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Article VII: Schools of Thought

Shad Darshana includes six classical Indian schools of thought that are based upon the Vedas: Nyaya, Vaisesika, Sankhya, Yoga, Purva Mimamsa, and Uttarva Mimamsa (or Vedanta). Jainism and Buddhism have many parallel beliefs, but are not based upon the Vedas like the other six philosophies. Nyaya and Vaisesika provide a groundwork of philosophy and logic. Sankhya explains existence in terms of many purushas (souls) and prakrithi (material existence). Yoga is based upon the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali. Yoga describes a series of eight steps toward enlightenment, which can go hand in hand with Vedanta. Purva Mimamsa describes the importance of Vedic rituals and linguistics. Uttarva Mimamsa, or Vedanta, represents the culmination of Indian philosophy given by Vyasa. Vedanta is the philosophy given by the Upanishads, the Brahma Sutra, and the Bhagavad Gita. The six philosophies are not necessarily contradictory, but rather represent an evolution of thought.

Vedanta can be further subdivided into non-dualism, qualified non-dualism, and dualism. Sankaracharya's philosophy is based on non-dualism, which describes God and human beings as ultimately one and the same. Ramanuja's philosophy is based on qualified dualism, which describes God and human beings as the same only during certain parts of the cosmic cycle. Madhvacharya's philosophy is based on dualism, which describes God and human beings as distinct.

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