popular among Darśanas is the Advaitadarśanam, a system that advocates non-difference of Jīvātmā (individual soul) and Paramātmā (universal soul). Advaitins do not accept anything other than Brahman, which is the very cause of universe. This Vedāntaśāstra (since it takes the text of Upaniṣats) consists of four Adhyāyas and Bādarāyaṇa was the author. This is also called Brahmamīmāṃsā as realizing Brahman is the very purpose of this Śāstram and it is put on the top of all Darśanas. Attaining Mokṣa through Jñānam (spiritual knowledge) is the theme of Vedānta. Since this system deals with the latter (Uttara) part of Veda, called Upaniṣad, it is styled Uttaramīmāṃsā.

Sāṃkhyas advocate Pariṇāmavāda – the theory of evolution – the universe had emerged through evolution of Pradhānam or Prakṛti. Vedāntins follow Vivartavāda – attaining another form without giving up its original form. So Brahman itself transforms into different things while the original form is still intact. As a result the Jagat (universe) is Mithyā (myth or unreal) and Brahman only is Satyam (real). It is due to Avidyā (nescience) that a person takes the universe as real. Once the same person attains Brahmajñāna through Vedānta he would come out of the illusion and gets Mokṣa.

Śaṅkarācārya initially explains the purport of Upaniṣats in Brahman and then goes to refute the arguments of Sāṃkhya, Vaiśeṣika, Bauddha etc. Saguṇabrahmopāsanā (worship of Brahman with qualifiers, i.e. form etc.) and Nirguṇabrahmopāsanā (worship of sheer Brahman) are explained to attain Mokṣa. The contradiction between different Vedic texts is also solved.

Vedāntadarśana is considered on the top of all Darśanas and compared with a lion. Śaṅkarācārya does not accept coherence between Pūrvamīmāṃsā and Uttaramīmāṃsā as they deal with different things, i.e. Karma and Brahma. Vedāntins accept six Pramāṇas (Means of knowledge) – Pratyakṣa (Perception), Anumāna (Inference), Upamāna (Simile), Śabda (Statement), Arthāpatti (Assumption) and Anupalabdhi (Non-perception). In most of the matters related to analysis, Vedānta follows Pūrvamīmāṃsā.

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