Six Schools of Indian Philosophy - Vedic Schools, UPSC Notes

By K Balaji|Updated : November 3rd, 2022

Six schools of Indian Philosophy acknowledge the authority of the Vedas, whereas heterodox schools reject the authority of the Vedas. The recognition of Vedas is said to be the fundamental contrast between the different departments of Hindu Philosophy schools. Six schools of Indian philosophy comprise Sankhya, Yoga, Vedanta, Purva Mimansa, Vaisheshika, and Nyaya. The six school of Indian philosophy is also renowned as the orthodox schools of Indian philosophy.

In this article, we have facilitated the complete details of the six schools of Indian Philosophy. Eight of these nine systems are atheistic, with no place for the Creator. Only Uttara Mimansa, also known as Vedanta, has a place for God. The six schools of Indian Philosophy also frame an integral part of the UPSC syllabus. The candidates can get access to the PDF for bringing forth a comprehensive preparation strategy.

Table of Content

Six Schools of Indian Philosophy

The Six Orthodox schools of Indian Philosophy are theological and philosophical systems within Hinduism. The concept of karma and reincarnation is renowned by all the Indian schools of thought. The aspiration of moksha is liberation from the loop of births and deaths and this eventual aim is discussed by all the schools. Orthodox (astika) colleges and universities of Indian philosophy, formerly recognized as Sanatana dharma, are collectively referred to as Hinduism.

The ancient Vedas is their source and holy scriptures authority. The six orthodox schools of Indian philosophy have been established by the sages Gotama, Kapila, Patanjali, Konada, Jamini, and Vyasa.


The first of the ideologies suggested by the scholar Kapil Muni in the Samkhya Sutra. This school of thought adhered to dualism, which holds that both the matter and the soul are distinct entities.

  • This idea serves as the foundation for all true knowledge. In this dualistic worldview, both soul and nature are present.
  • The school was built in two stages: the initial and the new Samkhya View. 'Sankhya' means 'count' in Sanskrit.
  • Sankhya is the philosophical framework for Advaita Vedanta as well as the epistemological initiation of Yoga. It emphasizes the usage of spiritual practice and aims to develop self-awareness.


Yoga teaches one physical discipline of mental peace. Patanjali, the Sage, is credited with the invention of Yoga. Patanjali's Yogasutra thought to have been written in the 2nd century BCE, expounds on the beginnings of Meditation and also the school.

Yoga is the concept of liberating the soul from nature through identity and body-mind self-control. Ashtanga Yoga was shown to be a method of expunging one's prior indiscretion to make way for freedom.


The term 'Vedanta' is composed of two parts: 'Veda' and 'ant,' which refers to the Vedas' conclusion. This is one of the schools of Indian philosophy following the life ideologies outlined in the Upanishads.

  • The Brahma Sutras of Badarayana, written and gathered in the second century BCE, was the earliest text that set the foundation for this philosophy.
  • As per the philosophy, Brahma is the fact to things, while all of it is unreal or Maya. In addition, the Atma, or self-consciousness, is linked to Brahma.
  • This school of philosophy is also known as Uttara Mimamsa.

Purva Mimansa

Mimamsa is a Sanskrit term that means "the craftsmanship of rationalization, explanation, and implementation".

Purva Mimansa emphasises the performance of Yagya (rituals) to attain various spiritual and worldly benefits. Hence, the focus of this school of Indian philosophy is on the interpretation of Samhita and Brahmana texts from the Vedas.


The Vaisheshika school of thought holds that the universe is physical and is governed by a realistic and objective philosophy. It propounds the atomic theory put forth by its founder, Kanada, also known as Kashyapa. Vaisheshik is an objective and realistic philosophy of the universe.


Nyaya School approaches learning in a modern and scientific manner. Sage Gautama, the author of the Nyaya Sutra, founded this school.

  • The Nyaya school uses several pramanas (mechanisms of attaining knowledge).
  • It believes that knowledge is the only way of breaking liberated from the chain of life through the five senses.

Unorthodox System Of Indian Philosophy

The religions or schools of Philosophy that do not accept the authority of Vedas are termed as unorthodox. Buddhism and Jainism are unorthodox systems of philosophy, they dismiss the concept of God. They also oppose the caste system prevalent in society. These are renowned to be the heterodox schools of Indian philosophy.

  • Carvaka- It focuses on the materialistic way of living and the pleasures of life. This philosophy is renowned for being known as Lokayukta Philosophy.
  • Buddhism- The principles and ideals of Buddhism has been established by Gautam Buddha. It has been enshrined and conserved by the Buddhist councils. It focuses on universal truth and noble truths.
  • Jainism- The followers of Jainism oppose the caste system. It has been established by Rishabha Dev. They mostly follow five principles Ahimsa, Satya, Asetya, Bhattacharya, and Aparigraha.

Six Schools of Indian Philosophy For UPSC Exam

The six schools of Indian philosophy are framed to be an eminent and integral part of the IAS exam. The candidates can get complete details of all the topics to be able to gain insights into the topic and solve the questions for the upcoming exam.

Six Schools of Indian Philosophy UPSC PDF

This is an essential topic and the candidates must have in-depth knowledge to solve the questions in the stipulated time period. It is highly recommended to the candidates practice UPSC previous year papers in order to get the complete details of the subjects.

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FAQs on Six Schools of Indian Philosophy

  • The six schools of Indian philosophy are renowned to be the orthodox. They assent to the authority of the vedas. These schools of Indian philosophy have been established by different sages. Check here the list of the schools of Indian philosophy-

    • Nyaya
    • Sankhya
    • Yoga
    • Vaisheshika
    • Purva Mimamsa
    • Uttara Mimamsa
  • Vedanta is the other name for Uttara Mimansa, one of the Six Orthodox Schools of Indian Philosophy. The term “Vedanta” has been comprised by the two related terms “Veda” which leads to the meaning of conclusion of vedas. It is also renowned to as Uttara Mimamsa. In accordance with the teachings of the Vedanta the self-consciousness is associated to Brahma.

  • The Orthodox school of Indian Philosophy that propounds the atomic theory of Kashyapa is Vaisheshika. This theory brings forth the realistic and objective theory. It also brings to light the physical nature of the universe.

  • Yoga is the concept of liberating the soul from nature through identity and body-mind self-control, according to the Orthodox Schools of Indian Philosophy. It reiterates the importance of physical discipline and mental discipline. The renowned sage Patanjali is accredited to the invention of yoga.

  • Jainism, Buddhism and Charaka forms the unorthodox or heterodox schools of Indian philosophy. The Jainism and Buddhism did not acknowledge the authority of Buddhism. The Charaka is more focused on the materialistic aspects and pleasures of life.

  • The Sankhya philosophy has been established by Kapil Muni. This philosophy displayed dualism. It also focuses on soul and nature. This is the source of true knowledge. It reiterates the importance of spiritual practice and possesses an objective to develop self-awareness.

  • One of the six schools of Indian philosophy focusing on performing yagyas for receiving benefits is Purva Mimansa. It emphasizes the inference of Samhita and Brahamana texts from vedas. It is the sanskrit term meaning the craftsmanship of implementation, explanation.

  • The nyaya school of Indian philosophy focuses on the scientific method of learning. It emphasizes the importance of pramanas and attaining knowledge. It believes that through knowledge only one can liberate from the chain of life.

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