Six Schools of Indian Philosophy – Vedic Schools, UPSC Notes

By BYJU'S Exam Prep

Updated on: November 14th, 2023

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 schools of Indian philosophy are 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 access the PDF to bring forth a comprehensive preparation strategy.

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 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. This is one of the six schools of Indian philosophy that depicts the importance of Yoga.

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 six 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 of 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 emphasizes 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. These are different from the six 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.

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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